Television

Under the radar

16 July 2011 12:00 am

Evan Davis clearly has a great sense of humour.

24-carat self-indulgence

9 July 2011 12:00 am

After watching Troubadours (BBC4, Friday) for about ten minutes, I was close to gibbering with rage.

Poverty porn

2 July 2011 12:00 am

British poverty is normally a subject for comedy, rather than documentary.

The glory of Rory

25 June 2011 12:00 am

I watched Rory McIlroy win the Open Golf last weekend (it was on Sky, so there was no Peter Allis and his reminiscences of clubhouse banter past; to my surprise, I missed him).

Stuff of legend

18 June 2011 12:00 am

A few years ago, my at-the-time-quite-impoverished screenwriter friend Jake Michie told me about this brilliant new children’s TV series he’d dreamed up about the Knights of the Round Table.

Righteous anger

11 June 2011 12:00 am

Can a documentary ever be as entertaining as a fictional feature film? And, if it can, does that mean it cannot be a serious contribution to public debate?

Princely war

11 June 2011 12:00 am

The Duke at 90 (BBC1) was another engagement in Prince Philip’s ongoing war against the media.

Is he a genius?

4 June 2011 12:00 am

You’ll forgive me, I hope, for coming back so soon to the subject of Adam Curtis, the first part of whose All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace was so ably dissected by Simon Hoggart last week.

Big Brother Beeb

21 May 2011 12:00 am

For the past few weeks, unnoticed by all but the most sharp-eyed critics, BBC1 has been running a Celebrate Communitarianism season.

Cartoon counselling

14 May 2011 12:00 am

The Trouble with Love and Sex (Wednesday, BBC2) was extraordinary and quite successful.

Farewell, Sarah Jane

7 May 2011 12:00 am

There’s a brilliant moment in the 1975 Doctor Who storyline The Ark In Space when Sarah Jane (Elisabeth Sladen), on a vital mission to save Earth from the evil insectoid Wirrn, gets stuck in a ventilator shaft.

Laid-back fantasy

23 April 2011 12:00 am

This is how heavily Game of Thrones (Sky Atlantic, Monday) is being promoted: the preview discs came with a big, wider than A4, stiff-backed glossy book containing pictures of the actors and the settings, plus a glossary and a guide to the programme’s fantasy land — more than any lonely schoolboy in his bedroom could wish for.

Carry on camping

16 April 2011 12:00 am

Britain’s Next Big Thing (BBC2, Tuesday) is another reality show in which members of the public risk humiliation for the chance of brief success and even briefer fame.

Cultural surrender

9 April 2011 12:00 am

When I was a teenager I used to upset my father by telling him I thought it would be really glamorous to die young in a car crash.

Personal grooming

2 April 2011 12:00 am

I found myself among a group of young people the other day, and they were talking with much hilarity about The Only Way Is Essex (ITV2, Sunday and Wednesday).

Our island story

26 March 2011 12:00 am

I vividly remember the moment when I saw my first black person. It was December in either ’68 or ’69, so I would have been three or four at the time, and my father’s works had arranged some kind of coach outing to meet Father Christmas. Seated near me was a black child a bit older than me, and I recall gazing fascinated at the blackness of his skin and noticing that it had white blotches on it like a mirror image of the dark freckles and moles on my skin. ‘Daddy, what are those white things?’ I asked, pointing at the boy’s skin. ‘Pigment,’ my father explained.

Apocalypse now?

19 March 2011 12:00 am

The BBC’s Horizon is, amazingly, almost 50 years old and this week, in its The End of the World? Guide to Armageddon (BBC4, Thursday), it looked back at some of its scariest predictions.

Triumph of the West

12 March 2011 12:00 am

If at the beginning of the 15th century you’d had to predict who was going to dominate the world for the next 500 years, the answer would surely have been China.

The real thing

5 March 2011 12:00 am

I had prepared myself for another rant at Comic Relief, a grisly occasion on BBC1 in which every year parades of slebs preen themselves on their good works.

Shameful bias

26 February 2011 12:00 am

So you’re the leader of the Netherlands’ youngest, and now second-most-popular political party — and the reason you’re doing so well so soon is that your policies strike a chord with many Dutch.

The human factor

19 February 2011 12:00 am

Successful programmes often become bloated, and MasterChef (BBC1, Wednesday) is headed that way.

Grandfather’s footsteps

12 February 2011 12:00 am

In the good old days, when Hackney still had a proper swimming pool, I used to do lengths every morning with an old boy called Bob.

Grown-up viewing

5 February 2011 12:00 am

Sky’s new channel, Atlantic, kicked off this week with two big shows: Boardwalk Empire, which is set in 1920 and is about gangsters, and Blue Bloods, which is set in the modern day and is about a family of New York law enforcers.

Wasted talent

29 January 2011 12:00 am

Just before Christmas, a TV production company asked whether I might be interested in appearing in a zappy new live and topical political series they were soon to launch on Channel 4.

Reality check

22 January 2011 12:00 am

Horizon (BBC2, Monday) asked, ‘What is reality?’ and didn’t really have an answer.