Gareth Roberts

Gareth Roberts

Gareth Roberts is a TV scriptwriter and novelist who has worked on Doctor Who and Coronation Street

Why Nella Rose was booted from I’m a Celeb

Farewell Nella Rose, second to be voted out of the jungle on the 2023 series of I’m A Celebrity…  As always, it’s hard (at least for a soft-hearted chump like me) not to melt and mellow when an evicted campmate returns to the real world via the recivilising medium of an Ant and Dec exit interview.

Nella Rose

I’ve finally given up on physical books

When I first heard about ebooks, I was horrified. Something deep within me flinched. Surely, I thought – my surface brain trying to rationalise this atavistic spasm – the tactile reality of books is an intrinsic part of the joy of books? Nowadays I only read a physical book if there really is no alternative

The mad cult of Doctor Who

When Doctor Who returned to wild acclaim in 2005, after 16 years off-air and about a generation of being regarded as an embarrassment, I remember turning to a fellow long-time apostle and saying of its legions of new young fans: ‘Well, maybe this time around they won’t be quite as mad as we were.’ They turned

David Cameron and the triumph of fence-sitting politicians

David Cameron is the king of the wishy-washy compromise. Cameron has never looked happier than when he appeared in the Downing Street Rose Garden in 2010 with Nick Clegg. There was something about being in that awkward Conservative-Lib Dem coalition that suited Dave. It was, of course, another attempt at compromising – by striking a

Suella Braverman’s downfall is nothing to celebrate

Rishi Sunak’s decision to recall David Cameron from his shepherd’s hut has been hailed as a triumph by centrist dads. They’re convinced that axing nasty Suella Braverman shows that the grown-ups are back in charge. No . 10 insiders are pleased with themselves: one person working in Downing Street told the Sun that the PM’s phone

When did we change our minds about Little Britain?

Little Britain is ‘explicitly racist and outdated’. That’s the verdict of viewers asked by Ofcom to watch a 2003 sketch from the hit BBC show. Back in the noughties, millions tuned in each week to watch the abominable David Walliams and Matt Lucas dress up as characters with names like Ting Tong Macadangdang and Bubbles

Israel, Palestine and the troubling silence of Britain’s anti-racists

There’s no room for racism in Britain, we’re told. EDI (equality, diversion and inclusion) initiatives and anti-racism strategies are everywhere. We’re all familiar with the ‘horror’ of micro-aggressions and unconscious bias. We are forever on alert for dangerous racial ‘dog whistles’. And yet the last few weeks has exposed a troubling blind spot when it

My favourite, ferocious teacher

In 1979, I was 11 years old, and I had a quite remarkable teacher. Don’t worry, though – this isn’t going to be one of those anodyne paeans to an inspirational educator that the Department for Education use in their ads to lure people into teaching. In fact, if the lady I’ll refer to here

The return of rational fear

‘I don’t feel safe’ is the cry of students the western world over at the prospect of hearing terrifying opinions such as ‘there are two sexes’ or ‘your skin colour shouldn’t matter’. This bluff talk of ‘hate’, terror and even, incredibly but regularly, ‘trans genocide’, used to come over merely as pathetic and entitled. Singer

Holly Willoughby and the trivial narcissism of television

Sometimes, the amazing crassness of television can still take your breath away, even from the longest-in-the-tooth viewer. Sky News has a correspondent reporting live from Jerusalem, in the midst of the worst pogrom since the second world war. On Tuesday evening he broke off from bringing details of the mass murder of babies in a kibbutz and

How Big Brother lost touch with reality

Big Brother is back – again. The show was axed by Channel 5 in 2018 but ITV has dragged it out of the grave. Watching the show’s opening episode last night made me wonder whether we’re trapped forever in a time loop with the big TV shows of the early noughties – Strictly, I’m A

Is Keir Starmer going to blow it?

When Boris Johnson won his eighty-seat majority, Labour looked to be destined to spend a decade or so in the political wilderness. But ‘Partygate’, the eventual defenestration of Boris plus the psychodrama of Truss and the fraught first year of Sunak meant that the tables turned. All of a sudden, dreary Keir Starmer – with

What happened when the Bully XL protesters met the ‘Rejoiners’?

London was swamped with protesters this weekend but not all of them saw eye to eye. Bully XL dog owners and ‘Rejoiners’ who want Brexit to be reversed stomped down Whitehall. Anti-monarchists Republic were also in town. Things ended predictably badly: one angry dog owner heckled the ‘Rejoiners’, screaming ‘Traitors’ at them as they waved

Are we heading for a Sunak and Starmer podcast?

Theresa May always had a camp appeal. The clumsiness, the dancing, the incredible squareness. Mrs Thatcher never took that crown – she had too much of a hard edge – though it was a surprise to me to discover that Australians and Americans saw only the hair and the handbags and made her that most tedious and

How did the ONS get its GDP figures so wrong?

The Office for National Statistics let a bombshell drop on Friday. Halfway down the first page of their grippingly-titled document ‘Impact of methodological and data improvements on current price and chain volume measure of quarterly gross domestic product (GDP), 1997 to 2021’, they slipped out this sentence: ‘Annual volume GDP growth in 2021 is revised

Biddy Baxter and the perils of remembering the past

I’ve been reading the cracking, crackling new biography Biddy Baxter: The Woman Who Made Blue Peter by Richard Marson (he’s a friend, but I wouldn’t sell you a pup). There is always fun to be had in the gap between the transmitted, necessarily anodyne, product of children’s TV and the real-life shenanigans backstage, and the story of