Category Archives: Comedy

Oh What A Lovely War Commemoration!

Recently the Prime Minister  spoke of his hopes that events  to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War would be a “commemoration that, like the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, says something about who we are as … Continue reading

Posted in Comedy, History, Media, Music, Politics, Radio, Theatre, Uncategorized, War | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Ferris Bueller and Me

John Hughes died four years ago and I wrote this post that day August 6th 2009 before I had a blog of my own. Just found it again thanks to the interwebs. Four years on things aren’t quite the same … Continue reading

Posted in Children, Comedy, Culture, Film, Media, Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Plotting the arc of darkness with Joss Whedon

Here’s a link to my interview with Joss Whedon for Radio 3’s Night Waves on June 12th. We covered his writing for Roseanne, Shakespearean superheroes, his love of musicals — especially Brigadoon —  the way studios treat writers, (take Firefly … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Children, Comedy, Comics/graphic novels, Culture, Media, Radio, Science Fiction/Fantasy, TV, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Billy Liar, Bradford and the birth of the dollybird

“A lazy, irresponsible young clerk in provincial Northern England lives in his own fantasy world and makes emotionally immature decisions as he alienates friends and family.” Everyone loves Billy Liar. Apart from whoever wrote imdb’s current bizarrely censorious plot summary … Continue reading

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Alan Bennett: Why spilling all is not the art of the monologue

I was lucky enough to be asked to chair an In Conversation with the playwright, diarist and screenwriter Alan Bennett at the British Film Institute last night. It was focussed on his skills with the monologue, as part of a season of TV monologues. … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Comedy, Culture, Film, Media, Theatre, TV, Uncategorized | Tagged | 1 Comment

Murder, Mirth and Care Bears: The uses of an Oxford English degree

Photo copyright and courtesy of: Ian Fraser at Virtual Archive Writing for news bulletins, writing for standup comedy, writing murders for tv drama, writing for comics and fantasy gaming novels. These were some of the uses to which a group … Continue reading

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That Was Then, This Is Now – Satire from JFK to Savile

Last night I went to the British Film Institute’s celebration of 50 years of the breakthrough TV satire programme, That Was The Week That Was. (TW3). It featured many of the original cast, writers and modern satirists, and clips including … Continue reading

Posted in Comedy, Media, Politics, TV | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 72 Comments

Anglos, Diphthongs & Perfect Snogging: Saving the German A-level

This piece was written for The Guardian in August 2012, after A-level results showed the number of UK students taking German had declined to below 5,000 for the first time. There were also significant drops in French and other modern … Continue reading

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Can we laugh about this? Race on film

I spent an hour with the Film Club charity in Battersea Park School in South London today,(I’m a trustee) discussing the treatment of race and racism on film. It was Anti-Racism Day, apparently. I chose clips from a sample of … Continue reading

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Noooooo Uderzo Nooooo: Asterix and the afterlife

This article originally appeared in The Guardian online on September 29th and in the print edition on October 1st. In Obelix and Co, a devious young Roman general, Caius Preposterus (a thinly veiled Jacques Chirac) tries to corrupt Asterix’s proud … Continue reading

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