Our film and TV recommendations: What to watch, from Unwelcome to Lockwood & Co.

Our film and TV recommendations: What to watch, from Unwelcome to Lockwood & Co.

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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January 27, 2023

Unwelcome

The Irish countryside has never been so terrifying. In this new horror/ thriller film, an English couple (played by Hannah John-Kamen and Douglas Booth) move into an old house and are soon contending with a host of unfriendly locals – as well as some supernatural housemates that, Gremlins-style, need feeding every night.

Lockwood & Co.

In Netflix’s newest TV show, ghosts roam the streets in an alternate-reality version of London. Taking them on is Lockwood & Co, a plucky group of paranormally-sensitive teens (including Bridgerton’s Ruby Stokes) who are juggling keeping their business afloat with solving mysteries.

You People

This screwball Netflix film sees Jonah Hill star as Ezra, who along with girlfriend Amira (Lauren London), brings their families together to meet for the first time. Of course, with actors like Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Eddie Murphy playing the parents, things aren’t going to be simple. Expect to laugh (and, if we know Hill, cringe) a lot.

Buffering Season 2

 (ITV)
(ITV)

Iain Stirling isn’t just the voice of Love Island – he also stars in Buffering, the second season of which will be airing on ITV2 this coming Monday. Billed as a “semi-autobiographical sitcom”, it follows a group of friends attempting to navigate their late twenties, and has guest stars galore, including Emily Atack and Laura Whitmore.

January 20, 2023

That 90s Show

American sitcom That 70s Show gave the world Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, and now it’s back for a brand-new Netflix reboot. Featuring many of the same cast members - including Kurtwood Smith and Debra Jo Rupp - this new iteration will focus on the Formans’ granddaughter Leia as she visits Point Place for the summer.

Fight the Power

 (BBC Studios/PBS/Joe Conzo)
(BBC Studios/PBS/Joe Conzo)

“Black Lives Matter wouldn’t have happened without hip-hop.” That’s the opening statement of BBC2’s new four-part documentary and it doesn’t let up from there. Featuring interviews with Eminem, Ice-T and Chuck D among others on the intricate relationship between politics and hip-hop, this is a bold new look at a revolutionary art form.

The Chemistry of Death

One for the crime fans: this Paramount+ adaptation of English author Simon Beckett’s novels stars Harry Treadaway as ex-police investigator turned anthropologist Dr. David Hunter. Hunter is trying to build a new life after the loss of his family, but he finds himself donning the deerstalker once more following a gruesome murder.

Maternal

 (ITV)
(ITV)

Returning to work after maternity leave is utter chaos for the three doctors at the heart of ITV’s new drama Maternal. Starring Parminder Nagra, Lara Pulver and Lisa Mcgrillis as the women in question, it examines the creaking NHS and the pressures of balancing motherhood with a career.

January 13, 2023

The Last of Us

This Sky show is reimagining what video game adaptations can be. Travel along with Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) on a post-apocalyptic road trip full of zombies and nefarious humans. It’s sweet, it’s dark and it’s been receiving rave reviews across the board: well worth a few hours of your time when it drops on Monday.

Bad Education Season 4

 (Tiger Aspect/BBC/Matt Crockett)
(Tiger Aspect/BBC/Matt Crockett)

Though Jack Whitehall is gone, there’s no rest for the students of Abbey Grove: in the fourth series of the BBC sitcom, former students Stephen and Mitchell (Layton Williams and Charlie Wernham) take up the mantle as drama and PE teachers. They’ll be dealing with the cantankerous headmistress, a failed showbiz career and impeding parenthood: out on the Sunday.

The Met: Live in Fedora

In need of a music fix? Look no further than Giordano’s opera Fedora, which is returning to the Met for the first time in 25 years and will be streamed to UK cinemas from Saturday. This new production features soprano Sonya Yoncheva in the title role, and the plot follows her as a 19th century princess who falls in love with her fiancé’s murderer.

Super League

This AppleTV+ documentary retells one of the most mind-boggling football stories in recent memory: when some of Europe’s best clubs attempted to make their own “Super League”, which went about as well as anybody might expect: that is, very badly. It’s bizarre, and it’s sure to make entertaining viewing for any football fans.

