“This a quietly revolutionary programme, in terms of how it intimately depicts an Islamic pilgrimage and as a rare look at Muslim masculinity”

Big Zuu in Mecca

“As a chef doing Ramadan, there is a running joke about how he gets hangry. He is noticeably tense just before his fasts comes to an end, yelling at his mate Tubsey for not chopping an onion quickly enough, only to return to his sweet self once he has some soup in him. But, jokes aside, this a quietly revolutionary programme, in terms of how it intimately depicts an Islamic pilgrimage and as a rare look at Muslim masculinity, which is so often stereotyped in the media.”
Leila Latif, The Guardian

“There was a long build-up to his pilgrimage (possibly too long), although it was interesting when a woman told him it was a waste of money going to Mecca (it costs about £7,500 all in, apparently). You are just enriching the Saudi king and can pray to God at home, she said. The visit did seem to have a profound effect on him, though. He realised there is “no right way to be a Muslim”, and that he would probably “sin” again. But his intentions were pure and that was good enough for him.”
Carol Midgley, The Times

“The nagging sense that this is an idea proposed to a celebrity, rather than an idea proposed by a celebrity, didn’t spoil Big Zuu Goes to Mecca. Zuu is, as the programme makers evidently recognised, terrific value on camera. Whatever he does, he takes people with him, both literally and metaphorically.”
Benji Wilson, Telegraph

Midsomer Murders, ITV1

“There’s a simple reason for that: sartorial standards. Detectives on Midsomer Murders (ITV) still know how to dress properly. DI Barnaby and his sidekick Winter are the last two policemen on earth who wear a suit and tie, with the top buttons of their shirts fastened. DS Winter even favours a waistcoat, and lace-up shoes that he keeps shiny with polish. In most other British forces, the three-piece suit is as outdated as a bowler hat and furled umbrella. Young Morse in his scruffy cords, Vera in that awful mac and shapeless hat, even Jimmy Perez with his Shetland knitwear, they could all learn something from Midsomer. Smart suits are the only plausible explanation for the swiftness with which Barnaby (Neil Dudgeon) solved a mystery that appeared to satirise Britain’s lockdown panic.”
Christopher Stevens, Daily Mail

“Midsomer Murders centred on a nuclear survival bunker but — ha ha, ho ho — DCI Barnaby needed a bunker of his own (the garage), complete with emergency beer rations, because the dreaded mother-in-law was coming to stay. Hello? The Seventies called. They want their gag back. Still, it’s nice to see this comically gruesome show return (series No 23: it’s obviously doing something right), even though this was one of its more rambling plots and involved more prosaic murder methods, eg death by rubber dinghy. Disappointing. I was hoping for something more sadistic.”
Carol Midgley, The Times

“Yes, Midsomer Murders plods its way through soused peat-bogs of plot at an infuriatingly slow pace, and, yes, two hours of it does feel a little bit like listening to Alexa reading you Proust. But given that steady-as-she-goes carnage is MM’s whole modus, and it’s currently one of Britain’s few winning exports, it must be part of its appeal. I don’t get it; other, much better shows are available. But with that accepted, little gags like marrying a story about the coming apocalypse with the arrival of Barnaby’s mother-in-law at his house were welcome. Just enough spice to make the stodge palatable.”
Benji Wilson, Telegraph

“The documentary is at its best when showing interviews with Nirvana fans, who have gathered together to mourn and commemorate. A young woman named Mandy complains that most of the other people at the park that day aren’t really sad about Cobain at all. “People are going around with videocameras for their own private personal collection and I think it’s disgusting,” she says, dismissing them all as shallow.”
Rebecca Nicholson, The Guardian