The best films and TV shows on BBC iPlayer (19th March 2017)
Ivan Radford | On 19, Mar 2017
We review the best TV shows and films currently available on BBC iPlayer. (Click here to skip to our reviews of the best movies on BBC iPlayer.)
Pick of the Week: Line of Duty: Season 3 (Box Set)
With Line of Duty Season 4 on the horizon, BBC iPlayer adds the third season as a box set for those needing to catch up. Jed Mercurio is as masterful as ever in constructing a twisting narrative of police corruption and compelling characters. He’s helped by a stunning performance from Daniel Mays, a supporting actor who more than deserves the leading spotlight as a trigger-happy officer. In Mays’ hands, his cop’s ruthless attitude and back-to-front knowledge of the rulebook make him as unpredictable as the script itself.
The Last Kingdom: Season 2
Almost 18 months after the BBC’s impressive historical epic raided our screens, The Last Kingdom returns for more pillaging, attacking and puzzling over national and individual identities. Season 2 begins as Uhtred begins his voyage north to reclaim his home land of Bebbanburg, not to mention avenge the death of Earl Ragnar and others at the hands of the nasty Kjartan. The promise of battles and vengeance against familiar faces will be enough to draw fans of the first season back, but the show keeps its focus on the wider political stage – Alexander Dreymon’s immature, headstrong Uhtred is fun to watch because of the way he rides roughshod across history, trying to carve out his own story, but is always kept in check by actual events. And so he finds himself caught up in Alfred’s plans, as the king back in Wessex looks to a former Danish slave, called Guthred, to exert his influence further north in the country. Add in Uhtred’s sister, Thyra, and this is all shaping up very nicely indeed.
Last Chance: OJ: Made in America
“We talk about OJ as if the story is OJ,” says one talking head in OJ: Made in America. “The story is OJ and us.” It’s a profound insight in a documentary full of profound insights, as Ezra Edelman puts the familiar court case under the microscope, not by honing in on the trial, but by zooming out to capture the bigger picture. It’s a film that brings context to history, one that’s named after OJ that places the emphasis firmly on “made in America”. Packed with tiny details, the seven-hour documentary assembles, piece by piece, a portrait of a complex man, a murderer who became a hero for a whole swathe of Americans. Over five parts (released in three by the BBC’s Storyville strand), there’s time here for everyone to comment on every aspect relating to OJ Simpson and his trial, yet there’s nothing here that’s superfluous or irrelevant: this is in-depth filmmaking, but it’s concise as well as comprehensive, a documentary that’s as sharp as a tack, never wasting a minute. The result is a dizzying epic, and a monumental piece of cinema.
Killing for Love (Storyville)
Hot on the heels of OJ: Made in America, Storyville is at it again, releasing a box set version of its new documentary – in case the feature-length version (also available) isn’t enough to give you your true crime fix. Killing for Love follows the case of Jens Soering, who confessed to the brutal murder of his girlfriend Elizabeth Haysom’s parents in 1985. Yet by the time it came to trial, Jens was claiming he confessed to the murders to protect Elizabeth – and that she had actually been the killer. Soering is an unnervingly charismatic presence as he’s interviewed on camera, while love letters and new evidence pieced together with acted voiceovers and narration swiftly sets up a compelling spiral of intrigue, from the passionate early days of their affair to their arrest in London, after fleeing across Europe. Dramatic, gripping viewing.
Top Gear fans can rest easy, because the BBC’s car series is back on track. Yes, after 2016’s uneven start to the franchise’s post-Clarkson, Hammond and May reboot, 2017 sees the show race back onto our screens with all the annoying bits (Chris Evans) stripped out and the rest of the parts given an impressive polish. With Evans absent, it falls firmly on Matt LeBlanc’s shoulders to keep the show on the road, but as he proved with the first season of this new incarnation, he’s a natural. That easygoing presence is infectious: LeBlanc’s co-hosts, Chris Harris and Rory Reid, both of whom impressed in the BBC Three spin-off Extra Gear last year, relish the chance to become main players in the programme, but appear just as relaxed. Amazon’s The Grand Tour soon found Clarkson, Hammond and May struggling to keep up its entertaining speed, turning into something that felt bloated and often forced. Reid, Harris and LeBlanc, though, are the opposite; their banter, free from attempts at sparking headline-baiting controversy, flows comfortably That informal tone means that what was once the weakest part of the series, the celebrity interview, is entertaining for the first time in years. Top stuff. Read our full review.
