Saturday, January 2, 2010 by · 7 Comments 

As 2009 wraps up, and the “best of the noughties” appraisals get under way, what, if anything, from the decade’s final 12 months will be brought into focus?  Incredibly it seems, 2009 was the year of Simon Cowell, who having been involved in talent shows for most of the last 10 years, still has something left to keep him at the top of the TV hierarchy.  Will his luck run out in 2010, or is Cowell’s renewed dominance merely a sign that 2009 has been a year in which very little has truly emerged on the small screen to create the kind of impact his shows muster? Read more


Thursday, January 1, 2009 by · 9 Comments 

When TV pundits of the future look back at 2008 (a process that is sure to start in earnest in just over 12 months time as we begin the second decade of the 21st century), what will they make of the year just gone?  2008 brought us Rock Rivals, The One and Only, The Invisibles, Harley Street and The Duchess in Hull - five utterly forgettable series destined for curiosity status almost straight away.  Yet wasn’t this too the year of Lark Rise to Candleford and a resurgent The X-Factor?  Viewed in the context of the decade as a whole how will 2008 fare? Will it be seen as a significant year or 12 months that slipped through the cracks of television’s wider historical development? Read more


Tuesday, January 1, 2008 by · Comments Off 

So how do you begin looking back on a year in which television went completely evil?

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Monday, January 1, 2007 by · 1 Comment 

Advancing years take away from us what we have inherited and give us what we have earned. Our relationship with television is a forever-burning example of this; the longer we feel we’ve hung around pouring our time and energy into watching it, the more we feel not merely blessed but actually owed an increasingly rarefied quality of enjoyment in return. Read more


Sunday, January 1, 2006 by · Comments Off 

Too much of anything is bad for you, as Stephen Fry once thundered, because that’s precisely what too much means: a quantity which is excessive. Too much water would be bad for you, because it would be too much. Fact. Read more


Saturday, January 1, 2005 by · Comments Off 

A hefty dose of press coverage levelling the charge that British television had slumped into crisis saw out 2004, with frenzied headlines, thick black borders and doom-laden think pieces a-plenty. But had things really become that bad? Had we been wrong to enjoy most of what we watched on telly the past 12 months? Read more

Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares

Tuesday, April 27, 2004 by · Comments Off 

Heavily trailed over the previous fortnight, Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares provided an hour of television so riveting it was difficult to watch, but impossible to switch off. Read more


Thursday, January 1, 2004 by · Comments Off 

On 21 April 2003, 16.7 million people tuned in to watch the makers of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire spend a couple of hours of primetime television outlining their role in one of the most notorious instances of rigging a quiz show in recent memory. Read more


Wednesday, January 1, 2003 by · Comments Off 

It’s the fourth time out for OTT’s annual review of the year’s television, and the fourth time we’ve started proceedings by considering Who Wants to be a Millionaire. Read more

Jamie’s Kitchen

Tuesday, November 19, 2002 by · Comments Off 

Now in episode three of a five part series, Jamie’s Kitchen is turning out to be a very different animal than first expected. Read more

I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here

Saturday, August 31, 2002 by · Comments Off 

For a programme which had such a low-key start, virtually no pre-publicity, no clearly explained purpose and a “cast” of fairly minor celebrities, I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here! has – in contrast – provided a week of gripping, almost unbelievable, television. Read more

Auf Wiedersehen, Pet

Sunday, June 2, 2002 by · Comments Off 

The return of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet has been a long time coming. A long time in that, rumours of the new “Guten Tag, Pet” have been circulating for almost two years now, and – of course – the last series finished 16 years ago. Read more

The Edwardian Country House

Tuesday, May 28, 2002 by · Comments Off 

In October last year Stuart Cosgrove lectured to a thin turn out of media students at Liverpool’s John Moores University. In his talk he signalled the death of “reality TV” and predicted the next big thing would be historical programming. Read more

I Love 1983

Saturday, February 10, 2001 by · Comments Off 

Unlike other reviewers, I singularly failed to recall any significant memories from 1983. So it was with empty head that I sat down to be entertained by I Love 1983. Read more

Scrapheap Challenge

Sunday, September 17, 2000 by · Comments Off 

Scrapheap Challenge is back. And this, the third series promises to be as good as the previous two. The challenge is for two teams to build machines, in 10 hours, out of junk (scavenged from a purpose-built scrap yard). Once built, the teams compete to determine the winner. Read more

I Love 1973

Saturday, August 12, 2000 by · Comments Off 

I have fond memories of 1973. Read more

Friends Like These

Saturday, February 19, 2000 by · Comments Off 

Early Saturday evening television is not really territory with which I have been overly familiar of recent years, not since the demise of the classic paring of Gladiators followed by Blind Date. Read more

Trigger Happy TV

Friday, January 14, 2000 by · Comments Off 

It’s half past nine on a Friday night, and there’s half an hour till the new series of The League of Gentlemen starts on BBC2. What to do? Watch re-runs of Never Mind The Buzzcocks? Do this dishes? Empty the cat litter tray? Read more

Scrapheap Challenge

Sunday, October 17, 1999 by · Comments Off 

Scrapheap Challenge is an inspired piece of television. I’ve never met anybody else who watches it or has heard of it. And they do not know what they are missing. Read more