Sunday, 27 September 2009

in spiked 24/9/2009

Not anti-war so much as anti-hope

Slaughterhouse-Five, a fatalistic, despairing work, is perfect radio listening for a Sunday afternoon.

in spiked 18/9/2009

Keith Floyd and the end of an era

It’s not the death of the wine-soaked celebrity chef that has been changing TV cookery shows, but the recession

in spiked 11/9/2009

A TV postcard from Dublin

Forget about the Lisbon Treaty vote and the economic crisis, the burning topic in Ireland is the new Late Late Show host

in spiked 28/8/2009

The Futurists’ assault on our lugholes

Most of us associate Futurism with painting, but as Radio 3 recently revealed they made music - well, noise - too

in spiked 21/8/2009

Science TV strikes back

After a decade of decline, the semi-silly science programme is making a comeback – will it inspire kids to become geniuses?

in spiked 14/8/2009

An obituary to 
a once-great station

The eclectic mix of re-runs on ITV4 remind us that mainstream, commercial television could be great.

in spiked 7/8/2009

There’s nothing wrong with good repeats

Instead of rubbish new productions, cash-strapped channels like ITV should plunder their vaults for some TV gold

in spiked 30/7/2009

Why I prefer to Wake Up To Wogan

The Irish veteran's warm-hearted whimsy is far preferable to the quarrelsome heavyweight news on Today

in spiked 24/7/2009

Why does everyone want to be Irish?

From Angela's Ashes to Who Do You Think You Are?, the Emerald Isle is still a reliable source of self-pity

in spiked 10/7/2009

British TV’s sci-fi inferiority complex

Swearier, flashier, gayer and set in Cardiff, BBC’sDr Who spin-off Torchwood shows UK sci-fi can’t take itself seriously.

in spiked 3/7/2009

NASA: ‘Risk is the price of progress’

A brilliant documentary on the Apollo missions reminds us that, yes, going to space is a risky business, but it's worth it

in spiked 25/6/2009

Letting Ordinary Joe loose on the nation

Radio producers think phone-in shows are democratic. In truth they’re stuffed with whiny, clichéd invective

in spiked 19/6/2009

Funny women need to develop some balls

If TV panel shows are confrontational and laddish, female performers should stop moaning and get stuck in

in spiked 12/6/2009

Mitchell and Webb: third time unlucky

The third series of the comedy duo’s sketch show is too self-referential and knowing to be funny

in spiked 5/6/2009

Hey, let's all have a laugh at the past!

BBC4’s Meet the British showed us how the UK saw itself in the past, but only to snigger at our forebears’ misplaced optimism

in spiked 28/5/2009

Freud: not such a moody bastard

The Radio 4 tribute to Clement Freud showed that the BBC at least still does good radio

in spiked 22/5/2009

Why are so many people blank about verse?

BBC One’s Why Poetry Matters was a noble idea, but it proved to be more patronising than inspiring.

In Culture Wars, October 23, 2008

It is a cliché that today we live in a culture obsessed by ‘celebrity’, with the lumpen proletariat forever fawning over the minutiae of talentless non-entities who are famous merely for being famous. The popularity and power wielded by Hello!magazine, the profusion of famous nobodies spawned from and spewed out by Channel Four’s Big Brother and other reality television programmes, are often cited as proof of this cultural phenomenon. Perhaps the most visible evidence of our celebrity culture can be witnessed at local newsagents, which now sell a cornucopia of cheap magazine titles devoted entirely to the inexplicably famous.

in spiked 15/5/2009

Picking fights is just as human as taking flight

This week’s Horizon programme on violence showed that even pacifists can get a kick out of a punch-up

in spiked 1/5/2009

How the bottle gets the Best of you

BBC2’s Best: His Mother’s Son was a poignant tale about how alcoholism can ruin the lives of the most unlikely people

in spiked 23/4/2009

Comedy’s man of steel

Mark Steel's sharp and self-deprecatory humour shines through in his new laugh-out-loud radio show

in spiked 17/4/2009

A freakshow dressed up as documentary

Embarrassing Bodies is only a symptom of the deeper disease of dumbing down that now afflicts Channel 4

in spiked 9/4/2009

The world’s most deadly TV genre

As yet another ‘world’s toughest job’ show, Oil Riggers feels like a substandard rip-off with a Texan accent

in spiked 3/4/2009

Unoriginal, sterotypical, geeky — and very funny

Cult comedy Red Dwarf, set on a spaceship, is returning to our TV screens, with an injection of postmodern irony

in spiked 20/3/2009

Robert Peston: the most annoying man on TV?