The BBC’s pitch-perfect reboot of everyone’s favourite family-friendly show of mechanical warfare returns for a second season. Dara Ó Briain and Angela Scanlon are back, with Jonathan Pearce on commentating duties, and they still manage the tricky balancing act between nostalgia and novelty, continuing to bring in more science and human interest without also adding more battles. Indeed, the Beeb is still tweaking with its formula, so while Nuts 2, Jellyfish, Rapid, TMHWK, Sabretooth, Terrorhurtz, Aftershock, and Crank-E take to the bullet-proof arena, there’s a menacing new twist: hitting the Arena Tyre no longer automatically lowers The Pit. It can also release a House Robot to attack any competitor for a period of 10 seconds. Carefully rebooted carnage with added carnage? What’s not to like?
Ellen, an architect designing a new library, hires Paula to cover her on maternity leave, but becomes paranoid about Paula stealing her job and friends. It’s the kind of set-up that could easily descend into cheesy cliches, but BBC One’s psychological thriller stays on the right side of credibility, thanks to the sheer commitment of its cast. Morven Christie is fabulous as Ellen, gradually going all Rosemary’s Baby as she withdraws into herself and becomes hostile to all those around her. Vicky McClure is just the right foil for her, all smiles and natural talent. With Dougray Scott bringing an unsettling niceness to the architect firm’s boss, the cast craft a gripping drama that forces us to share Ellen’s restricted, claustrophobic perspective – an approach that quietly drives the opening episode to a fantastic final scene.
Photo: Mark Mainz
What would happen if we lost WWII? The BBC’s new drama delves into the disturbing realms of hypothetical history, as we see Brits struggling to live in occupied London. Comparisons to Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle are inevitable, but this is based on an entirely different novel by Len Deighton and uses the familiar conventions of a detective thriller to expose us to the creepily alien world of the UK under the Third Reich. Sam Riley stars as Met Police officer Douglas Archer, who ends up working under the SS, investigating the murder of a black marketeer. Riley’s gruff charisma looks as good as ever under a hat, while Kate Bosworth brings a hint of glamour as US reporter Barbara Barga, who may or may not be on the side of the resistance. The real impact, though, comes from the mundanity of occupied life, from Maeve Dermody (recalling a young Keeley Hawes) as Archer’s former flame to his sons excitedly asking for an SS badge to show their friends at school. As for The Man in the High Castle? The Beeb’s alt-history thriller lacks that show’s budget, expansive scope and challenging plays upon our sympathy, but the opening episode packs just as much as of a chill in the glimpses of national landmarks draped in the Nazi flag.
Photo: Sid Gentle Films / Sid Gentle Films
Inside No. 9
“No, guys, honest, I’ve got this.” Inside No. 9 is back with a bang for its third season, as the anthology of dark shots begins with a typically spiky affair, which taps brilliantly in the awkwardness of going to a restaurant with friends. Reece Shearsmith, Steve Pemberton, Jason Watkins and Philip Glenister are on top form as the quartet arguing over who has to pay the bill, the camera whipping between them as their polite disagreement descends into increasingly bitter, scathing insults. The recognisable situation only makes the tension and humour all the more striking, distilling the hidden nastiness of everyday life into a precise half-hour of hilarious horror. This is one of the lightest episodes of Inside No. 9 to date, playing more for laughs than scares, but Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton’s pens have lost none of their sharp insight.
Photo: BBC / Sophie Mutevelian
Terry Pratchett: Back in Black
“The journey was worth taking and I saw many wonderful things on the way, including you, my reliable friend. Shall we go?” “Madam, we’ve already gone.”
Terry Pratchett was one of the great British writers. The fact that he did it within the setting of fantasy world shaped like a disc riding the back of a giant space tortoise was neither here nor there, and frequently both. The idea of him being played by someone else on-screen so soon after his death is a troubling one – until you sit down to watch Back in Black. The ever-brilliant Paul Kaye is eerily perfect as Pratchett, from the twinkly wit and the beard to that unique voice. We get a glimpse of his fascinating life (for more of it, see his interview wit Mark Lawson here.) The biggest tragedy of Terry was that in his later years, Alzheimer’s meant that this master of words was losing his vocabulary. Contributions from his assistant, his daughter, his long-time Discworld cataloguer, Stephen Briggs, and friend (and collaborator) Neil Gaiman bring home the sadness of that decline, but using Pratchett’s words, Kaye gives us a chance to remember Terry firmly as he was: funny, charming, eternally unassuming and boiling with rage about the unfair things in the world. We see Gaiman’s moving memorial speech, in which he talks of being angry at the loss of his friend: “And I think ‘What would Terry do with this anger?'”, he adds. “Then I pick up my pen, and I start to write.” From the opening scene with his coffin, this is an imaginative, amusing and almost inappropriate tribute. You get the feeling Terry would’ve loved it.
