costume drama
What to expect from ITV1’s Mr Selfridge

What to expect from ITV1’s Mr Selfridge

Last year BBC1 had one of their bigger successes with The Paradise a costume drama set in a department store in the late 19th century. Though the series was a ratings winner there was controversy surrounding the decision to air the episodes before production had...

read more
Why I Love: Call the Midwife

Why I Love: Call the Midwife

Before I get started I think it best that I introduce myself and tell you a bit about me. My name is Cameron and I'm a man.   Now we have gotten that  out of the way I have another confession to make and want to shout it out. "I'M A MAN AND I...

read more

Wuthering Heights, ITV1

Sometimes an actor can be just too good. As Heathcliff, Tom Hardy bestrode this beguiling adaptation of Emily Bronte’s classic (and only) novel so imperiously it was sometimes a wonder that in his wake he wasn’t followed by a troop of Panzers.And this became a problem...

read more

The Tudors, BBC2

Compassion, altruism, kindness, malice are the latest casualties in The Tudors’ domineering quest to portray, or rather stamp, the life of Henry VIII into the consciousness of the world. History was sacrificed on the end of a bloody dagger about five minutes into the...

read more

Desperate Romantics, BBC2

The primary compulsion for contemporary Hollywood scriptwriters is not to compose an opus that cuts to the marrow of the human condition, or to compact so much action into 90 minutes that the film bleeds excitement from the cinema screen over the audience, drowning...

read more

Primeval ITV1, Robin Hood BBC1

Did we like them? Two of the offspring of the Doctor Who sci-fi/ fantasy revival return for a third series. Each continues to offer an entertaining episodic drama serial, loosely linked by an overarching arc, but the main problem they both suffer from endures – a...

read more
New Town, BBC4

New Town, BBC4

Did we like it? This is probably our favourite show of the year so far. And it came as quite a surprise because a drama about a planning issue in part of Edinburgh doesn't exactly sound great on paper. What was good about it? • It was much more than a drama about a...

read more
The Diary Of Anne Frank, BBC1

The Diary Of Anne Frank, BBC1

Did we like it? The light/trite ONE Show slot is occupied for a week by this gloomy/doomy drama and that's fine as far as we're concerned. What was good about it? • "The chatterings of a 13-year-old girl” remain powerful 60 years on – and pertinent at a time that...

read more
Miss Marple: Nemesis, ITV1

Miss Marple: Nemesis, ITV1

Did we like it? Geraldine McEwan has been a stunningly good Jane Marple and we're going to miss her (although we're excited about seeing what Julia 'Fresh Fields' McKenzie brings to the role). Fortunately, the beloved Geraldine went out on top in another sumptuous...

read more

The 39 Steps, BBC1

Did we like it? An often relentless and entertaining adaptation of the classic adventure yarn, which was further buoyed by Rupert Penry-Jones and Lydia Leanard in the lead roles. What was good about it? • Even though the original novel by John Buchan has been so...

read more

Affinity, ITV1

Did we like it? In a wonders-never-cease moment, ITV1 out-qualitied BBC1 in a head-to-head costume drama battle. While The 39 Steps was crass and full of crowd-pleasing effort, Affinity was intelligent and played down opportunities for sensationalism. What was good...

read more
Lark Rise to Candleford, BBC1

Lark Rise to Candleford, BBC1

Did we like it? We felt we'd overindulged on Christmas confectionery when it was over, but this feelgood festive episode of the costume drama was lovely to consume. What was good about it? • The niceness of it all. Decent people trying to do the right thing is a TV...

read more
The Devil’s Whore, Channel 4

The Devil’s Whore, Channel 4

Did we like it? A very good drama set in the time of the English Civil War, in which the conflict itself is merely the backdrop for a more profound portrayal of the absolute impotence of women in the 17th century. However, it’s as wedded to historical fact as Guy...

read more
Walter’s War, BBC4

Walter’s War, BBC4

Did we like it? A well-made, often moving, fictionalisation of the story of Britain’s first black footballer, who was killed in action in World War One. However, with little known about Walter Tull’s actual life, it was impossible to gauge how much of the play was...

read more

Little Dorrit, BBC1

Did we like it? The cast, script and dialogue segue together like a star scooping up interstellar dust to form a life-giving, glaring sun. But the locations, so crucial in this Dickens novel, appeared a little sanitised and don’t reflect the scything satire of the...

read more
Eli Stone, SciFi Channel

Eli Stone, SciFi Channel

Did we like it? Jonny Lee Miller plays legal hotshot Eli Stone – a lawyer in a San Francisco firm who, following the development of a brain aneurysm, has an epiphany and decides he’ll now take the side of the underdog rather than the huge firms he’d been representing....

read more

Merlin, BBC1

Did we like it? We feared the worst after those lamentable trailers, but a combination of decent CGI, haunting music and the magic ingredient of imagination made this an engaging if derivative drama – it remains to be seen if it has the courage to detach itself from...

read more

Tess of the D’Urbervilles, BBC1

Did we like it? Gemma Arterton sparkled as the tragic heroine, but the fact that Tess, aside from being a classic novel, is such a well-ploughed furrow for TV and film adaptations means that no matter how good it is (and it is pretty good) we are too familiar with the...

read more

Poirot: Mrs McGinty’s Dead, ITV1

Did we like it? We're not great fans but the return of Poirot delivered exactly what it was supposed to do. Even the BBC couldn't have done a better version than this. What was good about it? • It was a faithful adaption of the Agatha Christie novel, featuring some...

read more
Lost in Austen, ITV1

Lost in Austen, ITV1

Did we like it? It's not for the likes of us, but fans of harmless froth will be lapping this up. What was good about it? • The high concept – a contemporary woman obsessed with Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice is transported into the book via a panel in her...

read more