Annotations: History of Now: The Story of the Noughties: Episode 3: Hello World!

The final part of History of Now: The Story of the Noughties, Hello World! discussed globalisation and its acute effect on life in Britain during the decade, the important and export of people and goods with close attention paid as to how the UK has become one of the most multicultural societies in Europe (though one in ten of us actually lives abroad).

Which probably accounts for why, in the section about language I learnt all kinds of new words. The only one I knew was "random"; the last time I was anywhere near this kind of slang, skill was still in parlance as were shrapnel and swamp donkey. I know 'sick' although that just seems to be playing the reverse lexicography game of 'bad' or 'cool' to mean 'good' or 'hot'.

To the final annotation:



The Premiership
- The Drogba Effect

- Africans
- Eastern Europeans
- - Polish

Cheap Air Travel
- EasyJet
- Ryanair
- Virgin Express
- - Ljubljana 'Klagenfurt' (distance)
- - Milan 'Bergamo' (distance)
- - Frankfurt ‘Hahn’ (distance)
- City Breaks
- Stag Tours

International Ready-Meals
- Thai Food

- Foreign Property Shows
- Dubai
- - Palm Jumeirah
- - The First Group

Iceland’s ownership
- Hamleys
- Iceland
- Debenhams / House of Fraser
- Karen Millen / Oasis

Made In China
- £19 dvd player leading to burglar redundancy


UK TV Formats
- The Weakest Link (various)
- Top Gear Australia
- Dancing With The Stars / Strictly Come Dancing
- Pop Idol / American Idol
- Who Wants To Be A Millionaire
- Wife Swap
- What Not To Wear
- How Clean Is Your House
- X-Factor
- Scrapheap Challenge
- Cash In The Attic
- The Office

Outsourcing Wars
- Private security contractors

London’s ethnic diversity
- Multi-cultural London English (MLE)
-- Yute
-- Sket
-- Low Batties
-- Nang
-- Nuff
-- Creps
-- Bredren
-- Peng
-- Batties
-- Ends
-- Random

Global Religion
- Islam
- Pentecostalism

- Live8
- G20
- London 2012
- 7/7

Credit Crunch


Andrew Marr Broadcaster [biog, wikipedia, amazon]

Will Hutton, The Work Foundation [wikipedia, blog, twitter, amazon]

Dr Rogan Taylor, Football Research Unit, University of Liverpool [biog, amazon]

Henry Winter, Football Correspondent, The Daily Telegraph [wikipedia, twitter, amazon]

Andrew Hussey, Cultural Historian [wikipedia, amazon]

Sky Andrew, Football Agent [wikipedia]

Prof Danny Dorling, Human Geographer, University of Sheffield [biog, amazon]

Nick Cohen, Journalist & Author [wikipedia, blog, amazon]

Agnes Poirier, Journalist & Author [biog, website, amazon]

Will Self [biog, wikipedia, blog, amazon]

Sarah Miller, Editor, Conde Nast Traveller [biog, blog]

Simon Calder, Travel Journalist [wikipedia, blog, website, twitter, amazon]

Tim Footman, Author, The Noughties [wikipedia, blog, twitter, amazon]

Jim Krane, Author, City of Gold [biog, amazon]

Peter York, Author, Social Commentator [wikipedia, amazon]

Roger Boyes, Author, Meltdown Iceland [wikipedia, blog, amazon]

Alda Sigmundsdottir, Journalist & Blogger [biog, blog, website, twitter]

Larry Elliott, Economics Editor, The Guardian [wikipedia, blog, amazon]

James Treadwell, Criminologist, University of Leicester [biog, amazon]

Wayne Garvie, BBC Worldwide [wikipedia, facebook]

Peter Bazalgette, Former Chairman, Endemol UK [wikipedia, blog, amazon]

Mark Lawson, Journalist & Broadcaster [wikipedia, amazon]

Simon Jenkins, Journalist & Author [wikipedia, blog, amazon]

Stephen Armstrong, Author & Journalist, War PLC [biog, amazon]

Michael Clark, Security Contractor [quoted]

Maajid Nawaz, The Quilliam Foundation [wikipedia, blog, twitter]

Nihal Arthanayake, Broadcaster & DJ [wikipedia, twitter]

John Micklethwait, Co-Author, God is Back [wikipedia, amazon]

This first bit is an in-joke

TV I've just written this comment on a post at The Guardian about the writers that Steven Moffat has appointed for Doctor Who. This first bit is an in-joke for readers of the parish newsletter:
I was more taken aback that Shrek had been signed. He is a good writer apparently. We'll see.