Photo: BBC / Charlie Russell
Slavery is a word that conjures up all kinds of images and cliches. Roots brings them to life with fresh, harrowing horror. It did that for audiences decades ago in 1977, which might prompt some to question the need to remake it for the modern age, but A+E’s new series has the courage of its conviction – and the powerful clout to boot. In 2017, it’s more important than ever to remember the wrongs of the past, and the tale of Kunta Kinte, an African slave sold to English slave traders and taken to the US, is a vivid, cruel record of wrongs. We join him as he’s being trained as a Mandinka warrior, but a family feud leads to his kidnapping and sale, where he is bought by tobacco tycoon John Waller. James Purefoy is excellent as the Virginia baron, leading an impressive supporting cast that includes Matthew Goode (Dr. William Waller) and Forest Whitaker as the cautious Fiddler on their plantation, who mediates between the slaves and their owners. In the lead, Malachi Kirby is magnetic to watch as Kunta, from his barely contained anger, his howls of pain and his occasional flashes of a smile, which become rarer and rare as time goes on. His journey is as gripping as it is gruelling – Phillip Noyce directs a standout section on a ship, which sees the slaves use call-and-response singing to covertly coordinate an uprising, with a heart-stopping tension. The moment that sticks in your mind, though, is a whipping scene that pits the will of Kunta’s new owners against the force of his personal identity, as they try to get him to use his new name, “Toby”. This is a staggering piece of television, which draws out the cry of individuals from a collective history. As the drama charts that cry down through the generations, it can only get louder and more powerful.
The Graham Norton Show
Late-night talk shows are everywhere these days. They’re on US TV, getting A-listers to do silly stunts. They’re on YouTube, using those stunts to go viral. They’re even on Netflix, thanks to Chelsea Handler. In a crowded market, it takes a lot to stand out – and while the UK doesn’t have much in the way of chat shows, full credit is due to Graham Norton, who repeatedly manages to draw something entertaining out of his weekly collection of guests while still relying on the good-old strategy of talking. His secret, apart from his own camp charm, is that he puts his guests all on the sofa together, allowing them to interact and join in the shared jokes. With the latest batch – Tom Hiddleston, Ruth Wilson, Ricky Gervais, Daniel Radcliffe, Joshua McGuire and Tinie Tempah – Norton manages to tease out everything from Radcliffe looking like old women in the past and Ruth Wilson’s mother’s plans for their old dog to the time Hiddleston and Eddie Redmayne were in a school play together. Tom played the elephant Eddie was sitting on. At only 45 minutes, the pleasant, brainless conversation never outstays its welcome.
Russia’s Hooligan Army
In 2018, Russia will host the FIFA World Cup. “For some, it will be a festival of football,” explains a masked man. “For some, it will be a festival of violence.” He’s very cheerful and upbeat about the whole thing. That’s the disturbing reality that the BBC’s This World uncovers, as it delves into the world of football firms and violent thugs. We see groups of them training in forests for the 2018 event, explaining how they’ll only recruit people with a “manly core”, who do not cover themselves up in the brutal rituals. The only thing more striking than Alex Stockley Von Statzer’s access to the whole fraternity is how happy they seem to be to appear on camera boasting of their violence – and, moreover, of how positive its force has been in their lives, whether for the adrenaline rush or something deeper. “Hooliganism has given me principles and courage,” argues one. “Some get it from sports, some from prison…” The programme doesn’t just settle with portraying the conflict that awaits football fans in Moscow, but also turns the camera back onto home turf, asking questions of the influence the UK has had. “British fans were a model,” reveals one grinning hooligan. “When English fans came to Moscow, it was always an honour to clash with them.” There is a disturbing reverence to the way they regard British supports as “forefathers” of hooliganism – and the fact that this respect will only make them more of a target makes this provocative, important reminder that people should be cautious when visiting the country next year.
