James Walton

When did Sunday night TV become so grim? Baptiste reviewed

31 July 2021 9:00 am

There was, you may remember, a time when Sunday night television was rather a jolly affair: gently plotted and full…

Looks lovely if nothing else: Craig and Bruno's Great British Road Trips reviewed

17 July 2021 9:00 am

To its huge credit, ITV has managed to find perhaps the last two television celebrities who’ve never before been filmed…

Thoughtful and impeccable: Ken Burns's Hemingway reviewed

3 July 2021 9:00 am

Ken Burns made his name in 1990 with The Civil War, the justly celebrated 11-and-a-half-hour documentary series that gave America’s…

Return to LA Confidential: Widespread Panic, by James Ellroy, reviewed

3 July 2021 9:00 am

Even by James Ellroy’s standards, the narrator of his latest novel is not a man much given to the quiet…

One of the best Covid dramas so far: BBC2's Together reviewed

19 June 2021 9:00 am

Let me start with a spot of admin: if you’re wondering what The Speccie makes of GB News, it’ll be…

Camp am-dram, plus stuff about the patriarchy: Channel 5's Anne Boleyn reviewed

5 June 2021 9:00 am

Fifty-one years ago, in the BBC’s much-acclaimed The Six Wives of Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn was portrayed as a brave…

Quietly radiates a wholly justified confidence: BBC 1’s The Pact reviewed

22 May 2021 9:00 am

There was certainly no lack of variety among new TV dramas this week, with a standard British thriller up against…

Haunted by the past: Last Days in Cleaver Square, by Patrick McGrath, reviewed

22 May 2021 9:00 am

At the risk of encroaching on Spectator Competition territory, what is the least surprising thing for any given narrator in…

A TV doc that is truly brave: BBC1's Ian Wright – Home Truths reviewed

8 May 2021 9:00 am

Ian Wright: Home Truths began with the ex-footballer saying that the home he grew up in was ‘not a happy…

A very watchable doc cashing in on Line of Duty: BBC2's Bent Coppers reviewed

24 April 2021 9:00 am

If you’re after an exciting, twisty programme about police corruption that doesn’t also feel a bit like sitting an exam…

It's impossible not to feel snooty watching ITV's Agatha and Poirot

10 April 2021 9:00 am

Agatha and Poirot was one of those programmes that had the annoying effect of making you feel distinctly snooty. ITV’s…

Is Jed Mercurio bored with Line of Duty?

27 March 2021 9:00 am

When a drama begins with news of a ‘Chis handler’ receiving ‘intel graded A1 on the matrix’ that causes a…

Undemandingly enjoyable (just don’t read the episode’s title): McDonald & Dodds review

13 March 2021 9:00 am

Well, this a bit awkward. A fortnight ago, in my last TV column, I confidently asserted that, despite the involvement…

Bloodlands is well worth watching – just don't expect Line of Duty

27 February 2021 9:00 am

To begin on a cheerful note, it’s certainly been a good week for fans of slow-burn British crime dramas with…

Incoherent and conspiracy-fuelled: Adam Curtis’s Can’t Get You Out of My Head reviewed

13 February 2021 9:00 am

‘History,’ wrote Edward Gibbon, ‘is, indeed, little more than the register of the crimes, follies, and misfortunes of mankind.’ In…

John DeLorean: man of mystery – and full-blown psychopath

30 January 2021 9:00 am

DeLorean: Back from the Future was one of those documentaries — for me at least — that takes a story…

Watch Mark Kermode find 1950s political attitudes in 1950s films

16 January 2021 9:00 am

The new series of Mark Kermode’s Secrets of Cinema began with an episode on British comedy films. As ever, Kermode…

A romcom with very little com: BBC1’s Black Narcissus reviewed

19 December 2020 9:00 am

In Black Narcissus, based on the novel by Rumer Godden, five nuns set off for a remote Himalayan palace in…

Watch Andrew Marr stare at places where stuff happened: New Elizabethans reviewed

5 December 2020 9:00 am

Congratulations, everyone! It turns out we’re much better than those bigoted old Brits of the 1950s. After all, they were…

Like much jazz, it might have benefited from being less solemn: BBC4's Ronnie's reviewed

21 November 2020 9:00 am

Ronnie’s: Ronnie Scott and His World-Famous Jazz Club was like the TV equivalent of an authorised biography: impressively thorough, often…

Is The Undoing properly great or just a run-of-mill thriller with a brilliant casting director?

7 November 2020 9:00 am

There must be some people somewhere who vaguely know their own spouses — but if so, they don’t tend to…

Enough plotlines to power several seasons of The West Wing: BBC1's Roadkill reviewed

24 October 2020 9:00 am

Like many a political thriller before it, BBC1’s Roadkill began with a politician emerging into the daylight to face a…

Funny, tender and properly horrible: Channel 4’s Adult Material reviewed

10 October 2020 9:00 am

A woman is eating a pie in her car as it gets an automatic wash. Careful to keep the pie…

How on earth did Harold Pinter and Danny Dyer become such good friends?

26 September 2020 9:00 am

Collectors of TV titles that sound as if they were thought of by Alan Partridge will presumably have spotted Danny…

What on earth has happened to Simon Schama: The Romantics and Us reviewed

12 September 2020 9:00 am

‘You may think our modern world was born yesterday,’ said Simon Schama at the beginning of The Romantics and Us.…