Want to hunker down in front of a screen but stuck for something to watch?
Here are the films, TV shows and special streaming events on our cultural radar right now, plus some of our favourites from recent weeks that you can catch up on…
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December 8, 2023
This rom-com from Sky is quickly shaping up to be one of the best of the year. Our heroes are Tom (Jon Pointing) and Sammy (Danielle Vitalis) who hook up after a drunken night at a bar and proceed to enter into a no-strings-attached affair for three weeks – no feelings allowed. Does it work? Of course not, but the end result is a beautifully wholesome bit of TV.
Bad Host – Hunting the Couchsurfing Predator
It’s The Tinder Swindler, but even darker (if that’s possible). Sky Documentaries’ new show tells the remarkably story of a group of women who banded together to hunt down their abuser. They had all been preyed upon by the host of a Couchsurfing app, whereby locals can volunteer to host travellers in their homes. Six years of fighting later, they finally brought him to justice.
Squid Game: The Challenge - The Finale
It’s finally out in all its glory. Loved Squid Game? Why not watch Netflix’s reality TV version, where real-life people go head-to-head to win an obscene $4.56m – the only difference is, there are no bullets. That said, watching folks backstab each other to add a few thousand dollars to the cash prize is deeply disturbing – and now, we’ll be able to see who comes out on top. Yay capitalism!
Leo Reich: Literally Who Cares?
It’s not the most promising title, but the comedian and writer’s comedy debut is well worth a watch if raunchy humour is your thing. “Sex is really where I come into my own as an actor,” Reich explains in the trailer, but he makes time to ask the big questions – ie. “Is this helping?” and “Am I hot?” too. With that in mind, go forth and enjoy.
December 1, 2023
The Doll Factory
With a name like The Doll Factory, this Paramount+ show sounds like a reality TV show - but actually it’s set in Victorian London. Our heroine is Iris, a girl who becomes a model for a member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood of artists (hobbies included red-headed women, chivalry and paintings with intense colours). But Iris isn’t like the models (are they ever): she wants to become a painter herself.
Jackson Lamb and his dysfunctional group of MI5 agents are back once more to wreak havoc and foil evil plots. Based on author Mick Herron’s third book, Real Tigers, season three of the hit Apple TV+ show sees Lamb and his pals at the front line as a romantic liaison in Instanbul threatens the future of MI5 in London.
Sky is certainly pumping out some quality documentaries at the moment: their latest, Stasi FC, is all about life behind the Iron Curtain in East Germany. In the late 1970s, football was one of the last remaining political arenas - from the team they supported to the way they showed opposition. Naturally, this meant the Stasi were determined to quash it - and even more perplexingly, ensure their favourite team, BFC Dynamo, win at any cost.
Louis Theroux Interviews… Raye
Singer-songwriter Rachel Keen (better known as Raye) has had quite a year: she performed on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury and has had several hit songs. However, there’s a dark side too - and this interview with the perpetually impassive Theroux will dig into some of the painful experiences she’s had in the music industry, and the way music has helped her process trauma.
November 24, 2023
Doctor Who - The Star Beast
Grab that sonic screwdriver: Doctor Who is back and it’s looking good. This BBC special is the first of three that sees David Tennant temporarily step back into the shoes of the Doctor (before Ncuti Gatwa takes over) and even better, he’s joined by Catherine Tate as Donna. Even the showrunner has returned: it’s Russell T Davies. Pure Whovian bliss.
Before Cary Grant was the legendary actor, he was Archie, a boy born into extreme poverty in Bristol. ITV’s newest drama sees Jason Isaacs don the spray tan to portray a complicated man who never stopped running from his past - to the detriment of his own personal happiness.
This devastating Sky four-parter is a look back at one of the biggest disasters ever to happen on British soil. In 1988, flight Pan-Am 103 went down over the tiny Scottish village of Lockerbie - and now, 25 years later, this is a deep-dive into what happened, who did it and the devastating - and surprising - aftermath of what happened.
Jodie Whittaker has been busy this year: in addition to starring in BBC show Time, she’s also appearing in One Night, an Australian thriller from Paramount+. Whittaker plays Tess, one of four friends who went through a life-changing experience today decades ago - now, though, it’s all starting to come back to the surface. And yes, she puts on the accent.
November 17, 2023
A Murder at the End of the World
A whodunnit for Gen Z… Emma Corrin shines in a bright pink bowl cut as Darby Hart, hacker extraordinaire. She’s invited to a remote, luxurious hideaway in the Arctic by a mysterious billionaire (yes, there are echoes of Glass Onion) but right on cue, guests start getting murdered, and Darby seems to be the only one qualified enough to solve it.
Scott Pilgrim Takes Off
It’s back! Years after the original cult film came out, the cast have come back together to reprise their roles in this zany anime show. Drawing inspiration from Bryan Lee O’Malley’s comic books, this show careers off the rails in all sorts of exciting new ways, spotlighting new characters and serving video game references galore. A joy.
