James Walton

Riveting documentary about a remarkable man: Harry Birrell Presents Films of Love and War reviewed

28 March 2020 9:00 am

First shown on BBC Scotland, Harry Birrell Presents Films of Love and War (BBC4, Wednesday) was the documentary equivalent of…

The creators of Breeders are locked into a game of How Far Can You Go

14 March 2020 9:00 am

Sky One’s Breeders (Thursday) bills itself as an ‘honest and uncompromising comedy’ about parenting. To this end, the opening scene…

Marina Lewycka’s The Good, the Bad and the Little Bit Stupid is completely bonkers

29 February 2020 9:00 am

Faced with Marina Lewycka’s new novel, it’s tempting to say that The Good, the Bad and the Little Bit Stupid…

Sharp family saga with a thriller uneasily attached: ITV’s Flesh and Blood reviewed

29 February 2020 9:00 am

As in many thrillers, the characters on display in Flesh and Blood (ITV, Monday to Thursday) often seemed locked in…

Odd but gripping: BBC1’s The Pale Horse reviewed

15 February 2020 9:00 am

Not much was clear in the opening scenes of The Pale Horse (BBC1, Sunday), which even by current TV standards…

Understated, unashamedly patriotic and heartbreaking: The Windermere Children reviewed

1 February 2020 9:00 am

One of the many astonishing things about the BBC2 drama The Windermere Children (Monday) was that the real-life story it…

Undeniably eye-popping: BBC2’s Louis Theroux – Selling Sex reviewed

18 January 2020 9:00 am

Victoria, a single mother in her early thirties, is getting her children ready for school — ensuring an equitable distribution…

Did everyone in punk sell out?

11 January 2020 9:00 am

For many people of a certain age (full disclosure: mine), punk has been a weirdly persistent presence. These days, we…

Why on earth did Glenda Jackson give up acting? BBC1’s Elizabeth is Missing reviewed

14 December 2019 9:00 am

Watching BBC1’s Elizabeth Is Missing made one of the more puzzling decisions of recent decades seem more puzzling still. Entirely…

Is the patriarchy as all-powerful as it’s cracked up to be? The Baby Has Landed reviewed

30 November 2019 9:00 am

Anybody who watched the opening episode of The Baby Has Landed (BBC2, Wednesday) might have found themselves wondering if the…

Patronising, clichéd and corny: BBC1’s Gold Digger reviewed

16 November 2019 9:00 am

Some last taboos, it seems, can remain last taboos no matter how frequently they’re confronted. Grief, the menopause, masturbation, mental…

It’s a dull world in which children don’t challenge their parents

9 November 2019 9:00 am

On the Shoulders of Giants consists of 12 essays that the late Umberto Eco gave as lectures at the annual…

BBC wildlife documentaries are just a chance to tell us all off

2 November 2019 9:00 am

Older readers may remember a time when landmark BBC wildlife documentary series were joyous celebrations of the miraculous fecundity of…

Should we be playing the surveillance state for laughs? Celebrity Hunted reviewed

19 October 2019 9:00 am

One of the many great things about The Capture was that we could never be sure whether the British authorities’…

A solid costume drama but Dame Helen has been miscast: Catherine the Great reviewed

5 October 2019 9:00 am

It’s possibly not a great sign of a Britain at ease with itself that the historical character most likely to…

Abba, Twitter vs Instagram, and papal selfies: the modern face of the Catholic Church

21 September 2019 9:00 am

As a lifelong Catholic, I’ve often thought that two of the Church’s chief characteristics are a) how weird it is…

I have no clue what’s going on, but can’t wait to find out: BBC1’s The Capture reviewed

7 September 2019 9:00 am

How did the police ever solve any crimes before CCTV? That was the question which sprang to mind watching the…

Heidi’s changing-colours-and-textures routine never failed to delight

The Octopus in My House left you with an overwhelming sense that octopuses are astonishing

24 August 2019 9:00 am

Professor David Scheel, the presenter of a BBC2 documentary on Thursday, instantly brought to mind that American scientist in The…

A badly missed opportunity: How the Middle Classes Ruined Britain reviewed

27 July 2019 9:00 am

BBC2’s How the Middle Classes Ruined Britain (Tuesday) began rather promisingly. ‘I’m a working-class comedian who voted Leave,’ announced presenter…

Moonwalking: Rufus Wright as Neil Armstrong in 8 Days: To the Moon

Reminds you how uncomplicatedly thrilling the first moon landing was: BBC2’s 8 Days reviewed

13 July 2019 9:00 am

As the title suggests, 8 Days: To the Moon and Back (BBC2, Wednesday) comprehensively disproved the always questionable idea put…

Shameless and corny: ITV’s Beecham House reviewed

29 June 2019 9:00 am

ITV’s new drama Beecham House is set in late 18th-century India where the British and French were still battling it…

Donald Trump and the politics of Netflix

22 June 2019 4:30 am

Given that there’s apparently no aspect of American life where culture wars don’t rage, the only surprise about Netflix’s latest…

Maud West disguised as a Salvation Army worker, c. 1920

The rollicking adventures of a real-life female sleuth

15 June 2019 9:00 am

Susannah Stapleton’s erudite but hugely entertaining debut is a true-life detective story about the quest for a true-life detective. A…

Makes you wonder if you’ve got drunk without noticing: Wild Bill reviewed

15 June 2019 9:00 am

Usually, the return of Killing Eve would be pretty much guaranteed to provide the most unconventional, rule-busting TV programme of…

Earth dying in five billion years I can deal with, but not a world-weary Brian Cox

1 June 2019 9:00 am

When you see the opening caption ‘4.6 billion years ago’, it’s a pretty safe bet that you’re watching a programme…