sat 23/03/2019

tv

FlashForward, Five

Adam Sweeting

Blame it on J.J. Abrams. With the success of the unfathomable Lost, Abrams altered the consciousness of American TV drama, and made it obligatory to think in at least four dimensions. Hence we had Heroes, in which people could fly, were indestructible, or could alter the course of history. Abrams himself is back on the paranormal beat with Fringe (due back imminently on Sky 1), a kind of X-Files-through-the-Looking Glass.

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Peep Show 6, C4

Gerard Gilbert

David Mitchell’s smarty-pants TV panel show ubiquity – over-exposure even by Stephen Fry’s standards - may have started eroding the goodwill built up over five series of Peep Show, but all is forgiven once he’s safely re-garbed in the horribly plausible, drab office-wear of nerdish flatmate Mark. It’s difficult to imagine any other comic actor giving quite the same defeated peevishness to the line: “A new boiler... surely the least enjoyable way to spend a thousand pounds.”

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The South Bank Show, ITV1

Adam Sweeting

They say you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone, and despite its sometimes erratic quality control, the loss of The South Bank Show (ITV1) is going to be like having a leg sawn off TV's arts coverage.

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Trinity, ITV2

Gerard Gilbert

Secondary school teachers accused of not pointing their brighter students towards Oxbridge might feel vindicated by ITV2’s Trinity - although the messages were a little mixed. On the one hand the fictional elitist university college in this new teen dramedy-thriller is dominated by sadistic, floppy-fringed toffs and their debauched secret societies. On the other hand some state-educated freshers might quite like the idea of being asked by lithe, blue-blooded blondes, “Have you ever...

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The Cut (episode five), BBC Switch

Jasper Rees

“If you've been affected by any of the issues in this episode, click here.” I wouldn’t bother. Really. In fact I haven’t put the link in. They are – trust me - just ticking boxes. Some kind of Ofcom diktat. “If you’ve been affected bla bla bla,” it says when you click, “here are the details of organisations that can provide help and support.” It’s a long old list. You’ve probably not got the time, but here goes.

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Spiral, Series 2, BBC Four

Adam Sweeting

Though our French cousins like to boast of their superiority to the Anglo-Saxons in every sphere of endeavour, the Paris-based police dama Spiral, returning after a three-year absence, suggests that the Cartesian paradise across the Channel is under siege.

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The Cut (episode four), BBC Switch

Jasper Rees

I have a little story concerning correct usage. Several years ago, when BBC Three had yet to overtake Channel 5 and VH1 as perhaps the world’s leading purveyor of documentaries about breasts and suchlike, I received a press release in the post. The young channel’s fresh approach to quality control on screen had percolated through to its publicity department.

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The Cut (episode three), BBC Switch

Jasper Rees

Last night the latest segment of the BBC’s new online soap for teens played on computer screens across the land. OK, if we’re splitting hairs, it wasn’t technically last night. The show is streamed every afternoon at ten past five. However, the grand Panjandrum who pulls most of the strings round here advises that frontloading your opening paragraph with last+night this and last+night that will hoik you rapidly up the squash ladder that is Google Search.

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The Cut (episode two), BBC Switch

Jasper Rees

The Beeb’s bold new experiment continues: to dish out a daily online teen soap in five-minute episodes. Am just about over the cyber-stress of Sunday’s part one. Couple of streaming issues were in play. Basically my laptop took to it like a boa wolfing down a rhino. All ironed out now. I can happily report that part two didn’t even touch the sides.

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Design for Life, BBC2

Gerard Gilbert Design for Life: Meet the Starck 'tribe'

Design for Life is a new BBC2 series about the philosophy of Philippe Starck, he of the iconic ‘space rocket’ lemon-juicer, in the form of an Apprentice-style reality show. It was also an intriguing insight into the control exercised by producers of such shows - for, unlike The Apprentice et al, the choice of contestants and the nature of the challenges were left to Starck himself. ‘Bloody terrifying’ was how Joe Houlihan, the executive producer, described to me the...

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