The Lake District: A Wild Year
Nature documentaries are two-a-penny, especially on the BBC, but the broadcaster keeps managing to find new angles to bring to life the world around us. The latest is using time-lapse photography to profile 12 months in the Lake District. The result is a beautiful series of montages of snow thawing, the sun rising and the rain falling (a lot). And by compressing all of that into rapid sequences, we get more time to look at the impact these changes have for the people and the wildlife, from tourists and people struggling with flooding to lambs heading down mountains and men quietly rebuilding stone walls. The crinkly voiceover of Bernard Cribbins is the icing on the cake.
Photo: BBC / Peter Short
Trump: The Kremlin Candidate?
If you’re not sick of the sight of Donald Trump, this Panorama special examining his possible ties to Vladmir Putin is well worth a watch. Distilling the whole scandal into a brief 30 minutes, it explores the claims made by the leaked intelligence about the alleged connection between the world leaders, about Russia’s role in the election and the whole strategy of dismissing criticism in the press as ‘fake news’. John Sweeney doesn’t reveal a whole lot we don’t know, but what he does unearth is genuinely interesting, from the way that Russian media figures will avoid questions that don’t like to the fact that the country has a word for useful idiots who will help forward their agenda, even if they don’t realise it. The only question more troubling than the idea that Trump might unknowingly be a Kremlin ally is this: what would happen if these purported friends were to fall out?
Photo: BBC iPlayer
It is 1814 and James Delaney reappears in London after 10 years in Africa to claim a mysterious legacy left to him by his father. He’s creepy. He wears a hat. And he looks like Tom Hardy. That’s pretty much all there is to Taboo, Steven “Peaky Blinders” Knight’s new BBC series. Devised by Tom and the brilliantly-named “Chips” Hardy, the eight-part drama follows the tussle between James and the East India Company over his inheritance. But wait, there’s more beneath the surface of this extremely intriguing period piece. And the surface is already very grimy, full of swearing, violence, talk of testicles and Tom Hardy looking like death warmed up. Within the first 50 minutes, we have hints of otherworldly goings-on, the suggestion of forces fighting back from beyond the grave – and that Delaney might even be one of them. Hardy is monstrously good, all bulging eyes and unspoken threats of doing very bad things to you. While the dialogue might be a tad clunky and the plot hard to fathom, there’s so much pleasure to be had in watching Tom Hardy being, well, Tom Hardy that there’s no point in complaining. Nobody leans across a table like Tom Hardy, every inch bringing you closer to probably being assaulted. Nobody wears a hat quite like Tom Hardy – and this is basically one hour of Tom Hardy wearing a hat and staring angrily at people. Any man who can do that, while still standing up to Jonathan Pryce and making incestuous advances on his now-half-sister (Oona Chaplin), can frankly do what he wants. We’ll still be watching.
Photo: FX Networks
Let It Shine
With The Voice starting over on ITV, BBC One strikes back this weekend with the launch of its new music talent contest: Let It Shine. But while it might look like a rival to the poached singing show, this is actually another beast entirely: it’s effectively a sequel to How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?, the West End audition show from Andrew Lloyd-Webber over 10 years ago. The plan this time? To find boys to play the leads in a new theatre show based on the music of Take That. It’s a distinctly less starry prize than The Voice’s record label deal, but the main difference between the two lies in that Graham Norton-hosted Maria competition: Let It Shine is a little bit dated, a little bit knowingly cheesy and, most of all, exceedingly nice. The four judges are Danni Minoque, who’s nice, Glee’s Amber Riley, who’s nice, and Martin Kemp, who displays a hitherto unknown sense of humour about himself, and is also, yes, nice. Leading them is Gary Barlow, who is very nice too, apart from that time he didn’t pay all his taxes a few years ago. Norton, tellingly, is back in the hosting role, alongside Great British Bake Off’s Mel Giedroyc. And what follows is a nice demonstration of how nice people can be when faced with nice singers – and, to the programme’s credit, it does find some fantastic crooners, from one teen with a deceptively deep voice to former Pop Idol contender Jason Brock. There’s a solid format worked out involving the stage design and the judges’ secret voting, but out-of-studio segments and the sight of Mark Owen and the other one from Take That trying to be funny behind-the-scenes are more awkward than enjoyable. Still, the bravura opening number proves that Barlow and a team of producers know how to put on the old razzle-dazzle – and at a pleasant 85 minutes, this is one show that understands it mustn’t go on for too long. Nice isn’t always a bad thing.