But really, as previous caller mentioned it's unfair to judge how a writer deals with Doctor Who until we've seen them deal with Doctor Who (and this from someone who's grown to loath Love Actually and just sat through the editing dogs dinner that is The Boat The Rocked). It sunk Matthew (Life on Mars) Graham (Fear Her was voted worst of the new series episodes by DWM readers "Not you to Bob! Bob?") and other writers found their work heavily rewritten by Davies to get them to the shootable stage.

But this line up is as clever at RTD's first series in 2005. Then he handed off the season to seasoned tv writers who'd also previously written for Who -- notable all but Moffat wrote for the second series of Big Finish 8th Doctor audios on what was a vintage year for those (or what was once called Season 28).

Moffat's selection is equally clever. Gatiss and Roberts have been writing for Who since the nineties in novels and later audios before working on the tv version. Whithouse somehow managed to write School Reunion, the most classic Who related new episode up until that point despite not really being a fan and now has Being Human under his belt. Chibnall's the surprise, but his work on the second season of Torchwood was a big improvement, his Who episode 42 had some excellent moments as does L&O:UK.

The appointment of Nye and Curtis create buzz around the series -- respected tv & film writers from outside of the usual Who writers list. I mean would this post have been written if it had been the usual suspects? What you don't mention is that in terms of Curtis there's a nice bit of payback. Curtis asked Moffat to write his first tv Doctor Who scripts -- the spoof for Comic Relief with Rowan Atkinson. This is Moffat's chance to return the favour.

Annotations: History of Now: The Story of the Noughties: Episode 2: All Together Now?

TV The second episode of The History of Now: The Story of the Noughties, All Together Now? considered the class war and how the idea of a "classless" society has transmogrified so that though there are still social divides they're within the classes themselves, so that percentages of working and middle class people have made financial gains even if they still remain true their origins (despite what they may personally think or say).

Contrasting the rather upbeat tone of the first instalment, this episode nihilistically underscored how politicians have ditched intellectualism and statesman-like tendancies in favour of trying to appeal to ever small sections of the population, venerating ephemeral celebrities in a bid not to seem out of touch and how society can now be sorted into about sixty distinct demographic groups. I dread to think where I'd be put.


Big Brother
- Jade Goody

- ChavScum
- bling
- tramp stamp
- muffin top
- Burberry
- shellsuits

- Katie Price

- Victoria Adams (Beckham)
- Cheryl Tweedy ( Cole)
- Vanessa Perroncel (Bridge)
- Lisa Roughead (Carrick)
- Alex Curran (Gerrard)
- Michaela Henderson-Thynne (Downing)
- Carly Zucker (Cole)
- Coleen McLoughlin (Rooney)

It Handbags
- Christian Dior Saddle (2000)
- Balenciaga Motorcycle (2001)
- Luella Gisele (2002)
- Louis Vuitton Monogram Multicore (2003)
- Mulberry Roxanne (2004)
- Chloe Paddington Bag (2005)
- Marc Jacobs Stam (2006)
- Yves Saint Laurent MUSE (2007)
- - - LVMH takeover bid
- -Bagonomics

- Primark

The Bilbao Effect
- Guggenheim Museum
- Blingitecture
- Liverpool ONE

Credit Cards

The Super Rich

- Kensington Palace Gardens
- Russian Billionaires

Middle Class financial split
- Official government report on social mobility
- Mosaic
- David Cameron’s desert island discs
- Class War


Andrew Marr Broadcaster [biog, wikipedia, amazon]

Toby Young [wikipedia, blog, twitter, amazon]

Peter Bazalgette, Former Chairman, Endemol UK [wikipedia, blog, amazon]

Peter York, Author, Social Commentator [wikipedia, amazon]

Mark Lawson, Journalist & Broadcaster [wikipedia, amazon]

Lucie Cave, Executive Editor, Heat Magazine [wikipedia, twitter, amazon]

Suzanne Moore, Journalist [blog, twitter]

Andrew Hussey, Cultural Historian [wikipedia, amazon]

Will Self [biog, wikipedia, blog, amazon]

Dana Thomas, Author, Deluxe [biog, amazon]

Justine Mills, Boutique Owner, Cricket [bebo, twitter]

Nilgin Yusuf, London College of Fashion [interview, amazon]

Jonathan Glancey, Architecture Critic [wikipedia, twitter, amazon]

