Ellen E Jones

Ellen is The Independent's TV critic. She writes a daily review of Last Night's TV and a weekly 'Inside TV' column for the i paper, as well as a column on general topics for the main paper most Wednesdays. Ellen is a former Hollywood correspondent and a contributing editor to Little White Lies, she's written on TV, film, lifestyle, travel and politics for publications including the Guardian, The Times, The Sunday Times, Esquire and Total Film.

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Middle Ages spread: Peter Ginn, Ruth Goodman and Tom Pinfold in 'Secrets of the Castle'

Secrets of the Castle, BBC 2: TV review: Like being cornered at a party by a medieval history bore

Born-too-late trio Ruth Goodman, Peter Ginn and Tom Pinfold will not be happy until a time machine is invented that can collect them from our present age of convenience and deposit them a few hundred years ago, where they can toil away to their hearts' content. In the meantime, though, there's Secrets of the Castle with Ruth, Peter and Tom, the latest from the team that brought us Tudor Monastery Farm.

Penelope Keith's Hidden Villages on More4

Penelope Keith's Hidden Villages, More4 - TV review

Penelope Keith, best known for playing lofty neighbour Margo in The Good Life, has proudly outed herself as "a villager" to present Penelope Keith's Hidden Villages on More4. This leisurely three-part wander through Britain's rural communities is inspired in part by Sir Brian Batsford's cover illustrations for a 1930s book series, and, naturally, it's very picturesque. The village greens, the church spires and the thatched cottages are all here in plentiful supply, but in this episode Penelope was more interested in how the uglier side of industry has impacted on the landscape.

Gotham's Golden Rule:

Gotham, Channel 5 - TV review

It's dangerous out there in TV City, but even those who rarely risk a detour into the dimly lit alley that is Channel 5 must make an exception for Gotham.

Step back in time: Lucy Worsley and Len Goodman in 'Dancing Cheek to Cheek: an Intimate History of Dance'

Dancing Cheek to Cheek: an Intimate History of Dance, BBC4 - TV review: Forget Miley and Beyoncé, Len'n'Lucy have all the right moves

Strictly Come Dancing fans already know the uplifting effect dance can have. It's only a shame that, that show aside, dance no longer occupies the central place in entertainment that it once did, back in the days of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Enter Strictly judge Len Goodman and historian Lucy Worsley, the Fred and Ginger of BBC4, with their new series, Dancing Cheek to Cheek: an Intimate History of Dance.

Greek mythological fantasy drama 'Atlantis' returns for the second series

Atlantis, BBC1, series review: ‘Game of Thrones’ without the sex, violence or laughs? No thanks

Atlantis is still a family show at heart, intended to appeal to  adults and children alike. That’s a difficult tone to perfect

Language-learning keeps the brain healthy and sharp as we age, reducing the likelihood of early-onset dementia

Learn the lingo and live longer: Foreign languages makes for more brain cells

The English have a well-earned reputation as the language-learning dunces of Europe, and traditionally that didn't bother us much
24 Hours in Police Custody (Channel 4)

24 Hours in Police Custody, Channel 4 - TV review

No one ever claimed Grantchester would provide an accurate portrayal of policework, did they? If that was what you were after, 24 Hours in Police Custody (Channel 4) had an episode focused on Luton Police Station's dedicated "honour based violence" unit.

Village voices: James Norton and Natasha O'Keeffe in 'Grantchester'

Grantchester, ITV - TV review: Our sermonising sleuth is heartbroken

But he soon cheers up when his sidekick is shot

Downton Abbey series 5 finale, review: Even Lady Rose and Atticus's wedding felt rushed

The episode raced through so much, leaving just enough excitement for the Christmas special

Doctor Who, Death in Heaven, review: The Doctor’s inner Malcolm Tucker comes to the fore but can he master Missy?

Like Hannibal Lecter in a Mary Poppins outfit, Missy was an unsettling mix of prim and predatory

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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game