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.

Simon Hoggart: Chilean Miners

13 August 2011 12:00 am

A rich seam of drama

Dare to be dull

6 August 2011 12:00 am

Why can't we be shown old documentaries in full?

Power and influence

30 July 2011 12:00 am

Hold on to your seats, everyone, and grab yourselves a stiff drink.

Barking mad

23 July 2011 12:00 am

The latest series of The Apprentice (BBC1, Sunday) had, I gather, its best ratings ever.

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.