sat 21/09/2019

Channel 4

Traitors, Channel 4 review - Cold War thriller fails to reach room temperature

It’s 1945 and World War Two is nearly over. Somewhere in England, Fiona Symonds (“Feef” to her friends) is training to be a spy and be dropped behind enemy lines. Her training involves such amusements as being woken in the night by having a bucket...

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Catastrophe, Channel 4, series 4 finale review - sitcom saves the best till last

When the third series ended with a car crash, I did wonder whether Catastrophe (Channel 4) should maybe think about calling it a day. The previous half-dozen episodes had gone to a dark place in their exploration of alcoholism, but stealthily, as if...

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Pure, Channel 4 review - sex, OCD and the single girl

“No one wants a pervert for a daughter,” thinks Marnie (delightful TV newcomer Charly Clive), a 24-year-old from the Scottish Borders, who has intrusive thoughts. Don’t we all? But relentless graphic images about “fucked-up sex” have been messing...

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Screenwriter Adam Price on 'Ride Upon the Storm' - 'If we discuss faith, we will possibly not kill each other'

Apparently in Denmark they pronounce screenwriter Adam Price’s surname as “Preece”, but its English-looking spelling stems from the fact that his ancestors moved from London to Denmark in the 18th century. He came storming back into the British...

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Catastrophe, Series 4, Channel 4 review - final series starts strongly

Some may have thought that Catastrophe (Channel 4) had neared the end of the road with the third series, but I disagree. It was still managing, with some deftness, to pull off the difficult trick of mixing broad humour with serious themes of love,...

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Brexit: The Uncivil War, Channel 4 review - Benedict Cumberbatch gets the best tunes

One day this all will be over. Give it half a century. In 50 years' time, there will be documentaries in which today’s young, by then old, will explain to generations yet unborn exactly how and why Britain went round the twist in 2016. Much as we...

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Best of 2018: TV

Bruce Springsteen once sang about there being "57 channels and nothin' on". Those were the days. Now we have so much to watch (including Netflix's Springsteen on Broadway) that all the world's remaining elephants couldn't remember them all.But...

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Grayson Perry: Rites of Passage, Channnel 4 review - making meaning in death

Grayson Perry is at it again. The Turner Prize winner, Reith lecturer, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, curator, writer, British Museum trustee, CBE, RA – plus Britain's and the art world’s favourite transvestite – is trying to find sense...

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On the Edge, Channel 4, review - fast and furious new dramas

Television drama is living through a golden age, yes, but one thing mainly absent from the vast choice available on terrestrial and streaming broadcasters alike is the short story. Short dramas used to be a regular fixture on television, when...

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h 100 Awards: Broadcast - TV's national treasures

In the ever-expanding field of broadcast, it’s easy to get lost in the deluge of product raining down from swaggering global providers who sometimes seem to have more money than critical acumen. How gratifying, then, that some of the best of British...

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Who Is America?, Channel 4 review - sudden return of Sacha Baron Cohen

Cunningly kept under wraps until the last moment, Sacha Baron Coen’s new show is a timely reminder of his gift for trampling the boundaries of good taste and decorum. But despite a certain amount of hyped-up pre-uproar, it doesn’t represent any...

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Line of Separation, All 4, review - handsome if soapy epic

You don’t see a lot of German drama imported to British television. France, Italy, Scandinavia, yes. But the biggest country in Europe is less of a player. The great exception – and it really was great - was Deutschland 83, a thrilling hit when...

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