wed 01/03/2017

BBC Two

Meet the Lords, BBC Two

To Westminster and Meet the Lords, a series which Radio Times assures me follows “the larger-than-life characters” in one of our “most idiosyncratic and important institutions”. Obviously it was shot well before the current Brexit deliberations in...

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Andrew Marr: 'I don’t want to look like I'm in pain'

Television audiences love seeing familiar faces in different contexts – whether it’s actors exploring their ancestry in Who Do You Think You Are? or politicians awkwardly busting their moves on Strictly. But there’s always a risk that the camera...

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Francis Bacon: A Brush with Violence, BBC Two

Francis Bacon died in April 1992, aged 82, but heaven knows how he managed to live that long. The tortuous story of his life is now fairly well known, but Richard Curson Smith's documentary marshalled a formidable array of critics, biographers and...

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Hospital, BBC Two

It’s the ghastly scenario of a grim morality play. A man called Simon comes into hospital for the removal of a tumour in his oesophagus and the construction of a new food pipe. But there are not enough berths in the intensive therapy unit to ensure...

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David Bowie: The Last Five Years, BBC Two

It’s been 12 months since the news guy wept and told us: David Bowie, ever out in front, became the first to depart in the year of musical mortality 2016. After the initial lamentations, the memorial tributes have been a mixed bag. Best was the...

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The World's Most Extraordinary Homes, BBC Two

This was the first of four programmes looking at houses made of extraordinary materials in various environments, some extreme. We began with "Mountain", and further explorations are promised to "Coast", "Forest" and "Underground". The presenters...

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Judi Dench: All the World's Her Stage, BBC Two

The hyperbole began as soon as the voiceover did: “For most of us Judi Dench is M…” So much for Bernard Lee. The implication was that if you can remember him, then Judi Dench: All the World’s Her Stage was not for you. After all, she played James...

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Lenny Henry: A Life on Screen, BBC Two

You couldn’t make him up – a big man in every sense, outspoken, spiky, adored, coming from a black working-class family to move from the proverbial nothing to become so much more than something. How to make a documentary tribute without it being...

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The Brits Who Designed the Modern World, BBC Two

The Kenwood Chef! Intercity 125! Kodak Instamatic! Wilkinson Sword disposable razors! Bus shelters! Parking meters! They were all designed by a British genius, Sir Kenneth Grange, who appeared here as the subject of a short and disarmingly confident...

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NW, BBC Two

“Why is everyone from your school a criminal crackhead?” “Why is everyone from yours a Tory minister?” These questions lie at the heart of Zadie Smith’s NW. Keisha (the wonderful Nikki Amuka-Bird), aka Natalie, is married to wealthy Frank (Jake...

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The Choir: Gareth's Best in Britain, BBC Two

Got Soul! Honeybelles! Mums in Durham! Three shortlisted finalists from the north and Scotland. Along the way we – and Gareth Malone – were sung to by the Mancunian Rhythm of Life, not to mention Too Many Cooks in Inverness, and a septuagenarian all...

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A World Without Down's Syndrome?, BBC Two

We’re all comfortable with the concept of actors presenting documentaries about endangered species. A famous name helps to bring an issue into the light. It was slightly different with A World Without Down’s Syndrome? Sally Phillips, the much-loved...

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