Uninvited Guests: The Intimate Secrets of Television and Radio by Laurie Taylor and Bob Mullan - review by Craig Brown

Craig Brown

Uninvited Intimacy

Uninvited Guests: The Intimate Secrets of Television and Radio


Chatto & Windus 218pp £9.95 order from our bookshop

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 Well-Worn Second Hand Opinions on Television and Radio’ might not have had quite the same ring as a subtitle, but it could have guaranteed the book sales in those wide sociological circles where dreariness is synonymous with merit. But then again, the sociological circles would probably be disappointed: Laurie Taylor and Bob Mullan may say nothing, but they mouth it in far too smiley and entertaining a way for their book to be regarded as academically sound.

Ducks sometimes want to be swans and sociologists sometimes want to be wits, but wit has no basis in statistics. Here the dream founders. Laurie Taylor and Bob Mullan (note the unexpected antialphabetical order of the names) have teamed up with a thrusting research company to question our old friends,

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