James Walton

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…

Emma Thompson as Vivienne Rook in Russell T. Davies’s Years and Years. Credit: BBC/Red Productions/Guy Farrow

A clunky exercise in box-ticking: Russell T. Davies’s Years and Years reviewed

18 May 2019 9:00 am

These days, a common way of introducing radio news items is with the words ‘How worried should we be about…?’…

Did the makers of When I Grow Up have no qualms turning a small boy into a hate figure?

4 May 2019 9:00 am

Channel 4’s When I Grow Up had an important lesson for middle-class white males everywhere: you’re never too young to…

Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and Jon Snow (Kit Harington) having some quality time together

I admire the scale and ambition of Game of Thrones – but isn’t it just a little bit corny?

20 April 2019 9:00 am

If you’ve ever faced the social embarrassment of having to admit that you’ve never seen Game of Thrones (Sky Atlantic,…

The Bears v. the Rabbits: The Feral Detective, by Jonathan Lethem, reviewed

6 April 2019 9:00 am

Jonathan Lethem’s new book is billed as ‘his first detective novel since Motherless Brooklyn’, which won America’s national book critics…

The mob is right about Line of Duty – it remains unmissably exciting

6 April 2019 9:00 am

On Sunday a drama began with ED905 being stolen by an OCG who’d faked an RTC that required IR, little…

Why did no one think the premise of Mums Make Porn was questionable?

23 March 2019 9:00 am

What can parents do about the avalanche of pornography available to their children on tablet, phone and laptop? This question…

Faber’s new ‘poetry’ collection

9 March 2019 9:00 am

If you’re unsure whether Shaun Ryder’s lyrics for Happy Mondays and Black Grape really deserve the full Faber-poetry treatment, then…

Sian Clifford as Claire and Phoebe Waller-Bridge as Fleabag

Promising but, compared to the first series, short of laughs: Fleabag reviewed

9 March 2019 9:00 am

BBC2’s MotherFatherSon announced its status as a classy thriller in the traditional way: by ensuring that for quite a long…

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…