“With all the attention on one person it has lost the spark and suppleness that made it compelling”

The Crown

The Crown, Netflix

“From the beginning The Crown has walked a tightrope between prestige drama – capable of evoking a world of emotional struggle from a single scene or queenly line – and soapy nonsense. It started teetering in season three, lost its balance entirely over the next two and is now plummeting into the abyss, despite the uniformly brilliant performances from the entire cast. Ghost Diana is all of a piece with what is now simply a crass, by-numbers piece of film-making, with a script that barely aspires to craft, let alone art, any more.”
Lucy Mangan, The Guardian

“Let’s keep some perspective. Spectral Diana appears for just four minutes and nine seconds as a dramatic device to vocalise the inner monologues of Charles and the Queen after the Paris car crash, not to ‘haunt’ anyone. Still, it’s hard to imagine The Crown doing something so blatantly headline-grabbing in its Claire Foy days. If you ask me, a big takeaway from the four episodes released (apparitions aside) is how very affecting they are, how well the story is told, despite, obviously, mining tragedy for ratings.“
Carol Midgley, The Times

“Peter Morgan has written himself into a corner by bringing The Crown into 1997 and one of the most extensively covered events in British history. There is nothing we don’t know about the Princess’s death and the Royal family’s reaction to it, which leaves Morgan casting around for something to fill the episodes. Perhaps he is all out of ideas, having addressed this same period of time in his 2006 film, The Queen. But something has gone wrong, because creatively the show has atrophied.”
Anita Singh, The Telegraph

“Early episodes of The Crown with Foy, Matt Smith, and Vanessa Kirby were as funny as they were affectionate. Now it has become overly self-serious and one-note. It is wholly dominated by Diana, and while this is a fair reflection of the times it feels heavy where it once felt light. Individual episodes used to have varying focuses – an impassioned speech in Welsh here, an awkward meeting with some astronauts there – but with all the attention on one person it has lost the spark and suppleness that made it compelling.”
Francesca Steele, The i

“The show’s dialogue, which, in its portentous tone has often flirted with hamminess, now feels tailored to the cynical purpose of gravitas. While the shadow of death can offer creative tension, it also makes The Crown feel like an ailing project.”
Nick Hilton, The Independent

Return to Lockerbie with Lorraine Kelly, ITV1

“This was excellent television, which respectfully explored the pain and heartbreak of the tragedy via interviews with survivors, witnesses and relatives. It was emotionally intelligent and properly journalistic.”
Ben Dowell, The Times

“This was a sober examination of unresolved trauma, and the way in which Lockerbie enlarged the professional understanding of PTSD. Most articulate was Colin Dorrance, the youngest constable in the local force who carried the first body – that of a two-year-old girl – into the town hall which became a crowded makeshift mortuary. He talked wisely of storing unwanted memories in the ‘psychological loft’. ‘But you just can’t help but remember at some point that box is there.’ Here it was, and to see it opened was deeply moving.”
Jasper Rees, The Telegraph

“More than any other presenter, Lorraine represents television’s power to lay bare our emotions. As an interviewer, she is always empathetic and supportive, but also honest: she never skirts around deep feelings or pretends they do not exist. Back in 1988, emotions were not present in TV news reports, nor on newspaper sub-editors’ desks for that matter. As Lorraine pointed out in this moving assessment of how a town copes with decades of grief, she could not have broken down on camera: it would have seemed weak and unprofessional.”
Christopher Stevens, Daily Mail

“After the first series’ success, there appears to have been a subsequent loosening of the purse strings in its production budget, and the show feels significantly more lavish – with action set pieces bordering on Bond levels of spectacle. Trying to follow a complex plethora of timelines is no mean feat, but the show’s taut editing and sharp scripting keep things coherent.”
Leila Latif, The Guardian

“With the superpower of resetting time, hero George (Paapa Essiedu) is able to fight villains as if he’s in a video game, refining his moves with each repeated attempt. This gets boring remarkably quickly: an unexpected kick or punch is predictable the second time we see it, and after that, farcical. Apart from the fights, most scenes are oddly static.”
Christopher Stevens, Daily Mail