“A muddled affair, fudged and unclear about the difference between a voluntary arbitration system and an institution with legally binding powers.” Read on for the verdict on last night’s TV.

“The ‘reality behind leaving the rat race’ was, in this case, rather idyllic. The most nerve-wracking part of the visit was the bit where Fogle had to dance with some Kuuku Ya’u children for the cameras. You could see him trying to square his extreme reluctance with his obligation to be a good sport. The series promises more challenging stuff in future, with Fogle travelling to truly inhospitable climes to meet people who have made questionable lifestyle choices. I also hope to see Fogle himself enduring some genuine hardship: extreme cold, unforgiving terrain, blank fear.”
Tim Dowling, The Guardian

“Was his existence really that different to the city he’d left behind? He’d been a millionaire money man, lost it all and come here to escape. But this idyll often looked like just another rat race… So what did this trip to the wilderness teach us? We learnt that Dave wasn’t exactly as Maverick as suggested… We learnt that Fogle probably wasn’t, as his voiceover had promised, going to think too deeply about changing his own life.”
Alex Hardy, The Times

“In any story, real or made up, all that’s generally required to think well of someone is to see other people thinking well of them. It worked for Fogle and for us… We came away not just liking Dave and wishing him well in his struggle to stay on the island but with fresh admiration for the presenter, whose interest in the wilderness seemed secondary to his interest in the people living there.”
Matt Baylis, Daily Express

Panorama: Secrets of Britain’s Sharia Councils, BBC1

“There is a good documentary to be made about Britain’s Sharia courts and the paradoxes and problems that can arise when two legal systems overlap. Unfortunately, the Panorama film The Secrets of Britain’s Sharia Councils wasn’t it. Jane Corbin’s report turned out to be a muddled affair, fudged and unclear about the difference between a voluntary arbitration system and an institution with legally binding powers.”
Tom Sutcliffe, The Independent

“The clash between our country’s values and those of Islam was highlighted in a disturbing edition of Panorama. Reporter Jane Corbin investigated the plight of women who have gone to Islamic religious councils to seek a sharia divorce, and focused on cases which have involved domestic abuse. She found evidence of women being asked to return to violent marriages, or give up their children to abusive partners… I’m always slightly uncomfortable with the deception involved in some of these scenarios, but the results were troubling.”
Chris Harvey, The Telegraph

“Shocking as it was, the half-hour format didn’t allow time to do much other than shock. I wanted to know why, in spite of not having civil marriages, these women’s rights weren’t protected under the same provisions as British law makes for common law marriages and co-habitees.”
Matt Baylis, Daily Express

“The finale of ITV’s murder mystery Broadchurch delivered an extraordinarily rare double: a highly satisfying explanation of the killing, and a great dollop of grief to go with it… Did it matter that Joe was the suspect that many already had in their sights, after a couple of pointers in episode seven? I don’t think so. It made the viewer feel clever, for once, rather than their being thrown an explanation they couldn’t have possibly thought of, involving glass eyes or magic bullets, as is usually the case in whodunits.”
Serena Davies, The Telegraph

“It was Joe! Of course it was. The stay-at-home, too-good-to-be-true home-husband of Olivia Colman’s supremely affable Detective Sergeant Ellie Miller. After suspecting every single cast member in turn during the course of a compelling and occasionally brilliant crime thriller that has been widely-touted as Britain’s answer to The Killing, viewers of ITV’s Broadchurch had been steered rather sharply towards Joe as chief suspect last week… Several questions remain unanswered, like what was that whole boat plotline about, and does any man in Broadchurch not take a size 10 shoe? With the programme set to return to our screens, time perhaps will tell.”
Charlotte Philby, The Independent

Game of Thrones, Sky Atlantic

“As on previous occasions that I’ve watched Game of Thrones, I got an inkling of why people become so obsessed with it. It is attractively in earnest about its imaginary world without being ludicrously pompous about it, and spells and magic never trump the dark glamour of human psychology.”
Tom Sutcliffe, The Independent

Fit to Rule: How Royal Illness Changed History, BBC2

Dr Lucy Worsley is a storyteller who loves the intimate details of grand events, however visceral or embarrassing, and she’s great at keeping a straight face. At one point she found herself holding up a pair of Queen Victoria’s knickers, which appeared to have been designed for Nelly the Elephant, describing Her Majesty as having become as wide as she was tall. She didn’t actually say, “have you seen the size of these pants!” but therein lies the fun of her presenting style, the wickedness is always in the pursed lips and the naughty glint in her eyes.”
Chris Harvey, The Telegraph