Cooked-up tension

4 February 2012 11:00 am

Masterchef (BBC1) is a total waste of life — and I should know, because I’m addicted to it. It came…

Alien world

28 January 2012 11:00 am

My grandfather served in the trenches, but he declined to talk about it. I suppose the horrors had been insupportable.…

Adult viewing

21 January 2012 11:00 am

How in God’s name did Jonathan Meades ever get a job presenting TV programmes? I ask in the spirit of…

Dickens on screen…

14 January 2012 11:00 am

Nobody is going to be excused Dickens in his bicentennial year. This is good news for television people, since Dickens…

Sleuth at work

7 January 2012 11:30 am

One of my resolutions this year is to make a lot more money. But how? In fact, I’ve noticed recently,…

Watching brief

31 December 2011 10:00 am

The most watched programme on television this past year was the royal wedding, which is hardly surprising, since we had…

Disappearing lords

17 December 2011 9:00 pm

‘I don’t like him looking daft,’ growls Alastair Campbell to the camera as Bafta-winning documentary film-maker Molly Dineen shadows Tony…

Victory to the vicar

17 December 2011 9:00 pm

My prize for the best thing on TV this year goes to the comedy Rev (BBC2, Thursdays). I know Simon…

Sage advice

3 December 2011 1:00 pm

To the Manor Reborn (BBC1, Thursday) is undoubtedly one of the most brilliant programmes in the history of television. But…

Out of kilter

26 November 2011 12:00 pm

Can a critic simply be wrong, in the way that a mathematician who said that 3×3=10 would be wrong? I’m…

A girdle too far

19 November 2011 11:00 am

Fact: in 1963, air travel was so new and exciting that the awed gasps of the passengers as the plane…

Ritual humiliation

12 November 2011 1:00 pm

Ricky Gervais’s latest sitcom, Life’s Too Short (BBC2, Thursday), is really a series of sketches on his favourite themes —…

Padding out

5 November 2011 3:00 pm

One of the useful things about having teen and near-teenage kids is discovering what the vulgar masses watch. Last week,…

Et tu, Hugh?

22 October 2011 1:00 pm

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall thinks it’s time we all went veggie (River Cottage Veg; Channel 4, Sunday). Coming from a man whose…

Critics’ choice

15 October 2011 1:00 pm

I caught an intriguing session at the Cheltenham literary festival, titled ‘Secrets of the TV Critics’. As it happened, the…

Care in the community

15 October 2011 1:00 pm

‘We all need to rendezvous every week. It keeps us all as a community,’ said Jane Copsey on the In…

Nice Mr Fry

8 October 2011 4:00 pm

Whenever I find myself dreaming about how awful things would be under a red/green dictatorship — increasingly often, these days — the one person who gives me a glimmer of hope that I might get out of the hell alive is Stephen Fry.

Tale of the unexpected

1 October 2011 12:00 am

I imagine there is software that helps you write biopics for television. First you pick the childhood from a drop-down…

How to behave

24 September 2011 12:00 am

‘I don’t suppose the war will leave any of us alone by the time it’s done,’ prophesied one of the…

Out of sight

17 September 2011 12:00 am

There are some things television can do which no other medium can manage. Take one of those little-noticed programmes, Hidden…

Rebellious Prommers

17 September 2011 12:00 am

The Promenaders have excelled themselves this year. I thought initially they were slightly more docile and slightly less dotty than…

Money for nothing

10 September 2011 12:00 am

When future historians sift through the wreckage of Western Civilisation to try to find out where it all went wrong, I do hope they chance upon at least one episode of The World’s Strictest Parents (BBC3) and one of Deal or No Deal (Channel 4).

The odd couple

3 September 2011 12:00 am

Years ago I did some charity gig with Will Self, a sort of Desert Island Books. He had chosen a Raymond Chandler, and I remarked on the similarities between Chandler and P.G. Wodehouse.

Edge of darkness

27 August 2011 11:00 am

I’ve got this idea for a book, when I get the time, called Everything You Know Is Wrong. Its job will be to attack all the idiot received ideas of our age — what my father-in-law calls ‘notions’. High on the list of candidates, most definitely, is the commonly held belief (especially among stand-up comics) that Bill Hicks was the greatest comedian who ever lived.

Let them eat cake

20 August 2011 12:00 am

Prince Charles turned up on TV again this week, in Britain’s Hidden Heritage (BBC1, Sunday), wandering round a country house in Scotland that he had helped to restore.