“No offence to those who took part, but it was sentimental mediocrity dressed up as documentary”

The Secret Helpers

“As television it’s a bit of a dog’s dinner. The advice itself is ordinary, there’s no satisfactory reveal, no moment of discovery … no, it’s a mess, an ambitious idea that doesn’t appear to have been properly thought through. Even if the ideas behind it are nice ones.”
Sam Wollaston, The Guardian

“I’m sorry, but it was awful. No offence to those who took part, but it was sentimental mediocrity dressed up as documentary. I kept having to check that it really was on BBC2.”
Carol Midgley, The Times

“Cheesy though the format was, it served up moments to melt the hardest heart. In a packed-out Hertfordshire hall, Dan told the world how much he loved his wife, cheered on by the NYPD. If it was like a feel-good movie, that’s because it felt good.”
Matt Baylis, Daily Express

“Watching Dan and Brett tweak their ears and make suspicious excuses to their partners about important calls before slipping out to talk to the sages, it was hard to believe that the ‘secret’ was really secret. But the concept of this heart-warming and life-affirming show was wonderful.”
Elisa Bray, The i

Zoe Ball’s Hardest Road Home, BBC1

“It was uncomfortable watching Ball struggle up hills, broken by this intense, physically demanding journey, her grief for her partner painfully fresh. It was visits to others to hear their stories of losing loved ones through suicide, or those with depression, that brought home the importance of mental health awareness and made this programme more than just a celebrity stunt.”
Elisa Bray, The i

“This wasn’t a particularly visual documentary. Ball’s agonies in training were briskly skipped over, and aside from the demanding uphill sections there wasn’t much actual cycling. Most of the sunshine was supplied by Zoe Ball herself, whose admirable cheeriness should be plugged into the national grid.”
Jasper Rees, The Telegraph

“I have always found it hard not to like Zoe Ball. After watching Zoe Ball’s Hardest Road Home it is totally impossible. What a courageous thing to do when she is clearly raw with grief.”
Carol Midgley, The Times