January 6, 2023

Stonehouse

 (ITV)
(ITV)

This bonkers ITVX show has to be seen to be believed. Starring Matthew Macfadyen and Keeley Hawes, Stonehouse tells the story of the infamous MP of the same name, who faked his own death to escape a mountain of debts and accusations of spying. It’s funny, it’s bizarre and it’s well worth a few hours of your time.

The Light in the Hall

 (Alistair Heap / Channel 4)
(Alistair Heap / Channel 4)

From the silly to the sombre: Channel 4’s New Year offering is all about grief and obsession. After eighteen years, Joe Pritchard (Iwan Rheon) is being released from jail for the suspected abduction and murder of a young girl – and her mother, Sharon (a mesmerising Joanna Scanlan) is determined to make him pay.

If These Walls Could Sing

How do you improve a documentary about Abbey Road Studios? Get Paul McCartney’s daughter Mary to make it. So it proves in this star-studded homage to the famous music venue, which features interviews with Beatles, pop stars, crew and more: head to Disney+ to watch it.

Ginny and Georgia S2

The first series of Netflix’s Ginny and Georgia went viral thanks to a misplaced reference to Taylor Swift. Now, this mother-and-daughter duo are back for more shenanigans – and Ginny (Antonia Gentry) is struggling with the revelations that her mother (Brianne Howey) is actually a murderer.

December 23, 2022

Vardy v. Rooney: A Courtroom Drama

First, there was the post that started the whole Wagatha Christie phenomenon. Then there came the trial, and the play. This is the next iteration in the Wagatha story: a two-part Channel 4 drama which stars Michael Sheen as Coleen Rooney’s barrister and Game of Thrones alumna Natalia Tena as Rebekah Vardy. Tune in to witness the bonkers reality of the trial of the century: it doesn’t get weirder than this.

I Hate Suzie Too

Suzie Pickles is back, and this time around she’s attempting to rehabilitate her reputation as a reality TV show contestant in the latest edition of the hit Sky show. Written by Lucy Prebble and Billie Piper and starring Piper, season two (billed as an “anti-Christmas special”) is darker, funnier and more tragic than ever before: you won’t be able to look away.

Emily in Paris Season 3

Another year, another season of Emily in Paris. This year, everybody’s favourite hapless American is facing more than a few dilemmas: namely, which job to choose, and which boyfriend. Look, it’s not rocket science. But its cheerful zaniness makes it the perfect choice when it comes to opening Netflix and sticking something on over Christmas, so why not.

A Year on Planet Earth

For anybody who needs their fix of nature this festive season, look no further: Stephen Fry takes the reins from David Attenborough in this new ITVX documentary series. The show will examine the ways in which life is connected and how natural events affect the lives of individual animals.

December 16, 2022

Riches

Think Succession, but British. Launching Saturday, this ITVX show tells the story of the super-successful Richards clan. When its head Stephen (Hugh Quarshie) dies, the stage is set for a power struggle like no other as his estranged American children return – much to the dismay of the rest of the family.

1923

Who knew Helen Mirren and Harrison Ford could be the dream pairing we all wanted to see? This upcoming Paramount+ show is the next iteration in Taylor Sheridan’s Yellowstone series, which follows the Dutton family as they struggle to survive in a turbulent time for the American West.

Litvinenko

David Tennant gives it his all in a (rather brief) appearance as the doomed Alexander Litvinenko in this sensitively-handled ITVX drama about his demise. Though the show is a slow burner – it mainly follows the criminal investigation into his death - it’s also chillingly relevant to today.

The Recruit

YA heartthrob Noah Centineo (To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before) tries his hand at a new genre: the spy thriller. The adrenaline-powered Netflix show casts Centineo as a lawyer for the CIA who suddenly finds himself entangled in the world of international espionage when an asset threatens to expose agency secrets.

December 9, 2022

Quintessentially British

Tune in to hear some of our greatest acting treasures (among others) reminisce on the meaning of what it means to be British. Film-maker Frank Mannion turns his camera on the British public, interviewing cabbies, tailors, footballers and more on what makes the UK so unique. And yes, Judi Dench and Ian McKellen pop up to talk about Shakespeare: delightful.

I Am Ruth

Kate Winslet acts her socks off in this powerful drama from Channel 4. The latest episode in the “I Am…” series sees her appear as Ruth opposite real-life daughter Mia Threapleton, who plays her troubled on-screen daughter Freya. As Freya slips into depression and anxiety, Ruth struggles to cope – and the result is an unmissable hour of television.

