What to watch

🏝️ Beyond Paradise | 🪖 Enemy in the Woods | 🛳️ 718k door

29 March 2024

In case you missed it

DI Humphrey (Kris Marshall) and Martha (Sally Bretton) in Beyond Paradise

Beyond Paradise

Sniffy critics “might raise their eyebrows” at Beyond Paradise, says Michael Hogan in The Daily Telegraph, but there’s a reason it was the country’s third most-watched TV drama last year. A spin-off from the Caribbean crime drama Death in Paradise, it is set in a “dreamy” coastal town in Devon and follows DI Humphrey Goodman (Kris Marshall), the much-loved character who left the original show in 2017. Marshall is “endlessly charming” as the bumbling hero, and season two – which includes an Agatha Christie-esque mystery on a sleeper train – has put to bed any grumbles that the body count wasn’t high enough. Granted, there’s no shortage of “whodunnit clichés”, and the “fiddly-diddly” folk soundtrack gets a bit grating. But this is still top-notch “escapism”.

Personally, I prefer the original, says Camilla Long in The Sunday Times. It’s always the same: some “Man from Del Monte Englishman” (most recently Ralf Little) superficially takes command of an investigation, while the local plod “nanny him, indulge his fantasies (he’s a great detective), then quietly solve the murders for him”. Neither series feels particularly believable – the beach in the Caribbean somehow looks more like Bournemouth. But this is a “confident, cosy, supremely well-oiled show”. And unlike all those vacuous streaming series, with their complete lack of plot and “perfect prop-clogged locations”, stuff “actually happens”. Joy.

Beyond Paradise is available on BBC here.
Two seasons (trailer here).

What to watch

Berlingo Battalion member 19-year-old Maksym

Ukraine: Enemy in the Woods

This documentary is “one of the most vital, remarkable pieces of filmmaking” you’ll see in a long time, says Dan Einav in the FT. It consists almost entirely of body-cam footage taken from the Berlingo Battalion, the Ukrainian troops who spent “seven deadly weeks” last November defending a strategically crucial railway line near the city of Kharkiv. The portrayal of bloodshed is “unsparingly honest”: you see the troops exchanging fire with Russian soldiers, scrambling for cover in foxholes and carrying the bodies of fallen comrades. “The immediacy is heart-stopping and stomach-turning.” Almost as haunting are the scenes back at base. In video diary entries, the young troops describe how desperate they are to return home, and talk movingly about “the magical thinking required to bear the loss of close friends”. Some of the most powerful moments are those with the fewest words, such as the shot of “a room full of the belongings of those who won’t return”. Ukraine: Enemy in the Woods is only an hour long, but it will “stay in the mind for much longer”.

Enemy in the Woods is available on BBC iPlayer here.

On the money

Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Rose (Kate Winslet) on the “fateful chunk of balsa wood”. Titanic (1997)

The door that kept Kate Winslet’s character Rose out of icy waters at the end of Titanic was a surprise hit at an auction of Hollywood props this week, says The Hollywood Reporter. The “fateful chunk of balsa wood”, which was actually just part of the door’s ornate frame, fetched $720,000. It beat other iconic lots including Tobey Maguire’s “black symbiote suit” from Spider-Man 3 ($125,000), Indiana Jones’s whip from The Temple of Doom ($525,000), and the can of shaving cream used to smuggle out dinosaur embryos in Jurassic Park ($250,000).