sun 17/02/2019

BBC Two

The Last Survivors, BBC Two review - living on

When they were children the interviewees in this film – the last survivors – were taken away in incomprehensible circumstances, on their way to be murdered for who they were, in Germany and places further east. A handful of the few thousands who...

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Upstart Crow, BBC Two review - Shakespeare does Dickens in seasonal tale

After the heart-breaking ending to the third series earlier this year, which covered the death of William Shakespeare's young son, Hamnet, it was back to the comedy for this seasonal special. But there was no jarring handbrake turn for writer...

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Merry Christmas Baby - Gregory Porter & Friends, BBC Two review - mellow becomes slo-mo

In 2017, the BBC Wales team with director Rhodri Huw filmed a Christmas show in the old 1888 Coal Exchange in Cardiff, now a hotel. Tom Jones and Beverley Knight’s Gospel Christmas was an exciting and upbeat show, which ended in an electrifying “...

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Louis Theroux's Altered States: Choosing Death, BBC Two review - profound and moving

The toughest subject you can imagine: when, and how, would you choose death over life? This riveting film examined that excruciating dilemma within the legal frameworks on offer to some of the terminally ill in the United States. Louis Theroux,...

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They Shall Not Grow Old, BBC Two review - Peter Jackson's Great War finale

Peter Jackson has form when it comes to re-examining cinema history. In 1995 he made Forgotten Silver, a documentary about Colin McKenzie, a New Zealand filmmaker who not only made the first sound recordings but also invented the tracking shot and...

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Reporting Trump's First Year: the Fourth Estate, BBC Two review - all hands on deck at the Gray Lady

The cataclysm of Donald Trump’s election was like a second 9/11 for the East Coast elite (and not just them, obviously). It was a world turned upside down, the centre couldn’t hold, and, worst of all, why did nobody see it coming?Nowhere was it felt...

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Natural World: The Super Squirrels, BBC Two review - silliness and facts

Squirrels are a breed as diverse as they are ubiquitous: they inhabit environments as extreme as desert and tundra, and all the lush greenery, rainforest and urban jungle imaginable between. So bless the producers of The Super Squirrels who...

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King Lear, BBC Two review - modernised TV adaptation is a mixed blessing

Some have contended that King Lear is unstageable, and perhaps it’s unfilmable too. Richard Eyre‘s new version for the BBC sets Shakespeare’s most remorselessly bleak tragedy in a pseudo-modern Britain where historic stately homes co-exist with...

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Manchester: The Night of the Bomb, BBC Two review - devastating account of the lottery of terror

“I thought she maybe had superpowers to go that high.” Emilia Senior, 12, watched her sister Eve, 15, thrown into the air by the force of the explosion. When Eve came to earth her own perception had tilted on its axis: “I saw my legs on fire,” she...

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The Bridge, BBC Two, series 4 review - Scandi saga is darker than ever

In the 1990s, which brought us Morse, Fitz and Jane Tennison, an idea took root that all television detectives must be mavericks. They needed to be moody, dysfunctional, addictive, a bit of an unsolved riddle. These British sleuths were all...

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Syria: The World's War, BBC Two review - anatomy of a conflict, brilliantly told

This was not a film that left you with much respect for the wisdom of politicians, but perhaps its truest line came from John Kerry, when he called the ongoing – seven years, and counting – Syrian conflict “an insult to the humanity of this planet...

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The City and the City, BBC Two review - detection in four dimensions

It’s difficult to grasp in your imagination, never mind filming it and putting it on TV. In China Miéville’s source novel, dramatised here by Tony Grisoni, the twin cities of Besźel and Ul Quoma exist side by side, and in some areas even overlap....

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