Sky arts

The fiasco of Operation Yewtree: C4’s The Accused – National Treasures on Trial reviewed

At 4.38 a.m., one morning in October 2013, the radio presenter Paul Gambaccini was understandably asleep when the doorbell rang. He was then arrested for sexually assaulting a minor on what proved to be the word of a drug addict with a history of making false accusations. The trouble for Gambaccini, though, was that this wasn’t proved for another 11 months. In the meantime, the allegations were all over the news, he was dropped by the BBC, lost around £100,000 in earnings and started having panic attacks. And Gambaccini, of course, wasn’t alone in being arrested and publicly named like this – not merely without being charged, but before any

Revelatory and grubby: Framing Britney Spears reviewed

The most headline-grabbing of these three pop docs was Framing Britney Spears, part of the New York Times Presents documentary series, and a bit of a worldwide sensation. It was both revelatory and grubby. As many have noted, the footage of interviews with Spears as a prepubescent and teenager was so deeply unpleasant, so unrelentingly sexual, that it seemed to come not from 20 years ago, but from Neanderthal times. The simple accumulation of the public record was horrifying. No wonder people such as Jimmy Savile were able to thrive. If television interviewers could ask a teenage girl about her breasts, about whether she was having sex, then is it

Makes me nostalgic for an era when music was more than a click away: Teenage Superstars reviewed

In Teenage Superstars, a long and slightly exhausting documentary about the Scottish indie scene of the 1980s and ’90s, there was a moment when a man revelling in the name of Stephen Pastel — his real name is Stephen McRobbie, and he must be pushing 60 now — was described as ‘the mayor of the Scottish underground’. Such a position — even one, as this, necessarily unelected — would be all but impossible to occupy today. With the internet and democratisation of music — its creation, its distribution, its consumption — has come the fallowing of what were once its most fertile fields: the local scenes created and inhabited by

Funny, tender and properly horrible: Channel 4’s Adult Material reviewed

A woman is eating a pie in her car as it gets an automatic wash. Careful to keep the pie out of shot, she then films herself on her phone pretending to have an orgasm, posts the clip online and drives to work. Once there, she’s constantly distracted by thoughts of domestic chores (‘Whites tonight, colours in the morning, hang them out before the school run’) — which mightn’t be so unusual, except that her work consists of having sex. But if the early scenes in Channel 4’s new porn-industry drama Adult Material suggested a cheeky, essentially light-hearted twist on female life-juggling, this soon proved deceptive. What followed was an

How on earth did Harold Pinter and Danny Dyer become such good friends?

Collectors of TV titles that sound as if they were thought of by Alan Partridge will presumably have spotted Danny Dyer on Harold Pinter. As Dyer himself understatedly put it: ‘This might seem an unlikely pairing: the likely lad and the Nobel Prize winner.’ Yet, what made the programme such an intriguing if undeniably peculiar watch is that the pairing in question wasn’t dreamed up by a desperate (or drunk) commissioning editor. In 2000, aged 22, Dyer auditioned for Pinter’s Celebration at the Almeida Theatre in Islington. ‘I knew the money would be rubbish,’ he told us, ‘so I didn’t care much.’ Nor, unlike his rivals, did he really know who