Tony Chapman, Royal Institute of British Architects [amazon]

Nick Cohen, Journalist & Author [wikipedia, blog, amazon]

Prof Danny Dorling, Human Geographer, University of Sheffield [biog, amazon]

Robert Frank, The Wall Street Journal [blog, amazon]

Stephen Armstrong, Journalist & Author [biog, amazon]

Will Hutton, The Work Foundation [wikipedia, blog, twitter, amazon]

Simon Jenkins, Journalist & Author [wikipedia, blog, amazon]

Julia Margo, Director of Research, Demos [biog, blog, amazon]

Richard Webber, Inventor, Mosaic [wikipedia]

Mark Pack, Political Communications Expert [biog, blog]

miniblog archive

  • '...Mission': Listenable (or Gabriella Cilmi ditched Amy Winehouse for Girls Aloud's sound)

  • Some lovely snowy photos of Sefton Park in Liverpool where I live:

  • Casey Johnson's grief tweets

  • The importance of voice

  • Y2.01K

  • Sport TV in 3D isn't what you'd expect:

  • Copenhagenisation

  • New year, old genre: is it time for science fiction to die?

  • #spotify This is a crime, plain and simple. Someone should change the law. Make it retrospective:

  • You Must Remember This: The Warner Bros. Story: Richard Schickel in Conversation

  • Completed Rebecca Miller's The Private Life of Pippa Lee today. Spent most of the duration wondering why everything seemed so familiar then I remembered this ...

  • Happy Birthday, Madame de Pompadour, Arts Patron and Mistress of Louis XV

  • #spotify A Pulp Fiction playlist (as best I can)

  • Steven Soderbergh Shot A Secret Improvised Film in Australia Last Month

  • I think Rule #34 comes into play here

  • Torchwood: The Musical nearly happened written by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus from Abba. Oh good god.

  • Breathtaking dissection of the Russell T Davies era of Doctor Who:

  • Tesco gives a little help to independent bookshop

  • Losing Your Affection

  • Metafilter community on the tragic death of Brad Graham

  • In-Store "Optimization" is Usually Useless, Often Slows Down PCs [Saving Money]

  • Snow UK: how Ben Marsh is using Twitter to create data

  • In Which It Was The Way He Saved Her

  • Ebert's best films of the past decade. His choice for 1 will knock your socks off & the socks off the actor playing you

  • Waziristan: The last frontier
  • Annotations: History of Now: The Story of the Noughties: Episode 1: Growing Young

    TV History of Now: The Story of the Noughties is a new three part BBC Two series that sits between The Power of Nightmares and I Love the 70s/80s/90s as it examines the past decade through a sociological lens, pitching academics against journalists as they come to terms with what just happened (as best they can in the few moments that pundits are granted to put their point across).

    Last night's episode, Growing Young, examined the widening physical and geographical gap between generations that are paradoxically psychologically growing ever similar, with the old trying to regain their youth just as that youth and their new culture becomes disenfranchised. It's smart and often very funny, utilising the shots of kids in playgrounds shouting "We are coming..." from the last series of Torchwood to illustrate that the old know that time is the one weapon the young has against them.

    The BBC's own website simply lists three contributors and the producer, so I've decided to annotate each instalment, with further information on the topics covered and the contributors.

    Growing Young


    Millennium Dome

    Micro Scooter

    - SchoolDisco
    - Harry Potter

    Middle Youth

    Botox Parties

    Dot com boom


    Property Porn


    Baby Gap

    Binge drinking

    Youth Violence
    - Hoodies
    - Mosquito

    - Wonky Pop
    - Bassline
    - Grindie
    - Dubstep
    - Donk
    - Techquake

    O2 Arena


    Andrew Marr Broadcaster [biog, wikipedia, amazon]

    Will Self [biog, wikipedia, blog, amazon]

    Toby Young [wikipedia, blog, twitter, amazon]

    Krissi Murison, Editor, NME [biog, blog]

    Mick Wall, Music Journalist [wikipedia, blog, twitter, amazon]

    Nick Joslin, MicroScooter distributor [interview]

    Prof Sarah Harper, Oxford Institute of Aging [biog, wikipedia]

    Prof Danny Dorling, Human Geographer, University of Sheffield [biog, amazon]

    Sam Baker, Editor, Red Magazine [wikipedia, blog, twitter, amazon]

    Suzanne Moore, Journalist [blog, twitter]

    Prof Laurence Kirwin, Plastic Surgeon [blog]

    John Lanchester, Author [biog, wikipedia, amazon]

