Thursday, January 14, 2010 by

The end

The end

With the recent technical difficulties and all (still not resolved at the time of writing, but our webhosts have now fallen silent, so who knows?) I’ve been prompted to make a decision about this site’s future, or lack of.

As of today – and fast on the back of Ian’s excellent and final chart of the decade -¬†there will be no more updates on However, it will remain online, as is, until its HTML rusts into pixel dust… or someone pulls the plug. I will, though, be switching off the comments in due course.

The thing is, the recent technical kerfuffle really brought it home to me that I no longer have the time or the appetite to keep this thing running. When it looked like it might be wiped off the web altogether I actually felt – well – a fair bit of relief.

In addition, I ¬†also firmly believe OTT’s time has passed. We’ve done 10 years of this and it was lots of fun, right?

So it’s a massive thank-you to everyone who’s contributed over the years. You’re all great, but I must give a special tip of the Graham Kibble-White-shaped hat to Jane Redfern who has tirelessly built and rebuilt various versions of the site. She’s my personal unknown stunt(wo)man who’s made me look so fine (er, kind of). My gratitude also to Jack Kibble-White, Ian Jones, Steve Williams and TJ Worthington who between them have probably written about 70 percent of what’s up here. In fact I’m going to attribute about 30 percent to Ian alone. Additional thanks to the man who exhales, David J Bodycombe, who’s benevolently hosted us for ages now… while also making BBC4′s Only Connect. What a hero.

Plus, a public apology to Jack and Steve who’d both been working on a huge new feature for the site which will now never be published.

I shan’t get all dewy-eyed, don’t worry. I did that a few months back (and doesn’t that valedictory penultimate paragraph now look a bit rubbish?). Oh, and in terms of life-frittering online projects, I’m still well tooled-up. TV Cream keeps me terribly busy and my enthusiasm for it is a long way from flagging.

My only regret is we won’t be around to file another daft big General Election report. I really liked them.


32 Responses to “Closedown”

  1. Nick Gates on January 15th, 2010 12:14 am


    That is all.

  2. David on January 15th, 2010 12:25 am

    It’s been good. Very good!

    Thanks – and enjoy your well-deserved free time.

  3. Rob Williams on January 15th, 2010 1:19 am

    Thanks to everyone who made the site so readable, as a one time and one time only reviewer. It gave people the chance to properly talk about television…

  4. Dominic Small on January 15th, 2010 1:54 pm

    In a world of hype and reactionary noise, OTT provided a haven for quality. I thoroughly enjoyed contributing, but more than that, I thoroughly enjoyed reading the fine work of others. Good to know that the archives will – for the time being, at least – still be up. My thanks and such to Graham and to all who sailed the good ship.

  5. Nigel Fishwick on January 15th, 2010 2:32 pm

    Thanks to everyone who worked on and contribted to the site. It’s always a pleasure to read and will be missed (I hope TVC can in some way keep some of the features afloat? I’d hate for there to be no more Christmas Logs for instance).

    Best get some PDFs of all the articles I’ve yet to read…

  6. MartS on January 15th, 2010 2:39 pm

    I was going suggest what Nigel has just done – any chance a dusty unused corner of TV Cream can be commondered into use for some of the features that OTT would normally upload to the wider world?

    If not – thank you for all the articles that got me through some very quiet days at work since 2002 (History of Nationwide, Hi-de-Hi, and the TV Theme Tune and Bad programmes considered piece PDF’s are still regular favorites of mine).

    It’s been a blast, but goodnight OTT – and don’t forget to turn your television set off at the mains before you retire for the night…


  7. Ian Potter on January 15th, 2010 5:29 pm

    Thank you. You were the best.

  8. NIck H on January 15th, 2010 7:36 pm

    First Noise to Signal, now this!

    Well done for such an informative site, one that actually offers perspective and hindsight rather than praise US series to death first and ask questions later which we get from most of the media. Goalmouths was a particular triumph amongst the articles but I own personal favourite was The Christmas Logs.

    You were fortunate in that the decade you covered was in many respects a good one for televison (imagine if you started out in the mid-90s, that would have been a grind!).

    Can’t say I’ve always agreed with the reviews but they were as good as the best of what’s to offer in the print media, probably even better…

  9. Mike Baker on January 15th, 2010 8:02 pm

    Like Rob I’m a one-time reviewer – waaaaaaaaaaaaay back in 2003, I think. Thanks for all the great articles – really enjoyed the site as a More serious little sister to TV Cream, used to subscribe to the newsletter, etc. A shame it’s closing, but all good things and everything.

  10. Lewis on January 16th, 2010 1:23 pm

    Sorry to see OTT go. The Christmas logs really became a new years tradition, and I echo others suggestions of continuing it on TV Cream perhaps?

    But I will remember most laughing like a drain at the election coverage pieces. Good bye, and Good Luck!

  11. Dominic Small on January 16th, 2010 3:42 pm

    Given that OTT won’t be around any more, I’ve decided to set up a “Continuity OTT” (that’s Continuity in the television sense, of course); I’ll be posting occasional TV-themed thinkpieces on a new blog of my own, currently on MySpace until a better offer comes along. It’s an attempt to carry on my passion for writing articles about TV topics – a passion ignited by being an OTT reader.
    Keep your eyes peeled at and you’ll hopefully see a range of telly-tinged feature articles. Once I’ve got around to writing some more.
    It’s very much a work in progress right now (with me doing all the work) but I hope it can carry on the OTT spirit. Hopefully, for a while at least, the flame will still burn…

  12. Andy McGough on January 16th, 2010 7:27 pm

    Very sad. I read this site, among many other reasons, to keep me in touch with TV back home (emigrated to the US in 2005). In many cases the nostalgia quotient, especially with the old Christmas TV reviews, left me weeping for the old country. Great writing, very informative, I’ll miss it greatly.

