thu 20/07/2017

BBC Two

The best TV to watch this week

Too hot outside? Take refuge on the box. We sift the schedules for you. Thursday 20 JulyWho Do You Think You Are?, BBC One – this week, it's ubiquitous sports presenter Clare Balding. Did her great-grandfather, Tory MP Sir Malcolm Bullock, have...

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Melvyn Bragg on TV, BBC Two review – too many talking heads, too little action

Presumably it seemed like a good idea at the time. Broadcasting juggernaut Lord Bragg would undertake a sweeping survey of the way that television has transformed our lives and reflected British society in the last 70-odd years, soaring over dramas...

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Sudan: The Last of the Rhinos, BBC Two review - requiem for disappearing wildlife

“The northern white rhinos are just a symbol of what we do to the natural world,” as one of the contributors to this haunting documentary put it. “We witness them disappearing in front of our eyes.” The programme ended with names of endangered...

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Who Should We Let In? Ian Hislop on the First Great Immigration Row, review – how history repeats itself

Immigration…immigration… immigration… that’s what we need! Not the words of record-breaking, tap-dancing trumpeter Roy Castle, rather it’s the gist of a Times leader from 1853 (admittedly, fairly heavily paraphrased). It was just one of the eye-...

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Ripper Street, BBC Two, Series 5 review – apocalypse looms in Victorian Whitechapel

There has always been an air of incipient doom hovering over Ripper Street, since the show is more of a laboratory of lost souls than a mere detective drama. Now, as it embarks on its fifth and final season, there’s every reason to suppose that the...

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Paula, BBC Two review - Denise Gough's the real thing

Playwrights have long migrated to the small screen in search of better pay and room to manoeuvre. Most don’t leave it as long as Conor McPherson, who was perhaps cushioned from necessity by the global success of The Weir. A quarter of a century...

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White Gold, BBC Two review – rattling pace and razor-edged dialogue

In the dog-eat-dog world of White Gold it’s 1983, when greed was about to become good and (as the show’s creator Damon Beesley puts it) “a time when having double-glazed patio doors installed meant you were winning at life”. The streets were full of...

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A Time to Live, BBC Two review - an exquisite legacy

Imagine a doctor has just told you that you have only a year to live. What would you do? Learn to sky dive, spend every last penny you have, be brutally honest with anyone who has crossed you, or curl up in a ball and wait for the inevitable?...

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A Time to Live: 'I did not want to reveal at the end who was alive or dead'

Do you ever wonder what you’d do if you were given a terminal diagnosis and told you may only have months to live? That question is what my latest film is all about. It may sound maudlin and sad but I can assure you it isn’t. And the reason for that...

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King Charles III, BBC Two review - royal crisis makes thrilling drama

Actor Oliver Chris, who plays William in Mike Bartlett’s ingeniously-crafted play about the monarchy, was doing some pre-transmission fire-fighting by going round telling interviewers he couldn’t see what anybody (eg the Daily Mail) could find to...

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The Last Kingdom - 'one of the very best things on television'

The first series of The Last Kingdom in 2015 kicked off with a blockbuster episode which managed to encompass savage violence, dynastic rivalry and a speedy tour of the state of Britain in the ninth century, while allowing the central protagonist,...

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Puerto Rico: Island of Enchantment – Natural World, BBC Two

The soothing voice of David Attenborough narrated this cautionary tale, which is improbably heading not for a happy ending but a happy new beginning. Puerto Rico, the so-called island of enchantment, overwhelmed early western visitors with its...

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