    Tim Footman, Author, The Noughties [wikipedia, blog, twitter, amazon]

    Michael Bywater, Author, Big Babies [wikipedia, blog, amazon]

    Larry Elliott, Economics Editor, The Guardian [wikipedia, blog, amazon]

    Julia Margo, Director of Research, Demos [biog, blog, amazon]

    Jonathan Glancey, Architecture Critic [wikipedia, twitter, amazon]

    Prof Colin Drummond, Institute of Psychiatry [biog]

    Dr Phil Hadfield, Author, Bar Wars [biog, blog, amazon]

    Philip Bond, Author, Red Tory [wikipedia]

    Prof Tanya Byron, Clinical Pschologist & Broadcaster [wikipedia, website, amazon]

    Dr Jack Fawbert, Sociologist, University of Bedfordshire [biog]

    Carlene Firmin, Race On The Agenda [biog, facebook]

    Howard Stapleton, Investor & Entrepreneur [wikipedia]

    Jon Savage, Author, Teenage [wikipedia, blog, journalism, amazon]

    reducing the level of choice

    Books As I explained inappropriately during my comments on The Reader, I'm currently in the process of deliberately reading more, forcing myself, to some extent, to pass my eyes across at least fifty pages per day of something on paper. To make things more interesting, I'm reducing the level of choice by making it the last book to enter my possession, at the moment The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, Rebecca Miller's novel about the secret past of a respectable woman living in a retirement home, which was a competition prize. 150 pages and counting. Two days to go.

    With the exception of A Christmas Carol over the festive period, until I was trying to pick through Miller's words had I realise quite how long it had been since I'd read this kind of fiction. The book is written in a meticulous and direct style in which character descriptions are sneaked into action and doesn't have anything like the kind of story structure I'm now so used to now, and the dialogue mirrors reality rather than the exposition heavy paragraphs I've become used to either in non-fiction about Shakespeare or fiction that tends to feature timelords and TARDISes.

    Is it possible for someone to become so used to that, one type of reading, and soon find anything else inaccessible? It's true that on a couple of events in the book have lent themselves to supernatural rather than rational explanations and I'll admit to forgetting momentarily the genre I was reading before glancing at the cover as a reminder. But with a few dozen pages I was being dragged along by Miller's compelling story, which though just on the edge of cliche, has become (to use one of my own) a page-turner. And that seems to have been the pattern across all of these books. I do have the capacity to look at horizons further afield.

    miniblog archive

  • A Marketing Mystery

  • Woman eBays Christmas gifts from cheating ex

  • The ten-plus best films of … 1919

  • Doctor Who – The End Of Tennant

  • Do the Nation Estate know about this?

  • Spotibot turbo-charges music discovery in Spotify

  • Harry Dubin at Work in Old New York

  • Theatre must change ... us

  • The Master has 6,454,567,501 friends on Facebook
  • BRIAN BLESSED!!!!!!! is Henry 8.0 (essentially My Hero with the King of England and funny)
  • The actress playing Catherine is an excellent foil for Blessed. Amazing in the Christmas episode:

  • The war on terror has been about scaring people, not protecting them

  • Composer Murray Gold continues on Doctor Who. I'm surprisingly pleased about this - his music helped a lot of episodes. New version of the theme too. Hope it's close to the Grainer/Derbyshire original. And that he throws out everything from the RTD years. The texture of the show needs to be different.
  • an average Sunday night in January

    TV This is a bit old but ...

    Tennant's 'Hamlet' seen by 896,000

    (a) To say it "failed to draw a significant audience" as Digital Spy does is a bit misleading because in theatre terms that's actually an extraordinary audience. Probably more than saw Tennant's performance at the RSC.

    (b) It was opposite on BBC One, Wallace and Gromit, Total Wipeout, Eastenders and the first bit of the Pirate of the Caribbean premiere, family programming which drew the lions share of the viewership.

    (c) On what was judging by the audience vs. share a very slow tv day. Hamlet had a 4.5% share which means "only" 19m people were watching (compared to 30m on Christmas Day and New Years Day).

    (b) It was bunged out in a 5 until 8 pm slot. The tea time slot on Boxing Day. The relatives visiting day in the UK. No one wants to watch Hamet at that time on Boxing Day. I'm surprised so many people did. I missed it. I'm waiting for the dvd.

