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TV Critics: Call The Midwife; Borgen; Blandings; Ethel

“It’s all very nicely shot, but there’s both a dreary worthiness and a quaintness to it.” Read on for the verdict on last night’s TV.

What I mind much more [about Call The Midwife] is how crashingly tedious it all is. It’s all very nicely shot, but there’s both a dreary worthiness and a quaintness to Call the Midwife, wrapped in a kind of sentimental greetings card morality.
Sam Wollaston, The Guardian

I’m not among the millions of people who love this show. In fact, I watch only out of critical duty. But I can see that it has some signal virtues, even if I might prefer them to be presented in a different form. For one thing, it’s very unusual to see a drama in which men are ancillary figures and women play all of the significant roles.
Tom Sutcliffe, The Independent

Am I getting broody again? Something may be happening hormonally, for I find myself suddenly enjoying everything about Heidi Thomas’s Call The Midwife.
Andrew Billen, The Times

Borgen, BBC4

I confess that I’m slightly at odds with the popular enthusiasm for this series, which appears to me never quite as smart as it purports to be, or quite as honest. It’s notionally a realistic account of politics, but its plots are often suspiciously convenient in their revelations and twists – as in the case of the troublesome leader of the Greens, who was revealed to relax at the weekends by driving a gas-guzzling vintage Cadillac.
Tom Sutcliffe, The Independent

Blandings, BBC1

I was only lukewarm about the first of these new PG Wodehouse adaptations, Blandings. It was a fairly thin tale, about a fat pig. This one, The Go-Getter, has much more going on. David Walliams for one, as a sinister secretary, with perhaps a hint of the Third Reich and a nice line in retorts.
Sam Wollaston, The Guardian

Ethel, Sky Atlantic

If you want to watch a really busy woman, then catch Wednesday’s repeat of the splendid HBO documentary Ethel. This was a beautifully constructed hagiography of her dad – nothing in it about his relationships with Marilyn Monroe and Jackie O – and a truly expansive portrait of her mother.
Andrew Billen, The Times

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