arts documentary
The Culture Show, BBC2

The Culture Show, BBC2

Did we like it? Back in the day, this was a weighty look at culture - high and low - but now it has descended into a lightweight magazine desperately hoping to woo viewers who couldn't give a damn about the arts. What was good about it? • Sparks were on! One of the...

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Pop On Trial Season, BBC4

Did we like it? A largely pointless finale to a largely pointless trawl through the history of pop music, but made watchable by the superbly passionate Stuart Maconie who was almost matched by the erudite advocates. What was good about it? • We’ve watched most of the...

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Picture This, Channel 4

Did we like it? It’s a shame that amateur photography has to be clumsily shoehorned into the rudimentary, misshapen format of a talent contest as, from what we could gather, the process is quite interesting. It would have been more interesting if the contestants...

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The Culture Show, BBC2

What to say if you liked it It tears open the ignorant breast of primetime television to expose the vibrant, beating heart of culture to a wider audience. What to say if you didn't like it A thick, corrosive tar blighting the lungs of BBC schedules with its selfish,...

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Stephen Fry: 50 Not Out, BBC4

Did we like it? A hollow tribute without any words from Fry himself (he only appeared in archive clips), which gave it the impression of an obituary rather than a celebration. (Much better was Fry’s one-on-one interview with Mark Lawson.) What was good about it? •...

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British Film Forever, BBC2

Did we like it? Such an exhaustive probe into the seedy underworld of the British thriller that our lungs feel like an Amazonian tributary razed to the ground to clear land for logging companies. What was good about it? • The plunging back to the very origins of...

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Science Fiction season, BBC4

The Martians And Us, BBC4, Monday 13 November 2006 Did we like it? A sober chronicle of British science-fiction that mined behind the imagination of its innovators to discover their inspirations, rather than gauchely dazzle the viewer with tiresome celluloid icons....

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Dawn French’s Girls Who Do Comedy, BBC1

Did we like it? This series of interviews with Dawn French's favourite female comedians and comic actors was an entertaining half hour of television, with some pleasingly innovative ideas that helped raise it above the average talking-head series. What was good about...

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Paul Merton’s Silent Clowns, BBC4

Did we like it? A revelatory expedition into the very origins of physical comedy with Paul Merton as the passionate, erudite guide. What was good about it? • Paul Merton’s cherished enthusiasm for silent comedies that was apparent every time he eulogised about Buster...

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12 Books That Changed The World, ITV1

Did we like it? In an act of near-Biblical bravery Melvyn Bragg attempts to hold back the inexorable force of ITV1 sewage with his own authored series about how brilliant books are, and how they have shaped the modern world far more profoundly than TV ever could – in...

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Jackanory Night, BBC4

Did we like it? A pleasant skip down memory lane in which the subtle skills of storytellers such as Kenneth Williams and Tony Robinson delighted, but by the end we had remembered why we rarely watched it during our childhood. What was good about it? • Kenneth Williams...

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The Romantics, BBC2

Did we like it? A documentary that explores the influence of philosophy and poetry on contemporary politics would be worth watching simply for novelty value in the same way that a simple whale can get thousands of Londoners away from Oxford Street even if was a...

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Who Killed The British Sitcom? Channel 4

Did we like it? With its half-baked arguments, half-decent clips and half-remembered sourpusses, we'll give it five out of 10. What was good about it? • Some good clips • Some good contributors • Richard Briers had the good grace to realise that his hating of The...

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Animation Nation, BBC4

What to say if you liked it? A chronicle of great British animation and its achievements in the field of persuasion. What to say if you didn’t like it? A boring trek round archaic adverts and propaganda that have no relevance to anything. What was good about it? • The...

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The Perfect Scary Movie, Channel 4

What to say if you liked it The perfect Halloween TV treat – an exploration of the formulae behind the world’s most successfully scary movies. What to say if you didn’t like it In methodically revealing the tricks and psychological ploys that ensure the perfect horror...

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John Peel Tribute, BBC4

What to say if you liked it An affectionate biography of the great broadcaster. What to say if you didn’t like it The fat trimmed clumsily from all the shows John Peel ever appeared in and tossed together with all the care of a food blender. What was good about it? •...

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Girls and Boys: Sex and British Pop, BBC2

What to say if you liked it An undeniably fascinating exploration of the country’s musical, sexual and political history. With a dash of Cilla. What to say if you disliked it Yet another nostalgic trip down memory lane, praising a mythical and bogus ‘golden age’ of...

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The Death of Celebrity, Channel 4

What to say if you liked it The arch-duke of devilry Piers Morgan impishly questions the authenticity of a superficial world he helped shape. What to say if you didn’t like it Piers Morgan gazes into a mirror which reflects the true ugliness of his corrupted soul and...

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Cast And Crew: The Long Good Friday, BBC4

Highlights 1 – The ultraviolent scene when gangster Harold Shand (Bob Hoskins) kills his best friend and major-domo Jeff (Derek Thompson) in a fit of rage by stabbing a broken wine bottle into his throat causing his aorta to rupture and spurt blood everywhere. It was...

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