Catch up TV review: Arctic Drift, Charlene White: Empire’s Child, Britain in Black and White, Yorkshire Cop, Question Team
Ivan Radford | On 24, Oct 2021
Arctic Drift: A Year in the Ice (All 4)
Could you spend a year in the Arctic? That’s what 300 scientists do in this remarkable documentary, which follows the team through their 12-month research expedition – a voyage that literally sees them frozen in place while trying to harvest data to capture the dramatic scale of the melting of ice caps. Ahead of the UN COP26 conference, this is a timely and important reminder not only of how serious the climate crisis is, but how much difficult work has gone in to documenting it for the world to see – here’s hoping this helps for them to sit up and take notice. The jaw-dropping visuals and stunning aerial shots will certainly capture people’s attention.
Charlene White: Empire’s Child (ITV Hub)
This Black History Month has seen a wealth of timely and insightful content once again arrive on our screens, and ITV has been on a particular run – including this gem of a documentary the deftly fuses personal history with wider questions of identity. Loose Women’s Charlene White goes on a journey to explore how the legacy of the British Empire has shaped her family’s past, and the result is as surprising as it is thoughtful – like an episode of Who Do You Think You Are? with added resonance.
Ashley Banjo: Britain in Black and White (ITV Hub)
It’s almost a year since Diversity performed a Black Lives Matter-inspired routine on Britain’s Got Talent that resonated through the country – and prompted complaints as well as reflection and praise. Ashley Banjo, the dance group’s leader, looks into that polarised reaction and, thanks to some commentary from David Olusoga and Alesha Dixon, wrestles not only with the racism lingering under the surface of society but also his own decision to perform the routine and why he felt it was necessary. Things potentially unravel when Banjo builds on this interesting material by interviewing Jim Davidson, who was an outspoken opponent of the routine. The result is an attempt at a measured and civil conversation, but descends into disagreement – and yet, while there’s disappointment in the pointed debate between the two men, it’s commendable that Banjo wanted to ask the questions directly to Davidson in the first place. If the programme feels slightly underwhelming, that’s simply because there’s still work to be done.
Yorkshire Cop: Police, Racism and Me (All 4)
If you don’t know the name Bill Thomas, you won’t soon forget it. This fantastic documentary tells the story of the first Black male police officer in South Yorkshire, with Thomas himself talking us through 40 years in the uniform. Over those decades, he’s worked through riots and the miners’ strike, not to mention countless incidents of racism. And yet, what emerges over this hour is a tale of friendships formed and an influence spread throughout the community, as members of the public and younger Black officers who followed in his footsteps all hold in him high esteem and warm affection.
Question Team (UKTV Play)
Dave continues its quest to come up with another big comedy hit with this new panel show – the twist being that the guests have to bring in questions of their own and present a round each. Host Richard Ayoade, meanwhile, can join in with each set of questions, meaning that he might win as well as them. If that sounds a lot like a Zoom quiz night from the first Covid-19 lockdown, there’s genuine fun to be had from the sheer diversity of the quizzing on offer. Each contestant has a lot of fun with the premise, whether it’s Thanyia Moore reading out her questions while jumping out of a plane or author Christopher Bliss making snide comments about more successful writers. Neither can compare with the irresistible joy of seeing Bob Mortimer asking questions about drills and tape measures in his own hilariously surreal DIY challenge – the laugh-out-loud quiz show that you never knew you needed in your life.