Gerard Gilbert

Gerard Gilbert is a television writer and feature writer for The Independent.

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Secret society: 'CCTV: Caught on Camera'

CCTV: Caught on Camera, Channel 4 - TV review

CCTV: Caught on Camera (Channel 4) sounds like one of those cheapo clip shows you find nestling between "My Neighbour the Benefit Cheat" and "50 Greatest Breakfast TV Presenters of the 80s", but is actually more thoughtful than its title suggests.

Home truths: Ann featured in ‘Britain’s Benefit Tenants’

Britain's Benefit Tenants, TV review: Insightful programme shows there's such a thing as society

Advice to documentary makers: if you want to be commissioned by Channel 4 or Channel 5, write a proposal with the word "Benefit" or "Immigration" in the title. The two broadcasters are currently in fierce competition to attract the sort of mass viewership that turned Channel 4's Benefits Street into a national conversation, and while that programme's makers are reportedly struggling to find claimants willing to appear in a second series, or in a proposed project set in Southampton entitled Immigration Street, there seems to be room for a new show on the subject; something along the lines of last night's Channel 4 film Britain's Benefit Tenants.

Mad Men has ended its current run on a mostly high note

Inside Television: Plinky-plonk notes in documentaries don't raise a smile

I can't help noticing that the incidental music in television documentaries is becoming increasingly hard to differentiate from one programme to the next.

Alan Davies, Kevin Eldon and Jo Brand in 'Playhouse Presents: Damned'

Playhouse Presents: Damned, TV review: Yes, it's formulaic - but it's my kind of formula

The professional social services depicted in Playhouse Presents: Damned, the latest in Sky Arts 1's series of one-off comedy-dramas didn't seem to care.

On the ball: Team England in Brazil in 'Street Kid World Cup'

Street Kid World Cup, BBC3, TV review: 'Streetwise teens show their winning ways in a heartening documentary'

"Lelah! No phones out here, this is a game of football!" cajoled the England coach Jack, having managed to persuade his star midfielder to extinguish her cigarette but not to remove her piercings. Roy Hodgson's problems with his England team may be many, but they don't extend to asking Stevie Gerrard not to send text messages during a World Cup match.

The first batch of Celebrity MasterChef contestants

Celebrity MasterChef, BBC1 - TV review: Reheating of stale personalities is back

I'm genuinely intrigued to watch tonight's concluding episode to see how they get on – far more interested than I am to see who wins this year's Celebrity MasterChef (BBC1).

A whole new ball game: 'David Beckham into the Unknown'

David Beckham into the Unknown, BBC1 - TV review: 'Brand Beckham's Amazon adventure is a bit of an own goal'

One of the more interesting moments in last night's not-uninteresting BBC1 documentary David Beckham into the Unknown, in which the footballing star and three of his closest male friends travelled by motorbike through the Amazon rainforests, occurred before he even left home.

Hot spot: Simon Reeve, left, and Kate Humble, second left, visit Australia in ‘Wildfires 2014: Inside the Inferno’

The Weekend’s TV: Wildfires 2014- Inside the Inferno, I Bought a Rainforest

This workaday look at the science  of wildfires lacks a bit of spark

Dublin-born Gabriel Byrne returns to the city to star in BBC1's Fifties-set crime noir Quirke

The show is the creation of Byrne's compatriot Benjamin Black – aka Booker Prize winner John Banville. They tell Gerard Gilbert why Ireland still stirs up painful memories
The power and the gory: ‘Penny Dreadful’ is the latest in a long line of splatter-happy TV shows to hit our screens

Do we need so much shock and gore on TV?

As the latest splatter-happy show starts on the small screen, Gerard Gilbert wonders why viewers, far from being sated, are still baying for blood and guts
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Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick