thu 30/03/2017

tv

Harlots review - 'fun quasi-feminist costume romp'

jasper Rees

We like to think of Georgian England as a wellspring of elegance: the Chippendale chair and the Wedgwood teapot, the landscaped vista and the neoclassical townhouse. But, as subversively embodied in the mock heroic couplet, the seemly Age of Reason had a seamy underbelly. There was order, but also ordure.

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Line of Duty, Series 4 review – 'the tension rocketed to brain-jangling red alert'

adam Sweeting

Now promoted to the exhilarating landscapes of BBC One as a reward for previous good behaviour, Line of Duty set off at a scorching pace into the murky shadowland where crime, punishment, ambition and corruption mingle...

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Paula Rego: Secrets and Stories review - 'in pictures you can let all your rage out'

sarah Kent

“My mother has always been a bit of a mystery to me not only as an artist but also as a mum,” declares Nick Willing by way of introduction to his film for BBC Two on the painter Paula Rego, who turned 82 in January. What follows is as far removed from a traditional biopic as you could hope to find. 

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Syria’s Disappeared review - 'must-watch can't-look record of Assad's atrocities'

jasper Rees

“The following images are extremely graphic.” The words appeared in white lettering against a black background, two-thirds of the way in. For the next minute, the screen filled with photographs of naked, emaciated corpses, some with crude writing across their bodies, others with labels affixed to foreheads. The eyes of one were gouged out; another’s mouth gaped open as if emitting a final scream of terror.

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

Marina Vaizey

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 charms: its beaches, its rainforest, its animals, its beauty.

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SS–GB, Series Finale, BBC One

adam Sweeting

In the end, SS-GB promised more than it could deliver, but it still left us with some memorable images (not least in the cleverly-crafted opening titles) and several excellent performances. The ending even dangled the faintest hint of a sequel, though presumably not one written by the author of the original book, Len Deighton.

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The Last Kingdom, Series 2, BBC Two

adam Sweeting

It was the end of 2015 when we last rode out through the mud and blood of Saxon England with King Alfred and his doughty battlefield dynamo Uhtred, so it will be interesting to see what has changed in series two. Was it my imagination, or has Alfred (David Dawson, below), the victor of the battle of Ethandun, become several degrees colder and more calculating as he proceeds with his grand project to unify war-torn England?

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Midnight Sun, Sky Atlantic

Mark Sanderson

You can just hear Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein, the clever-sick Swedes behind Midnight Sun, cackling as they cooked up the pre-title sequence to the first episode of their new series. A grizzled man in a grey suit wakes up to find himself strapped to a helicopter rotor-blade. The engine starts.

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Big Little Lies, Sky Atlantic

adam Sweeting

It happened in Monterey, but we’re not entirely sure what yet.

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War Child, Channel 4

jasper Rees

In the mindset of Nigel Farage and his biddable followers, the route from Asia into Europe throngs with undesirables. Their threatening faces can be plastered on a vote-winning poster. In this calamitous failure of empathy, young men – hordes of them, to use our former Prime Minister’s lexical choice - are seen to be bent on kettling Western women and hoovering up benefits.

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