What’s your favourite Simpsons joke? This is mine: Lisa and Bart are having a row and Homer tries to stop them. ‘Oh, dad,’ one of them says, ‘we were arguing about which one of us loves you more.’
One intriguing statistic from last year’s television went almost unnoticed.
I have never met Roger Scruton, though I would like to; wine fans are slightly obsessional and enjoy clustering together, like trainspotters, though tasting rooms are more welcoming than the end of a platform at Crewe.
My favourite Alan Bennett story dates from when his play The Lady in the Van was performed in London.
Why do so many otherwise kindly people hate Children in Need (BBC1, last weekend)? We truly believe in helping needy children.
The X Factor (ITV, Saturday and Sunday) is the most popular show on television at the moment.
Wonderland: The British in Bed (BBC2, Thursday) consists of long periods of boredom interrupted by moments of extreme embarrassment.
Two things puzzle me about vegetarians.
Imagine the scene at some BBC committee meeting.
There was, for a while, some debate in academic circles about whether there was such a thing as cannibalism.
I expected to dislike Walk on the Wild Side (BBC1, Saturday), fearing sub-Johnny Morris, anthropomorphic, animals-say-the-darndest-things whimsy.
A semi-conscious Simon Hoggart attends a meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party in which the Prince of Darkness has replaced Gordon — and is cheered to the rafters
There is a word ‘deification’, but there ought to be a homophone, perhaps ‘dayification’, meaning the way daytime television spreads into the evenings.
On a train the other day I overheard a teenage schoolgirl tell her friends, ‘I’m going to watch Channel 4 from eight to midnight!’ When I got home I checked the Radio Times: she was looking forward to Embarrassing Teenage Bodies, Big Brother, Ugly Betty and finally Skins.
In Britain we seem to like success but are fascinated by failure.
Famous, Rich and Homeless (BBC1)
‘Hi, my name is Kröd Mändoon, and I’ll be your liberator this evening!’ says the hero of Kröd Mändoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire (BBC2, Thursday) as he bursts into a dungeon.
So it could be that ITV is saved not by a cigar-chomping, hot-shot show-biz executive but by a spinster from a Scottish village.
There are wonderful lines in Fawlty Towers, many from rants by Basil.
Simon Hoggart looks back over recent television broadcasts
The Private Life of a Masterpiece (BBC1, Saturday) got an Easter outing about Caravaggio’s ‘The Taking of Christ’.
Television often throws up unpleasant images to surprise you, like finding an earwig in the sugar.
The most gruesome television moment of the week I caught on Saturday night, part of the Red Nose Day mutual congratulation fest.
Last weekend we learned that Heston Blumenthal had closed his Fat Duck restaurant in Bray, because 40 or so customers had reported feeling ill.
Iran and the West (BBC2, Saturdays); The Victorians (BBC1, Sunday); The Firm (BBC4, Monday); The Krypton Factor (ITV)