tue 25/04/2017

BBC Two

The Last Kingdom - 'one of the very best things on television'

The first series of The Last Kingdom in 2015 kicked off with a blockbuster episode which managed to encompass savage violence, dynastic rivalry and a speedy tour of the state of Britain in the ninth century, while allowing the central protagonist,...

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Puerto Rico: Island of Enchantment – Natural World, BBC Two

The soothing voice of David Attenborough narrated this cautionary tale, which is improbably heading not for a happy ending but a happy new beginning. Puerto Rico, the so-called island of enchantment, overwhelmed early western visitors with its...

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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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