documentary

The lost girls: Irma Leopold (Samara Weaving), Miranda Reid (Lily Sullivan) and Marion Quade (Madeleine Madden) in Picnic at Hanging Rock

Po-faced but worth sticking with: Picnic at Hanging Rock reviewed

14 July 2018 9:00 am

According to the opening captions in Picnic at Hanging Rock (BBC2, Wednesday), ‘the infamous events’ it depicts ‘began whena mysterious…

Lee Miller in Hitler’s bath, 1945

Grim and glorious: Lee Miller and Surrealism in Britain reviewed

14 July 2018 9:00 am

Tick, tock. Tick, tock. Stay too long in the Lee Miller exhibition at the Hepworth Wakefield and the metronome might…

An interesting – but unrealisable – interpretation: Royal Opera's Don Giovanni reviewed

14 July 2018 9:00 am

When Kasper Holten’s production of Don Giovanni was first staged at the Royal Opera in 2014, I disliked it intensely,…

Monkey business: Jane Goodall

An exceptional new film about Jane Goodall unearths a remarkable love story

2 December 2017 9:00 am

Mary Wakefield talks to the director Brett Morgen, whose film about Jane Goodall tells a remarkable love story

Don’t believe the sales figures – DVDs are thriving

4 November 2017 9:00 am

According to the accountants’ ledgers, DVDs are dying. Sales of those shiny discs, along with their shinier sibling the Blu-ray,…

Still scary: Grace Jones in Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami

Who was Grace Jones? You’ll be none the wiser after this documentary about her

28 October 2017 9:00 am

In the first scene of this distinctly odd documentary, Grace Jones meets a group of fans, who squeal with delight…

Lament for a lost Venice

16 September 2017 9:00 am

I’m in Venice for the film festival that just ended and, as an American humorist once wired his paper: ‘Streets…

A drama that really does show how much better Britain is today compared to 50 years ago

29 July 2017 9:00 am

As you may have spotted, the BBC is marking the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of male homosexuality with an…

Watch a sobbing landlord confess his capitalist crimes on BBC1

1 July 2017 9:00 am

It’s not unusual to see a pop concert on TV where teenage girls and a group of middle-aged men are…

And then there were three: Lanzmann in 1964 with Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, with whom he had a seven-year affair

Claude Lanzmann, legendary director of Shoah, finally turns the camera on himself

24 June 2017 9:00 am

Legendary French documentary maker Claude Lanzmann finally turns the camera on himself. He talks to Tobias Grey about a lusty, youthful adventure in North Korea

Hippies gave us wonderful things, but they left an evil legacy too

10 June 2017 9:00 am

There’s an incredibly addictive old iPhone game called Doodle God where you effectively invent civilisation from scratch by combining basic…

1932. Right, John Cockcroft adjusts a pump at the Cavendish Laboratory's atom splitter. Left, Ernest Walton sits working in the detector of a Cockcroft-Walton generator.

Britain’s Nuclear Bomb: The Inside Story was as good as its word – I wish it was longer

6 May 2017 9:00 am

Like most documentaries, Britain’s Nuclear Bomb: The Inside Story (BBC4, Wednesday) began by boasting about all the exclusives it would…

What would we do without nutcases like Steve Backshall

18 March 2017 9:00 am

Down the Mighty River with Steve Backshall (BBC2) was perfect Sunday-night TV — one of the most enjoyable adventure travelogues…

Fans of investigative journalism should avoid Channel 4’s How’d You Get So Rich?

11 March 2017 9:00 am

Fans of tough investigative journalism should probably avoid Channel 4’s How’d You Get So Rich? Presenter Katherine Ryan’s main tactic…

Stanley Gibbons – the womanising stamp-collector

19 November 2016 9:00 am

If I tell you that on Monday there was an hour-long documentary about the history of stamp-collecting, then you probably…

Herzog leaves us as anxious and uncertain as we are thrilled: Lo and Behold reviewed

29 October 2016 9:00 am

As a documentary-maker, Werner Herzog is a master of tone. His widely parodied voiceovers — breathy, raspy, ominous — are…

Why do doctors think Down’s children are a disaster to be avoided at all costs?

8 October 2016 9:00 am

At my wife’s first 12-week scan, I was expecting — and duly got — that much-documented sense of thrilled wonder…

George Galloway is terrific in this meticulous demolition of Tony Blair

10 September 2016 9:00 am

I had been wondering where Gorgeous George Galloway might pop up next. Defenestrated from his seat in Bradford West, humiliated…

Engrossing, educative and baffling: The JT LeRoy Story reviewed

30 July 2016 9:00 am

JT LeRoy was a teenage hustler who emerged from a childhood of abuse, drug addiction and homelessness to write about…

Notes on Blindness makes the profoundly uncinematic wonderfully cinematic

2 July 2016 9:00 am

Perhaps you have sometimes wondered: how would you even begin to make a film about going blind and being blind…

Anthropomorphism taken too far in Storyville’s ‘Unlocking the Cage’

The nutcase animal-rights lawyer who wants chimps granted the legal status of humans

25 June 2016 9:00 am

He may claim to only want these rights for sentient creatures, but remember how the EU was supposed just to be a trading bloc...

Hound of love: Lolabelle gets old and Lolabelle goes blind and keyboards are laid out on the floor so that she can bash them with her paws, and enjoy the sounds

Weird, wise, thought-provoking and hypnotic: Heart of a Dog reviewed

21 May 2016 9:00 am

Heart of a Dog is a film by Laurie Anderson and it’s a meditative, free-associating rumination on life, loss, love…

Even the sternest Leavisite critic would find it hard to resist BBC2's Peaky Blinders

7 May 2016 9:00 am

The big returning show of the week began with servants laying out the silverware at a large country house in…

Inside the Portland Hospital

Downton Abbey with epidurals: BBC2's Five Star Babies reviewed

23 April 2016 9:00 am

Five Star Babies: Inside the Portland Hospital won’t, I suspect, have been a hard sell to BBC2’s commissioning editors. Childbirth…

Prime suspect: Steven Avery, whose case is the subject of the Netflix documentary ‘Making a Murderer’

Netflix's Making a Murderer is fascinating - but is it true?

30 January 2016 9:00 am

On the face of it, the Netflix documentary serial Making a Murderer should only take up ten hours of your…