Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

TV PREVIEW: John Pilger’s NHS documentary sadly buried in the post-election graveyard

The Dirty War on the NHS (copyright ITV).
The Dirty War on the NHS (copyright ITV).

This week, Paul confronts a heartbreaking true story and a risible piece of fiction…



Monday, BBC Two, 9pm

Responsible Child (copyright BBC).

Based on a true story, this riveting standalone drama follows a twelve-year-old boy, Ray, as he stands accused of the brutal murder of his stepfather. Ray (a haunting performance from newcomer Billy Barratt) is a bright, shy, sensitive child from an abusive family background. The details of his alleged crime are gradually revealed via fraught flashbacks. Meanwhile, his dedicated defence team mount their case. Criminal law in England and Wales decrees that children as young as ten are fit to stand trial in an adult court. Responsible Child probes deeply into the stark ramifications of that law. Etched in nauseating shades of anguished verisimilitude, it’s a compassionate political piece in the Ken Loach vein. It will linger.


Monday to Wednesday, STV, 9pm

Sticks and Stones (copyright ITV)

When a successful businessman botches a crucial sales pitch through no fault of his own, his colleagues start to bully him. Bullying in the workplace is a serious issue, but the well-intentioned message behind this three-part drama from Doctor Foster creator Mike Bartlett is fatally undermined by sledgehammer writing. It’s utterly ridiculous. The victim’s tormentors are one-dimensional pantomime villains, their cruel behaviour is absurdly blatant. In real life they’d be more insidious, that’s how bullying among adults tends to work. Bartlett presumably knows this, but subtlety has never been his strong point. Sticks and Stones is a missed opportunity, a drama with its heart in the right place but with a big fat foot in its mouth.


Monday, BBC Four, 9:30pm

Now this is rather lovely. Star Wars, as we know, was a game-changing Hollywood blockbuster, but it would never have existed or thrived without the efforts of talented British artisans. To illustrate that point, affable broadcaster David Whiteley, a lifelong Star Wars fan, meets some of those now elderly producers and design pioneers. It’s a thorough excavation of a project that was regarded as an utter oddity, an expensive folly, at the time, but which turned out to be something quite special. One is left with the abiding impression that George Lucas was a bit of a weirdo who hit upon some good ideas, none of which would’ve been realised without major professional assistance. Either way, it worked.


Tuesday, STV, 11:05pm

The Dirty War on the NHS (copyright ITV)

The great investigative journalist John Pilger must’ve spat a fountain of feathers when informed that his report on Johnson’s plans for the NHS was to be buried in a graveyard slot after the election. This is officially due to broadcasting rules of impartiality during a G.E. campaign. Yeah, right. Full disclosure: I haven’t seen it, no TV critic has, but this is how Pilger describes it: “The NHS today is under threat of being sold off and converted to a free market model inspired by America’s disastrous health insurance system, which results in the death every year of an estimated 45,000 people. Now President Trump says the NHS is ‘on the table’ in any future trade deal with America.”



Wednesday, ITV4, 8:10pm

Jaws: The Revenge (copyright Universal Pictures)

Usually, I hope, I encourage you to watch films of genuine merit. On this occasion I urge you to watch one of the most hysterically awful films ever made. Trust me, it doesn’t disappoint. An unconvincing shark (a descendant of the first one?) actually follows Chief Brody’s widow to the Bahamas. Michael Caine barely phones it in as a roguish local pilot. A masterpiece of trash.



Sunday December 8, BBC One

Elizabeth Is Missing (copyright BBC)

The last time we saw the seemingly retired actor and former Labour MP Glenda Jackson on TV was either via Morecambe and Wise repeats or on Newsnight. So it was a rare pleasure to be reminded of what a great actor she is in Elizabeth is Missing, a beautifully-written, gut-punching drama in which she played an octogenarian with Alzheimer’s. This was the sort of role for which grandstanding, BAFTA-hungry actors were born to inhabit with the utmost faux-humility, but Jackson is better than that. Her performance as Maude was utterly convincing, tender and true. Totally lacking in vanity, it was actually magnificent. Maude’s life is all our lives. We love, we laugh, we cry, we frail away and die. Alzheimer’s is a devastating disease, we must never, ever ignore or misunderstand it. These people aren’t invisible. Take care of each other, will you?


Tuesday December 10, STV

From the sublime to the utterly irrelevant and downright offensive. Call me a right old bore with sincerely-held values if you will, but what in the name of molten crikey was Romesh Ranganathan – a vaguely alternative comedian – thinking when he agreed to co-host this Windsor-sponsored drivel? The noxious spectre of Prince Andrew hovered over the whole event. Such fun!