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21 November ‘12

TV Critics: Supersized Earth; Bradley Wiggins; Getting On; The Hour

“A fine example of what might be termed ‘Holy shit!’ programming.” Read on for the verdict on last night’s TV.

Supersized Earth, BBC1

“It was a fine example of what might be termed ‘Holy shit!’ programming, in honour of the only sensible response to a vertiginous tour of big stuff, daunting facts and unwieldy numbers… There is virtually no moral dimension to this tribute to the man-made which is, in some ways, a relief.”
Sam Wollaston, The Guardian

“Dallas Campbell’s break-neck tour of the world’s main urban hotspots doesn’t give the viewer enough credit: there is too much time devoted to the hypothetical and the not quite factually statistical… This may be a programme about cities, but it is fundamentally about the humans who people and personify them – and there should have been more focus on them.”
Harriet Walker, The Independent

“A hymn to the ingenuity of urban man, Campbell’s series rebuked wildlife documentaries that imply animals are superior to people and that man’s contribution to the planet is to destroy it… Hubris? It was defused by Campbell’s infectious modesty and his ability to look scared silly at whatever task he was assigned”
Andrew Billen , The Times

“There seems to be a slew of programmes focusing on the miracle of human innovation, pointing out what a groovy species we are in terms of adapting and inventing. Much of this, as with Campbell’s account, is presented positively and I suppose it might as well be. The alternative is to make documentaries that sound like Private Frazer from Dad’s Army muttering, ‘We’re all doomed.’”
Matt Baylis, Daily Express

Bradley Wiggins: A Year in Yellow, Sky Atlantic

“I had expected this to be a grim bit of publicity payback, exacted from Wiggins as part of the return on Sky’s team sponsorship, but John Dower’s excellent documentary managed to bring out a very modern kind of hero: prickly, private, a man described as difficult and unknowable by those closest to him… The tension behind the scenes was well conveyed – it felt as if something could go wrong, even though you already knew nothing did.”
Sam Wollaston, The Guardian

“Bradley Wiggins: A Year in Yellow paints everybody’s favourite Paul Weller lookalike as a veritable Heathcliff on two wheels… You get the impression from interviews with coaches Dave Brailsford and Shane Sutton that these earthy pedallers don’t much talk about their feelings. But Wiggins’s crunchy demeanour – even more brittle after talking about his late father – softens eventually… And suddenly, I see what all the fuss is about.”
Harriet Walker, The Independent

Getting On, BBC4

“In supporting roles this week were Tilda Swinton and Hugh Bonneville… The stars come out for Getting On because they know there is no better or more important comedy on TV.
Andrew Billen , The Times

The Hour, BBC2

“All TV dramas are flat-pack, easy-assemble numbers. What matters is if the audience notices. I fear I’m starting to notice this show rather than watch and enjoy.”
Matt Baylis, Daily Express

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