“While the star wattage is there, the intended satire does not shine quite so brightly”

The Regime

The Regime, Sky Atlantic

“Clearly HBO believes that we do this weird, dark political stuff well, and the ensemble, which includes David Bamber, Danny Webb and Henry Goodman, deliver. The main problem, though, is the almost reckless wildness of tone. Defiantly unanchored in a single recognisable place, it is basically a Ruritanian hellhole — an othered view of Europe that may sit well with many Americans but that feels slightly odd from this side of the Atlantic.”
Ben Dowell, The Times

“It all looks fabulous of course, in a sub-Grand Budapest Hotel sort of way and, if you’re a sucker for Acting with a capital A, Winslet’s portmanteau of mannerisms, from droopy mouth to a cut-glass accent that’s more Surrey than Serbia, is undoubtedly impressive. But the nagging suspicion lingers that The Regime thinks its making some deep points about tumultuous the state of the world, circa 2024. Scratch below its stylish surface though and it’s as shallow as a clickbait soundbite.”
Keith Watson, The Telegraph

“While the star wattage is there, the intended satire does not shine quite so brightly. There are overtones of Armando Ianucci’s work: the jaunty folk music and fawning, fighting underlings call to mind The Death of Stalin, while Elena’s delusion, vanity and impeccable wardrobe have Veep’s Selina Meyers written all over them. But past the pleasingly weird opener, those comparisons start to look unfavourable, as The Regime, like the palace staff, struggles to keep up with its erratic protagonist’s whims.”
Rachel Sigee, The i

“Written by Succession’s Will Tracy, and directed by Sir Stephen Frears, who earned an Oscar nomination for The Queen with Helen Mirren, this is international political satire at maximum volume. But Winslet’s performance is so exaggerated, so doolally, that there’s little room for anything else. The palace aides and courtiers are all featureless because they have nothing to do except react to the Chancellor’s crazy whims.”
Christopher Stevens, Daily Mail

“Thanks to the direction of Stephen Frears and Jessica Hobbs, it looks gorgeous, and the dissonant jolliness of the soundtrack from Alexandre Desplat (The Grand Budapest Hotel) reminds us that this is all meant to be a farce. All too often, though, The Regime feels like a jumble of big ideas that don’t really cohere.”
Katie Rosseinsky, The Independent

“All the elements for something brilliant are there – including comedy legend Pippa Haywood, Martha Plimpton, Hugh Grant and Julia Davis in smaller parts. Yet they refuse to cohere into something more than the sum of their parts, though success is sometimes so close that you find yourself leaning towards the screen the better to will it into existence.”
Lucy Mangan, The Guardian

The Assembly, BBC1

“I love the concept of this special, which airs during Autism Acceptance Week at a time when diagnosis is increasing and support has never been more stretched. The Assembly is simple and profound. We’re living in the age of the hyper-policed, ultra-dull interview in which the right questions aren’t asked and the wrong people are held to account. Even celebrity interviews have become about as fun as waiting for the next general election. The Assembly, then, is a breath of fresh air.”
Chitra Ramaswamy, The Guardian