Fifteen years in the making, this is the true-crime tale of the tiny Sicilian TV station that took on the mob – and even when the death threats were constant, they stayed on air

Whether deliberate or not, the release of new Netflix series Vendetta: Truth, Lies and the Mafia very neatly coincides with that of the Sopranos prequel, The Many Saints of Newark. But while the latter is an offshoot of a TV show that went out of its way to deglamorise the mob, compared with this new documentary it stinks of Hollywood artifice. Indeed, there is a bracing lack of romance here; rather, it is a slow procession of old, tired men and women smoking indoors, worn down by the relentlessness of it all.

Vendetta tells the story of Telejato, a tiny, local Sicilian television station that made its name with a virulently anti-mafia stance. Fronted by Pino Maniaci – a small, chainsmoking man with a moustache so huge it makes him look like a Pixar character – Telejato news bulletins often took to calling out specific members of the mob directly. It wasn’t entirely unexpected to see Maniaci spit: “You pieces of shit,” while jabbing his finger at the camera, which you have to admit isn’t something you would expect from Huw Edwards.

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