mon 23/05/2022

TV drama

The Essex Serpent, Apple TV+ review - tradition and superstition versus the march of progress

Sarah Perry’s 2016 bestseller The Essex Serpent has been described as “a novel of ideas”, which almost sounds like a warning to anybody wanting to televise it. Happily, director Clio Barnard and screenwriter Anna Symon picked up the gauntlet, and...

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The Staircase, NOW review - addictive dramatisation of real-life murder investigation

The real-life case of Michael Peterson and the death of his wife Kathleen in 2001 has generated a steady stream of TV documentaries, though this new series from HBO Max (showing on NOW) is the first time anybody has actually dramatised the story....

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DI Ray, ITV review - Parminder Nagra battles killer gangs and cultural stereotypes

Somehow or other, fictional representations of the police have become an off-the-cuff index of changing times and evolving values. Dixon of Dock Green’s cops were stern father figures who knew right from wrong and considered it their duty to give...

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Ten Percent, Amazon Prime review - a hit and miss British makeover of the French comedy 'Call My Agent'

When the English-language version of Dix Pour Cent (aka Call My Agent!) was announced, my cafe au lait went down the wrong way. The French TV comedy about machinations at a top-flight Parisian talent agency is a miraculous mix of insouciant charm,...

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Life After Life, BBC Two review - déjà vu all over again

If we could keep living our life over and over again, would we get better at it? This is the premise underpinning Life After Life, the BBC’s four-part adaptation of Kate Atkinson’s novel.The story centres around Ursula Todd, as she grows up with...

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Why Didn't They Ask Evans?, BritBox review - a feast of murder, deception, misleading identities and forgery

For a subscription service that lurks under the radar, BritBox has been surreptitiously delivering some impressive drama, including The Beast Must Die and the Anthony Horowitz-penned Magpie Murders. Now, with Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?, they’ve...

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Anatomy of a Scandal, Netflix review - sex, sexism and the abuse of power

British political life in the Boris Johnson era routinely seems stranger than fiction, and this adaptation of Sarah Vaughan’s novel about a Flashman-style Tory MP should delight all those who view Westminster as a sewer of privilege, corruption and...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Nineteen Eighty-Four

"Disgusting", "depressing", "sheer horror from start to finish", a "filthy, rotten, immoral play". Such were the comments from viewers published across a spectrum of British newspapers following the BBC transmission, on 12 December 1954, of Nigel...

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Gentleman Jack, Series 2, BBC One review - the queer Victorian heroine swaggers back in style

Into the BBC One Sunday slot just vacated by Tommy Shelby of the Peaky Blinders returns Suranne Jones’s Anne Lister, another costume-drama maverick with striking headgear, definite leadership qualities and a way with a pistol. “They’re all a bit...

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Hacks, Prime Video review - what's so funny about a career in comedy?

Acidic showbiz drama Hacks premiered on HBO Max in the States a year ago, and subsequently won a hatful of awards including three Emmys. Now, here it is on Prime Video, so we can get to see what all the fuss is about.Most of it is about Jean Smart’s...

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The Split, Series 3, BBC One review - the Defoes are back, more conflicted than ever

After two years away, Abi Morgan’s acclaimed legal drama/juicy soap The Split returns for its third series, reuniting us with the closely knit, or, you might say, incestuous, law firm of Noble Hale Defoe.Ruth Defoe (Deborah Findlay) and her...

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Bridgerton, Season 2, Netflix review - power politics and love triangles as Regency fantasy returns

The first series of Bridgerton (Netflix) became a ratings-blasting sensation because of the way it thrust a boldly multiracial cast into the midst of a Regency costume drama, and because of the camera-hogging presence of Regé-Jean Page as the...

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