The Confessions of Frannie Langton

 (ITVX)
(ITVX)

This gorgeous ITVX period drama has been adapted from the novel of the same name by Sara Collins. In it, servant girl Frannie is arrested for the murder of her master and mistress. She protests her innocence, but there’s a catch: she’s also addicted to laudanum and can’t remember anything that happened on the night in question.

A Spy Among Friends

Also debuting on ITVX (which launched on December 8) is Cold War drama A Spy Among Friends, which stars Guy Pearce as infamous double-agent Kim Philby and Damian Lewis as Nicholas Elliott, the man who sets off on a mission to confront and extract a confession from him. It’s all very tense, and there are a lot of cut-glass English accents: perfect spy fodder, in other words.

December 2, 2022

The Patient

Steve Carell takes the helm of this Disney+ thriller. In it, he plays Dr Alan Strauss, a psychotherapist who is kidnapped by one of his patients (Domhnall Gleeson). He’s about to embark on the job of a lifetime: Gleeson’s character is a serial killer who wants curing of his homicidal urges and failure (understandably) is not an option.

Branson

This major four-part documentary from Sky, landing on Sunday, takes a deep dive into the colourful life of entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson. Featuring jaw-dropping footage and fascinating insights into Branson’s life from friends and family (from multiple near-death experiences to being thrown in jail), this is Branson as the original business disruptor.

Sr.

This poignant and touching Netflix documentary puts Robert Downey Jr in the position of interviewer to his ailing father, Robert Downey Sr. Taking place at home, on the road — and as his health declines, in bedrooms and hospitals — and splicing in old footage from Downey Sr’s films, it’s an unusual but moving portrayal of the father-son bond.

Willow

Thirty years after his screen debut, Willow (Warwick Davis) is back. In this Disney+ series, evil is threatening the land of Tir Asleen once more, and a rag-tag bunch of royals, misfits and kitchen maids will set out to vanquish it. Oh, and the promised child, Elora Danan, also makes an appearance. Expect magic, action and quips galore.

November 25, 2022

Bones & All

“Sickeningly brilliant” is how our critic described Luca Guadagnino’s cannibal romance, which stars Timothée Chalamet as an anthropophagite with attitude. Co-star Taylor Russell is magnetic as his flesh-eating love interest. In cinemas now.

Wednesday

The Addams family’s now teen daughter is the star of the show in this wonderfully wacky Netflix series. In it, Wednesday (Jenna Ortega, below) gets sent to a Hogwarts for creepy kids and must investigate a murder spree while also — horror — fitting in.

Strange World

The ever-versatile Jake Gyllenhaal heads up this Disney animated film as the voice of Searcher Clade, the head of a legendary family of explorers. They head to an uncharted new land but have to contend with a mischievous blob, a three-legged dog and some rather hungry monsters. In cinemas.

Matilda

The feel-good film of the year is finally in cinemas. Newcomer Alisha Weir shines as Matilda in the movie adaption of the West End musical – the end result is so good you’ll wonder why it took so long to commit it to screen. Also, Emma Thompson chews the scenery as Miss Trunchbull: yes, please.

Upright

Before Milly Alcock broke through as Rhaenyra in House of the Dragon, she was in Upright alongside Tim Minchin. In the first series their characters (Lucky and Meg) set off on a wacky road trip across the Australian outback; in the second series, now airing on Sky, they’re back for more.

November 18, 2022

In Her Hands

Get ready to be inspired by the story of Zarifa Ghafari. At 26, she became one of Afghanistan’s first-ever female mayors, as well as the youngest-ever mayor to hold the title. But of course, it’s not plain sailing, and the film documents Ghafari’s fight for survival as the outside world closes in.

The Menu

This class war black comedy stars Anya Taylor-Joy and Nicholas Hoult as a rich young couple who visit an exclusive restaurant hidden on a remote island. However the chef (Ralph Fiennes, excellent as ever) has other ideas and the whole thing soon descends into mayhem and bloodshed.

Armageddon Time

Boasting an all-star cast (including Anthony Hopkins, Anne Hathaway and Jessica Chastain), Armageddon Time is director James Gray’s autobiographical coming-of-age tale. In it, Paul is growing up in 1980s Queens, New York when he makes a new friend and begins to question everything he knows.

