“Delivered a masterclass in reality TV by illuminating the world rather than just reflecting it”

Bring the Drama

“Investigating big ideas like acting, stardom as well as the people in pursuit of them, Bring the Drama delivered a masterclass in reality TV by illuminating the world rather than just reflecting it. A standing ovation from me.”
Emily Watkins, The i

“Bill Bailey is a warm sort of host, and entirely befitting this charming creation, where all those concerned seem to be so kind and generous to one another it’s quite hard to understand why they want to get into the notoriously bitchy world of theatre, darling. But they do, and we want them to succeed because the programme draws us in to their hopes and ambitions in a quite mesmerising way. There’s a seriousness about the proceedings that is sadly rare in these reality formats.”
Sean O’Grady, The Independent

“Bring The Drama is gentle – it’s very pleasant to watch, rather than a Queen Vic-worthy melodrama – but it is important. Acting is far too skewed towards privilege.”
Rebecca Nicholson, The Guardian

“A few of the contestants here show real potential (Lizzie is particularly good), and some less so. But at least they’re getting a chance. One of them, Jordan, said that when you are working class it’s hard to try being an actor because you can’t afford to be out of work for most of the year. Spot on. Soaps give people from ordinary backgrounds opportunity. This show is doing the same.”
Carol Midgley, The Times

“Most of the episode involved too much formulaic build-up, with heavily edited auditions that were meant to have us on tenterhooks. Who will win the casting director’s praise? Whose dreams will be crushed by a morsel of criticism? Who will be first to tell us they’re doing this (sob!) for their dead granny? Who cares — we’ve only just met these people?”
Christopher Stevens, Daily Mail

“The show has some merit: if you want to become an actor, there are practical tips here. But that could have been achieved via a documentary, or a BBC outreach initiative, or something else that isn’t a TV talent show.”
Anita Singh, The Telegraph

Alice & Jack, Channel 4

“I have watched all of it and, while it is not as moving as One Day (unfortunate that two “soulmate” dramas were released a week apart), it takes you on an intense journey with an unforgettable denouement. Both leads are excellent, but she gives it the heft. It’s not perfect — I found the awful, plonky music intrusive — but it is raw and honest, and if you make it to the end you will be rewarded, though not exactly cheered.”
Carol Midgley, The Times

“We are meant to believe this is the start of a grand passion that will shape the rest of their lives. The problem is that it seems more like the very ordinary date of a tiresome woman and what I believe the young people today would call a beta cuck. You can’t fake chemistry between actors and there is none here.”
Lucy Mangan, The Guardian

“Were this a drama about a manipulative, cruel man toying with a gullible girl, we would be disgusted, but somehow with the sexes reversed, it’s supposed to be quirky and alluring. I’ll stick with it (it continues tonight), but so far, it’s hard to have sympathy for either of them.”
Christopher Stevens, Daily Mail

“The two make for deeply unlikeable characters and I found it very hard to believe that Jack would fall in love with Alice after just one night – or that she would put up with him. She was frank to the point of rudeness, cold and secretive; he was meek, bumbling, spineless. Still, Domhnall Gleeson and Andrea Riseborough were incredibly watchable, doing their best to make Alice and Jack feel like real, flawed people, no matter how little I enjoyed their company.”
Emily Baker, The i

“Creating characters out of nothing – the act of fiction – is a form of magic. Giving them lives and loves, histories and futures: that’s what turns words on a page into something real. The star-crossed lovers of Alice & Jack, however, stay leaden, never becoming gold.”
Nick Hilton, The Independent

“It manages to be preposterous and deathly at the same time. The dialogue is pretentious. The last five minutes are completely stupid. The only bright spots are the two supporting performances, from Aimee Lou Wood as Maya, Alice’s capable assistant, and Sunil Patel as Paul, Jack’s colleague.”
Anita Singh, The Telegraph