“The story of Benjamin Franklin in 1776 could have been left in the history books without anyone feeling hard done by”


Franklin, Apple TV+

“We spend too much time with the pawns in this monumental chess game, when we would really rather be concentrating on the alliances and treacheries among the main pieces. Franklin is dogged by the same slight but dreary sense of worthiness that attended Apple’s other recent foray into US period drama, the meticulous Manhunt. This time, though, it doesn’t even have the background pursuit of a murderer to keep things moving.”
Lucy Mangan, The Guardian

“A dizzying succession of young French bucks with pomaded wigs litter the action, getting giddy on dreams of heroism as they turn the head of Franklin’s impressionable grandson, Temple (Noah Jupe), offering little more than irritating distraction. Where Franklin does come to life is in the political power play that, while not exactly subtle – the key players are forever playing actual chess – does feel like eavesdropping on history being made.”
Keith Watson, The Telegraph

“The story of Benjamin Franklin in 1776 as told by Apple TV+ in Franklin could have been left in the history books without anyone feeling hard done by. Despite the show’s best efforts, absolutely nothing interesting happens to the man himself – or anyone around him – over the course of Franklin’s first three episodes. And at an hour long each, I’m not sure why anyone but an American history student with a looming exam would press on much further.”
Emily Watkins, The i

“I prefer the interviews part of The Apprentice to the dull tasks because the BS is silenced as the experts dismantle the plans like lions stripping a zebra to its skeleton.”
Carol Midgley, The Times

“The business contest might be looking distinctly dog-eared in its 18th series – Sugar’s retirement and a wholesale revamp are surely imminent – but the interview round is one of the increasingly rare moments when it still delivers. After 10 noisy weeks of boardroom boasting, barking orders and backstabbing colleagues, this was a quieter pleasure. Mano a mano with words rather than action and all the more gripping for it.”
Michael Hogan, The Telegraph

The Cuckoo, Channel 5

“I have a strange relationship with Channel 5’s potboilers. I know they’ll be a total waste of time and will go batshit crazy at the end, which will insult what’s left of my intelligence, but I watch them as a guilty pleasure because they provide the dopamine hit of a cheap burger. The Cuckoo finale was no exception.”
Carol Midgley, The Times