Disenchanted

15 years after the original, Amy Adams is back for another bite at the (poisoned) apple as Giselle, the fairy-tale princess stuck in the real world. This time around, she’s still married to lawyer Robert (Patrick Dempsey), but when she wishes to improve her family’s life it all goes dramatically wrong.

November 11, 2022

The Crown, season five

It’s back and bigger than ever. Jump into the latest season of Netflix’s flagship show to discover the royal family at breaking point: Charles and Diana’s marriage is on the rocks, the royals are rapidly becoming obsolete and Windsor Castle is about to go up in flames … It’s still gripping stuff, even if it plays a bit fast and loose with the truth at times.

Retrograde

The latest documentary from the National Geographic (in cinemas today) is a fascinating look at the past nine months of America’s 20-year war in Afghanistan. Oscar-nominated filmmaker Matthew Heineman follows a US Special Forces Unit, a young Afghan general and the civilians who are caught in the crossfire of the Taliban takeover. It’s really harrowing stuff.

A Bunch of Amateurs

When anything is described as a portrait of “shared artistic folly” you know it must be good — this documentary takes us into the oldest British working-class amateur filmmaking club in Britain, Bradford Movie Makers. Come for the gorgeous Yorkshire accents and stay for the gentle British humour; appropriately, it’s in cinemas.

The Swimmers

Alternately shocking and heart-warming, The Swimmers is the true story of sisters Yusra and Sara Mardini, who escaped Syria as refugees, helped save their floundering lifeboat in the waters off Greece, and one (Yusra) ended up making it to the Olympics. It deserves to be seen on a big screen and is in cinemas for a limited time.

November 4, 2022

Enola Holmes 2

Sherlock Holmes’ precocious little sister is back for second helpings in this fun, bouncy Netflix sequel. In it, Enola seeks to solve the mystery of a missing matchstick girl – but of course, there’s more to the case than meets the eye and she’s soon in over her head.

Selena Gomez: My Mind and Me

This heartbreaking documentary is out now on AppleTV+ and seeks to tell the behind-the-scenes story of Selena Gomez’s adult stardom. Through backstage footage and interviews with friends, an image emerges of a fragile woman for whom fame is less of a goal and more of a trial.

Lyra

Directed by BAFTA-award winning Alison Millar, Lyra follows the life and death of Northern Irish investigative journalist Lyra Mckee. Based in Lyra’s hometown of Belfast, the film celebrates her journalistic career and struggle for justice - and mourns her untimely murder on the eve of Good Friday.

Return To Dust

Could this be the most controversial film of 2022? Pulled from Chinese movie theatres, it has nevertheless earned rave reviews for its tale of evolving love between two outcasts: the story of middle-aged farmer Ma, and the unmarried and disabled Guiying. Written and directed by Chinese writer Li Riujun, it’s out in cinemas from today.

October 28, 2022

The Devil’s Hour

Peter Capaldi does his best to menace the audience in this crime thriller from Amazon Prime. In it he is Gideon, a criminal with mysterious ties to social worker Lucy Chambers (Jessica Raine). Lucy keeps waking at 3.33am each morning — the Devil’s hour — and when she is linked to a series of brutal crimes in the area, only Gideon can help explain why.

The White Lotus S2

Jennifer Coolidge continues her career renaissance in the new season of The White Lotus at the helm of an A-list cast. This time a new batch of overprivileged guests are staying in a Sicilian hotel. When a body washes up, what results is a razor-sharp examination of privilege, sexual politics and vice. Sit back and enjoy.

Medieval

Touted as the most expensive Czech film ever made, Medieval tells the story of notorious 15th-century warlord Jan Žižka, who managed to defeat the biggest armies in Europe with his band of troops. With spectacular battle scenes, this is a film worth seeing on as big a screen as possible — just as well that it’s out in cinemas from today.

SAS Rogue Heroes

In a Libyan desert during the Second World War, three men strike up a plan to attack the Germans from the air. Steven Knight (of Peaky Blinders fame) is the scriptwriter for this rollicking series, which tells the story of the founding of the SAS. It’s stylish, it’s foul-mouthed and, most importantly, it’s fun.