“Miles was so busy making like Indiana Jones that it was almost impossible to absorb what he was saying.” Read on for the verdict on last night’s TV.

Archaeology: A Secret History

Archaeology: A Secret History, BBC4

“Dr Richard Miles was so busy making like Indiana Jones, and posing on a yacht like a pharaoh, and going on about how he was on a ‘quest’ and a ‘voyage of discovery’, that it was almost impossible to absorb what he was saying… The brief was just too broad. We were introduced to a host of little-known yet fascinating figures… But these characters flitted in and out of the narrative with such alacrity that we should have been given a whistle with which to request a stop. In the end, I just fell asleep.”
Jake Wallis Simpson, The Telegraph

“Rather than dwelling on the science of bones and soil layers, this account focuses on the history of the discipline itself, digging up some interesting detail about past attitudes to the past.”
Matt Baylis, Daily Express

“Despite being fronted by the eager-to-please Dr Richard Miles, [it] did rather plod at times: mainly because Miles often made the same points over and over again… With a little more focus, this could have been an excellent film that put archaeology under the microscope, rather than using it more traditionally as a means of examination.”
Sam Wollaston, The Guardian

“Miles was almost brought to his knees by the contemplation of the bones of the first Neanderthal man to be unearthed, a shattering discovery that suggested that Adam and Eve couldn’t be the beginning and end of human genealogy. He’d confessed to being a little awed when he lifted the nail from the True Cross, but that wasn’t really a match for his reverence in front of these relics, which had the advantage of actually matching the label written on the case.”
Tom Sutclifffe, The Independent

“This history lesson bounced along with such enthusiasm that by the end I had almost stopped being distracted by thinking Miles was a spit in voice and looks for Peep Show’s Robert Webb.”
Andrew Billen, The Times

Alex Polizzi: The Fixer Returns, BBC2

“This is yet another programme that has been disguised to conceal the fact that it is basically a repeat. Use 50 minutes of the footage you used last year, add in another 10 minutes to update the story and, bingo, you’ve got yourself a new series. I have no problem with Polizzi herself. She comes across as a much more genuine and engaging business trouble-shooter than Mary Portas… I do have a problem with the format, though, because it seldom raises itself above the bleeding obvious.”
Sam Wollaston, The Guardian

“Alex Polizzi – the Fixer Returns offered an update on her business clinic/family therapy series, revisiting two of the small firms she covered to see whether the Polizzi medicine had worked. It had, of course, and one wonders whether they’d actually bother to tell us if a firm had spiralled into deeper trouble as a result of adopting her solutions.”
Tom Sutcliffe, The Independent

“Alex Polizzi did go back to Kettley’s furniture shop near Leeds… She did not, however, accompany the programme’s film crew to the also miraculously healed Chough’s bakery in Padstow… The show was 75 per cent old material from the original series, but did they think we wouldn’t notice?”
Andrew Billen, The Times