    I just hope that BBC drama won't use this as another excuse for saying that classical theatre doesn't work on tv. If this had been broadcast on an average Sunday night in January it would have been more visible.

    miniblog archive

  • Irony at its best. A Great Collection

  • Westminster Abbey and the history those buried there

  • Ian Hislop and Nick Newman on The News at Bedtime

  • 30 ways to a better life

  • Man Gets Arrested to Avoid Spending New Year's Eve with Family


  • On Music Site, The Price Of A Download Is Watching An Ad

  • Tallulah Morehead: Dead Folks, 2009: The Missed and the Not Missed.

  • 108 Minutes With Maggie Gyllenhaal

  • How to beat Google in a domain name dispute

  • since the end of the year is here, i decided to revisit my

  • Retailers fear Simon Cowell and Harry Potter overkill

  • The West Wing - Complete Season 1-7 (New Slimline Box Set) [DVD] £44.99 instore @ Sainsburys

  • Funniest tv review of the decade that I've read. Nice one Ian:
  • TV in 2009

    TV As ever, I've contributed to Off The Telly's annual review and as usual find below my unexpurgated raw passages:

    Held in great affection by anyone who saw it, Being Human (BBC Three), somehow managed to synthesise everything we’d love about the Buffyverse then dilute it with a British sensibility rooted in Hammer Horror films and Channel 4 “contemporary” dramas. As is often the case, much of its success came from the chemistry between the three leads (two controversially replaced from the original pilot) Russell Tovey, Aidan Turner and Lenora Crichlow, finally with a part that allowed her to demonstrate that her iconic role in Sugar Rush was not a one off. While the arc story, a potential vampire invasion veered into cliché, it was the incidental storylines and scenes that impressed; there were few more chilling moments on screen this year than the snuff movie in which a murder was committed in flagranti by an unseen female assailant or a street full of norms misinterpreting the approaches by vampire John towards a local boy who accidentally took possession of said tape. A rare example of a BBC Three commission that deserved a main channel repeat and the second series which has been gifted to it.

    Torchwood: Children of Earth (BBC One) surprised everyone (who watched) in turning out to be one of the best dramas of the year. After a rubbish first series and a qualified ok second, stripped across five nights, this was taught, philosophical, exciting block of programming that somehow managed to ram some of the show’s camper elements into plotting that wouldn’t have looked out of place in some of Nigel Kneale or Troy Kennedy Martin’s best work. About as morally suspect as the Doctor Who universe has been since the Virgin New Adventure novels, it asked questions about exactly how far over the mark a government may go in order to protect itself even if it means destroying its own people, as the cabinet happily put the countries children into the hands of junkie alien threat the 456 except for their own offspring. Also had the added bonus of offering revenge by Twitter after the close of episode four when American fans were screaming “NO SPOILERS!” despite the fact that they’d quite happily ruined the end of everything from Battlestar Galactica to Heroes in previous months. And what other drama featured the image of a Rachel Whiteread sculpture being dumped into a quarry, its smashed concrete remains revealing a butt-naked John Barrowman? I’m not saying this is a good thing, but it was certainly a valid alternative from Total Wipeout.

    Newswipe with Charlie Brooker (BBC Four) brought the critic’s sensibilities to current affairs began with initially uncertain results but improved immeasurably when gravitated towards commenting on how news was covered rather than the news itself, with incisive commentary on the coverage of the G20 protests (which concentrated on the tiny pockets of violence rather than the vast majority of peaceful demonstrations) and the shift in what constitutes as being news (Jade Goody, snow instead of international affairs with global implications). Later in the year, Brooker hosted his first “panel” show, You Have Been Watching (C4), which was a welcome variation on the Screenwipe format. As so often the case, the quality of the episode depended on the quality of the guests, though it was usually at its most entertaining when Brooker revealed his vulnerability such as forgetting momentarily that Frank Skinner could be considered a celebrity or that Richard Bacon was friends with Jeremy Kyle just after giving the chat show foreskin both barrels of his verbal dexterity.

    Electric Dreams (BBC Four) was a genuinely nostalgic trip through three decades of technological advances in which a family found themselves shifting through 1970-2000, a day per year, despite seemingly being an intentional shot for shot remake of the Adam & Joe sketch “The 1980s House”. As well as offering the spectacle of The League Against Tedium’s Simon Munnery recalling his earlier career as a games programmer for the ZX Spectrum, there was also an oblique fascination to be had in the domestic habits of participants, who had designated the lounge as the “adults room” with the mother then complaining that the family weren’t spending nearly enough time together before the experiment began, with their own experiment beginning at the end as they opened up that room now and then for the children so that they could watch films together. Suburban life ain’t what it seems etc.

