“It’s hard to look at another Harry Styles haircut without seeing the contrivances nesting inside it.”

The X Factor, ITV

“This ITV juggernaut has come a long way in the decade it’s been on air. Previous series have sometimes been dull or mawkish, but the eleventh feels like a more evolved entertainment product, in which the ‘bad’ and the ‘ugly’ are no longer synonymous.”
Ellen E Jones, The Independent

“With Cowell and Cheryl back on the panel, and the bluff Mel B adding a bit of grit, there’s a slim chance that this season the show could regain a little of its former shine.”
Gerard O’Donovan, The Telegraph

“Even the good acts seem so tooled up for the task, winking at the judges, playing the system in a way that seems very far away from the innocence of the early series. Now it’s hard to look at another Harry Styles haircut without seeing the contrivances nesting inside it.”
Alex Hardy, The Times

Two Amigos: A Gaucho Adventure, BBC2

“The Two Amigos: a Gaucho Adventure was the sort of programme that made you wonder who exactly thought it was a good idea. The idea seemed half-baked and the result was like watching someone’s (well-produced) holiday video.”
Terry Ramsey, The Telegraph

“If you could stop wondering about this bizarre celebrity-subject pairing the reward was a light but charming bit of armchair adventure. It’s actually a marvellous antidote to the shirtless, testosterone-heavy Bear Grylls/Ray Mears style of travel TV.”
Matt Baylis, Baily Express

“It’s easy to mock this kind of chummy show, but think of it from George Osborne’s perspective. Britain makes next to nothing anyone that in their right mind would buy, so the only way of righting the balance of trade is by exporting the stuff we’ve got too much of – underproductive middle-aged men having mid-life crises.”
Stuart Jeffries, The Guardian

Crimes of Passion, BBC4

“Crimes of Passion looked like every Patricia Highsmith movie adaptation I’ve ever seen or a story from Agatha Christie’s discard pile.”
Stuart Jeffries, The Guardian

“Everyone was sexing everyone else and when we weren’t watching people smooching and smoking together we were watching redundant recaps of people smooching and smoking. It all cancelled itself out into a bit of a nothing.”
Alex Hardy, The Times

“It felt like being invited to a Christmas dinner where all the fripperies, the crackers, the little sausages wrapped in bacon, the carols from King’s, had been laid out, but someone had forgotten to cook the turkey. I’m not saying Crimes of Passion is a turkey but the first episode gave me cause to wonder.”
Matt Baylis, Daily Express