mon 20/01/2020

BBC Four

Jonestown: Terror in the Jungle, BBC Four review - meticulous account of a haunting American tragedy

It happened 42 years ago, but the mass suicide of 900 people at the Jonestown settlement in Guyana is still an event that freezes the blood. They were members of the Peoples Temple, the semi-totalitarian cult founded by Jim Jones, who began as a...

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Martin's Close, BBC Four review - where did the scary bits go?

The series of short films, A Ghost Story For Christmas, became a Yuletide staple on BBC One in the 1970s. Most of them were adapted from the works of medieval scholar M R James, and drew their unsettling supernatural aura from the understated and...

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Charles I: Killing a King, BBC Four review - sad stories of the death of kings

This three-part series by historian Lisa Hilton is a follow-up to her previous effort from last July, Charles I: Downfall of a King (BBC Four). That examined his disastrous fall from power, and this first new programme opened just before Christmas...

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The Sinner, Series 2, BBC Four review - a white-knuckle ride into spiritual darkness

The first series of The Sinner in 2017 starred Jessica Biel as a disturbed woman who seemingly inexplicably stabbed a man to death on a beach, then could remember nothing about the crime. This second season on BBC Four finds Biel on board as...

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Country Music by Ken Burns, BBC Four review - grand history of fiddlers on the hoof

Ken Burns is the closest American television has to David Attenborough. They may swim in different seas, but they both have an old-school commitment to an ethos that will be missed when it’s gone – the idea that television is a place to communicate...

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Greg Davies: Looking for Kes, BBC Four review - touching insights into the story of Barnsley boy Billy Casper

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Ken Loach’s film Kes, and the 51st of A Kestrel for a Knave, the Barry Hines novel it was based on. The story of Barnsley boy Billy Casper who finds an escape from his painful home life and brutal schooling by...

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Arena: Everything is Connected - George Eliot's Life, BBC Four review - innovative film brings the Victorian novelist into the present

Gillian Wearing’s Arena documentary Everything is Connected (BBC Four) is a quietly innovative biography of an author whose works still resonate with their readers and the country within which she wrote. Wearing and George Eliot are a sympathetic...

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Rich Hall's Red Menace, BBC Four review - laconic comic referees the Free World versus Communism

Who won the Cold War? Nobody, according to comedian Rich Hall in this 90-minute film for BBC Four. His theory is that after the symbolic fall of the Berlin Wall 30 years ago, Russia and America merely “flipped ideologies”. The US government now...

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Get Rich Or Try Dying: Music’s Mega Legacies, BBC Four review – inside the RIP business

Half a billion dollars is what the top five most lucrative estates of deceased musicians earned last year. The figure represents the cunning work of a few people to turn “legacy” into its own immortal industry. To watch a program on this theme is to...

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The Troubles: A Secret History, BBC Four, finale review - peace at last, but at what price?

This terrifying but gripping BBC Four series about Northern Ireland’s savage sectarian war reached its conclusion with a meticulously detailed account of how hostilities were eventually brought to a close by the Good Friday Agreement, which came...

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Spiral, Series 7, BBC Four review - hard-hitting return of our favourite French cop show

And welcome back to our favourite French cop show – perhaps our favourite cop show from anywhere, in fact – which has raced into its seventh series (on BBC Four) with some typically grimy storylines about death and lowlife in a very de-romanticised...

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Studio 17: The Lost Reggae Tapes, BBC Four review - a perfectly paced tale of world-shaking basslines and human frailty

If there was ever a documentary that needed you to have good speakers on your TV setup – or good headphones if you're watching on computer or tablet – this is it. It maybe goes without saying that reggae needs good bass reproduction to appreciate,...

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