sun 26/03/2017

TV drama

Line of Duty, Series 4 review – 'the tension rocketed to brain-jangling red alert'

Now promoted to the exhilarating landscapes of BBC One as a reward for previous good behaviour, Line of Duty set off at a scorching pace into the murky shadowland where crime, punishment, ambition and corruption mingle treacherously. Stretching back...

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Big Little Lies, Sky Atlantic

It happened in Monterey, but we’re not entirely sure what yet. Adapted from the novel by Australian writer Liane Moriarty, with the action transplanted from a small town in Oz to the splendid oceanside scenery of Monterey, California, Big Little...

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Back in the Line of Duty

At the end of last year’s third series of Line of Duty, we saw the back of the reprehensible Dot “The Caddy” Cottan, and with the much-abused Keeley Hawes consigned to the show’s morgue of deceased leading characters it felt as though important...

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Prime Suspect 1973, ITV

The prequel is here to stay. In the end every popular TV drama flogs itself to death. The star wants out, or the writer dies, or the original source material runs dry, or the public falls asleep. And there’s nowhere else to go. Nowhere, that is,...

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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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