News Review of the Year

Friday, December 17, 2004 by · Comments Off 

“Who can spy on the spies?” George Smiley once mused out loud, in an echo of that perennial philosophical teaser of old: who guards the guards? Read more

The Story of Bohemian Rhapsody

Saturday, December 4, 2004 by · Comments Off 

When I was 11 I thought Queen were the business. I also rated US comic books, and I don’t think the two were unrelated. Read more


Wednesday, November 24, 2004 by · Comments Off 

What links Jamie Cullum, The Darkness, Iggy Pop, Ruth Rendell, veteran satirist Michael Frayn and a bunch of 1950s rock and roll tunes? Read more

Max and Paddy’s Road to Nowhere

Friday, November 12, 2004 by · Comments Off 

When the stand-out moment from a new comedy is a sequence involving funny dancing, things aren’t going great. Particularly when said comedy has been perhaps the most eagerly anticipated of the year. Read more

US Election 2004

Tuesday, November 2, 2004 by · Comments Off 

Befitting an occasion that somehow felt far more exciting than any recent polls this side of the Atlantic, the BBC unfurled its coverage of the American Presidential election results with the kind of swaggering, bombastic signature tune that’s been sorely absent from homegrown hustings for far too long. Read more


Tuesday, November 2, 2004 by · Comments Off 

Several months after OTT ruefully predicted Countdown was on its way out, Channel 4 promptly recommissioned the series to run for another five years. Read more

The X Factor

Saturday, October 23, 2004 by · Comments Off 

How many times can the same idea be recycled? After Popstars, Popstars:The Rivals, and two series each of Pop Idol and Fame Academy, surely there can’t be room for more wannabe singers trying to win recording contracts on live television? Read more

Little Britain

Tuesday, October 19, 2004 by · Comments Off 

Like The League of Gentlemen before it, Little Britain has managed to become the nation’s latest must-see comedy show. Following a rapturous reception for the first run last year, the programme has enjoyed two three-CD releases, a script book and a superb DVD set. Read more

Election ’74

Sunday, October 10, 2004 by · Comments Off 

The last time we looked in on Alastair, David, Bob and Robin the country had only two weeks of coal left and was “right on the edge of a ghastly disaster.” Read more

The Apprentice USA

Thursday, October 7, 2004 by · Comments Off 

“You’re fired.” It’s pretty much mandatory for reality shows to bandy about their own catchphrase, but when the oddly coiffured Donald Trump utters these words, curtailing what feels like a genuinely freewheeling boardroom discussion, you can’t help but feel that – to purloin another slogan that’s in heavy rotation at the moment – this programme’s got the x-factor. Read more


Tuesday, October 5, 2004 by · Comments Off 

There was always a nagging feeling when watching NY-LON that something was missing – like everything was so close but not quite there. And yet, I kept coming back for the seven episodes. Read more

That’ll Teach ‘em

Tuesday, September 7, 2004 by · Comments Off 

What a difference a school year makes. A mere 12 months separate this series of That’ll Teach ‘em from its highly successful forerunner. Read more

Curb Your Enthusiasm

Thursday, September 2, 2004 by · Comments Off 

It’s rare for a TV programme to leave you so inclined that the minute it’s finished you want to watch the whole thing again straightaway. It’s even rarer for the programme in question to be a sitcom. Read more

Steel River Blues

Wednesday, September 1, 2004 by · Comments Off 

At the start of this Teesside-set successor to London’s Burning, a car thief posing as a hitchhiker says to new fire station chief Bill McGlinchy: “Do I sound like a Geordie?” when Bill asks if he is. Bill shrugs and the scene continues. Read more


Sunday, August 29, 2004 by · Comments Off 

The TV phenomenon of the last five years has undoubtedly been reality television. As a genre it has been almost universally derided for clogging up our television screens with hundreds of hours of cheap television in which – apparently – “nothing ever happens”. Read more

The West Wing

Tuesday, August 17, 2004 by · Comments Off 

Apropos nothing whatsoever, Press Secretary CJ Cregg interrupts a conversation with Communications Director Toby Ziegler to reveal she misses the “husky voice” of some person called Ben she recently lived with for six months. Read more

Scotsport SPL

Monday, August 16, 2004 by · Comments Off 

The phrase car-crash television comes nowhere close to doing this excuse for a programme justice. Read more

Newsnight Review in Edinburgh

Friday, August 13, 2004 by · Comments Off 

A trio of prim yet blunderingly choreographed half hour talking shops are all we’re getting by way of nationwide TV coverage of this year’s Edinburgh Festival. Read more


Saturday, July 24, 2004 by · Comments Off 

The Radio Times bills CD:UK, ITV1′s Saturday morning music show, thus: “Up-and-coming stars mingle with established names as the musicians of the moment perform live in the studio.” Read more

Rule the School

Friday, July 23, 2004 by · Comments Off 

Fraser, striking as casual a manner as a woollen hat-sporting teenager can muster, eyed the throng of shifty-looking adults towering a few feet in front of him. “I think I’m pretty laid back,” he challenged, “so if you all play the game, we should have a good time.” Read more

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