James Walton

Did a vodka ban precipitate the Russian Revolution?

16 December 2017 9:00 am

It’s one of the more mysterious features of human history that people of every era and in almost every place…

Lovely to look at but irritatingly pious: The Miniaturist reviewed

16 December 2017 9:00 am

BBC1’s The Miniaturist (26/7 December) is a lavish two-part adaptation of Jessie Burton’s bestseller. It’s also further proof that almost…

A non-sniggering look at the latest developments in the lucrative sex-robot market

2 December 2017 9:00 am

This week on Channel 4, we watched a cheery 58-year-old American engineer called James going on a first date. He…

Sun readers will be disappointed – E.M. Phwoar-ster it is not: Howards End reviewed

18 November 2017 9:00 am

Any readers of the Sun who excitedly tuned in to Howards End on Sunday night with their pause button at…

It’s hard to preserve the primacy of head over heart while watching this doc about refugees

4 November 2017 9:00 am

Anybody who wants to maintain a strong and untroubled stance against mass migration to Europe should probably avoid BBC2’s Exodus:…

Amazing Grace

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…

Bad Habits, Holy Orders (image: Channel 5)

Saints and sinners

21 October 2017 9:00 am

Any rival reality-TV makers watching Channel 5 on Thursday will, I suspect, have been both mystified and slightly embarrassed at…

Gleaming pictures of the past

14 October 2017 9:00 am

If you think you know what to expect from an Alan Hollinghurst novel, then when it comes to The Sparsholt…

From desolation to euphoria and back again: Nick Cave at the O2

Mourning glory

7 October 2017 9:00 am

On the face of it, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds aren’t exactly a natural fit with the O2. Cave’s…

Playing it safe

5 October 2017 2:00 pm

BBC1’s latest Sunday-night drama The Last Post, about a British military base in Aden in 1965, feels like a programme…

Loose ends

23 September 2017 9:00 am

On Sunday night, Holliday Grainger was on two terrestrial channels at the same time playing a possibly smitten sidekick of…

Second thoughts

9 September 2017 9:00 am

I had planned to review David Mitchell and Robert Webb’s new Channel 4 sitcom Back without constantly referring to their…

Autistic endeavour: Keir Gilchrist as Sam in Atypical

For goodness’ sake

26 August 2017 9:00 am

Most new Netflix series are greeted not merely with acclaim, but with a level of gratitude that the returning Christ…

We want them not to give us what we want: Radiohead at the Roundhouse reviewed

4 June 2016 9:00 am

Radiohead have been at the top of the musical tree for so long now that it’s easy to forget what…

BBC1’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream seems deliberately designed to flush out purists

4 June 2016 9:00 am

Spoiler alerts aren’t normally required for reviews of Shakespeare — but perhaps I’d better issue one before saying that in…

Ferdinand Mount picks out the plums nicely

21 May 2016 9:00 am

Book reviews, John Updike once wrote, ‘perform a clear and desired social service: they excuse us from reading the books…

David Attenborough used to steal the animals he found in the jungle and take them home

21 May 2016 9:00 am

Let me start this week with an admittedly hard quiz question: in 1954, how did the sudden illness of Jack…

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…

BBC4’s Bob Geldof on WB Yeats was one of the best literary documentaries I’ve seen

9 April 2016 9:00 am

In recent years there’s been a fashion for arts documentaries presented by celebs rather than boring old experts — presumably…

Was 1971 really the best ever year for music?

2 April 2016 9:00 am

According to David Hepworth, the year he turned 21 was also the year when ‘a huge proportion of the most…

Line of Duty thinks – rightly – that there’s drama in the subsections of police acts

26 March 2016 9:00 am

Which is better, British TV drama or American? A couple of years ago, merely asking the question would have had…

The usual suspects: ‘Doctor Thorne’ brings us a reliable selection of frock-coated and corsetted British thesps

Doctor Thorne is pleasantly undemanding viewing

12 March 2016 9:00 am

Every now and then, a costume drama comes along that’s so daringly unconventional as to make us re-examine our whole…

Phil Lynott performs with Thin Lizzy (Photo: Getty)

Phil Lynott, from Dublin teenager to rock'n'roll burnout

27 February 2016 9:00 am

It’s often said that there are only seven basic plots in literature. When it comes to biographies of rock stars…

Tom Hiddlestone is The Night Manager

BBC1’s The Night Manager verges on parody

27 February 2016 9:00 am

The Night Manager (BBC1, Sunday) announced its intentions immediately, when the opening credits lovingly combined weapons and luxury items. ‘Blimey,’…