Netflix’s flagship show has returned for one final season. Part one, which was released this week, tells the story of Princess Diana (Elizabeth Debicki) and her lover Dodi, who tragically met their ends in August 1997. The costumes are stellar, the locations gorgeous, and if it occasionally plays a bit fast and loose with the truth, it’s all in the name of drama.
David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived
Not many people know the story of David Holmes, but maybe that’s about to change. In 2009, Holmes, the stunt double for Daniel Radcliffe, suffered a catastrophic accident on-set that left him paralysed. This Sky documentary, made with longtime friend Radcliffe, is a celebration of Holmes’ life, and the impact he had on the Harry Potter series. Tune in for lashings of nostalgia and a rather devastating second half.
November 10, 2023
Emma Stone stars in possibly one of the best TV shows of the year. She’s playing Whitney Siegel, one half of a couple who move to New Mexico with the aim of filming a home renovation series. Needless to say, things soon go wrong – and given that indie darling A24, brains behind Everything Everywhere All At Once, are involved, it is indeed truly bonkers.
Louis Theroux Interviews Season 2
The king of noncommittal questioning, Louis Theroux, is back for another series of asking celebrities awkward things in a polite way. Kicking things off is an interview with boxing legend Anthony Joshua, who takes Theroux on a trip to his old stomping grounds and behind the scenes at his comeback match… and weirdly there’s some light rapping.
Edith Wharton’s beloved (and unfinished) last novel gets a modern-day makeover in this glossy Apple TV+ adaptation. Set in the 1870s, we’re introduced to five ambitious young American women – wealthy, naturally – whose arrival in London society causes a right old ruckus. Unusually for the 1870s, there’s also an Olivia Rodrigo cover and some steamy trysts.
The Great Erection Deception
Could this be the most bonkers thing ITV has made, ever? This excellently-named ITV docu-series tells the story of a Mormon and a vegan who teamed up to scam thousands of customers by selling them a “herbal” Viagra replacement. Even wilder, it’s all 100 per cent true; watch and goggle.
November 3, 2023
Time Season 2
Sean Bean’s BBC prison series Time nigh on broke the internet when it aired in 2021. Now comes season two: set in a women’s prison, this time, and following the stories of Orla (Jodie Whittaker), Kelsey (Bella Ramsey) and Abi (Tamara Lawrance). They’ve all been put behind bars for different reasons – and prison is a harsh education.
Any film that makes Killing Eve’s Sandra Oh the comedic foil to Awkwafina’s straight man is one that demands attention, and so it proves here. The Disney+ film follows the pair as estranged sisters who have grown apart after years – before (of all things) a game show helps to bring them together. Look it doesn’t make sense: just roll with it.
All The Light We Cannot See
This gorgeously-shot Netflix series is based on the book of the same name by Anthony Doerr. Set in the French town of St Malo, we meet Marie (Aria Mia Loberti), a blind girl trapped in the city as it’s being bombed by the Allies – and the German radio operator Werner (Louis Hoffmann), who is trying to save her. A real weepie.
Klimt and The Kiss
Viennese artist Gustav Klimt’s painting The Kiss is one of the most iconic pieces of modern art in the world – but its history is surprisingly dark. Now, a new documentary is taking a fresh look at The Kiss and the context in which it was made – as well as delving into uncomfortable areas, such as Klimt’s fascination with eroticism and attitude towards women.
October 27, 2023
No, it’s not a delicious dessert: it’s a band. In 1989, Rob Pilatus and Fabrice Morvan became the most famous duo in pop after a slew of massive hits… only for it all to fall apart when it was revealed that they hadn’t sung any of their own songs themselves. Were they in on it from the start, or thrown to the dogs by industry execs? The jury is still out, but this Paramount+ doc on the subject makes for fascinating viewing.
The Enfield Poltergeist
In 1977, small-town England was rocked by claims that a poltergeist was haunting a seemingly normal family. Almost fifty years later, Apple TV+ is taking a fresh (ish) look at the case, interviewing the girl at the centre of the hauntings (Janet Hodgson) and making liberal use of the hundreds of hours of audio tapes recording the supposed hauntings. Go on, treat yourself: it’s Hallowe’en, after all.
Why Does Everyone Hate the British Empire?
As the old joke goes, what have the British ever done for us? Well, that’s what Al Murray is setting off to find out. In this provocatively-named Sky show, Murray heads off to Australia, Jamaica, India and South Africa to chat to local comedians about the various ways in which the British Empire royally messed up. It’s sobering viewing, but – thankfully – Murray’s light comic touch sees us through.
David Oyelowo stars in this touching Netflix short (very short: 18 minutes) film about grieving taxi driver Dayo. The man behind it is Misan Harriman: a self-taught photographer, he’s best known for shooting Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, and as you might expect, this is half film, half art.