“It is a triumph for all involved”

The Responder

The Responder, BBC1

“The Responder unfolds as the first season did, like a classical tragedy, with the unswerving sense of inevitability. There are so many ways for people to be trapped and the claustrophobia builds with virtually every scene. The bleakness is shot through with great, funny lines, but it remains a study in harm. The harm we do to ourselves, to our children and to a society when we deprive it, little by little, year after year, generation after generation, of everything that is necessary for it to thrive. It’s another matchless piece, in other words. A triumph for all involved.”
Lucy Mangan, The Guardian

“Tony Schumacher’s Liverpool drama, which is based on a police officer, but is actually about real, unvarnished life, returned with as much, if not more, swagger and some of the least predictable dialogue you will find in a cop show. Its trump card is never the plot (drugs, guns, hard-faced dealers — meh) but the characters and its darkly comical vignettes. I am not, obviously, an inner-city response officer, but I suspect these cameos give us within a few seconds more truth about the banal, surreal grimness of a job dealing largely with the mentally ill than some dramas could in an entire series.”
Carol Midgley, The Times

“The first series of The Responder was so impressive that maintaining the quality seemed a tall order. But series two is also superb, thanks to a combination of Martin Freeman in the best role of his career, and the writing of Tony Schumacher, whose previous life as a Liverpool response officer delivers a crucial sense of authenticity.”
Anita Singh, The Telegraph

“This grimly gripping thriller by Tony Schumacher started with the scorched intensity of 2022’s first series, and floored the accelerator.”
Christopher Stevens, Daily Mail

“The Responder is still tense and dense, and it can be disorienting to piece together all these broken people, like fragments of a shattered mirror held up to society. The dialogue is as spiky as ever but the blackest of humour permeates. The BBC didn’t allow me to watch the finale, so whether a much-needed glimmer of hope will remain is uncertain, but this is not a show that feels the need to coddle viewers. Instead it inhabits a literal and figurative darkness where every avenue that looks like a way out turns out to be a dead end. It is relentless and grim and that is arguably the point of such brutally honest storytelling.”
Rachel Sigee, The i

“If you can stomach the darkness without falling victim to sympathetic dejection, then The Responder has plenty of qualities. Martin Freeman and Adelayo Adedayo are a likeably human pairing, and the rendering of moonlit Liverpool is loving without being idealised. But does primetime TV need to be this exhausting?”
Nick Hilton, The Independent

Spacey Unmasked, Channel 4

“Spacey Unmasked is more than a blizzard of marks on one side of an is-he-isn’t-he ledger. Viewers who are minded to believe what is alleged in these interviews are given a picture not just of whether an A-list actor came to abuse his position, but how.”
Jack Seale, The Guardian

“It’s a roll call of sordid accusations about the sort of behaviour with which women have long been familiar. What the film made clear was that if Spacey thought being exonerated at trial would be the end of the matter, he was wrong.”
Carol Midgley, The Times

“Spacey Unmasked certainly doesn’t feel like a sensationalist witch hunt: it is stressed from the outset that in a British court last year Spacey was found not guilty of all charges of sexual assaults against four men between 2001 and 2013. In addition, the documentary tries to interweave stories from Spacey’s childhood to at least grant some kind of understanding as to why he might have grown up to be brilliant, shape-shifting, magnetic, predatory.”
Benji Wilson, The Telegraph

“Spacey Unmasked delivered much more psychological grist than the usual exposé documentaries. The combined effect of testimonies from ten men whose carefully precise accounts appear to corroborate each other seems compelling evidence for further investigation.”
Christopher Stevens, Daily Mail

“The documentary’s executive producer Dorothy Byrne has said she hopes it will prompt a ‘#MeToo moment for men’. It might. Spacey continues to deny all wrongdoing, but this stomach-turningly fascinating programme stands as a devastating portrayal of the power dynamics of fame.”
Ed Power, The Independent