With Sensitivity

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

I have not watched a single screen second of the BBC’s adaptation of Tender is the Night and have not the slightest intention of ever doing so. Nor, if you are half the reader I take you for, will you. I understand from some friends that the piece is, in fact, excellently done: beautifully filmed, […]

Uninvited Intimacy

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

I suppose that ‘intimate’ is going to be this year’s publishers’ word, in the same way that last year’s was ‘Trivia’. ‘Secrets’ has long been a standby. But even those well used to the optimism of publishers might be surprised to discover absolutely nothing remotely intimate or secret on any page of Uninvited Guests. ‘The […]

My Adventure with Wogan

Posted on by David Gelber

I may as well confess now that I adore snooker on television. More ink has been spilled over the phenomenon than on any other subject so I don’t propose to add to the swell of secondary and tertiary source material that will burden the research students of the future by saying too much on that […]

On the Box

Posted on by Tom Fleming

TELEVISION’s greatest enemy – aside from the BBC’s board of governors – is fine weather. The British are a weak-willed people – proud, of course, fiercely independent no doubt – but pusillanimous to a fault. (Though come to think of it, I never heard of anyone ever being pusillanimous to a virtue.) When they should […]

Astringent, Acerbic and Alembic

Posted on by Tom Fleming

Why, I wonder, did I not enjoy Dutch Girls, the over-heralded film by William Boyd shown one dark weekend in late November? Almost everyone else I know adored it. The performances were all there. The 25-year-old actors were realistically dirty-minded Gordonstoun schoolboys, and a very talented Dutch actress guiding them gently from confused adolescence to […]

Myopic Vision

Posted on by Tom Fleming

Poor Francis Wheen. He was undoubtedly given an impossible brief. Compiling a book to accompany a television series is rarely an exercise designed to stimulate creative thinking. When the series in question is fundamentally flawed the result is, unsurprisingly, mediocre. The Sixties looks and reads like a giant colour supplement, though mercifully without the ads. […]

Give Me Spots Any Day

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

A character in Christopher Hampton’s The Philanthropist once urged: ‘Don’t knock masturbation. Masturbation is the thinking man’s television.’ So now we know what you thinking men who don’t watch television are up to. And indeed we know what you are. It is to you that I address myself this week. Why don’t you watch television? […]


Posted on by David Gelber

‘I love to lose myself in a mystery’, Sir Thomas Browne confesses in Religio Medici. I know what he means. There are few more enjoyable pastimes than snuggling up with a good murder. But such mysteries are penetrable, ‘susceptible of rational explanation’ as Sherlock Holmes might say. Holmes, incidentally, is currently to be seen in […]

Very Mysteriös

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

Because this is a literary magazine, I’d like to concentrate from time to time on television writers, and am fortunate enough to be able to start with my favourite. Michael J Bird. My hero. And what is Michael J Bird’s trademark? What makes you unknowingly switch on a Michael J Bird show and say, in […]

Grave, Dex, Bail and True

Posted on by Frank Brinkley

‘Music is the deepest of the Arts and deep beneath the Arts,’ someone once said. Forster I think, though it may have been Hitler. I read Mein Kampf and Two Cheers For Democracy in the same week and I still keep muddling them up. Whatever. Music is certainly deep beneath what the universities call the […]

Sweet FA

Posted on by Tom Fleming

(Christmas is drawing near and an interesting idea for a very special present has popped up. See end bracket.) But now, a competition. I’m going to write out six words. The magazine will give SOME MONEY to anyone who can guess, by the time they get to the end of the article, what the words […]

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