“A cut-price version of Who Do You Think You Are? that gets only as far up the family tree as the poorhouse.” Read on for the verdict on last night’s TV.

Secrets of the Workhouse

Secrets from the Workhouse, ITV

“It was a story of very cold-hearted charity indeed, conceived to be punitive and off-putting in the hope that people would find other means of keeping body and soul together. The contemporary echoes of this attitude to the poor could hardly be avoided and, to the programme’s credit, weren’t.”
Tom Sutcliffe, The Independent

“With this kind of show it’s not mere presenting that’s required but emoting by the bucketload about people the presenters probably didn’t know and who lived a very long time ago. To be fair, this wasn’t the worst example of its kind. There were four celebrities and four very different stories which diluted the overall effect of people being forced at camera-point to get all weepy over a copy of the parish register.”
Matt Baylis, Daily Express

“Secrets from the Workhouse, a cut-price version of Who Do You Think You Are? that gets only as far up the family tree as the poorhouse, accidentally hit on a new format: Incense a Celeb. When grizzled actor Brian Cox learnt in Glasgow that his great-great-grandfather, an injured and bronchial labourer, had been classed as a malingerer, Cox became angry not tearful… In an otherwise averagely lachrymose programme, we witnessed a great and truthful moment.”
Andrew Billen, The Times

Love Your Garden, ITV

“It’s called Love Your Garden, but it’s basically Ground Force, with an extra layer of dogoodery. Ground Force meets the Pride of Britain awards. And Alan’s part lies somewhere between the Good Samaritan and Jesus Christ himself, spreading good will and performing miracles.”
Sam Wollaston, The Guardian

“The programme, presented by Daily Express columnist Alan Titchmash, has the bonus of offering makeover advice while changing the life (or at least the backyard) of a deserving member of the public. I don’t need to see it to feel that it’s a good thing and a far nicer thing to be on our screens than say football.”
Matt Baylis, Daily Express

Imagine: Vivian Maier – Who Took Nanny’s Pictures?, BBC1

“A strange sense of purity was one of the film’s pleasures, of a talent that strengthened itself and did its work with complete indifference to the audience or the market. Touching, ambiguous and full of arresting images, Imagine’s film was a fine tribute to Maier.”
Tom Sutcliffe, The Independent

“This was the returned arts strand on form, not sucking up to a celebrity icon but illuminating little-known genius.”
Andrew Billen, The Times