“Though mildly thought-provoking, Blackout was let down by its unrelentingly histrionic style.” Read on for the verdict on last night’s TV.


“This feature-length drama tried hard to do something original without fully pulling it off… Though the ‘found footage’ often seemed contrived and stagy, it gradually gained an emotional charge as the nation lived under a blanket of darkness for five days, the shops looted, the water and fuel shortages sparking illness and hunger, and the government unable to cope.”
Arifa Akbar, The Independent

“Though mildly thought-provoking, Blackout was let down by its unrelentingly histrionic style: shaking cameras, lots of shouting and moody music. Combined with its bleak subject matter, this made for depressing TV.”
Sameer Rahim, The Telegraph

“Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I like my dramas to have good stories, to be intriguing, with interesting three-dimensional characters I can get emotionally involved with. Here we jump about about from one lot to another, and there’s nothing (apart from no power) to bind them. I don’t get to know – or care – what happens to any of them.”
Sam Wollaston, The Guardian

“We saw news footage of cars on fire, of riots and looting, like a compilation tape of civil emergencies past made current… It could have been so public-information-film preachy, and at times it almost was. Mainly, though, the factual mesh was woven in deftly by the director Ben Chanan.”
Alex Hardy, The Times

Hustling America, C5

“Hustling America is essentially actor and magician Alexis Conran’s road-trip tribute to the legendary American trickster Titanic Thompson. Throughout the first half of the 20th century, Thompson criss-crossed the US, diddling people out of relatively small amounts of cash via methods of often remarkable cunning. It’s hard not to share Conran’s affection for his subject.”
Matt Baylis, Daily Express

“The embarrassing truth is that Conran’s no Derren Brown… The programme was neither impressive enough with its tricks nor serious enough in its analysis to feel anything other than a missed opportunity.”
Sameer Rahim, The Telegraph

Robert Peston Goes Shopping, BBC2

“Although the general thrust was interesting, I have to say that I wasn’t entirely blown away by Peston’s interviews with [the] lions of retail.”
Matt Baylis, Daily Express