sat 16/11/2019

documentary

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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Meeting Gorbachev review - Werner Herzog offers a swansong tribute

You react differently to Meeting Gorbachev knowing that the film’s subject was on occasions brought to its interviews from hospital by ambulance; his interlocutor, Werner Herzog, doesn’t mention that fact, of course, anywhere in the three encounters...

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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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Love and Hate Crime, BBC One review - Abel Cedeno was a killer, but was he also a victim?

This series examines murders in the USA “with elements of love and passion as well as prejudice”, and the second season opened (on BBC One) with "Killing in the Classroom", the story of the fatal stabbing of New York school student Matthew McCree by...

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Ben Fogle: New Lives in the Wild, Series 10, Channel 5 review - living off your wits and below the radar in Sweden

“I think we all dream of simplifying our lives and reconnecting with nature,” reckons Ben Fogle, and since this was the start of the tenth series of this show, he must have struck a chord with viewers. His first subject was 24-year-old Italian woman...

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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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Lenny Henry's Race Through Comedy, Gold review - illuminating account of TV's struggle to become multicultural

Sir Lenny Henry, PhD and CBE, is scarcely recognisable as the teenager who made his TV debut on New Faces in 1975. He’s been a stand-up comedian, musician and Shakespearean actor, and even wrote his own dramatised autobiography for BBC One.A...

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Chaos in the Cockpit: Flights from Hell, Channel 5 review - do we really want to watch plane-wreck TV?

Apparently your odds of dying in a plane crash are about one in 11 million, while chances of death in a car accident are about one in 5,000. Therefore flying is theoretically safe, and supposedly getting safer. You wouldn’t know it from the TV...

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Doing Drugs for Fun, Channel 5 review - why the cocaine trade is no laughing matter

Monday night’s first episode of this three-part series was a bit ordinary, as it introduced its cast of British recreational cocaine users and explained why their habit may be ill-advised. We learned that the British take more drugs than any other...

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Hitsville: the Making of Motown - a thrilling celebration of the record label's heyday

Berry Gordy, who founded the Motown label in Detroit in 1959, borrowed his star-maker machinery from the car assembly line. When he worked at the Lincoln-Mercury plant he was inspired by how a bare metal frame would emerge as brand new car. “What a...

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The $50m Art Swindle, BBC Two review - ramblin' gamblin' man comes home to roost

“It’s nice to make money – lots of money,” said Michel Cohen, former high-flying New York art dealer turned debtor, jailbird and fugitive. He made oodles of the stuff and then lost it all, leaving a string of wealthy art collectors and galleries to...

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The Cameron Years, BBC One review - quite interesting but a bit boring

David Cameron has been a recluse since the fateful days of June 2016 when the referendum on EU membership didn’t go quite the way he’d hoped. He’s probably been living through a private purgatory. “I think I will think about this forever,” he...

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