sat 11/07/2020

tv

Mrs America, BBC Two review - how a conservative revolutionary scuppered the Equal Rights Amendment

Adam Sweeting

In the midst of our increasingly confrontational politics of race and gender, it was a timely move to make this series (on BBC Two) about Seventies radical feminism and the battle over the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in the USA, even if...

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

Adam Sweeting

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).

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The Battle of Britain, Channel 5 review - 80th anniversary of the RAF's finest hour

Adam Sweeting

The notion of massed aircraft dogfighting over southern England seems inconceivable now, but the Battle of Britain in the summer of 1940 was all too horribly real for its participants.

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Being Beethoven, BBC Four review – from grubby kid to grumpy genius

Peter Quantrill

Documentaries like this one make me sentimental for a time, until about 25 years ago, when classical music was a more or less weekly presence on terrestrial TV.

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

Adam Sweeting

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 haven’t changed” as Joe Walsh deadpanned in "Life's Been Good").

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Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, Sky Atlantic review - the good, the bad and the unspeakable

Adam Sweeting

American history of the 1930s and ‘40s suddenly seems to be all the rage on TV, cropping up in the reborn Perry Mason, Das Boot and now this new incarnation of Penny Dreadful (Sky Atlantic). The original was a blowsy Gothic mash-up of Dracula, Frankenstein, Jekyll & Hyde and anything vaguely related that could be made to fit.

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Storyville: Welcome to Chechnya, BBC Four review - trauma, tension and resistance

Tom Birchenough

David France’s revelatory film may have been subtitled “The Gay Purge”, but from the start it was clear this wasn’t just another documentary from Russia charting the increasing pressure faced by that country’s queer community.

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Das Boot, Series 2 Finale, Sky Atlantic review - deeper and darker

Adam Sweeting

The second series of Das Boot (Sky Atlantic) began strongly, and by the time we reached this last pair of episodes it was almost too agonising to watch.

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The Hidden Wilds of the Motorway, BBC Four review - mysteries and marvels of the M25

Adam Sweeting

The nightmarishness of the M25 motorway is well known, especially if you get stuck on the Heathrow section on a wet Sunday night, but as she perambulated around the motorway’s circumference for this idiosyncratic BBC Four documentary, naturalist Helen Macdonald showed us how skilfully nature deals with man-made monstrosities.

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My Brilliant Friend, Season 2: The Story of a New Name, Sky Atlantic review – a troubling friendship deepens

David Nice

In her surprisingly self-revealing collection of essays and interviews Frantumaglia (Neapolitan dialect word for a disquieting jumble of ideas), the writer who calls herself Elena Ferrante often ponders the metamorphosis from novel to film.

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