Tom Sutcliffe was The Independent's first Arts Editor in 1986 and is now a columnist and television reviewer for the paper.
Last night's viewing - Jonathan Meades: the Joy of Essex, BBC4; Locomotion: Dan Snow's History of Railways, BBC2
30 January 2013 12:00 AM
Jonathan Meades: the Joy of Essex began with Aaron Copland's "Buckaroo Holiday" on the soundtrack – an unexpectedly Western accompaniment to an uncherished bit eastern hinterland. Perhaps it was a kind of coded warning. Wedge one hand tight under the saddle and prepare to cling on for as long as you can. Because Meades's programmes are never the plodding mounts you'd pick out at the stable for a nervous first-time rider. In fact, they seem almost perversely bent on throwing their viewers off, vaulting and jinking, kicking-up almost constantly.
29 January 2013 12:00 AM
You probably missed Moving On, being go-getting types who don't lie on the sofa at 2.15 in the afternoon, eating Sugar Puffs and flicking desultorily between Classic Mastermind and Dickinson's Real Deal. What's more, you're probably not all that worried about having missed Moving On, daytime drama not exactly having a premium status. Moving On is slightly different though.
The Weekend's Viewing: BBC2 tackles the mysteries of life and charts the story of music...all in a weekend
28 January 2013 12:00 AM
Howard Goodall's Story of Music, Sat, BBC2 // Wonders of Life, Sun, BBC2
25 January 2013 04:17 PM
The broadcaster must think of its audience over "completist" concerns. Plus, the joys of an underwhelming exhibit at the British Library
25 January 2013 12:00 AM
"This is a post-watershed programme and contains adult content and language," read an advisory note on the screener version of Way to Go, a new BBC3 comedy about euthanasia. Thoughtful of them to point that out, but I do wish there were times when that was a guarantee and not a warning. And I'm not thinking about Way to Go particularly (more on that later) but about The Genius of Invention, a new BBC2 series about British inventors.
24 January 2013 12:00 AM
Bob Servant apparently owes his existence to email scammers. Like Henry Root, Willie Donaldson's imaginary letter writer, Servant was Neil Forsyth's alter ego in writing to online swindlers and con men, responding to them with a garrulous energy that drove even the most persistent of them to the point of distraction in the end.
23 January 2013 10:31 AM
For most British viewers, Louie’s reputation will have long preceded the thing itself. It runs something like this: groundbreaking low-budget comedy, impeccably free of interference from the suits and trading on the poor schlub candour of its online begetter – Louis CK, a comedian of cult standing.
22 January 2013 12:00 PM
Devotees of The Great British Bake-Off will be thrilled that it's back for a four-night run so soon after the last series. But they may be rattled to find that the traditional recipe that made it so appealing has been messed with. Everyone knows that a real Great British Bake-Off – the sort of Great British Bake-Off that your grandma used to make – should never, ever, ever have celebrities in it.
19 January 2013 12:01 AM
Plus: A four-letter word arrives on Radio 4 and the latest spin on a misused word
Last Night's Viewing: Carved with Love: the Genius of British Woodwork, BBC4
Inside Death Row with Trevor McDonald, ITV
18 January 2013 12:00 AM
One day someone will take away BBC4 and there will fall across the land a mighty lamentation, even though relatively few people watch it now and we all pretty much take it for granted. BBC4's problem – and this is by way of a confession – is that its programmes sometimes sound so worthy on paper that you're inclined to promise yourself you'll catch up later on iPlayer and watch something more indulgent instead.
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