mon 04/07/2022

tv

Anatomy of a Scandal, Netflix review - sex, sexism and the abuse of power

Adam Sweeting

British political life in the Boris Johnson era routinely seems stranger than fiction, and this adaptation of Sarah Vaughan’s novel about a Flashman-style Tory MP should delight all those who view Westminster as a sewer of privilege, corruption and back-slapping old-boy networks.

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Gentleman Jack, Series 2, BBC One review - the queer Victorian heroine swaggers back in style

Helen Hawkins

Into the BBC One Sunday slot just vacated by Tommy Shelby of the Peaky Blinders returns Suranne Jones’s Anne Lister, another costume-drama maverick with striking headgear, definite leadership qualities and a way with a pistol. “They’re all a bit scared of you,” her younger sister Marian (Gemma Whelan) tries to explain to her after she has given an insubordinate servant 20 minutes to pack up and leave.

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Hacks, Prime Video review - what's so funny about a career in comedy?

Adam Sweeting

Acidic showbiz drama Hacks premiered on HBO Max in the States a year ago, and subsequently won a hatful of awards including three Emmys. Now, here it is on Prime Video, so we can get to see what all the fuss is about.

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The Split, Series 3, BBC One review - the Defoes are back, more conflicted than ever

Markie Robson-Scott

After two years away, Abi Morgan’s acclaimed legal drama/juicy soap The Split returns for its third series, reuniting us with the closely knit, or, you might say, incestuous, law firm of Noble Hale Defoe.

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

Adam Sweeting

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 keeps coming around again in a slightly reformatted guise.

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Slow Horses, Apple TV+ review - the sleazy underbelly of the espionage racket

Helen Hawkins

To a camp bluesy theme tune performed by what sounds like a yowling cat (actually the song’s co-writer, Mick Jagger), this prestige production from Apple TV+ opens up the world of the “slow horses”, the disgraced spies who are the anti-heroes of Mick Herron’s bestselling spy novels. 

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Bridgerton, Season 2, Netflix review - power politics and love triangles as Regency fantasy returns

Adam Sweeting

The first series of Bridgerton (Netflix) became a ratings-blasting sensation because of the way it thrust a boldly multiracial cast into the midst of a Regency costume drama, and because of the camera-hogging presence of Regé-Jean Page as the swashbuckling Duke of Hastings. Above all, it had countless astonishingly graphic sex scenes.

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The Last Kingdom, Season 5, Netflix review - Danes-and-Saxons saga hurtles towards an epic climax

Adam Sweeting

Two years ago, the fourth season of The Last Kingdom (Netflix) found the Saxon saga not quite hitting peak form, possibly reeling from the fallout of the haunting death of King Alfred (David Dawson).

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Holding, ITV review - Graham Norton’s novel moves seamlessly to the small screen

Helen Hawkins

The terrain Holding occupies is well travelled, but this new ITV four-part drama travels over it really well. The landmarks are familiar: a quiet rural community, a cop with an unhealthy lifestyle and a secret sorrow, a feud between rival lovers of the local lothario, a long-buried trauma that’s suddenly unearthed. We could be in any rural location in the primetime drama of the past half-century.

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Drive to Survive, Season 4, Netflix review - bitter rivalries on and off the track

Adam Sweeting

Netflix’s fly-on-the-pitwall series has rapidly established itself as a vital ingredient in the tapestry of Formula One coverage, and is credited with giving the sport a huge boost in visibility and popularity, not least in the USA. This fourth outing (now featuring even more undeleted expletives than ever) takes a look back at 2021’s dramatic racing season, which ended in uproar and controversy in Abu Dhabi last December.

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