“It was like the 40 Minutes docs of old (remember those?), the slightly offbeat feel somehow adding up to a deeper understanding of a very British subculture.”

Swim the Channel

Swim the Channel, BBC4

“The film was open to fair criticism that it lacked focus. To my eyes, though, it was like the 40 Minutes docs of old (remember those?), the slightly offbeat feel somehow adding up to a deeper understanding of a very British subculture.”
James Jackson, The Times

“One of those ever-so-charming BBC documentaries shining a light on one of our country’s quirky (and, crucially, non-nationalistic) sub-cultures. It’s an area that BBC2’s Wonderland documentary series has mined brilliantly over the years and BBC4’s Swim the Channel felt very much in that strand’s eccentric vein.”
Hugh Montgomery, The i

“Emma Harpin and Steph Keelan’s film captured the unique, club-like atmosphere among those who undertake this journey every summer and the people who guide them through it. You were left wondering if the same peculiar passion existed among the folk of Calais or Bolougne – and feeling pretty certain it didn’t.”
Matt Baylis, Daily Express

“This was an hour of ritualised madness, with no effort to explain what lay beneath it. Why did King of the Channel Kevin Murphy, who’s made the crossing 34 times, give his interview naked, at the Spielplatz Naturist Village in St Albans?”
Christopher Stevens, Daily Mail

The Somme 1916 – From Both Sides of the Wire, BBC2

“Historian Peter Barton was a very clear, authoritative guide through the various parts of the offensive, its successes and its (predominant) failures. He managed the rare feat of not letting his enthusiasm for his subject obscure the grief and sadness at its heart. And he gave due weight to aspects of the event that customarily get left out of the version we tell ourselves.”
Lucy Mangan, The Guardian

“Presenting from the empty battlefields in an Indiana Jones hat, Barton was unflinching in his scrutiny and explained his findings with clarity. Television has outlined the Somme countless times, but this felt fresh and revelatory.”
James Jackson, The Times

“More than a million soldiers were wounded or killed. The Allies advanced just seven miles. Heart-wrenching footage of men, grinning shyly at the camera and about to go to their deaths, hammered that home in this powerful documentary.”
Michale Hogan, The Telegraph

“Film from the day made the events vivid, as did the contrast with the battlefield today — tranquil and bucolic. The only mystery was why extracts from German archives were read in a daft Prussian accent, like Spike Milligan impersonating the Kaiser.”
Christopher Stevens, Daily Mail

Forces of Nature with Brian Cox, BBC1

“Cox was an endlessly enthusiastic host, gazing awe-struck at acorns or perching on a rock while promoting the elegance of physics. Yet he seems to have dumbed down rather for his debut series on BBC1. The narration felt repetitive because he kept reminding us of what he’d said before.”
Michael Hogan, The Telegraph

“If you noticed a faint whiff of rotten eggs, it might have been that sulphurous volcano. Or it might, perhaps, have been down to the way a nature film was clogged up with unnecessary, vague, confusing stuff about carbon molecules. When you’re gazing up at the stars, who cares about the periodic table?”
Matt Baylis, Daily Express