Magazine article The Spectator

Summary Justice

Magazine article The Spectator

Summary Justice

Article excerpt


'Twas the week before Christmas and I was getting kind of agitated: how would I find the time to watch all the seasonal preview tapes I'd ordered? What about the programmes I wanted to watch but which weren't available in advance? Would Liz get snappy with me if I asked her to order some more? Why was I wasting so much worry-energy on a column that pays diddly squat and gets read by only about 60,000 people anyway?

Why indeed. It was then that I had the most brilliant idea. `Sod it,' I thought. `I'm not going to bother watching anything. I'll just make it all up. It's not like anyone reads this column for the television, anyway.'

So what I thought I'd do is go through the television schedules and, using my skill and judgment plus whatever facts I could glean from the Radio Times, just slag off programmes I don't like the look of. Or use them as a springboard for the usual solipsistic digressions.

Micawber (ITV 1, Christmas and Boxing Day). Unquestionably, the most puke-makingly dreadful programme of the season and quite possibly the whole year. Why? I'd have thought it was bloody obvious. It was inspired by one of Dickens's most annoying (and, God knows, the competition is stiff) characters; it stars David Jason; it was written by the man who does Only Fools And Horses; and according to the RT `not an awful lot happens and things do get ponderous at times'. In other words, it's the drama equivalent of what TV Go Home (E4, Tuesday) would call 'Plebdazzle Showtime'.

Only Fools And Horses (BBC 1. Christmas Day). Look, instead of clogging up our screens these people should be doing something useful, like participating in suicide assaults on Tora Bora to flush out any surviving al-Qa'eda.

Jonathan Creek (BBC 1, Boxing Day). Same applies to you, David Renwick, with your life-wastingly convoluted plotlines. And you, girl-haired comedy man.

I Love Christmas (BBC 2, Christmas Eve). I hate programmes called I Love ...

Arena: The Private Dirk Bogarde (BBC 2, Boxing Day). A couple of years before he died, I spent about an hour chatting to Dirk Bogarde. And the bugger is, apart from discovering that he thought Ecstasy and the club scene were a good thing (though he claimed never to have done E himself), I can't remember a single thing about it. He was jolly charming, though.

Alan Rickman, Philip Glass, Lou Reed, Neil Kinnock, Angela Carter, Iris Murdoch, Harrison Ford. John Travolta, Sting, Julie Christie, Diana Rigg and Jon Bon Jovi. These are among the other famous people I've met but about whom I can remember little of great import. …

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