costume drama
Casualty 1907, BBC1

Casualty 1907, BBC1

Did we like it? Not as much as we liked the pilot – this was a little bit humdrum and much more soapy, although the slithery leg-severing scene gave us a nice little jolt. What was good about it? • The period detail received so much loving attention it was easy to be...

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He Kills Coppers, ITV1

He Kills Coppers, ITV1

Did we like it? A decent enough drama, capably acted, but diminished by the almost utter absence of any character who wasn’t tainted or tiresome. What was good about it? • Rafe Spall continues to flourish as one of the country’s best young talents on TV, not least for...

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The Passion, BBC1

The Passion, BBC1

Did we like it? A brilliant, gripping interpretation of the last days of Christ awarded a beguiling contemporary feel by the fluid dialogue and the moulding of entrenched Biblical ciphers into believable characters. What was God about it? • The opening credits...

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The Palace, ITV1

Did we like it? Not quite the rotten atrocity we had feared, and quite entertaining in parts, largely thanks to a cast who have been pressganged from a BBC political thriller and forced to star in this else they will be damned to an eternity of Holby City. But...

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City of Vice, Channel 4

Did we like it? Yet another investigative police drama. But hang on, this is arguably the father of them all, as Channel 4 goes back to 18th century London and introduce us to the Fielding brothers. Blind John (Iain Glen) and – author of Tom Jones - Henry (Ian...

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Lark Rise To Candleford, BBC1

Did we like it? A well-acted drama that compensates for plots as weak as the bones of a calcium-deficient arthritic giraffe through skilful character interaction and conflict. However, we do feel we’re now saturated with quaint 19th century period dramas to the point...

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Sense And Sensibility, BBC1

Did we like it? Andrew Davies once again enacts the role of period adaptation alchemist; boiling down the intricate maze of internalised repressed feminine yearning into a fantastically gripping and moving piece of television drama adorned by an equally fantastic...

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The Old Curiosity Shop, ITV1

The Old Curiosity Shop, ITV1 Did we like it? While not as good as the recent adaptation of Oliver Twist, this Dickens classic was given a glistening cast and lavish scenery and was only marred by the directionless nature of Mr Quilp’s pursuit of the fleeing...

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Cranford, BBC1

Did we like it? A brilliant adaptation of the tales of Elizabeth Gaskell that, with masterly skill, weave the disparate narrative threads into a beguiling story about change and its impact on a stubborn little north England town. What was good about it? • Eileen...

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Daphne, BBC2

Did we like it? Perhaps overlong to illustrate the unhappiness of Daphne Du Maurier’s futile efforts to find fulfilment after the success of Rebecca, Geraldine Somerville in the title role drove the drama on with a controlled performance of despondency, envy and...

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Worst Journey In The World, BBC4

Did we like it? After a ponderous trek through the numbing raging blizzards of how Apsley Cherry-Garrard was selected to accompany Scott on his ill-fated journey to Antarctica, we found the going far easier in the second half and were rewarded by an uplifting tale of...

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The Diary Of A Nobody, BBC4

Did we like it? A kind of Jackanory for adults, enhanced by Hugh Bonneville’s controlled but expressive performance as the central and only on-screen character, the bumptious, sanctimonious Charles Pooter. What was good about it? • Hugh Bonneville as Charles Pooter....

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The Tudors, BBC2

Did we like it? A lavish, licentious ‘interpretation’ of the decadent reign of King Henry VIII, which is well-scripted and acted but at times a little too modern. What was good about it? • A fantastic cast led by Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Henry and the excellent Sam...

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Lilies, BBC1

Did we like it? It's the must-see light drama of the season. What was good about it? • We're great lovers of Upstairs Downstairs (and to a lesser extent House of Eliott) so we love a bit of early 20th century costume drama with a little bit of bite among the bodices...

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The Ruby In The Smoke, BBC1

Did we like it? This BBC adaptation of Philip Pullman’s novel was an atmospheric murder-mystery/Girls’ Own adventure following the orphaned Sally Lockhart (Billie Piper) who receives a mysterious note that leads her into a world of opium dens, cursed jewels and a...

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Jane Eyre, BBC1

Did we like it? We've never read Charlotte Brontë's novel (too busy watching Ant & Dec and silly US reality shows to bother) and it seems like a real gloomy piece of work, but we liked this stylish BBC adaptation – once again they've hardly put a foot wrong and...

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The Line Of Beauty, BBC2

Did we like it? An exceptionally well-acted drama about… erm, well other than stamping along the well-trodden path of a young man flourishing among the more decadent denizens of London, we couldn’t really work out what it was about. What was good about it? • The...

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Krakatoa – The Last Days, BBC1

Did we like it? While we were mightily impressed by the look of this re-enactment of the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883, it crashed into the crevice between the two stalls of drama and documentary. What was good about it? • The focus on four characters who were caught...

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The Chatterley Affair, BBC4

Did we like it? After mounting our high moral horse, this tale, which mirrored the trial for obscenity of DH Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover and the simmering lust of two of the jurors hearing the case, became a marvellously literary passion play. What was good...

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20,000 Streets Under The Sky, BBC4

20000 Streets Under The Sky, BBC4, Tuesday What to say if you liked it? A stark, sombre adaptation of Hamilton’s novel which excruciatingly observes the impossibility of love between the three protagonists. What to say of you didn’t like it Get out your greyest...

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The Virgin Queen, BBC1

Did we like it? Even though we feel like as though we’ve feasted to the point of gluttony on the lavish historical regal dramas to the point when they will become hunted to extinction in the grand forests of TV, this was a well-acted, well-paced drama. And while a few...

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Friends and Crocodiles, BBC1

Did we like it? We didn’t just like it, we adored it. A profound, flawlessly acted drama which dealt with universal themes with a subtle yet illuminating dexterity. What was good about it? • The perfect casting. In the lead roles, Damian Lewis was astounding as the...

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Poirot: The Mystery of the Blue Train, ITV

Did we like it? Well, it was classic Poirot, what's not to like? Apart from the lack of real grit or menace, obviously. What was good about it? • All the ingredients for a typical Poirot case were set up within minutes: aristocrats, a young, beautiful, naiive woman...

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Shakespeare ReTold: Macbeth, BBC1

What to say if you liked it An inspired idea – setting The Scottish Play in the kitchen of stylish restaurant where the chef Macbeth puts in all the hard work (making pig's brain edible etc) while the owner Duncan takes all the credit (and the three Michelin stars)....

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