  13. Applemask on January 16th, 2010 8:03 pm


  14. Nathan on January 17th, 2010 9:53 am

    I seconds that!

  15. John Hoare on January 17th, 2010 4:57 pm

    Made a note in my diary on the way here. Simply says: “Bugger”.

    OTT was a huge influence on (which I co-ran for four years, and closed down in December). I’ll really miss this place, but I’m glad the articles are staying up – it’s an incredible body of work that you should be proud of.


  16. Martin on January 17th, 2010 11:47 pm

    As has been said, a real pity.

    But will this mean you won’t get invited to the Dr Who press screenings now? Worth giving up the site for?

  17. Graham Kibble-White on January 18th, 2010 11:26 am

    Heh! Don’t worry, Martin. My day job gets me into Doctor Who screenings.

  18. NIck H on January 18th, 2010 7:44 pm

    You’re a contributor to DWM now, aren’t you Graham?

  19. Glenn Aylett on January 20th, 2010 7:49 pm

    A shame to see a good site fade away as OTT has long given me plenty of enjoyment after accidentally stumbling across it one day looking for Christmas television schedules. OTT is gone but not forgotten.

  20. Mark Jones on January 21st, 2010 8:39 pm

    A huge shame to see an end to OTT. Since discovering it around nine years ago, I’ve spent an almost terrifying number of hours spent poring over the brilliant articles contained within, and it is comforting to know the content will be staying online, at least for now.

    One quick suggestion – the price of on-demand printing services such as Blurb or Lulu is now remarkably low (with no fee charged for making something available initially). With a few writers making up the bulk of OTTs content, maybe a “Best Of OTT” physical book could be made available, so that the content can be preserved for much longer than the server will allow? It’d take a bit of work, but given the permission of those involved, I’d even be happy to volunteer to compile everything into a single document. Just a thought, anyway.

  21. Graham Kibble-White on January 22nd, 2010 11:00 am

    Mark, if you were up for doing such a thing, then you certainly have my blessing.

  22. Nigel Fishwick on January 23rd, 2010 7:44 pm

    I’d be more than willing to shell out for such a book.

  23. Mark Jones on January 24th, 2010 12:38 am

    I certainly would be up for doing such a thing, though I’d need to get in touch with more of the contributors first, just to check it’s okay to use their work like that. Graham – could you drop me a line at brokenindustries (at) when you get a moment? Ta!

    Out of curiosity, I’ve just taken all of the articles from the drama section alone, and placed them into Lulu’s US trade paperback (6″ x 9″). Just that one section takes up 200 pages. Blimey.

  24. televisualcabbage on January 24th, 2010 9:20 pm

    A great idea Mark! We must not let a site which has seen its self even turn to help making television programmes, ever be forgotten in anyway at all.

    The world will be sadder place for OTT’s loss, but we celebrate it always….

  25. Dominic Small on January 25th, 2010 1:33 pm

    I firmly support the idea of an OTT in book form. You have my nod to wedge my digital TV guffpieces therein, should you need to do so. Speaking of which, my first On The Small Screen piece is now actually up, should you deign to read it.

  26. Cathy on January 26th, 2010 11:58 pm

    Truly gutted, this is quite frankly the best website for British television there is and will ever be. You’ve fascinated me, inspired me and entertained me and I will miss you all dearly.


  27. Chris Orton on January 27th, 2010 2:37 pm

    A great shame indeed. I haven’t contributed a great deal recently due to other time constraints but I have always loved reading the articles on the site. I think that an OTT book sounds like a great idea too!

  28. David McNay on January 29th, 2010 9:20 pm

    Well, I can only echo what most other folk have said. Sad to see the site close down. I haven’t visited much recently, but that’s mainly because it’s been quiet of late. I’m proud to have made even a small contribution to the site, and here’s hoping that all the excellent articles here survive in some form, either book (which I’d be happy to support) or archived here.

  29. Glenn Aylett on January 31st, 2010 5:51 pm

    My favourite memories; the excellent Christmas logs, Goalmouths and the features on Saturday night television. Also thankyou for publishing my essay on Grange Hill and printing my prediction in 2006 that Neighbours would go to Five.

  30. ljones on February 1st, 2010 12:05 am

    A pity this website has ended. It is quite a useful and intresting source, some of the stuff here isn’t found anywhere else online. For example the document about “zokko” on this site – that’s the longest piece about this obscure TV show from the late 60s.

    Maytbe some parts of this site could be rolled into TVC?


  31. Maxine on February 19th, 2010 4:40 pm

    Such a pity – outside of the broadsheet arts sections, there’s so little intelligent TV coverage around. As a freelance journo I had always hoped to contribute – when I found an opportunity, the site went down for refurb, and when I found another I learned of your demise. I shall miss OTT a lot.

  32. Jon Haw on February 24th, 2010 2:09 pm

    A very sad day (at least it *was* a sad day a month or so ago when you announced it! – like many others, I got out of the habit of visiting lately due to the lack of updates)

    But the site will be greatly missed.

    I just hope some young whipper-snapper somewhere will start up something similar in the near future – although I suspect nobody takes TV quite so seriously or looks upon it quite so fondly these days.

    Anyway – it was great while it lasted – thanks to everyone involved for the literally hundreds of hours of enjoyment I’ve had from OTT.

    Oh, and I hope Jack & Steve’s planned feature still sees the light of day somewhere…