In honour of its 50th anniversary, Jason Horowitz explains why - despite evidence to the contrary - Moore's slightly geriatric and caddish Bond was best
If comedy is the new rock 'n' roll, then Magnus Betner may be its Lou Reed: deadpan, downbeat and determinedly difficult. The Swede tells us he is a "fucking superstar" in his home country, though it's hard to tally that with the jaded figure who explains he couldn't be bothered to give his show a name. "People would go to something because of the title? How stupid is that?" he seethes. Duly, his set is austerely gimmick-free. A vitriolic jeremiad sees him weighing in on numerous "horrible, tragic" news stories – his preferred kind – with provocative one-liners and skewed sermonising. Given the ground covered, it's inevitably a mixed bag – his rundown of the Aids "hierarchy" was as trenchant as his analysis of the Batman shootings was glib. But, in an hour that inspires as many awkward silences as laughs, his uncompromising commitment to serious humour is a perversely admirable thing.
It's becoming something of a Sky speciality. Spend a bit of cash to hoick something from the terrestrial channels and then give it its own specialist channel so devotees can dedicate 24 hours a day, or thereabouts, to watching their favourite thing. It did it for sports, then it did it for Formula 1 and now it's doing it for the Bond films. It struck a deal in April with MGM, the film studio behind the spy franchise, to take the films away from ITV (who previously held the exclusive rights, which is why you were rarely more than a few hours away from Thunderball on ITV4). And from the autumn, Bond will be getting his martinis poured without ads on a temporary dedicated channel on Sky, launching on 5 October, which will also get the TV premiere of the forthcoming Skyfall.
A smart comedian brings off that tricky first novel with energy and wit.
Pinewood's dream to bring the mean streets of New York and the Paris boulevards to the Buckinghamshire countryside has collapsed after the Government blocked the studio's development plans. Filmmakers were yesterday left bewildered as the decision came just a week after the Prime Minister announced his backing for the industry.
If there was a theme to Festival of the Spoken Nerd's mix of science and comedy tonight then it was pyrotechnics. From a tale of homemade napalm to a demonstration of a standing wave flame tube there were flashes and bangs aplenty, if no explosive end result.
Fawlty Towers and Monty Python actor John Cleese has been charged with speeding.
By Julian Hall