mon 27/02/2017

TV drama

The Swingers, Channel 4

Can something be gained in translation? From its title The Swingers promises much. Much more than the original Dutch title Nieuwe Buren, which the caption in the opening credit sequence translates as The Neighbours. Someone in syndication has asked...

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Roots, BBC Four

Those of us who saw the first, 1977 TV adaptation of Alex Haley's Roots in our teens still remember the shock and horror at its handling of a subject about which we knew little, American slavery. We know a lot more now, but the visceral reaction to...

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The Halcyon, Series 1 Finale, ITV

A screaming comes across the sky. It has happened before, but there is nothing to compare it to now…One of the many ironies of Gravity’s Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon’s massive novel partly set in 1940s London, is that what follows these opening lines (...

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The Kettering Incident, Sky Atlantic

Tasmania, Down Under is like Canvey Island (although somewhat larger): everyone knows where it is but no one wants to go there. The Kettering Incident reveals why: the bleak but beautiful landscape is blasted by Antarctic gales and the natives, with...

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Unforgotten – Series 2 Finale, ITV / After Brexit: The Battle for Europe, BBC Two

From Jimmy Savile to the Rotherham scandal, child sexual abuse has become a recurring nightmare of our society, and thus is inevitably grist to the TV dramatist’s mill. It has been a crucial component in The Missing, National Treasure and...

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The Moorside, BBC One

It takes a certain kind of perversity to make a true-life drama about a missing girl (Shannon Matthews) who wasn’t missing at all – the danger is that drama will be the only thing that’s missing. Neil McKay’s answer to the problem is to take a leaf...

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Apple Tree Yard, Series Finale, BBC One

Guilty or not guilty? Dum dum, dum dum. No, it was not just in your imagination. As the axe hovered over the neck of Yvonne Carmichael at the climax of Apple Tree Yard, and the madam forewoman waited to deliver the jury’s verdict, there was an...

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The Good Karma Hospital, ITV

There's nothing like a tale set in a warm, exotic climate to lure in the viewers in damp and wintry northern Europe. Send the Nonnatus House midwives to South Africa for Christmas! Shoot a ridiculous detective drama in Guadeloupe! Go back to the Raj...

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Endeavour, Series 4 Finale, ITV

There were signs of a collision as early as the second series. The event loomed larger in the third last year and last night, after an actual car crash, it finally happened: Endeavour became interchangeable with Midsomer Murders. How are the...

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Case, Channel 4

Another night, another woman battered/strangled/raped/murdered. On Sunday a pregnant woman was brutally slapped about by her husband in Call the Midwife, while Emily Watson’s character in Apple Tree Yard was the victim of a punishment rape. And so...

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Apple Tree Yard, BBC One

Only the final 60 seconds of this first episode of Apple Tree Yard could have been described as a psychological thriller. We know Dr Yvonne Carmichael is in the dock – the genetic scientist was shown handcuffed in a prison van right at the start –...

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Homeland, Series 6, Channel 4

The big surprise of this new-season opener of Homeland was that black ops specialist Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend) didn't die at the end of series 5 after all, despite the fact that we last saw him apparently moribund in his hospital bed, having...

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