wed 15/07/2020

BBC Two

The Rise of the Murdoch Dynasty, BBC Two review - how the Aussie tycoon acquired huge political leverage

As an opening line to BBC Two's new three-part series, “Rupert Murdoch is an enigma” failed to set pulses racing. It rather implied that after three hours of documentary TV, we may end up none the wiser about what makes the scary Australian media...

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The Choir: Singing for Britain Finale, BBC Two review - stirring songs from a garden shed

Once again the incredible healing powers of Gareth Malone swung into action, as his quest to find a universal anthem for the Covid crisis boiled up to a climax (BBC Two). Considering that he’s been masterminding his Home Choir and his songwriting...

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The Kemps: All True, BBC Two review - more self-promotion than self-mockery

The spoof “rockumentary” always sounds like a great idea, but it’s hard to pull off. Largely this is because rock stars are so divorced from reality that an element of self-parody is already built in, albeit unwittingly (“everybody’s so different, I...

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The Choir: Singing for Britain, BBC Two review - the pandemic versus the power of song

Singing in a choir can be terrific therapy for anxiety, depression or loneliness, but one of the cruellest effects of the coronavirus is the way it has restricted normal human interaction. The notion of social distancing might have been designed to...

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A House Through Time, Series Finale, BBC Two review - timely series reaches uneven conclusion

Setting his third series of A House Through Time in Bristol (BBC One) was a stroke of inspired prescience for historian and presenter David Olusoga. His chosen house, Number 10 Guinea Street, had been built in 1718 by the slave-trafficking Captain...

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A House Through Time, Series 3, BBC Two review - Bristol under the microscope

David Olusoga’s A House Through Time concept (BBC Two) has proved a popular hit, using a specific property as a keyhole through which to observe historical and social changes. After previously picking sites in Liverpool and Newcastle, this time he’s...

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DVD: The Year of the Sex Olympics

Originally aired in BBC2’s “Theatre 625” slot in July 1968, Nigel Kneale’s The Year of the Sex Olympics has gathered a reputation as a groundbreaking piece of TV drama which uncannily anticipated the broadcasting future. Its depiction of a society...

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Alma's Not Normal, BBC Two review - bare-knuckle comedy pilot hits the spot

Creating the opening episode of a new comedy series is like flipping pancakes with one hand while playing the Moonlight Sonata with the other. You have to introduce your characters and invent the world they live in, while squeezing in enough plot to...

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Our Girl, Series 5, BBC One review - where soap and warfare collide

Some things never change in Our Girl. At the beginning of 2018’s Series 4, military heroine Georgie Lane (Michelle Keegan) had been traumatised by the death of her fiance Elvis Harte, killed in Afghanistan at the end of Series 3. At the start of...

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Taking Control: The Dominic Cummings Story, BBC Two review - disruptive political maverick eludes pigeonholing

This patchwork of interviews and comments from male journalists and politicians interspersed with clips from television news and films, from The Godfather to The Avengers, was a zig-zag narrative of Dominic Cummings’s unique career as a political...

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Back in Time for the Corner Shop, BBC Two review - open all hours with the Ardern family

Since Back in Time for Dinner in 2015, this BBC Two social history strand in which families travel into a recreated past to experience ways in which society, leisure and lifestyles have changed has proved a robust perennial. Its latest iteration,...

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Confronting Holocaust Denial with David Baddiel, BBC Two review - grappling with the incomprehensible

It’s all in the timing. Here was David Baddiel beginning a stand-up turn at a gig in Finchley. A Holocaust survivor gets to heaven, and God asks for a Holocaust joke. God says that his joke isn't funny, and the survivor replies “Well, I guess you...

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