Catch Up TV review: My Grandparents’ War, Tutankhamun
James R | On 01, Dec 2019
What’s available on-demand on Freeview? Keep up-to-date with our weekly catch-up TV column, including reviews of shows on ITV Hub, new releases on All 4 and a guide to My5.
(For BBC TV reviews and round-ups, see our weekly Best of BBC iPlayer column. Or for reviews of the shows on All 4’s Walter Presents, click here.)
My Grandparents’ War (All 4)
If you’ve never sat down with a grandparent in your family to ask about their wartime experiences, this poignant Channel 4 documentary series is a wonderful, powerful reminder to do so. Featuring Helena Bonham Carter, Kristin Scott Thomas, Mark Rylance, Carey Mulligan, the series begins with Bonham Carter, who provides a fascinating insight into history and the people that made it happen and were shaped by it. In her case, it’s her grandmother, Lady Violet, who helped refugees during World War II and was blacklisted by the Gestapo for working against antisemitism before the war had even broke out. From that to her work as an air raid warden, the result is a portrait of an inspiring figure forgotten or unknown by many – but not by Helena Bonham Carter, because she’s her grandma as well as a hero. What a moving, thoughtful TV treat this is.
Available until: 17th January 2020 (Episode 1)
Tutankhamun With Dan Snow (My5)
The ancient Egyptian boy king Tutankhamun needs no introduction. One of the most well-known Egyptian rulers, he’s a subject of fascination and awe as well as wealth and riches. To go into depth in his life, history and reign requires a hefty amount of screentime, and this Channel 5 documentary smartly devotes three separate episodes to provide it. Unfortunately, it fills those episodes with three different presents – archaeologist Raksha Dave, John Sergeant and host Dan Snow. Snow and Dave are enthusiastic and likeable as presenters who get that Tutankhamun’s appeal has always been more pop culture than pure history. Sergeant, though, struggles to be given meaningful things to do, which only leads to a bloated and distracted runtime, with less focus on mummies and more on ancient Egyptian diets. With such an interesting subject, though, this three-part series still holds glistening potential, particularly for newcomers to the subject.