tue 07/07/2020

BBC One

The Luminaries, BBC One review - one of the most visually arresting dramas of the year

Alarm bells start ringing whenever you discover an author is adapting their own work for a screenplay. In the case of New Zealand novelist Eleanor Catton, the alarm proves to be false. Over the course of seven years, and apparently 200 drafts...

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The Salisbury Poisonings, BBC One review - the Cold War comes to Wiltshire

The poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal with the nerve agent novichok in 2018 was one of the more bizarre episodes in recent memory, a kind of delayed-action echo of the Cold War. Sergei, a former Russian military intelligence officer who acted as...

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The Other One, BBC One review - entertaining odd-couple sitcom

This engaging sitcom created by comedian Holly Walsh has had a long gestation: this, the pilot episode, was first broadcast back in 2017 but Walsh's pregnancy meant that the six-part series commissioned at the time was filmed last year.The show was...

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The A Word, Series 3, BBC One review - Christopher Eccleston steals the show

Christopher Eccleston isn’t the easiest actor to love, because he gives the impression he’ll reach through the screen and grab you by the throat if you don’t appreciate his ferocious thespian intensity, but with the role of Maurice Scott in The A...

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Killing Eve, Series 3, BBC iPlayer review - Eve and Villanelle resume operations

Instant spoiler alert: she’s not dead. But do we care? Prepare for the plumbing of new psychological depths from showrunner Suzanne Heathcote, previously story editor, appropriately enough, on Fear the Walking Dead, but that may not be enough to...

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theartsdesk Q&A: actor Gemma Whelan

She's not quite a household name yet, but Leeds-born Gemma Whelan is heading speedily in that direction. Having started out as a standup comedian, winning the Funny Women Variety Award in 2010, Whelan began notching up film and TV roles, en route to...

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Beauty Laid Bare, BBC One review - a facial peel for the cosmetics business

In this aptly-titled series (BBC One), four British 20-somethings visit the USA to investigate the inner workings of the beauty industry. Perhaps not surprisingly, they discover that it’s a hotbed of greed and exploitation.Their first stop was the...

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The Split, Series 2, BBC One review - where the law and family fortunes collide

The return of screenwriter Abi Morgan’s series about a largely-female London law firm is no doubt in tune with our gender and equality-conscious times, but that doesn’t mean it’s great television. Its legal storylines are counterpointed against...

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The Pale Horse, BBC One review - when in doubt, do another Agatha Christie remake

You could sometimes begin to believe that the notion of original TV drama is dying out, replaced by an interminable stream of adaptations and remakes. Did somebody mention Dracula? Screenwriter Sarah Phelps is currently the BBC’s go-to specialist...

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Young, Sikh and Proud, BBC One review - siblings divided by their attitudes to faith

Journalist Sunny Hundal has a long track record as a writer and blogger concerned with issues of race, politics and ethnicity. He’s also the brother of the late Jagraj Singh, an influential preacher who encouraged a dramatic upsurge of interest in...

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Dracula, BBC One review - horrific, and not in a good way

“Bela Lugosi’s dead,” as Bauhaus sang, in memory of the star of 1931’s Dracula. But of course death has never been an impediment to the career of the enfanged Transylvanian blood-sucker. Filmed and televisualised almost as frequently as Sherlock...

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Dame Edna Rules the Waves / The Graham Norton Show, BBC One review - two ways to run a talk show

Talk shows can go one of two ways. You can create a welcoming space where your guests can kick their shoes off and start telling daringly revealing anecdotes. Alternatively, there’s the Dame Edna formula where the guests are cannon fodder for the...

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