Shiny Shelf
By Jonn Elledge on 12 January 2012 Comments Off

Despite what Disney cartoons and breakfast cereals may have taught us, animals cannot talk.

By Jim Smith on 18 October 2010 1 COMMENT

It’s difficult to imagine how a film screening could go more wrong.

By Stephen Lavington on 30 September 2010 Comments Off

‘Good Hair’ is nominally a study of the multimillion dollar black hair industry, but has some deeply resonant things to say about the wider question of race in American society.

By Mags L Halliday on 29 March 2010 1 COMMENT

‘Eddie Izzard, Marathon Man’ follows the comedian as he attempts to run 43 marathons in 51 days. The Olympic sports doctors and trainers are aghast when he arrives at their centre for training. He’s never run a marathon before: “I’ve run for the bus.”

By Stephen Lavington on 04 November 2008 Comments Off

Few writers have created such a legacy of avid hero-worship and sycophantically fawning sentimentality as Hunter S. Thompson…

By Mags L Halliday on 26 November 2007 Comments Off

It’s hard to avoid Kenneth Clark’s 1969 landmark ‘Civilisation’ documentary series if you are doing a series on the history of civilisation…

By Mags L Halliday on 20 August 2007 Comments Off

There used to be a television clip series called ‘Best of British’. ‘British Film Forever’ is a modern, arch version of my old wet bank holiday friend. And that just makes it worse.

By Mags L Halliday on 03 June 2007 Comments Off

The history of modern Britain is a tale we think we already know…

By Eddie Robson on 19 November 2006 Comments Off

The art of scheduling isn’t dead at BBC4, where they still know how to string together some programmes on a common theme and make a good season out of it…

By Jim Smith on 24 September 2006 Comments Off

Surprisingly restrained in its use of graphic violence the first episode of BBC One’s drama-documentary series ‘Ancient Rome – The Rise and Fall of an Empire’ boasted outstanding production values and an extraordinary central turn from Michael Sheen.

By Eddie Robson on 14 September 2006 Comments Off

‘Blackbeard’ is a quintessentially BBC response to the ongoing pirate craze…

By Eddie Robson on 31 July 2006 Comments Off

It was fundamentally wrong-headed for TOTP’s final edition to be an exercise in nostalgia: a compendium of material from the past, linked by ancient DJs…

By Stephen Lavington on 19 March 2006 Comments Off

As documentary film-making, ‘Murderball’ is an instance of impeccable timing: a production structured with consummate skill also enjoys sublime luck in terms of the events befalling its protagonists…

By Mark Clapham on 12 January 2006 Comments Off

Even by BBC4 standards, Andrew Graham-Dixon’s ‘I, Samurai’ is self indulgent…

By Mags L Halliday on 31 December 2005 Comments Off

There’s late-night ghost tales and foggy fin-de-siecle crime on TV: it must be Christmas…

By Eddie Robson on 29 December 2005 Comments Off

Another in our series of end-of-year reports on the state of British TV at the end of 2005…

By Eddie Robson on 24 October 2005 Comments Off

The history of British pop is such a well-worn subject that new angles to assess it from are very welcome…

By Jim Smith on 28 September 2005 Comments Off

James Dean died in a fatal automobile accident fifty years ago this week.

By Eddie Robson on 13 September 2005 Comments Off

For some reason Channel 4 has decided that the optimum time to broadcast Matthew Collings’ authored documentaries about art is early on a Saturday evening…

By Eddie Robson on 20 May 2005 Comments Off

The term ‘reality TV’ doesn’t really mean anything any more…

Tags: ,
By Eddie Robson on 07 March 2005 Comments Off

The concept behind this programme is so catchily banal that it’s easy to see how it got commissioned…

By Eddie Robson on 10 November 2004 Comments Off

I can easily imagine how exciting this would have been if I’d watched it when I was ten years old: I’d have taped it, and by the following afternoon I would have watched it at least three more times…

By J Clive Matthews on 15 August 2004 Comments Off

The Friedmans, a respectable middle-class family from Long Island, tear themselves apart when the father and youngest son are accused of systematically abusing schoolchildren during evening computer lessons.

By Eddie Robson on 29 February 2004 Comments Off

Channel 4’s ‘back in time’ entries into the reality TV genre are certainly some of the best thought out, and they also produce some quite interesting results…

By Mags L Halliday on 24 February 2004 Comments Off

The notion that ‘history is the new rock and roll’ has always struck me as ignorant. What this series does is demonstrate that there have always been historical superstars and rock and roll is the real newcomer…

By Eddie Robson on 15 December 2003 Comments Off

Congratulations to BBC2 for running the grand final of ‘The Big Read’ at nine o’clock on a Saturday night. Why was this a good thing? Simple – it means that ‘Harry Potter’ didn’t win…

By Jim Smith on 15 April 2003 Comments Off

It is perhaps slightly out of character for this site to review a clearly serious-minded and in depth cinematic documentary.

By Mags L Halliday on 05 August 2002 Comments Off

This is not a Terry Gilliam film. This is a film about the production of a Gilliam film that doesn’t exist. As such, it’s the perfect antidote to those 30 minute ‘making of…’ documercials shown on ITV…