Archives For BBC

Forgive me, but when I first heard the premise – if we can call it that – of BBC One’s new Saturday-night filler Tumble, all I hoped was that Ashley Roberts might be found cavorting in leotard. Alas, she is not and no one’s doing anything as entertaining as cavorting in this utterly charmless programme. Continue Reading…

The 100 and Extant

July 27, 2014

The excitement, or at least the interest, of The 100 (E4) did indeed increase at an admirable rate over the second and third episodes. Luminous butterflies, deadly dust storms, some sort of panther on steroids – what more could one want? Alcohol and casual sex, you say? Well, you’re in luck there also; and how fortuitous that a bottle of whisky survived for all those many years. As for the (implied) sex, Octavia (played by the delightful, and delightfully named, Marie Avgeropoulos) is giving her brother Bellamy (Bobby Morley) more headaches than trying to run his own Lord of the Flies-esque dominion. Continue Reading…

No place for objectivity this, everyone concerned with Rebels of Oz: Germaine, Clive, Barry and Bob (BBC Four), from the titular subjects to its presenter, Howard Jacobson, are among my most admired literary heroes and cultural influences; thus, for me, this two-part documentary was so enjoyable it was almost indecent. I am too young to remember the days when this honourable gang of four dominated television, as guests or presenters, and certainly too young to have contemporaneously read Clive James at his height as a television critic, so I am grateful to YouTube and second-hand bookshops for providing access to their unique Australian brilliance. Continue Reading…

***Contains spoilers for Game of Thrones and Mad Men***

Image credit: BBC

Image credit: BBC

The observant, and interested, may have noticed that this year has been a bonanza for those of us who enjoy watching writers sit down and talk about their lives and work. Alan Yentob has clearly lashed The Culture Show and Imagine… together to provide us with a surfeit of moveable feasts spanning the entire BBC frontier.

Hanif Kureishi came out swinging first, swaggering and courting controversy like a bad first date; Julian Barnes scintillated at his wry, precise, prickly best; Lynn Barber, the famous interviewer of the famous, complained about the politesse of Gore Vidal and the petulance of Rafa Nadal; and, most recently, Edward St Aubyn gave a rare television interview. We knew it was rare because John Mullan, his interviewer, told us so. He also told us that St Aubyn is a writer of exquisite prose, which is true, but he, Mullan, might concede that television crews won’t be swarming the St Aubyn lair begging for him to appear. He was underwhelming, but the fact that anyone could talk with any amount of eloquence about the events of his life (rape, drugs, matrimonial euthanasia) is something to be grateful for – if it attracts more readers to his books, his publisher will be too. Continue Reading…