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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Close to home: Lorraine Pascale with Marion and John Bird, her first foster parents

Fostering & Me with Lorraine Pascale, TV review: A model guide to the country's foster-care crisis

If you thought Uruguay was a tough draw, then spare a thought for the poor TV programmes going up against an England World Cup match. Rising to the occasion means the opportunity to unite non-football fans around an exciting viewing alternative, but judging by what was on the other side during England vs Italy (Road Rage Britain: Caught on Camera, anyone?) most channels don't bother. Fostering & Me with Lorraine Pascale (BBC2) was a happy exception, thanks to the TV chef's natural manner and eventful personal history.

Curiosity shopping: Craig and Michael in 'The Auction House'

The Auction House, Channel 4 - TV review: 'These eccentric antique hunters are value for money'

The subject of Channel 4's new three-part series The Auction House was hardly original, but the setting had much to offer that Prestige, the pawnbrokers from April's Posh Pawn, didn't. Lots Road Auctions in Chelsea is a real-life Old Curiosity Shop, with satisfyingly Dickensian characters to match.

The Girl Who Talked to Dolphins

The Girl Who Talked to Dolphins, BBC4 - TV review

Those who spotted last week's salacious headlines about a woman and a dolphin may wonder why BBC4 didn't choose a very different verb to title last night's documentary, The Girl Who Talked to Dolphins. Those who saw last night's documentary, however, will understand. The story of Dr John Lilly's experiment with interspecies communication is about so much more than a bit of human-dolphin lovin'.

Making waves: ‘Orange Is the New Black’ star Laverne Cox

Orange is the New Black season 2: What diversity on TV should look like

Last month, the cover of the venerable American magazine TIME featured a first in its 91-year history; a transgendered cover star. Actress and activist Laverne Cox struck a graceful pose in a blue dress and black heels, while the cover line heralded ‘The Transgender Tipping Point’. How did Cox achieve such prominence? Her role in a little show called Orange is The New Black might have had something to do with it. 

Louie, TV review: Definitely not a sitcom but strangely riveting

It's time for us all to admit that Louie, the show created by and starring stand-up comedian Louis C.K. is definitely not a sitcom. If you haven't seen Louie, which is on its fourth series, but irritatingly scheduled at 11pm on satellite and cable channel Fox, then the closest comparison is probably Seinfeld.

Grass act: George Clarke (right) with Olly and Tamsin from Bolton

George Clarke's Amazing Spaces, TV review: Hare-brained builders learn a few home truths in this superior property show

George Clarke's Amazing Spaces (Channel 4) is superior to the other property shows because it isn't really a property show at all; it's a people show. The architect-builder-cum-TV presenter's true subject is the kind of ambitious eccentric who would never let a lack of funds, or a law of physics get in the way of a hare-brained building scheme.

The search is on: Eva Birthistle and David Murray in 'Amber'

Amber, BBC4 - TV review: A characterless crime thriller not worth staying on the case for

Here is another foreign-made drama series to fill the Killing-shaped hole in BBC4's evening schedules. Originally made for Ireland's RTE, Amber stars Eva Birthistle (Waking the Dead, Strike Back) and David Murray (Quirke) as recently separated couple Sarah and Ben Bailey. When their 14-year-old daughter Amber goes missing, the Baileys are forced into a reunion of sorts, as they attempt to organise an effective search.

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: the 14th series

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Channel 5 - TV review

In CSI: Crime Scene Investigation there's always the certainty of death. The 14th series of what's reckoned to be the most watched television show in the world began on Channel 5 last night with a funeral – but what exactly were we mourning?

The new series of Jamie's Money-Saving Meals (Channel 4)

Jamie's Money-Saving Meals, Channel 4 - TV review

Perhaps Jamie Oliver would be more appealing if he too had remained the chubby-cheeked Essex boy of The Naked Chef. In the new series of Jamie's Money-Saving Meals (Channel 4), it was apparent that a change had come over the TV chef. The premise of this show is that these days everyone is too cash-poor and time-poor to faff around with Nigella-style indulgence.

Recipe for success: 'Dinner at 11'

Dinner at 11, Channel 4 - TV review: 'These precocious child diners know how to put on a real feast'

From the mouths of babes! Last night, Channel 4's Dinner at 11 documentary brought together a group of strangers from all over the country to dine together and discuss the issues of the day. The twist? All of them were still at primary school.

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Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn