sun 16/06/2019

tv

The ABC Murders, BBC One, review - John Malkovich's dark reboot of Poirot

Jasper Rees

Sarah Phelps’s annual reboot of a canonical murder mystery by Agatha Christie has rapidly established itself as a Christmas staple of TV drama.

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Upstart Crow, BBC Two review - Shakespeare does Dickens in seasonal tale

Veronica Lee

After the heart-breaking ending to the third series earlier this year, which covered the death of William Shakespeare's young son, Hamnet, it was back to the comedy for this seasonal special. 

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Torvill & Dean, ITV review - skating into history

Adam Sweeting

When Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean won their ice skating gold medal at the Sarajevo Winter Olympics in 1984, notching up an all-time record score which included 12 perfect sixes, it looked like a real-life fairytale.

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Merry Christmas Baby - Gregory Porter & Friends, BBC Two review - mellow becomes slo-mo

Sebastian Scotney

In 2017, the BBC Wales team with director Rhodri Huw filmed a Christmas show in the old 1888 Coal Exchange in Cardiff, now a hotel. Tom Jones and Beverley Knight’s Gospel Christmas was an exciting and upbeat show, which ended in an electrifying “Born in Bethlehem”.

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The Dead Room, BBC Four review - ghosts at the microphone

Adam Sweeting

Fired by the spirit of the MR James ghost stories which used to be a Christmas staple on the BBC, Mark Gatiss conceived this amusing bonne bouche as both a seasonal chiller and a nod to the ghost of broadcasting past.

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Watership Down, BBC One review - run rabbit run

Adam Sweeting

The author of the original Watership Down novel, Richard Adams, used to insist that it was “just a story about rabbits”, but its eco-friendly theme and warnings about the destruction of the natural environment were impossible to miss. In the 46 years since Adams wrote it, these concerns have become vastly more pressing, and his depiction of displaced rabbits wandering the earth in search of a new home could hardly be more topical.

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The Sound of Movie Musicals with Neil Brand, BBC Four review - genius of song and dance

Marina Vaizey

The movie musical: money making or true art – or both? This was a programme to sing along to, in the company of Judy Garland and Gene Kelly, Elvis Presley and Cliff Richard.

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The Long Song, BBC One, series finale review - a stirring adaptation

Jasper Rees

There was a ruthless logic to the scheduling of The Long Song (BBC One).

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Springsteen on Broadway, Netflix review - one-man band becomes one-man show

Adam Sweeting

When Bruce Springsteen’s one-man show opened at the Walter Kerr Theatre on New York’s West 48th Street in October last year it was only supposed to run for six weeks.

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The Good Place, E4 review - episode one trails clouds of glory

Markie Robson-Scott

Welcome to your first day in the afterlife! Everything is fine! Eleanor Shellstrop (a sparkling Kristen Bell) is dead, but hey, that’s cool, because she’s made it into the Good Place. Michael (the divine Ted Danson) is architect of this brightly coloured afterlife with its abnormally high ratio of frozen yoghurt parlours. “People love frozen yoghurt. I don’t know what to tell you,” sighs Michael.

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