sat 02/07/2022

TV drama

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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The Last Kingdom, Season 5, Netflix review - Danes-and-Saxons saga hurtles towards an epic climax

Two years ago, the fourth season of The Last Kingdom (Netflix) found the Saxon saga not quite hitting peak form, possibly reeling from the fallout of the haunting death of King Alfred (David Dawson). Happily, any doubts are blown away with the...

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Holding, ITV review - Graham Norton’s novel moves seamlessly to the small screen

The terrain Holding occupies is well travelled, but this new ITV four-part drama travels over it really well. The landmarks are familiar: a quiet rural community, a cop with an unhealthy lifestyle and a secret sorrow, a feud between rival lovers of...

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The Ipcress File, ITV review – adaptation of Len Deighton thriller fires on all cylinders

Sidney J Furie’s 1965 film The Ipcress File is a much-loved benchmark of its period. Stylish, sinister, witty and depicting a determinedly un-swinging London, it was conceived as the flipside to the absurdly glamorous James Bond movies and pulled it...

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Killing Eve, Series 4, BBC One review - has Villanelle found God?

“I’ve killed so many people. I don’t want to do it any more, any of it.” So said Villanelle (Jodie Comer) to Eve (Sandra Oh) in the last episode of the third series of Killing Eve, soon after she’d pushed Rhian Bevan, an assassin hired by the Twelve...

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Peaky Blinders, Series 6 review, BBC One - have we reached peak Peakies?

They say this will be the final series of Peaky Blinders (BBC One) and its documenting of the tumultuous progress of the Shelby family, though creator Steven Knight promises there’s a feature film in the works. This opening episode kicked it off in...

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Chloe, BBC One review - good start, weak finish

Suddenly bogus-identity stories are all the rage. Netflix has been scoring big with Inventing Anna, the story of fake heiress Anna Delvey, as well as the The Tinder Swindler, a cautionary tale about a high-rolling conman who scams money from women...

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