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.

Waste not, want not

15 January 2011 12:00 am

‘I want everyone to be as angry as I am,’ says Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, and I hope he succeeds for the thing that makes him so angry is one of the things that makes me most angry, too: the senseless eradication of the world’s fish stocks.

Forgotten laughter

8 January 2011 12:00 am

The Radio Times now lists 72 channels, and that’s not all of them.

Weekly shockers

1 January 2011 12:00 am

Did you hear the one about Jordan’s disabled son? Unlikely, since you probably don’t watch Tramadol Nights (Channel 4), nor read the Mirror (‘Katie Price furious after Frankie Boyle joke about her disabled son’), nor the Guardian (‘Frankie Boyle’s Katie Price joke sparks Ofcom investigation’).

Top of the pops

18 December 2010 12:00 am

The most watched programme on British television this year was the special live edition of EastEnders, broadcast in February to mark the soap’s 25th anniversary.

Interview: Goodies’ triple triumph

18 December 2010 12:00 am

Here in HMV on London’s Oxford Street, three comedians are signing autographs.

Juggling statistics

11 December 2010 12:00 am

I love statistics.

Street life

4 December 2010 12:00 am

It is the 50th anniversary of Coronation Street and there seems to be as much celebration and feasting as there was for the Queen’s own golden jubilee, in 2002.

Tendentious drivel

27 November 2010 12:00 am

It told the story of two best mates, Frankie and Peter, serving in an unidentified northern regiment in Afghanistan where Peter quickly discovers he can’t cope under fire — and as a punishment is made the unit’s ‘camp bitch’ by the sadistic Lance Corporal Buckley (Mackenzie Crook).

Hard times

20 November 2010 12:00 am

Courtroom dramas filled the schedules this week, with Jimmy McGovern writing a series for the BBC called Accused (BBC1, Monday).

Rallying cry

13 November 2010 12:00 am

Britain’s Trillion Pound Horror Story (Channel 4, Thursday) was unquestionably the most important programme that will appear on British television this year.

All over the shop

6 November 2010 12:00 am

I’m writing this near Ludlow, a town which has miraculously kept its centre.

Education in horror

30 October 2010 12:00 am

When my brother and I were teenagers growing up in the arse end of nowheresville — Bromsgrove to its friend — we were mainly looked after by Nanny VHS.

United Nations

23 October 2010 12:00 am

There have been the usual moans about the BBC spending £100,000 on coverage of the Chilean miners.