Photo: BBC/Matt Holyoak
Panorama: Living with Dementia: Chris’ Story
“It’s really confusing when you get lost in your own house, it looks really different at night time.” This documentary, filmed over two years, follows a 55-year-old man, as he and his family come to terms with his Alzheimer’s. The result is a surprisingly candid, movingly intimate account of the disease’s advancement, caught in simple, everyday moments (sometimes from CCTV-like footage) that make the hour-long film tragically relatable and all the more powerful. This is essential viewing.
Photo: BBC/Iolo Penri
Frank Skinner On Demand with…
BBC iPlayer’s latest original series sees Frank Skinner and an array of celebrity guests discuss – yes – iPlayer. Talking through their favourite things they’ve been watching recently, the result is like a 15-minute podcast presenting highlights from the catch-up service. A bit like our weekly column, but less comprehensive and with more famous people. Worth watching just to hear them discuss iPlayer’s original feature film Fear Itself and horror movies in general.
Available until: New episodes arrive every Friday – available for 7 days
Photo: BBC iPlayer
As BBC iPlayer’s Original Drama Shorts return for another season, one of 2014’s best, My Jihad, returns as a miniseries of three 15-minute films. The first introduced us to Fahmida (Anjli Mohindra) and Nazir (Hamza Jeetooa), two single Muslims who crossed paths at an unsuccessful speed-dating night. Picking up events one month later, this is a universal exploration of love in modern Britain that packs in twice as much warmth and wit as most 30-minute shows do in a whole season. (Read our full review.)
Available until: June 2017
Original Drama Shorts
BBC iPlayer continues to prove a platform for new talent with its latest bunch of shorts. From a moving demonstration of isolation and connection in an online age to a darkly funny – and unpredictable – story of female love and family loyalty, this is an impressively versatile collection of stories that are more than worth spending time with. (Read our full review.)
Available until: June 2017
Two Days, One Night
Written and directed by two-time Palme D’Or winners the Dardenne Brothers, Two Days, One Night is set in a small Belgian town and stars Marion Cotillard as Sandra, a working class mother of two, whose extended sick leave prompts her boss to decide that the factory can manage without her. He asks her co-workers to choose, via a show of hands, between keeping Sandra on and receiving an annual bonus of €1,000 each, albeit with extra hours involved. This powerfully emotional drama shows the Dardennes at the top of their game. Read our review.
My Brother the Devil
One of Britain’s best dramas of recent years: Sally El Hosaini’s My Brother the Devil, the tale of two brothers both looking for a change in life direction in Hackney. It won Best British Newcomer for El Hosaini at the London Film Festival in 2012 and Most Promising Newcomer for star James Floyd at the BIFAs.
Jeff Bridges and Hailee Steinfeld are superb in the Coen bros’ moving, mature, gripping Western.
Classic Ealing comedy about the mayhem that ensues when a Scotch-laden ship runs aground off the coast of the Outer Hebrides.
Testament of Youth
The always-excellent Alicia Vikander stars in this moving film based on the memoir of Vera Brittain, which depicts her fight to carry on living amid a seemingly endless wave of loss, as her brother and friends go off to fight in World War I.
Katharine Hepburn and Ginger Rogers star in this classic comic drama set in a New York house for aspiring actresses, where sparks fly as various tenants vie for a professional break.
Edward Zwick’s take on the story of the Bielski brothers, who led a community of survivors during the German slaughter of WWII, seems determined to sculpt an action film out of a striking real-life tale, but the strong cast (including Daniel Craig and Live Schreiber) make this an enjoyably thoughtful auctioneer.
“When Owen Suskind was three years old, he suddenly stopped talking. Diagnosed with autism, it was “like he’d been kidnapped”, say his parents. But then they discovered something remarkable: Owen had learned all of the Disney movies they owned on VHS off by heart. Disney has always been a magical force in children’s lives, but for this family, they became a lifeline: the Suskinds began to communicate with Owen through Disney films, puppets and drawings… A powerful insight into the life of someone with autism and an inspiring tribute to the magic of the movies.” Read our full review
The White Ribbon
Michael Haneke’s Palme d’Or winner is a stark, disturbing monochrome drama set in a morally upright German village, where residents are shocked by a series of mysterious, vicious acts in the run-up to WWI.
The Incredible Adventures of Profesor Branestawm
Harry Hill stars as the titular mad inventor in this one-off special based on Norman Hunter’s children’s books. The impressive cast includes Ben Miller, Miranda Richardson and David Mitchell.
