James Walton

Enjoyably contrived: BBC1’s Baptiste reviewed

23 February 2019 9:00 am

What’s the best way to start a six-part thriller? The answer, it seems, is to have a bloke of a…

The Royals in 1972. Photo: Press Association

Watch Paxo set a new PB for lip-curling: Paxman On The Queen’s Children reviewed

9 February 2019 9:00 am

You might well expect a royal documentary on Channel 5 to be unashamedly gossipy. You might also expect it to…

Danny Dyer trying to keep a straight face in his latest bizarre TV outing. Photo: BBC / Wall to Wall Media

Danny Dyer’s Right Royal Family might well be the oddest TV show of recent times

26 January 2019 9:00 am

Last year on Who Do You Think You Are?, Danny Dyer — EastEnders actor and very possibly Britain’s most cockney…

Doors drummer John Densmore and Police percussionist Stewart Copeland. Photo: BBC / Somethin’ Else Sound Directions Ltd / Nico Wasserman

According to BBC4, what was one of the ‘most important inventions in modern music’?

12 January 2019 9:00 am

Here’s a tricky quiz question for you. What word completes this sentence from a BBC4 documentary on Friday: ‘The world…

Writers of some of the best-loved programmes in British television history: Ian La Frenais and Dick Clement

Dick Clement on Porridge, Kirk Douglas and having seven projects on the go

5 January 2019 9:00 am

Given their track record, you might think that Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais would be spared the struggles that…

Sheridan Smith and Alison Steadman in Jimmy McGovern's Care. Photo: BBC / LA Productions / Dan Prince

Could it be that Jimmy McGovern was getting into the festive spirit? No… Care reviewed

15 December 2018 9:00 am

Jimmy McGovern’s one-off drama Care (BBC1, Sunday 9 December) began with a loving grandmother called Mary having a lovely time…

Keeping it in the family: Ruth Wilson playing her grandmother Alison in Mrs Wilson

Refreshingly understated: BBC1’s Mrs Wilson reviewed

1 December 2018 9:00 am

Shortly before her husband’s funeral, the undertaker told the eponymous main character in Mrs Wilson (BBC1, Tuesday) that, ‘We’re here…

The whole narrative of Dynasties was too suspiciously shapely. Image: BBC NHU

How does David Attenborough know what the monkeys are thinking?

17 November 2018 9:00 am

The opening episode of BBC1’s Dynasties — the new Attenborough-fronted series from the Natural History Unit — introduced us to…

Alexander Skarsgard as Becker in BBC1's The Little Drummer Girl

Lucky the director of Little Drummer Girl is an ‘auteur’ or you might call the first episode corny

3 November 2018 9:00 am

The Little Drummer Girl (BBC1, Sunday) is the new John le Carré adaptation from the production company that brought us…

Kazuo Ishiguro winning the Booker Prize in 1989. Photo: Alex Lentati/ Associated Newspapers/ REX/ Shutterstock

An enjoyably gossipy whisk through half a century of fierce rivalries and bruised egos

20 October 2018 9:00 am

At the beginning of Barneys, Books and Bust Ups: 50 Years of the Booker Prize (BBC4), Kirsty Wark’s voiceover promised…

Impeccably – and intriguingly – unclear: BBC1’s The Cry reviewed

6 October 2018 9:00 am

It’s a radical thought I know, but I sometimes wonder what it would be like if a new TV thriller…

Easy rider: Jodie Comer as Villanelle in Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Killing Eve

Camp, preposterous and weirdly good fun: Killing Eve reviewed

22 September 2018 9:00 am

After the all-conquering success of Fleabag — her brilliant dark comedy about a smart but rudderless young woman in London…

Sharp practice: Olivia Cooke and Claudia Jessie in Vanity Fair

Bad news for fans of good TV drama – there’s three more corkers to keep up with

8 September 2018 9:00 am

This week was bad news for fans of good television drama series — mainly because there’s now three more of…

Jimmy Page performing with Led Zeppelin in May 1975. ‘He did believe that he had the power to control the universe’

Jimmy Page is a Capricorn – that says it all

25 August 2018 9:00 am

In 1957, aged 13, Jimmy Page appeared with his skiffle group on a children’s TV programme dedicated to ‘unusual hobbies’…

I had no idea how fascinating rubbish could be: The Secret Life of Landfill reviewed

25 August 2018 9:00 am

Not the most beguiling of titles, I admit, but The Secret Life of Landfill: A Rubbish History (BBC4, Thursday) was…

Full of bog-standard, if annoyingly effective, emotional manipulation: The Foreign Doctors Are Coming reviewed

11 August 2018 9:00 am

Surprising I know, but judging from The Foreign Doctors Are Coming (Channel 4, Tuesday), Britain mightn’t be such a bad…

A proper old-fashioned stinker: ITV’s The Bletchley Circle – San Francisco reviewed

28 July 2018 9:00 am

After just one episode, The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco (ITV, Wednesday) seems certain to stand out from the crowd. In…

Fury and excitement – how the journalists at the New York Times have coped with Trump

30 June 2018 9:00 am

Back when his country was controlled by the USSR, the Czech writer Milan Kundera pointed out that ‘Union of Soviet…

Exhilaratingly original, C4’s Flowers is much more than just a ‘dark comedy’

16 June 2018 9:00 am

On Wednesday, BBC Four made an unexpectedly strong case that the human body is a bit rubbish. Our ill-designed spines,…

Claude Cahun, one of the real-life subjects of Rupert Thomson’s novel. Credit: Jersey Heritage

Never Anyone But You, by Rupert Thomson reviewed

2 June 2018 9:00 am

In a 2013 interview with a Canadian newspaper, Rupert Thomson acknowledged the strange place he occupies in the literary world.…

The terrific cast of BBC2's King Lear (BBC/Playground Entertainment/Ed Miller)

Understated and heartbreaking: BBC2’s King Lear reviewed

2 June 2018 9:00 am

I recently came across a theory of the American poet Delmore Schwartz’s that Hamlet only makes sense if you assume…

Living the high life: Benedict Cumberbatch as Patrick Melrose

Sky Atlantic’s Patrick Melrose adaptation is triumphant

19 May 2018 9:00 am

Warning: if you haven’t seen it yet, the first episode of the much-anticipated Patrick Melrose (Sky Atlantic, Sunday) contains scenes…

Zen tales and flights of fancy: Patient X reviewed

5 May 2018 9:00 am

The target audience for David Peace’s new novel appears almost defiantly niche. Certainly, any readers in the embarrassing position of…

From now on you can assume that every TV-drama cast is female-led

5 May 2018 9:00 am

From time to time, a TV show comes along which is so thrillingly original, so wildly imaginative, that you can’t…

Jaw-dropping: My Year with the Tribe reviewed

21 April 2018 9:00 am

For a while now, the Korowai people of Western Papua have been the go-to primitive tribe for documentary-makers. The Korowai…