“This film was stymied by too restrictive a focus on giving a blow-by-blow account of a life, rather than on the intellectual achievement for which it is celebrated.”


Marx: Genius of the Modern World, BBC4

“All great men have their blind spots, as one of the array of wonderfully articulate and passionate experts Hughes crammed into her dense but accessible hour, put it. It was an illuminating and thought-provoking programme. It’s a pity the means of production always seem to end up in the hands of gangsters. I wish there was something we could do about that.”
Lucy Mangan, The Guardian

“This film was stymied by too restrictive a focus on giving a blow-by-blow account of a life, rather than on the intellectual achievement for which it is celebrated. Perhaps that’s just what you get when you invite a historian to sum up the life of a philosopher – facts rather than concepts. And at least Marx’s life was sufficiently full of strife, tragedy and repulsive medical afflictions to easily hold the attention for an hour.”
Gerard O’Donovan, The Telegraph

“Juicy biographical details aside, this was really a look at Marx’s big ideas, and where they’d come from. Living in London turned him from a thinker into someone actively trying to change the world. He did that alright, with a third of the planet living under regimes calling themselves Marxist within 70 years of his death. Whether Marx would have called them Marxist is another matter.”
Matt Baylis, Daily Express

“Hughes turned to many more experts than was usual in a Hughes documentary, presumably because she is a student of Ancient Greece, not modern Europe. Their contributions were all valuable. That said, I may need to rewind a couple more times Paul Mason’s explanation of the theory of surplus value, Suffice to note that capitalism did not collapse under the weight of its own contradictions, but Marx nearly did of his.
Andrew Billen, The Times

This World: The New Gypsy Kings, BBC2

“Last night’s This World: The New Gypsy Kings – by Liviu Tipurita, a documentary maker who specialises in people at the margins of the underworld – showed us the discord within Romania’s Roma community through what is happening to their music. A new genre – manele – has become so popular over the past decade or so that it is squeezing out traditional music and musicians. Meanwhile, the traditional singers scratch a living where they can.”
Lucy Mangan, The Guardian

“The innocuous title led us to expect guitar-strumming flamenco versions of Volare and My Way, but what we got was a glimpse of the Roma gangster world, where gap-toothed hoodlums show off by throwing wads of money at each other. And where does that money come from? The director did not draw the obvious conclusion, but it’s clear where the gangsters get the barrowloads of banknotes they throw around - the money comes pretty much straight out of our pockets.”
Christopher Stevens, Daily Mail

“It was clear, from the scenes at a big musical gathering on the Black Sea coast that the manale singers were wasting their own talents at the same time as wrecking a rich cultural tradition. Forced to stand singing by a table of suspected mobsters, showered with cash from sources no one dared discuss, they watched their real fans melt away into the night. He who pays the piper empties the nightclub.”
Matt Baylis, Daily Express