The Rise of the Murdoch Dynasty BBC2/iPlayer ****

EXCLUSIVE: Brexit could not have happened without the help of Tony Blair, acting on instruction from Rupert Murdoch.

EXCLUSIVE: Charlotte Church allegedly waived a £100,000 fee for singing at the media tycoon’s second wedding in return for favourable coverage in future.

EXCLUSIVE: The real life scrap between the Murdoch kids for supremacy makes the Brian Cox-led drama Succession look like The Waltons.

It seems necessary in any review of a documentary about Rupert Murdoch to start with a splash or three. Pick out the juicy tidbits. Is that not the tabloid way, the branch of journalism with which he is most closely associated?

Look closer, however, and all is not as it seems. The Farage story is fresh, but the Church tale was first aired at the Leveson Inquiry and the Succession point is mere observation. Yet that mix of modes, slipping between fact and fiction, objective and subjective, is the Murdoch way too.

Hard man to pin down, Mr Murdoch. This three-part series, a sort of Dynasty without the shoulder pads, was the latest attempt to unravel the enigma, and it showed promising signs of having the chutzpah to go further than its predecessors. Or at the very least make a decent fist of a fascinating story.

Made by 72 Films, the production company behind 9/11, a six part series on the attacks on the US, the first episode featured many of the usual suspects – Piers Morgan, once a Murdoch editor, Alastair Campbell, ex-press secretary to Blair, etc – saying pretty much what you would expect.

The strength of the piece lay in the way it built a story about power: who had it and who did not, and what that meant for the rest of us.

So the first episode laid bare the great Blair-Murdoch bromance, begun in earnest when the Labour leader flew to Australia to woo the media boss and his executives. According to Campbell, Murdoch said his rapprochement with Blair was like two porcupines making love: it had to be done very slowly and very carefully. “Bit f****** weird,” said Campbell.

It got weirder. Once New Labour was in government, having secured the backing of the Murdoch empire, the relationship became “almost incestuous”, said Andrew Neil.

How close they became was illustrated by the tale of Blair and the euro. In a piece for the News of the World, Blair promised that the UK would not join the EU currency without a referendum. This, according to Nigel Farage, was the price of Murdoch’s support for New Labour – asked and granted.

“If Rupert Murdoch had not done that we would have joined the euro in 1999 and I doubt Brexit would have happened,” claimed Farage.

What happened next in the programme was more remarkable. The interview over, Farage’s lapel microphone was taken off. But the main mic was still running.

“To be honest,” said Farage, relaxing into off camera mode even though the recording was still going on, “I did ask him whether he wanted me to do this, and if he said no I wouldn’t have done it. But he said yes, do it.”

Now, presuming “he” was Murdoch, did this mean the media boss was trying to spin a documentary about himself, to make himself look even more powerful?

That the filmmakers included the Farage "extra" was a promising sign that they were ready to engage in some journalistic rough and tumble of their own to get the story. One fancied Mr Murdoch, if he was watching, might have approved.

The film had promised to look at the “rise and fall and rise again” of the dynasty, and by the end of episode one we had entered the phone hacking saga, the point at which the empire quaked.

Throughout, the most fascinating segments were those looking at the Murdoch heirs. Much of the material on that subject came from an ABC Australia series, Dynasties: The Murdochs. Whether there will be anything new to add on this, and any other matter, depends on those who have worked most closely with Murdoch speaking out.

Thus far, no dice. The most noteworthy thing said by Les Hinton, who worked for Murdoch for 52 years, concerned a get-to-know you dinner between his boss and the Blairs. “Cherie’s a bit strange but I like him,” was Murdoch’s assessment. Hardly stop the press stuff, but stick around: there might be more to come.