thu 12/12/2019

documentary

Chaos in the Cockpit: Flights from Hell, Channel 5 review - do we really want to watch plane-wreck TV?

Apparently your odds of dying in a plane crash are about one in 11 million, while chances of death in a car accident are about one in 5,000. Therefore flying is theoretically safe, and supposedly getting safer. You wouldn’t know it from the TV...

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Doing Drugs for Fun, Channel 5 review - why the cocaine trade is no laughing matter

Monday night’s first episode of this three-part series was a bit ordinary, as it introduced its cast of British recreational cocaine users and explained why their habit may be ill-advised. We learned that the British take more drugs than any other...

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Hitsville: the Making of Motown - a thrilling celebration of the record label's heyday

Berry Gordy, who founded the Motown label in Detroit in 1959, borrowed his star-maker machinery from the car assembly line. When he worked at the Lincoln-Mercury plant he was inspired by how a bare metal frame would emerge as brand new car. “What a...

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The $50m Art Swindle, BBC Two review - ramblin' gamblin' man comes home to roost

“It’s nice to make money – lots of money,” said Michel Cohen, former high-flying New York art dealer turned debtor, jailbird and fugitive. He made oodles of the stuff and then lost it all, leaving a string of wealthy art collectors and galleries to...

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The Cameron Years, BBC One review - quite interesting but a bit boring

David Cameron has been a recluse since the fateful days of June 2016 when the referendum on EU membership didn’t go quite the way he’d hoped. He’s probably been living through a private purgatory. “I think I will think about this forever,” he...

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Honeyland review - tipping nature's balance

Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov’s new documentary, Honeyland, is a lament for a vanishing world. Captured with the delicacy of honeycomb, it focuses on the last wild beekeeper in Europe. Hatidze Muratova lives in rural Macedonia on a...

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Suicidal: In Our Own Words, Channel 5 review - why are so many men killing themselves?

September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day, and Channel 5 marked the occasion with this sobering documentary. Focusing on male suicide – incredibly, now the UK’s biggest killer of men under 45 – it studied six patients at the Riverside Mental...

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Spotlight on The Troubles: A Secret History, BBC Four review - Ulster's bitter sectarian war revisited

“The Troubles” is a polite euphemism for the ferocious storm of sectarian violence and political chaos which convulsed Northern Ireland for 30 years, before being brought to a close by 1998’s Good Friday Agreement. Irish journalist Darragh MacIntyre...

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High Society: Cannabis Café, Channel 4 review - pointless investigation into drug-taking

This was the first of a two-part investigation into... well, I don't know what. The voiceover of High Society: Cannabis Café said it was an experiment “to test the alleged benefits of weed” and the people featured all had “a personal motivation...

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Prince Albert: A Victorian Hero Revealed, Channel 4 review - dramatic documentary filled with intelligent detail

It may sound perverse to say it, but Albert was the perfect twenty-first century prince. Thrust into the heart of the British monarchy he was simultaneously an oppressed outsider who – despite his reputation as the most handsome prince in Europe (...

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Hail Satan? review - the detail of the devil

As Penny Lane’s documentary shows, America and Satanism have a long history. From the Salem Witch trials to the moral panic triggered by the Manson murders and films like William Friedkin’s The Exorcist in the 1970s, mass panic in America of the...

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The Day Mountbatten Died, BBC Two review - the IRA's audacious strike at the heart of the British Establishment

It was a lovely summer’s day in southern England, much as it was in County Sligo. I was with my parents, driving to visit a very elderly relative. We arrived not long after the news of Lord Mountbatten’s death was announced and my great aunt was...

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