My Old Lady
Man goes to France. Man has no money. Man is white and privileged. Man inherits apartment from rich father. Man discovers old woman owns the apartment until she dies. Man meets old woman’s daughter. Man learns life lessons from old woman and daughter. The set-up for My Old Lady may sound hackneyed – and Israel Horovitz’s script is based on her own theatre play – but, over the course of its swift 107 minutes, the movie emerges as a genuinely moving drama, thanks to subtle nuanced performances from Kevin Kline and Kristin Scott Thomas.
Set Fire to the Stars
Elijah Wood stars in this humorous, moving snapshot of Dylan Thomas in America. The infamous Welshman (Celyn Jones) is invited to New York by John Brinnin (Wood), who has his hands full from the start.
Janis Joplin: Little Girl Blue
The documentary about the already-remarkable singer gets added oomph from its decision to narrate her life through the lens of letters and written correspondence to family, friends and lovers. Musician Cat Power reads out the letters, her soft tones giving the film a powerful intimacy that reflects the impact of Joplin’s music. A deserved, in-depth portrait of a legend.
Olivia Colman leads a superb cast in this musical drama, based on a true story. After the bodies of five women are found in Ipswich, the local residents come together to try and process what has happened.
When was the last time someone made lunch for you? A wife does it every day for Saajan (Irrfan Khan) in Ritesh Batra’s romantic dainty – a film that will leave your tummy rumbling, if not your heart racing. The only problem for the insurance worker? It’s not his wife. This short drama may be a dainty morsel, but it’s a delectable treat.
A Simple Plan
Thriller starring Bill Paxton and Billy Bob Thornton. After three friends find a crashed plane in the woods with a dead pilot and millions of dollars, they hatch a plan.
Errol Morris’ film follows former Wyoming beauty queen Joyce McKinney as she kidnaps a mormon she’s in love with and, according to him, does bad things. Picked up by the British media, the sordid true story soon became a spectacle, covering everything from brainwashed religions to – yes – the clonong of Joyce’s dog. This is a tale of love, abduction, scheming newspapers, silly disguises, an evil cult and magic underwear. It’s also a documentary.
Queen of Versailles (Storyville)
Kill them with kindness. That’s the old adage for dealing with not very nice people. Director Lauren Greenfield seems to take it to heart for The Queen of Versailles, a documentary that depicts the lavish lifestyle of David and Jackie Siegel. The property mogul and his wife are at the pinnacle of the housing boom, his timeshare business never better. Their plan? To build a home. Not just any home: the biggest home in the US, modelled after none other than the Palace of Versailles.
Adam Curtis’ latest documentary is perfectly at home on BBC iPlayer, freed from broadcasting constraints to ramble through the last three decades of global history to try and work out how we got to today’s world of Donald Trump and Brexit. The result is typically simplified and willfully obtuse, but there are thought-provoking flashes of inspiration amid the experimental mash-up of polemic and pop culture. Clocking in at almost three hours, no one else is making documentaries like this, and that’s something to be celebrated.
The Rack Pack
BBC iPlayer’s first scripted original drama follows the rise of snooker in the 1980s, as a young Steve Davis faces a heated rivalry with Alex “Hurricane” Higgins. Snooker may not be the most exciting or mainstream sport, but the film understands that it’s about people as much as potting – and Will Merrick as Davis and Luke Treadaway as Higgins are uncannily good, one hilariously awkward and the other tragically self-destructive. Together with business guru Barry Hearn (a brilliant Kevin Bishop) crafting a new, professional era for the sport, The Rack Pack is a moving tribute to a bygone sporting age and a legend who simply wouldn’t exist today. The result is something everyone should go snooker loopy over, whether they’re fans of the sport or not. Read our full review.
Photo: BBC / Zeppotron / Keiron McCarron
BBC iPlayer’s second original feature is the follow-up to teen documentary Beyond Clueless. Young director Charlie Lyne and the Beeb’s streaming platform prove a scarily perfect match, the lack of constraints giving him the chance to fully embrace the experimental nature of his film essay. The documentary stitches together clips from existing horror movies to explore how and why they scare us, but instead of an explanatory voice-over critiquing and giving context, we’re given a whispered narration from an anonymous woman who is working through her own fears. Contrasting cuts and eerie echoes arise during the hypnotic 80-minute montage, quietly raising questions while offering a fresh insight into films that have, in some cases, become all too familiar. As interesting as it is creepy. (Read our full review.)