Forget Fred the Shred: in his weird, garbled tones, it’s the BBC’s business editor who’s been talking us into a recession

in spiked 26/2/2009

The science of sleep

As two BBC documentaries revealed this week, we really need those 40 winks; without them, we'd go mad

in spiked 20/2/2009

The Amish are more American than you think

Amish communities are often depicted as a monolithic ‘Other’ to modern society, but the truth is far more complex

in spiked 6/2/2009

The all-new Minder: a passable knock-off

It’s a nice little earner for Shane Richie, but the remake of the Eighties favourite takes a few ‘diabolical liberties’

in spiked 29/1/2009

Expletives: the good, the bad and the crude

Yes, swearing can be a substitute for real humour. But used wisely and judiciously it can also be subversively witty

in spiked 23/1/2009

The changing climate of weather forecasts

From isobars and trained meteorologists to 3-D graphics and pretty faces, the evolution of weather forecasts is telling

in spiked 16/1/2009

The boring but 
beautiful game

We should resist demands to ‘sex up’ snooker: this sport requires patience, silence, decency and dickie bows

in spiked 9/1/2009

A shooting star in the comedy firmament

True or false: the one-off Christmas special of Vic and Bob’s cult quiz show proved it still has comedy cache?

in spiked 19/12/2008

Is this the end for the TV reviewer?

Multi-channel, multi-platform TV limits moments of shared viewing - and the need for someone to write about them

in spiked 5/12/2008

How to broaden the viewer’s mind

As the BBC’s recent Horizon programme proves, challenging, thought-provoking TV just needs a little time

in spiked 28/11/2008

Survivors: we’re bad and we deserve to die

The BBC’s new series, in which millions are wiped out by a virus, is perfectly attuned to the gloom of the moment

in spiked 20/11/2008

Stalin and Hitler were both evil? Go figure!

The BBC’s latest high-profile documentary on the Second World War finds a new way to tell us the blindingly obvious.

in spiked 14/11/2008

A heartwarming display of class contempt

Channel 4’s Rich Kid, Poor Kid was a hackneyed examination of class warfare. But it was touching all the same.

in spiked 7/11/2008

World’s Largest Metaphor Hits Iceberg 

The Unsinkable Titanic told the story of the doomed liner without the usual waves of misanthropy and anti-science

in spiked 31/10/2008

How the soap kills the murder plot

Murder mysteries are titillating and intriguing in literary and cinematic forms, but TV just can’t seem to pull them off.

in spiked 23/10/2008

Your spin-off for 10…

From The Colbys to Joey, TV is known for its dodgy spin-offs. Now even a quiz show is spawning new versions

in spiked 17/10/2008

Apollo 13: a triumph over adversity

A TV doc reminds us that even failed space missions can be inspiring. Surely it’s time we returned to the moon?

in spiked 10/10/2008

Unhappy birthday 
This Morning

Trite, inconsequential, and aimed at bored women: why celebrate this show?

in spiked 26/9/2008

Why I’ve changed my mind about Piers Morgan

He used to be a sleazy hack, but the formerMirror editor’s honest interviewing style is a breath of fresh air

in spiked 19/9/2008

In praise of the ‘Nazi Channel’

UKTV History shows that commercial channels can provide enlightening programming, too

in spiked 12/9/2008

The 9/11 faker: suffering as celebrity

Tania Head, who achieved fame posing as a survivor of 9/11, grasped the source of modern celebrity: victimhood

in spiked 5/9/2008

Why Metallica should never have cut their hair

Forget indie and punk and their conformist ‘anti-establishment’ views. Heavy metal is the real music of rebellion

in spiked 28/8/2008

Who does Jerry Springer think he is?

It was a bit much to watch the creator of hundreds of TV victims posing as an ersatz ‘Holocaust victim’ on BBC1

in spiked 1/8/2008

The Countdown to the end

With Des O’Connor and Carol Vorderman departing, the end is nigh for Channel 4’s words and numbers quiz