TV

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…

Jessica Biel as Cora Tannetti. [Photo: BBC / Iron Ocean / Universal Cable Productions LLC]

The Sinner is for hormonal teenage girls’ insatiable appetite for the sordid and sick

8 December 2018 9:00 am

Don’t watch The Sinner (originally on Netflix; now on BBC4) because, despite your better judgment, you’ll only get addicted after…

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…

Diego Luna as Felix Gallardo in Netflix's latest series of Narcos. Photo: Carlos Somonte / Netflix

No, Narcos, those who’ve had the odd puff and cheeky line aren’t to blame for the drug wars

24 November 2018 9:00 am

Narcos is back on Netflix, set in Mexico this time, with a cool, world-weary, manly voiceover swearily lecturing us at…

Games without frontiers: a scene from Red Dead Redemption 2

What does the commonplace cruelty of Red Dead Redemption say about our times?

17 November 2018 9:00 am

Every era has its western. For 30 years, from The Big Trail through to The Searchers, John Wayne reigned supreme…

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…

Making a Murderer 2's mesmerising dea ex machina Kathleen Zellner

Thanks to Making a Murderer, Wisconsin’s bovine incompetence has been exposed

10 November 2018 9:00 am

I wonder if Wisconsin has any idea what an international embarrassment it has become? By rights it ought to be…

Never handsome, just sensuous and dangerous: Kevin Spacey

Bring back Kevin Spacey

3 November 2018 9:00 am

The sixth and final season of House of Cards has begun without Kevin Spacey, who played the murderous Democratic American…

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…

Former Syrian President Hafez al-Assad and his wife Anisa with his children (l-r) Maher, Bashar, Bassel, Majd and Bushra. Photo: Louai Beshara/ AFP/ Getty Images

How did mild-mannered eye doctor Bashar al-Assad end up a mass murderer?

27 October 2018 9:00 am

‘How did this mild-mannered eye doctor end up killing hundreds of thousands of people?’ someone wondered about Bashar al-Assad in…

The riddle of Melania

Melania Trump elegantly rises above the media muck

20 October 2018 9:00 am

I am not sure that Melania Trump had the introduction of Henry IV Part 2 in mind when she sat…

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…

The new Doctor Who Jodie Whittaker is a delight – but the script isn’t

13 October 2018 9:00 am

You won’t be aware of this because the BBC has been keeping it very quiet. But the new Doctor Who…

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…

Kyle Walker in front of England fans at this year’s World Cup in Russia

Two football books examine where money is taking the modern game

29 September 2018 9:00 am

‘Football holds a mirror to ourselves,’ Michael Calvin asserts in State of Play. Modern football is angrier, more brutal, more…

Forget the BBC – only Channel 5 does proper documentaries these days

29 September 2018 9:00 am

What a load of utter tripe Bodyguard (BBC1, Sundays) was. Admittedly, I came to it late having missed all the…

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…

The rough, simple and cheerily thick lifeguards of Bondi Rescue. Image: Mojo Down Under

All the good non-fiction that was ever on TV was made by middle-aged men

1 September 2018 9:00 am

All the good non-fiction things that were ever on TV — from Kenneth Clark’s Civilisation to David Attenborough’s Planet Earth…

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…

Did Ed Balls mean to make a documentary on the joys of Trump’s America?

4 August 2018 9:00 am

The thing I most regret having failed ever to ask brave, haunted, wise Sean O’Callaghan when I last saw him…

Sacha Baron Cohen isn’t funny – especially when he’s mocking the powerless

28 July 2018 9:00 am

Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest series Who Is America? isn’t funny. But then, nor was his terrible 2016 movie The Brothers…

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…

Channel 4 doesn’t do ‘news’ in any meaningful sense of the word – it’s pure propaganda

21 July 2018 9:00 am

When President Trump refused to take a question from a CNN reporter at the Chequers press conference last week, I…

The great thing about the World Cup is you don’t even have to watch it to enjoy it

7 July 2018 9:00 am

Even though I don’t watch much football I love the World Cup because it’s my passport to total freedom. I…