Drama

From riveting Hitchockian melodrama to bigoted drivel: BBC’s Unprecedented reviewed

8 August 2020 9:00 am

Back to the West End at last. After a four- month lay-off, I grabbed the first available chance to catch…

Sumptuous and very promising: A Suitable Boy reviewed

1 August 2020 9:00 am

Nobody could argue that Andrew Davies isn’t up for a challenge. He’d also surely be a shoo-in for Monty Python’s…

Another drama about how women are great and men are rubbish: C4's Philharmonia reviewed

6 June 2020 9:00 am

On the face of it, a French-language drama about a Parisian symphony orchestra mightn’t sound like the most action-packed of…

How Tom Stoppard foretold what we’re living through

9 May 2020 9:00 am

A TV play by Tom Stoppard, A Separate Peace, was broadcast live on Zoom last Saturday. I watched as my…

Classic tangled thriller: Sky's Gangs of London reviewed

24 April 2020 11:00 pm

There were plenty of TV shows around this week designed to cheer us up. Sky Atlantic’s Gangs of London, however,…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Michelle Obama during the 2008 Democrat primaries. Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

When the first world war ended, many soldiers were left with ‘a terrible empty feeling’

10 November 2018 9:00 am

‘It was so unreal,’ said one of the first world war veterans about the long-awaited Armistice. It was the most…

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…

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,…

Why is this Israeli drama such a hit with Palestinians? Because it tells the truth

9 June 2018 9:00 am

‘The rule in our household is: if a TV series hasn’t got subtitles, it’s not worth watching,’ a friend told…

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…

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…

An out-of-work steel worker walking through Port Talbot, 1964

Made in Port Talbot

9 September 2017 9:00 am

Port Talbot, on the coast of South Wales, is literally overlooked. Most experience the town while flying over it on…

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…

1967 and all that

29 July 2017 9:00 am

As you may have spotted, the BBC is marking the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of male homosexuality with an…

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…

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…

The integrity and chain-smoking of these East German Commies is rather attractive

23 January 2016 9:00 am

No one remembers this now but there really was a period, not so long ago, when the Eighties were universally…

Shakespeare at his freest and most exuberant: The Wars of the Roses reviewed

24 October 2015 9:00 am

The RSC’s The Wars of the Roses solves a peculiar literary problem. Shakespeare’s earliest history plays are entitled Henry VI…

The Last Kingdom is BBC2’s solemnly cheesy answer to Game of Thrones

24 October 2015 9:00 am

The opening caption for The Last Kingdom (BBC2, Thursday) read ‘Kingdom of Northumbria, North of England, 866 AD’. In fact,…