sat 15/06/2024

BBC Two

The Kemps: All Gold, BBC Two review - bickering with the Ballet boys

This is the follow-up to 2020’s The Kemps: All True, in which rock satirist Rhys Thomas assessed the Spandau Ballet boys as the band reached its 40th anniversary. This time, we rejoin Thomas as he spends a year as a fly on the wall in the chaotic...

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Mad About the Boy: the Noël Coward Story, BBC Two review - the making of The Master

They called Noël Coward “The Master”, and Barnaby Thompson's 90-minute documentary marking 50 years since his death reminded us why. Though there was nothing here in the way of hitherto unknown revelations, the tale of how a boy who left school at...

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A Ghost Story for Christmas: Lot No 249, BBC Two review - mummy's boy unleashes hell in the halls of academe

Having previously brought us adaptations of M R James’s ghost stories, reviving the BBC tradition inaugurated by Lawrence Gordon Clark in the 1970s, Mark Gatiss has now turned to a short story by Arthur Conan Doyle for his annual Christmas chiller....

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Shakespeare: Rise of a Genius, BBC Two review - the Bard's soul bared in hybrid drama-documentary

Four centuries on from the publication of the First Folio, is there anything new to be said about William Shakespeare? Well, the fact that there is nothing old to be said about him (very little is known about the life of the glover’s son from...

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TS Eliot: Into The Waste Land, BBC Two / Four Quartets, Starring Ralph Fiennes, BBC Four review - a great 100th birthday present to a giant of modern literature

Can you make modern poetry come to life on a TV screen? The BBC has had two stabs recently at answering this question, as part of the centennary celebrations for TS Eliot’s The Waste Land, seen by many as the greatest poem of the 20th century. One...

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The Newsreader, BBC Two review - a drama series of welcome substance from Australia

Period drama from Australia is something of a rarity on our televisions, so The Newsreader scores for novelty alone. It’s not startlingly innovative in form, but it does what it sets out to do in a highly satisfying way. Which is to tell a tale of...

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Mick Jagger: My Life as a Rolling Stone review, BBC Two - the rock'n'roll enigma gives little away as the band reaches 60

At the beginning of this film, Mick Jagger says: “What most documentaries do is repeat the same thing over and over… all the mythology is repeated until it becomes true.” He’s right, as he so often is. This latest attempt to prise open the enigma of...

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Thatcher & Reagan: A Very Special Relationship, BBC Two review - when the Iron Lady met the Cowboy President

This two-part documentary about how the Eighties were partly shaped by the British Prime Minister and the US President was obviously planned long before the Russians invaded Ukraine, but it’s a powerful illustration of how history doesn’t stop, but...

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Danny Boy, BBC Two review - when law and war collide

The issue of public inquiries into the conduct of the military is in the headlines again, with a current focus on Northern Ireland, but at the centre of screenwriter Robert Jones’s Danny Boy was the attempt to find British soldiers guilty of war...

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My Father and Me, BBC Two review - Nick Broomfield's moving voyage around his family

Nick Broomfield made his first film 50 years ago, and his career over those five decades (and some three dozen works) has been as distinctive, and distinguished as that of any British documentary maker. It has ranged from early films on British...

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The Terror, BBC Two review - nightmare in the Arctic wastes

Admittedly, Antarctic explorer Captain Scott was at the other end of the earth from the protagonists of The Terror (BBC Two), but they would surely have concurred with his anguished observation: “Great God! This is an awful place.” Based on Dan...

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Harlots, BBC Two review – sublime, ridiculous, and always entertaining

Back to Georgian brothels, now – at least, for those of us who don’t have a Hulu subscription. The BBC’s airing of the second series of Harlots over the summer felt strangely timely. Barely an episode in and an angry crowd was hammering at the local...

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