Audiences get a one-week respite from the TV veteran's jokes
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Friday 29 October 2010
Wednesday 25 August 2010
In 1984, I slept on the floor of the ladies toilet in venue 333 with my university theatre group. We were performing a kind of cross between Stanley Baxton and Ipsum and existing on deep-fried Curly Wurlys and pints of bitter. This year I'm in Heriot Row, very posh, eating sushi and doing a one-woman show. On every corner I meet ghosts of Edinburgh past. Heartbreak in the colonies, loneliness and despair in Dundas Street, love and exaltation in Macbeth Street. This year I'm here with my three children and have sat through seven early-morning children's shows. My 15-year old girl now wants to take up boxing after seeing Bryony Lavery's superb Beautiful Burnout. Result.
Thursday 24 June 2010
The Budget apart, when did you last splutter at someone you heard on radio? How often does a politician cause you to choke on your coffee at anything, apart from saying "less" instead of "fewer"? It matters, according to Rory Bremner, because we are entering the Land of the Bland. A time when big characters are ironed out of public life and eccentricity disappears with them. Politics post-Prescott is not just boring, it might even be bad for democracy.
Wednesday 23 June 2010
Thursday 06 May 2010
What with austerity, apocalypse and triple-A downgrades forecast (and that's just the beginning of the alphabet) it may be that everyone's going to need a bit of cheering up. And, unlikely as it seems, when the country is engulfed in financial crisis, the person you really want beside you is the sanguine Paul Lewis from Money Box Live. There are some who cite Money Box Live as a textbook example of oxymoron, but I feel its calming approach may be just what's needed in the months ahead. There is a feeling with Lewis that everything is going to be OK. Debating the debt crisis in the southern Eurozone, he might just as well have been discussing if it's worth changing your contents insurance. When an expert explained how credit ratings can nosedive from triple A to triple B he remarked, "sounds like my essay marks". Asking Vince Cable, "Do you think we might go the way of Greece in another 10 years time?" he might have been wondering which building society offers a half percentage higher interest rate. And this is adamantly not a criticism. There is a serious point to be made about the approach and tone of financial journalists. Back in the meltdown of 2008, the urgent thrill and the note of doom in Robert Peston's voice were said to move markets. Lewis, by contrast, has a polite tenacity and a genius for under-egging the pudding. Besides, how can you not admire a man who on his website proclaims, "My head capitalist; my heart socialist; my soul anarchist"? And it must work, because he's just won three journalism awards.
Friday 19 March 2010
In chapter four, the author explains it was peer pressure that prompted him to a) throw big balls of soaked newspaper from the school bus window and b) watch Top of the Pops.
Wednesday 24 February 2010
With spinning supremo Max Clifford newly recruited to represent Christine Pratt, expect the now-notorious National Bullying Helpline boss to start fighting her corner soon.
Thursday 28 January 2010
For a silent film festival, the Bristol Silents is certainly generating a lot of noise. The annual affair, which celebrates the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and Laurel and Hardy, has become the subject of an uncomfortable row within the comedy community.
Sunday 03 January 2010
Saturday 19 September 2009
Thursday 18 December 2008
Comedy actor Jack Douglas, best known for his appearances in the Carry On film series, died today of pneumonia.
Tuesday 04 November 2008
Wednesday 13 August 2008
To rattle off the showbiz names associated with the long career of Sir Bill Cotton is to recite a short history of television entertainment. The Two Ronnies, Morecambe and Wise, Michael Parkinson, Bruce Forsyth: the television producer, who died this week, had a big hand in all of their careers.
Sir Bill Cotton: Television executive who brought some of the BBC's most popular programmes to the screen
Wednesday 13 August 2008
Bill Cotton was one of the first BBC executives who did not frown on popular culture or treat it patronisingly, and under his stewardship, BBC-TV screened such extraordinarily popular programmes as The Generation Game, The Two Ronnies and The Morecambe and Wise Show. In 1979 the channel hit record viewing figures of 25 million on Saturday nights but Cotton modestly suggested that this was partly due to ITV being grounded by a strike.
Tuesday 25 March 2008
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
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