    The Well (BBC Two) was a short form horror series produced by BBC Switch, the slightly hazy department brought in when it was decided that the BBC Childrens shouldn’t cater for anyone over the age of twelve to offer something to older teenagers, in this case one of those 360 degree productions that also includes a computer game on the website. This fairly spooky haunted house story would probably have gone unnoticed to everyone outside its target audience had it not appeared to the last work of new Doctor Who companion Karen Gillan before moving to Cardiff. Gillan wasn’t given much to do but be a bit posh and offer scorn and exposition. This wasn't a Billie Piper in Bella and the Boys style eurekacorblimeyshe'sgood moment. She did give the odd look and scream that hinted at something interesting, but sadly The Kevin Bishop Show was a better shop window for what we can expect from Amy Pond, especially since there she was allowed to use her own accent. Your tolerance of it probably depended on whether you could stand dialogue which included what looked like an unironic use of the phrase "No probs, dollface."

    Baroque! From St Peter's to St Paul's in which a typically enthusiastic Waldemar Januszczak enthusiastically crystalised the artistic period and its implications, somehow managing to even find something new to say about St Peter’s in Rome, perhaps the most filmed church outside of The Vicar of Dibley. The best sequence described the rebuilding of London’s churches by Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawksmoor, which in illuminating the deliberate variety demonstrated the sullen boredom of most modern ecclesiastical construction.

    Boy Meets Girl (ITV) stretched the hoary old body swap plot idea, stretched it across four episodes and tried to approach it with a modicum of realism succeeding admirably, largely due to Rachael Stirling’s affecting performance as Martin Freeman trapped in a woman’s body. Despite necessary emphasising certain gender stereotypes (he works in a B&Q, she works for a fashion magazine), it was unafraid to confront issues like the treatment of the mentally ill and homelessness, the show perhaps lost ground by not injecting nearly enough humour, afraid as it was of falling into the usual fish out of water scenarios. Nevertheless this was brave bit of programme for ITV1 and reminder that once upon a time it was a channel that produced something other than celebrity jungle shows, talent contests, psychological thrillers and detective series.

    With Heroes dying a slow, convoluted death, it took Misfits (E4), late in the year to do something new with the ordinary people with extraordinary powers idea by giving those abilities to a group of repellent youngsters working community service, their costumes orange jumpsuits. Broadcast late, it scored by introducing bad language and sex into a genre otherwise usually barren of such things and underscored the post nu-Who shift towards adding comedic fantasy elements into series that might otherwise have become worthy explorations into the dark heart of society.

    One of the most captivating televisual events of the year was happening online. Anthony Gormley’s fourth plinth escapade One and Other (online) attracted a couple of thousand volunteers to stand for an hour each none stop for three months on the empty patch of stone and allowed to do what they liked (full disclosure: I was one of them). A surprising number chose to do nothing but sit or stand and take in the atmosphere or take a few photos, but the participants who attracted the most attention were inevitably the attention seekers, the nudists, the fancy dresser, the karaoke singers, those with a cause to promote and the feeders throwing food into the square. Like Big Brother in its earliest days, viewers watching the live feed on the Sky Arts sponsored website didn’t initially know what to expect but would then tune in precisely because they enjoyed the element of the unexpected. And since no one could have seen the whole thing there was an added conversational element: “You won’t believe what I saw on the plinth earlier…”

    Transferring from Radio Four to its television cousin, I've Never Seen Star Wars (BBC Four) was an unexpected pleasure as some of the corporations talent establishment (and oddly David Davis) lined up to be taken through their cultural blank spots by Marcus Brigstocke. Though none of them admitted to not having seen the film in the title, it was certainly entertaining to see John Humphrey’s cooing over Michael Jackson’s Thriller, Esther Ranzen (returning from a spot on the radio version) discovering Alien and the joy of watching Hugh Dennis nibble on road kill. Unflappable through most of the series and on serious form when required, even Brigstocke seemed genuinely moved when he had to reveal that the legendary Nigel Havers had agreed to and received a potentially career changing tattoo for his little BBC Four show; there were plenty of surprising moments on television this year but none of them were quite like Dr. Tom Latimer revealing the silhouette of scorpion permanently printed on his upper arm.

    I agree, despite all of this, it was an unspectacular year, with the more inspirational content pushed to the margins. As the Today programme identified yesterday theatres are booming, which is only to be expected given the state of television, and how little it's catering for that kind of audience.