“It could have been a prurient voyeuristic mess. Instead, it was witty, tender and wistful.” Read on for the verdict on last night’s TV.

Master of Sex

Masters of Sex, Channel 4

“Last night’s pilot of this US import flew by in an amusing – not always intentionally so – mix of romping half-naked couples and grandstanding about the pursuit of scientific truth… Sheen and Caplan were good… and for all its occasional sludginess, the script had moments of sparkle too.”
Gerard O’Donovan, The Telegraph

“By the end of last night’s first episode I was none the wiser as to whether Masters was calculating, naive, emotionally cut-off or just a bit simple. Screenplays often take liberties with real lives to create more drama, but making Masters so detached and locating all the warmth and empathy in Johnson was taking binary writing to an extreme.”
John Crace, The Guardian

“The presence of that redoubtable Welsh actor Michael Sheen in the title role kept us on the right side of respectability, while Lizzy Caplan as Johnson had the mischievous smile necessary to set off his dournesss.”
Ellen E Jones, The Independent

“It could have been a prurient voyeuristic mess. Instead, thanks to Sheen and the outstanding Lizzy Caplan, as his assistant Virginia Johnson, it was witty, tender and wistful.”
Christopher Stevens, Daily Mail

“The pilot stank: for all its cable-only content, if it had a tone at all it was of a TV movie.”
Andrew Billen, The Times

“It could in some pairs of hands have ended up being rather tedious: enough bare flesh to satisfy certain audiences and alongside it lots of painfully self-conscious scenes where people speak throatily to each other against a jazz soundtrack while blowing smoke rings (in other words, Mad Men). What redeems this show from that fate is its humour, its ability never to forget the absurdities of the situation.”
Matt Baylis, Daily Express

The Art of Australia, BBC4

“This first episode was probably as good an introduction to the first 100 years of Australian art since colonisation as a layperson could want.”
John Crace, The Guardian

“Like sponge itself, I can take or leave GBBO. The sadist in me found this episode very tasty.”
Andrew Billen, The Times