TV: Doctor Who – Series Seven, Part One

The cast/crew bit: written by Steven Moffat, Chris Chibnal & Toby Whithouse, starring Matt Smith, Karen Gillan & Arthur Darvill

The ten-word synopsis: The Doctors’ final few adventures with the moving-on Ponds.

Amy Pond is the longest-serving Doctor Who companion ever. Her 33 stories trumps the 22 of both Jamie McCrimmon and Rose Tyler, with her husband, Rory Williams, actually being her next-closest competition on 27. As such, it was always going to take a brave man to write them out, and a great man to do them justice. Thankfully, Steven Moffat is that man, and delivers a satisfying 5-episode ‘Goodbye’ to the Ponds with some aplomb. Continue reading

TV Movie: Hawking

The cast/crew bit: written by Peter Moffatt, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Brandon and Lisa Dillon

The ten-word synopsis: Dramatisation of Professor Stephen Hawkings’ early days, aged just 21.

Stephen William Hawking is one of the most remarkable people alive. Universally regarded as one of the worlds’ great thinkers and bound to go down in history alongside the likes of Einstein and Newton, Hawking has done it all whilst suffering from motor neurone disease. First diagnosed when he was 21 and just headed for Cambridge, it’s here that this film lays its scene. Benedict Cumberbatch, of Sherlock fame, is Stephen Hawking, and it all plays out from there. Continue reading

TV: Doctor Who – Series Five

The cast/crew bit: written by Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss, Toby Whitehouse, Simon Nye, Chris Chibnall and Gareth Roberts, starring Matt Smith, Karen Gillain and Arthur Darvill

The ten-word synopsis: Matt Smith takes over from Tennant as the Time Lord.

In 2004, former Coronation Street writer Russell T Davies was gifted the chance to bring Britains’ best-loved science-fiction series back to life after a 14-year hiatus. By the end of 2005, Doctor Who was one of the most popular programs in the UK and had inspired a new generation of loyal followers to the way of the Sonic Screwdriver Continue reading

TV: Nathan Barley – Series One

The cast/crew bit: written by Charlie Brooker & Chris Morris, starring Nicholas Burns, Julian Barrett and Claire Keelan

The 10-word synopsis: Sombre journalist wages his own private war against ‘The Idiots’.

There’s a part of my brain that thinks that Nathan Barley may be the best sitcom ever made. It’s a buoyant, bizarre concoction of wandering ideas and stray characters. Every second of Nathan Barley feels out of place, like the show isn’t suppose to fit together. Each actor seems to give a performance that feels like it’s in a different program to the next. There’s a lack of consistency that seems to characterise the series. Almost everything good about Nathan Barley can equally be seen as a criticism and, for this feat alone, you can’t help but praise the team behind it. Continue reading

TV Movie: Bert & Dickie

The cast/crew bit: directed by David Blair, written by William Ivory, starring Matt Smith & Sam Hoare

The ten-word synopsis: Olympic drama based on a true story. It’s about sculling.

“Olympic Fever” may be the most contagious disease known to mankind. For a couple of weeks, once every four years, 90% of the population finds themselves plonked in front of a screen of some description, barely flinching, as they watch endless reels of sport. It’s like a mad athletic craving. Sometimes, simply watching the sport itself isn’t good enough for us, and our obsession must pour out into the rest of the world. We want to eat Olympic cereals for breakfast. We want to sleep in Olympic beds. We want to drive Olympic cars. Bert & Dickie exists to try and fill this kind of hole, for people who want to watch Olympic films. Continue reading

TV: The Inbetweeners – Series One

The cast/crew bit: Written & directed by Iain Morris & Damon Beesley, starring Simon Bird, Joe Thomas, James Buckley and Blake Harrisson

The ten-word synopsis: Misadventures of four Sixth Form boys who don’t fit in.

The Americans have spent the past 50 years doing variants on the high school theme. For too long, they’ve been pigeonholing and overexadurating characters that just don’t feel real. So it’s alarming that in what is virtually Britains’ first high-profile shot at an equivalent series, they seem to have fixed the problems that so often linger in similar programs over the pond. Continue reading

TV: Maid Marian and Her Merry Men – Series One

The cast/crew bit: written & directed by plus starring Tony Robinson, also starring Kate Lonrgan and Wayne Morris

The ten-word synopsis: An alternative take on Robin Hood, where Marians’ in control.

You know your scripts an absolute winner when you can make a program that remains funny despite a distinct inability to act from your lead actress. Maid Marian and her Merry Men is possibly the funniest childrens TV show ever made, but it’s no thanks to Marian herself, Kate Lonergan. Originally broadcast in 1989, the program is the brain child of Blackadders’ Tony Robinson, with Richard Curtis also involved less prolifically Continue reading

TV: The IT Crowd – Series One

The cast/crew bit: Written & directed by Graham Linehan, starring Chris O’Dowd, Richard Ayoade & Katherine Parkinson

The 10-word synopsis: Computer-Illiterate woman gets job in IT with two geeks.

Graham Linehan is clearly a man with genius in his blood. In a world awash with unfunny sitcoms and so-called ‘comedies’ that couldn’t raise a laugh if they wore those glasses with fake moustaches attached over their nose and their nans’ pants on their head, Linehan has struck gold for the second time, following up the brilliant Father Ted with 2006’s equally fantastic The IT Crowd. Continue reading

TV: Black Mirror – Series One

The cast/crew bit: written by Charlie Brooker, starring (amongst others) Daniel Kayuula, Toby Kebbell & Rory Kinnear

The ten-word synopsis: Three incredibly dark, distorted technology-based tales from Brooker.

It’d be easy to brand as a sadistic and twisted, but last years’ twisted trilogy from the mind of comedian/journalist Charlie Brooker really was a high point in the past few years of British television. Designed partially to shock, Black Mirror contaminates the mind like nothing else shown last year. Quite how a program about the Prime Minister being forced into having sex with a pig got commissioned is beyond me, (Or at least would be if Brooker weren’t involved) but I for one am glad it was. Continue reading