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17 January ‘13

TV Critics: Inside Death Row with Trevor McDonald; Married in Britain; Way To Go

“It seemed weird, unnatural to see men saying they deserved to have their lives ended.” Read on for the verdict on last night’s TV.

Inside Death Row with Trevor McDonald, ITV1

“Inside Death Row with Trevor McDonald set out to be a rather more considered programme than most US prison documentaries and in some ways it was; the interviews with inmates were lengthier than usual, the soundtrack softer and the pace less breathless. And yet, in other ways, it didn’t really offer a great deal more insight…The main problem was with McDonald’s role. Was he there as a neutral observer or to ask serious questions? Neither he nor the film could really make up its mind.”
John Crace, The Guardian

“Inside Death Row with Trevor McDonald confirmed my long-held suspicion that Sir Trevor is no Werner Herzog. The latter’s trip to visit Death Row inmates was marked by his cherishable tendency to lurch into metaphysics: “How does time fuction? Does it stand still or does it race?” Herzog asked one bemused inmate. Sir Trevor takes a more straightforward route: “Does being on Death Row take a physical and emotional toll you?”
Tom Sutcliffe, The Independent

“It seemed weird, unnatural to see men saying they deserved to have their lives ended. Then again, nothing could really be more unnatural than a government keeping people in food and clothes for decades so that it could eventually, calmly and methodically kill them. Perhaps the strangeness of the set-up explained why, in spite of including Death Row in the title of his programme, Trevor McDonald spent more of it talking to people who weren’t sentenced to die.”
Matt Baylis, Daily Express

 Married in Britain (BBC2)

“Call me a killjoy, but I would have found this programme more engaging if it had been a little more varied and nuanced instead of showing a succession of cameos – albeit delightful ones- of the wedding customs of different cultures and nationalities taking place in various parts of Britain. Positivity does have its place – or so I’m told- but it’s more believable if it is accompanied by just a little balance, and the frequent appearance of random people from other nationalities saying how wonderful Britain is left me with the suspicion that the film must have been funded by a community relations quango.”
John Crace, The Guardian

“The marriage-bit of Married in Britain was a bit of an excuse for making a programme that showed that the belief that to be born in British is to have won first place in the lottery of life is not confined to the British. The point about Brazilians Clovis and Fernanda’s wedding, for instance, was that it demonstrated not merely their commitment to each other but to the UK.”
Andrew Billen, The Times

Way to Go , BBC3

“In Way to Go three deadbits hit on a money-making scheme when one of their neighbours…asks them to assist his suicide…Writer Bob Kushell worked on The Simpsons and 3rd Rock from the Sun…As it was, after a slow 30 minutes that established the show’s premise, you wanted Kushell to either find a new one or get the hell back home.”
Andrew Billen, The Times

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