In 1996–97, This Life’s portrayal of trainee lawyers sinking into, and variously screwing up, their careers and love lives in London’s trendier neighbourhoods, was a slow-burning hit that knew exactly when to stop. (We will ignore, for the sake of good taste the 2007, ‘reunion’ episodes).

As a similar age to the central characters, and also setting out on an abortive, corporate career, it felt to me more like a Gen X docu-drama than a pure work of fiction. …

SPOILER ALERT: Contains mild spoilers for ITV’s streamed new series, Deep Water.

The Lake District. England’s Eden. A unique geological casting. Blessed by Mother Nature, immortalised by Wainwright, beloved of Wordsworth. And, if ITV’s latest drama is to be believed, full to the mountain tops with absolute shaggers.

Deep Water is based on two of Paula Daly’s Windermere Novels published in 2013 and 2015. They fell either side of Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies, the TV adaptation of which the media have been quick to compare Deep Water to. Hawkshead replaces Monterey, and lakesides replace the beachfronts, while mothers and…

The latest BBC Sunday-night-at-nine drama was an improvement on recent occupants of that slot. But it still suffered from British TV’s sextuple obsession.

The new Jed Mercurio (Cardiac Arrest, Bodies, Critical, Line of Duty) drama finished on Sunday, with an enjoyable if rather ludicrous conclusion that depended on a scheme to stop greater state surveillance by doing a massively evil thing that would support the case for greater state surveillance. Hoo-kee, then. All rather abruptly explained in the last few minutes.

Bodyguard depicted the increasing dilemmas and anguish of an anti-politics ex-soldier working as a police Principal Protection Officer to a senior member of the Cabinet, as various people around him got shot at and blown up. It was violent, atmospheric — thanks…

In 2014, Creative Babble interviewed titles animator Jon Forsman about the blur of images used in the opening credits of The Americans. He eloquently explained how his team had settled on the use of juxtaposition, supposed subliminal messaging techniques, and Cold War typographies and graphics, in order to recreate a sense of both the US-Soviet conflict and of the personal contradictions felt by ‘illegals’.

Some screencaps were used to illustrate his points but fell well short of the full gallery of shots used in the 22-second sequence. So here’s the lot:

  1. Emblem of the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF)…

The New Statesman contributors’ reviews of favourite 90s sitcoms have been sublime. But there’s an important omission.

In 2000, the so-called ‘Primrose Hill Set’ released their third, and only good, film, Love, Honour and Obey. One of the reasons why it was so much better than surfer ‘comedy’ Blue Juice (1995) and the self-indulgent circle-jerk of Final Cut (1998) is that the core of the team had spent three years honing their creative skills on the best sitcom of the 90s that you’ve already forgotten about.

Operation Good Guys was a triumph of the mockumentary format before The Office. It was a vindication of cast dialogue improvisation before The Thick Of It. …

Series 5 of The Americans is proving it’s still the most relevant thing on TV.

For a drama centered on the machinations of Soviet and US intelligence, The Americans, which is halfway through its fifth series on UK television, has consistently managed to feel curiously, almost disconcertingly, unlike a spy thriller and more like a costume drama or period piece.

The 80s setting is meticulously recreated through the clothes, technology and pop culture of the day, while actual historical events are woven into the stories to provide authenticity and nostalgia about what was to become the denouement of the Cold War. A defining feature is that the majority of the actors in Russian roles are…

Pot the reds. Then screw back. For the yellagreenbrownbluepickanblack.

Chas & Dave, ‘Snooker Loopy’, 1986.

The score of 140 flashed up at the bottom of the television screen, covering the near left corner of the dark green table. Over the other side, the white ball sat a foot off the table’s right cushion.

Another foot and a half to the left, and slightly higher up the table, the black ball rested on its spot. Impertinent. Almost mocking. The last piece in one of sport’s toughest puzzles: how to complete a snooker maximum break. 147 points in one visit to the…

Auntie Beeb has gone all Netflixy with BBC America clone drama, Orphan Black, and stuck all the latest episodes up on iPlayer, in one go. Tempting viewers into a binge is understandable but an explanation as to how a third series got commissioned at all is beyond current scientific understanding. The dangers cannot be ignored, however. The over-acting. The stretched plot. The clunky script. Will nobody think of the children?

If you missed series one and two, let me bring you up to date.


The central heroes and villains of OB are nine clones, created some 30 years…

Dan Fox

Trapped in a haircut I no longer believe in. TV, sport, technology. You’d better stop dreaming of the quiet life. Twitter: @d4nf0x

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