Author

Buddy-cop drama Bulletproof misses the target

I blame Guy Ritchie. He’s the one who thought reviving the spirit of The Sweeney, and the gangsters of Kray-era London was a good idea.]
Arts
Michael C Hall (centre) and Marc Warren (right) star in Safe

Safe - A propulsive plot will keep you watching

Gates are useful things, aren’t they? They can keep valuable things in, or keep undesirable elements out.
Arts
Cyrus and Pippa compete in Britains Best Home Cook

Britain's Best Home Cook - Cooking up an absolute mess

I played a fun game while watching the television this week. It’s called Spot The Other Reality Show. It works very well if you’re watching Britain’s Best Home Cook (BBC1, Thursdays, 8pm).

Arts
From left, Ruth (Deborah Findlay), Nina (Annabel Scholey), Hannah (Nicola Walker), and Rose (Fiona Button) in The Split

The Split - A grown-up, sparkling drama of legal eagles

It seems the only people worth a TV drama these days are police officers, doctors and lawyers. So the question I asked myself when I sat down to watch The Split (BBC1, Tuesdays, 9pm) was do we really need another series about lawyers and their oh-so-aspirational problems?

Arts
Pam and Emily with their runner bean chutney in the new BBC2 show Top of the Shops with Tom Kerridge

Top of the Shop with Tom Kerridge - A flop from top to bottom

Napoleon, in one of his wilder flights of fancy, is alleged to have called Britain “a nation of shopkeepers”.
Arts
Mark and his two sons, from Channel 4s Class of Mum and Dad

Class of Mum and Dad - A class act of a documentary

According to my kids, they usually don’t do anything at their primary school, and when they do get round to doing something, it’s always boring.

Arts
The cast of Ordeal By Innocence, not just another chintz-athon. From left, Luke Treadaway, Anna Chancellor, Bill Nighy and Morven Christie

Ordeal By Innocence - An Agatha Christie murder-mystery with a jet-black heart

It was the Easter Bank Holiday weekend this week, and to go with the traditions of hot cross buns and the need to loosen the waistband of your trousers after one-too-many Easter eggs, we also had the now-traditional bank holiday Agatha Christie murder-fest.

Arts
The triple funeral for the Gibraltar Three (Sean Savage, Dan McCann and Mairead Farrell) in Belfast, in March 1988

The Funeral Murders - a reminder of a troubled past

It seems hard to remember now, when security threats seem to originate from the maelstrom in the Middle East, that it wasn’t long ago we seemed to have daily reports of atrocities which came much closer to home.

Arts
Eight-year-old Lily Harrison, who survived the bomb attack at the Manchester Arena in May last year

Four Days That Shook Britain - Amazing stories of kindness, bravery and humanity

The world seems to be heading towards apocalypse these days. At the very least, a new Cold War is just around the corner, as countries around the world posture from their opposite corners.

News
Lesley Manville and Peter Mullan in the brilliant Mum

Mum - BBC's jewel of a sitcom is an affectionate portrait of an everymum

It was Mother’s Day last week, as I’m sure you were aware. I’m also sure you honoured the mothers in your lives. And no, a few wilted carnations and box of Roses from Tesco Express is not an honour.

Arts
Simon Schama presented the first episode of the BBC's landmark new arts documentary, Civilisations

Civilisations - The art of the documentary

What makes us civilised? If you patrol the darker recesses of social media, it might be hard to say.

Arts
John Simm was excellent in ITVs three-part drama Trauma

Trauma - an excellent study of grief, but not so good as a thriller

Grief is a funny thing. Not literally, obviously, but it can affect different people in all sorts of different ways.

Arts
Shaun Evans and Roger Allam star in Endeavour

Endeavour - a lesson from history

After the President’s Club, and grid girls, and Harvey Weinstein, and equal pay at the BBC, it seems there is anational debate under way about male privilege, the abuse of power and the rights of women.

Arts
Ore Oduba and Julia Bradbury counted down Britain's Favourite Walks

Britain's Favourite Walks - The long walk to boredom

Mark Twain apparently once said that “golf is a good walk spoiled.”
Arts
The cast of this week's episode of Inside No.9. From left, Reece Shearsmith, Miranda Hennessy, Nicola Walker and Steve Pemberton

Inside No.9 - The best way to spend 30 minutes

Thirty minutes isn’t a very long time, when you think about it. It’s less than a half of football. Barely a third of most modern films. You could probably just about manage to walk a mile in half an hour.

Arts
Michelle Young, whose story was featured in Millionaire Ex-Wives Club, battled her husband in the courts for 10 years

Millionaire Ex-Wives Club - A measure of sympathy for the devil?

It’s difficult to feel any sympathy for the mega-rich. There they go, swanning around in their Bentleys, insulated from the years of austerity everyone else has been forced to go through.

Arts
Sarah Lancashire excelled in Channel 4's new drama, Kiri

Kiri is a drama that could kickstart your year

It’s January. Christmas has been lost in a belch-ridden mist of over-indulgence, and the new year stretches out ahead of you, filled with unnameable terrors and 12 months of who-knows-what.

Opinion
Mary Berry took a tour around Highclere Castle, the setting for Downton Abbey, in her new series Country House Secrets

Mary Berry's Country House Secrets - It's toff at the top

The term ‘national treasure’ is much over-used these days. Take Mary Berry, for example. Before Bake-Off, she had been largely forgotten, but a stint in a pastel tent and she has now been elevated to a place at the top table alongside Nigella, Delia and Jamie.

Arts
The cast of Love, Lies and Records, including Ashley Jensen (second right)

Love, Lies and Records - Love, lies and too much more

My kids used to like a book called The Busy World of Richard Scarry, in which animals dressed as humans scurried about, going to work or enjoying their leisure time, all being terribly busy and pressed for time.

Arts
The cast of the new BBC2 sitcom Motherland, including Diane Morgan (second left) and Anna Maxwell Martin (centre)

Motherland and The Detectorists herald a good time for new comedy

Comedy seems to be stuck in a timewarp at the moment – just look at the reboot of Porridge currently clogging up BBC1, or ponder the inexplicable success of Mrs Brown’s Boys, which attracts millions of viewers despite being as funny as a poke in the eye with a stick.

Arts
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