“We learnt little more than we already knew about the ‘great game’.”


Footballers, Sex, Money: What’s Gone Wrong?, BBC3

“The documentary failed to reach any conclusion we had not heard before. It veered from blaming the footballers, to blaming the women who threw themselves at players, to blaming players’ lack of education. Fashanu concluded it was male players’ vast salaries and lack of industry regulation that were to blame for their behaviour. Despite a number of interviews with football stars such as Dwight Yorke and David Bentley, we learnt little more than we already knew about the ‘great game’.”
Daisy Wyatt, The Independent

“Amal talked to all sides of this cultural pile-up, not always asking the pertinent questions a journalist might. Her instinct as an interviewer was to hug her subjects even when, as in Harry Redknapp’s case, they didn’t seem up for it. She even embraced Danielle Mason, a model turned club promoter who procured selected girls for top-flight footballers but only, one should make clear, to sit at their tables. A soccer academy coach defined the problem’s source as ‘giving loads of money to uneducated players.’ If you treat players as commodities, I would only add, is it a surprise they treat women as goods too?”
Andrew Billen, The Times

“Footballers, Sex, Money: What’s Gone Wrong? was presented as a personal odyssey – Fashanu stated that her parents divorced when she was two after her footballing father John Fashanu played away. In fact she asked much wider questions than impacted on her own story, and painted a chilling picture of a kind of offshore moral economy in which over-rewarded teenagers take advantage of easy opportunity and young women sometimes comply, often at a great personal cost.”
Jasper Rees, The Telegraph

River, BBC1

“Skarsgård delivered a powerhouse performance: sad and soulful in one scene, sardonically spiky and manically energetic in the next. This series was beautifully written by Abi Morgan, stylishly directed, and superbly acted. The capital city played a starring role – all steely blue high rises, neon nights and twinkling takeaways. As much about mental health as it has been a whodunit, the drama wasn’t afraid to be downright weird either – see the swimming scene and cathartic musical number. With its illegal immigration subplot, it has proved timely too. I’m torn between wanting River to get recommissioned – you can imagine Skarsgård and his ghosts returning to crack other cases, like a less camp Randall & Hopkirk Deceased, or long-running US psychic procedural Medium – and wanting this series to stand alone as six near-perfect episodes.”
Michael Hogan, The Telegraph

Doctor in Your House, C4

“The White family’s lifestyle was of course concerning. Even their dog was too lazy to run for its ball. And it doesn’t take much to realise your hair may be falling out because you’re only eating chips, crisps, burgers and biscuits all day. But the way the doctors spoke to the family often seemed patronising. It was as if they were the head teachers rapping the naughty Whites over the knuckles for their bad behaviour. We were meant to be on the side of the doctors criticising the Whites for their irresponsible lifestyle, but it was hard not to find fault with the GPs as well.”
Daisy Wyatt, The Independent

I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!, ITV

“I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here is looking rather promising this year. Mainly because of a woman called Colin, who looks like Iggy Pop and sounds like a cross between Prince Charles and Bob Marley when she talks. Terrifying, fabulous and ghastly all at once. She might not be around for long – her use of the O-word won’t have endeared her with the oiks doing the public voting. But it would be a shame if she went, she’s nothing like anyone else I’ve seen on television.”
Sam Wollaston, The Guardian

Celebrity Antiques Road Trip, BBC2

“To be honest, I think CART (an appropriate acronym) could do with being a teeny bit more like The Apprentice: more competitive, pacier, less cartlike – anything so it’s not just about the people on the telly having a nice time. I’m An Antiques Celebrity perhaps, with New Forest tuck-box trials. Deer ticks perhaps, or a plateful of woodworms? Mmmm. Otherwise I’m in danger of losing my newfound enthusiasm for antiques.”
Sam Wollaston, The Guardian

Power to the People, BBC4

“The four part documentary series Power to the People on the energy company SSE opened with an elegy to coal-fired Ferrybridge C power station. Its chimneys are familiar to motorists on the A1 (M) who wouldn’t suspect the plant has been enduring a slow death for years and will close in 2016. Never mind that the new technology is expensive, produces comparatively little electricity and relies on subsidies. It is the future and Ferrybridge, with its Sixties control room reminiscent of Stingray’s Marineville and engineers patching together bust pipes, is the past. It was a typically well-made film by Richard Aldwyn, who could make you weep for the mothballing of an abbatoir.”
Andrew Billen, The Times