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TV Critics

6 March '12

“An entertaining romp, which I fear might fall between rocks.” Read on for the verdict on last night’s TV.

“You prepared for a poussin and suddenly there’s a 20lb turkey on the table and it’s dry going. It is a good case in point. Nothing wrong with the sauce, which includes two very fine comic actors in Stephen Mangan and Darren Boyd and some nice moments from Howard Overman’s script. It’s just that those qualities in the end spread a little too thinly over a nonsensical thriller plot.”
Tom Sutcliffe, The Independent

“An entertaining romp, which I fear might fall between rocks. It may be not-Gently-enough for Douglas Adams fans, yet too weird for non fans.”
Alex Hardy, The Times

“Dirk Gently has a similar disregard for logic. But the twist is that, in Howard Overman’s adaptation of Douglas Adams’s novel, the disregard is intentional. Gently is a self-styled holistic detective. That means he uses randomness and chaos to solve cases.”
Stuart Jeffries, The Guardian

“It is stuffed with plot but gets away with it because that’s one of the essential gags. As a spoof of the intricately engineered clockwork of a Dickens novel, full of sudden revelations and shock reversals, it could hardly be any other way. And in any case, it always takes care to have a joke on hand to lubricate every narrative turn.”
Tom Sutcliffe, The Independent

I just find myself thinking how old-fashioned the format is. The awkward-intro routine was getting a bit old when Griff Rhys Jones and Mel Smith did it back in the late Eighties and the comic dynamic seems too obviously indebted to French and Saunders.”
Tom Sutcliffe, The Independent

This World, BBC2

“As we saw a backwater forcibly redeveloped into a 100,000-strong city, this was a soap opera, a Watership Down, an Animal Farm – but devastatingly real. And beautifully nuanced because of the film-maker Carrie Gracie’s long experience in China.”
Alex Hardy, The Times

Riots and Revolutions: My Arab Journey, BBC3

“As with Hedayat’s initial excitement at the Cairo protests, it was just unguardedly truthful. The longer she continues to make documentaries the more she’ll learn to suppress her responses to the things she sees. That will make her more accomplished in one sense but less honest and engaging in another.”
Matt Baylis, The Express

Empire, BBC1

“I’m enjoying seeing Paxo cut loose, deploying an unexpectedly easy charm on the empire’s former subjects. But he risks brushing imperial shame under the carpet.”
Stuart Jeffries, The Guardian

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