“When the big moment came it was shocking.” Read on for the verdict on last night’s TV.


Homeland, Channel 4

It’s odd but what made this instalment of the fast-paced, claustrophobic war-on-terror spry thriller stand out was the welcome humour is contained…

The clever thing about all the sharp lines and visual gags was that they lulled us. We forgot that we were watching a drama, so much so that when the big moment came it was shocking.
Matt Baylis, Daily Express

The Thick Of It, BBC 2

Fittingly, the very last episode of this incredible satirical epic had a mid-series feel to it, introducing a new dull monster from the Home Office, resorting to a not particularly funny scene in which Malcolm Tucker, determined to turn his arrest into a masterclass in dignity, was mobbed by the press and ending on Peter Mannion’s underwhelming summation: “It’s been a shit day”.
Andrew Billen, The Times

There was a faecal strain to the final episode of The Thick Of It. “So, now I have to step into your shoes, but after you’ve shat in them,” said Ollie, learning that his first task as Malcolm’s stand-in was to spin the arrest of his predecessor on charges of perjury. Malcolm didn’t think Ollie was going to be able to fill those shoes though. “You’re not even Manchester’s top Malcolm Tucker tribute band, he roared before a meltdown that combined blistering invective with genuine melancholy and pain.
Tom Sutcliffe, The Independent

Harry & Paul, BBC2

What, hit and miss? A sketch show? Really? Of course it is. You could even argue that this kind of traditional sketch show shouldn’t have much of a future. But television would be poorer without Harry & Paul, because it can be so good.
Sam Wollaston, The Guardian

There is real genius at work in Enfield and Whitehouse’s performances, especially their silly voices. The show, you might say, is not as good as it sounds.
Andrew Billen, The Times

Harry & Paul returned, combining a few sketches that make you wonder whether the long hours in make-up are justified (I could happily lose Postman Pataweyo and the club gents obsessed with “queers”) with a lot more that are masterclasses in comic style.

Do yourself a favour and seek it out on iPlayer.
Tom Sutcliffe, The Independent

How Britain Worked, Channel 4

He’s very keen on “graft”, Guy [Martin], so much so that he can sound almost rueful about the development of workers’ rights. “We’re not talking eight hour days,” he said, filling us in on the past history of Gayle Mill. “None of that business going on. At least 12 hour days. To blunt the edge of this robust attitude, the producers made him watch some footage of child labourers and mutter a few placatory words, but you could tell his heart wasn’t in it.
Tom Sutcliffe, The Independent

The American Roadtrip: Obama’s Story, Channel 4

This is serious television; [Matt] Frei is testing the temperature in the crucial Midwest swing states ahead of next week’s election.. But he does have a Dodge Ram 1500 dual cab. He can let himself go a bit, put on a pair of sunnies, lose the tie. It’s a bit like bumping into your teacher during the holidays, at the beach.
Sam Wollaston, The Guardian