“The writing remains incredible. Fleet, funny and always moving seamlessly from light to dark moments and back again”

The Bear S2

The Bear, Disney+

“The first series of The Bear, Disney+’s outstanding restaurant-set drama, was an exercise in tension. Most of the half-hour episodes were spent cooped up in the Chicago sandwich joint ‘The Original Beef’ as chef Carmy (Jeremy Allen White) tried to make a go of the family business that had been dumped in his lap when his big brother (Jon Bernthal, seen in flashback) died of an overdose. Most episodes felt like half-hour thumbscrews as things went wrong and then more wrong in a claustrophobic weekly doom spiral. Terrific acting, super food photography, a just-so soundtrack and a wry wit – the Emmys class The Bear as a comedy – leavened the bread. The second series is different. It hurries up then waits, tours Chicago, heads to Copenhagen… but it remains TV’s easiest current recommendation.”

Benji Wilson, Telegraph

“The writing remains incredible. Fleet, funny (it’s one of the rare purveyors of convincing naturalistic jokes and jibes between friends and colleagues), and always moving seamlessly from light to dark moments and back again as only people as deeply connected as these can do, it never makes a false move. The apparent chaos is tightly controlled and there is a shining rigour to the structure beneath that we can only hope the second deep-clean of The Bear’s kitchen after the black mould is gone will eventually allow it to emulate. Until that gets done, I really can’t pay attention to anything else.”
Lucy Mangan, The Guardian

“The Bear is a hot-blooded, fervent, sometimes punishing drama. It’s also laugh-out-loud funny and full of heart, chock full of characters to root for and food to drool over. “I don’t need to provide amusement or enjoyment,” says Carmy in the final throes of the last episode. Too late.”
Emily Baker, The i

Why Sharks Attack, BBC1

“This even-handed programme was not an hour of scares about potentially hungry fish turning on us (although the likely killer of Popov was pregnant and showed signs of malnourishment when it was captured and killed). Attacks, we learnt, have remained fairly consistent in recent years, in keeping with the fact that shark numbers are in general decline while human use of the oceans for tourism is on the rise. A bad year has about 110 attacks, a good one 80, we were told. Given the ubiquity of smartphones, it’s little surprise we have seen more than we might want on this subject of late.”
Ben Dowell, The Times

“Phone video footage of two deaths in the water at beach resorts was alarmingly graphic for a documentary airing at 8pm. So too was gory film of an attack on a young woman in Florida, who survived only because her brother fought off the shark. We were repeatedly told that death by shark is rare — not much comfort to the holidaymaker who becomes fish food.”
Christopher Stevens, Daily Mail

Is Cricket Racist?, Channel 4

“The programme documents a staggering level of institutional racism. While the focus is largely on players of south Asian descent, the journalist George Dobell, one of the first to look into Rafiq, explains how others have been targeted: “[The Black ex-Essex cricketer] Maurice Chambers had bananas thrown at him, told he was a monkey.” Though allegations of things said in private are hard to prove, particularly when clubs are quick to close ranks around their stars, Dobell claims that this is an ill-kept secret: “One of the players who used the N-word to him, he gets picked for England. Everyone knows.””
Leila Latif, The Guardian