“He’s quite gruff, is Griff – it may be the heat, or possibly the genes.” Read on for the verdict on last night’s TV.

Burma, My Father and the Forgotten Army

Burma, My Father and the Forgotten Army, BBC2

Burma, My Father and the Forgotten Army contain a good film about the bravery of the Ghanaian soldiers in the Burma campaign, a story not known to me or, apparently, the illustrators of the Sixties war comic Valiant who portrayed the crusher of the “Nippon Noodle noshers” as Joe Bugner lookalikes. It also contained a mini-episode of Who Do You Think You Are? in which Griff Ruys Jones imagined what it was like for his later father to work as a medical orderly in the campaign and make agonising triage decisions miles from proper medical facilities. Apart from one terrific moment when a nonagenarian from the Gold Coast regiment recognised Elwyn Jones from a photo, these two documentaries needed separating at birth.
Andrew Billen, The Times

He’s quite gruff, is Griff – it may be the heat, or possibly the genes. But that means it’s also refreshingly unsentimental: there are no Who Do You Think You Are? tears here. Actually, I could have done with if not weeping then a bit more father-and-son stuff: Griff talking about his dad and what he was like, growing up. Maybe that – the not-talking – is in the genes too.
Sam Wollaston, The Guardian

Griff Rhys Jones’ father served with the 82nd West Africa division, alongside troops recruited in what is now Ghana. Touchingly he met up with survivors of that campaign, including men who knew his father directly. “He was a little bit harsh,” one man said. Griff blinked a bit, but he didn’t demur.
Tom Sutcliffe, The Independent

I came away from Jones’ excellent programme with mixed feelings. The gratitude I felt for the sacrifices the Gold Coast regiment had made was tinged with shame at how its members had been treated.
Matt Baylis, The Daily Express

The Returned

When I reviewed the first episode of The Returned I suggested it might need to step up its cortege pace in order to keep viewers’ interest. I was wrong…What makes is work is the continuing sense that unreal events are simply a way at getting at all too real emotions, the kind of little deaths and little resurrections that are part of everyone’s life.
Tom Sutcliffe, The Independent

It’s like a mountainous Brookside in which half the characters happen to be undead. Love affairs are left hanging, and sibling rivalries left unresolved. The spookiness is never ignored for long. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea on a Sunday night, but it’s preferable to being zombified by Wild At Heart.
Matt Baylis, The Daily Express


The Lost Submarine of WW1: a Time Team Special, Channel 4

It was a good night for 1980s funny men doing serious historical documentaries about major global conflicts. Also fascinating was The Lost Submarine of WWI: a Time Team Special in which Tony Robinson and some of his hairy chums tell the story of early underwater battles and the vessels that fought them.
Sam Wollaston, The Guardian