“This Great British Bake Off spin-off may have perfected its recipe at last”

Bake Off The Professionals

“This Great British Bake Off spin-off may have perfected its recipe at last. This format allows us to get to know the individual contestants in context as team members and, in some cases, bosses or skivvies. For all that The Professionals is often unfavourably compared with GBBO in its 2013-16 prime, or the more instantly appealing Junior Bake Off, it does bring to the table a deeper understanding of cookery science. And not just the chemistry bit, the psychology bit too.”
Ellen E Jones, The Guardian

Presenter Tom Allen plainly didn’t have a clue what was going on. He flitted from one workstation to the next, making desperate small talk. Only once did he seem at ease, when he recognised a chef’s aftershave. ‘Smells really nice, what are you wearing — ooh, David Beckham!’ he exclaimed. Tom’s frivolous chatter was a distraction. An audience mad on cakes was interested only in getting tips and inspiration. Baking is now the universal language.
Christopher Stevens, Daily Mail 

Mystic Britain, Smithsonian Channel 

“This is the fun returning series about our ancient past and featuring Mr Witty himself Clive Anderson. The historical sleuth Anderson and his co-detective, Mary-Ann Ochota, found out that the Picts didn’t vanish, they had simply joined with fellow barbarians and rebranded themselves as the Scots. Today’s McDonalds and McGregors have the Picts to thank for not being called Larsen or Sigmundsson. Such are the kind of “fancy that” things that you discover in a warm series full of curiosity as the unlikely double act go about their cheerful investigations in the British rain.”
James Jackson, The Times

The A Word, BBC1  

“Most touching wedding of the year goes to that of Ralph (Leon Harrop) and Katie (Sarah Gordy) of The A Word, whose big day went without a hitch, which is in itself astonishing given that they exist in a series full of emotional tribulations,. Still, the series avoids feeling too soapily sentimental, mainly because it’s funny, but also because there’s a refreshing lack of weepiness — something that alone gets my applause.”
James Jackson, The Times

A Very British Hotel Chain: Inside Best Western, Channel 4 

“It’s impossible to tell whether this came to praise Best Western hotels or kill the business off entirely. Some viewers have been weeping with laughter at the David Brent-style antics of the company’s Aussie CEO Rob Paterson, while others have seen it as a bleak warning about how not to run a business. Diane Morgan’s voice-over sustained the show’s irritatingly facetious tone, and its weird fixation with major trunk roads. We were told that from BW’s HQ in York, Edinburgh was “200 miles north up the A1(M) and A1”.”
Adam Sweeting, The i

Shutdown: The Virus that Changed Our World 

“This was little more than a Sky News recap of what we’ve been through so far. As Sky’s reliably morbid political editor Beth Rigby outlined, the Boris Johnson administration, still basking in its election victory and fixated on Brexit, was too slow to recognise the danger and not decisive enough when it did. While this film didn’t hesitate to pile on the agony, there was little investigative research. Public Health England, the body supposedly responsible for contagious disease control, was never mentioned, but surely will be in subsequent inquiries. The epidemiological modelling by Imperial College London, which shaped the Government’s response, has numerous critics but it didn’t feature here, either.”
Adam Sweeting, The i