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Just a slip of the tongue

Just a slip of the tongue

I was among a group of old media colleagues the other day and the conversation got round to funny tales from our long ago. One denizen of the newsroom at Grampian Television recalled a tale about Reflections. You remember Reflections: two-minute homilies, usually presented by a minister, occasionally a priest, and very rarely by someone from another religion or […]

Victoria Wood: exceptional

Victoria Wood: exceptional

She was probably Britain’s finest observer and writer of character comedy across the last 40 years. Some have said the finest since Dickens. She had an ear for the ridiculous and unwittingly funny dialogue which trips daily from ordinary souls, and an eye for visual comedy that often touched genius. I have surprised myself by how sad I […]

Vanishing Shetlanders

Vanishing Shetlanders

There is a mystery about the BBC’s highly popular Shetland detective series. I grant you, this noir drama is every bit as good as anything coming out of Scandinavia or London. The writing is sharp. The plots are twisty, yet believable, edge-of-your-seat tales. The cinematography is stunning. The Northern Isles are visual perfection for this sort of stuff. Here’s […]

Encouraging new talent

Encouraging new talent

Apologies in advance for this joke, but it was inflicted on me a couple of days ago and I don’t see why I should be the only one to suffer. Older readers might remember Hughie Green and his ITV talent show, Opportunity Knocks. Seven variety acts would compete for a place in a grand final […]

Chance meeting at Banchory

Chance meeting at Banchory

You know they say you should never meet your heroes because it will spoil the fantasy? I had a chance meeting at Banchory with one of my heroes who turned out to be as charming and delightful as I hoped he would be. I had been roped in as chauffeur to accompany Mrs Harper on various Saturday-morning […]

Bake Off beats them all

Bake Off beats them all

Why would a homely BBC TV series about baking be thrashing ITV’s big-budget entertainment spectaculars such as X-Factor? That’s the question that has ITV executives worried. Its one-time blockbuster weekend show is looking peely-wally compared to the record ratings being achieved by the Great British Bake Off. I think I have a clue: warmth. There is […]

Welcome back, Strictly

Welcome back, Strictly

Had you told me 10 years ago that I would be hooked on a TV show about ballroom dancing, I would have laughed and told you to behave yourself. Now, however, I am as bitten as 10million other Britons by the bug that is Strictly Come Dancing. The BBC’s most successful format export returns for […]

Downton or Upstairs Downstairs?

Downton or Upstairs Downstairs?

The second series of the BBC’s revised Upstairs Downstairs begins on Sunday evening and already TV critics are wondering if it will hold a candle to ITV’s Downton Abbey (above), which has sold round the world. Hold a candle to Downton Abbey? The BBC’s take on Upstairs Downstairs doesn’t even hold a candle to the […]

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