The phrase ‘double bill’ still resonates in my mind with memories of unruly behaviour in the cinema at Saturday morning kids’ club, which usually left the tearful boss, tended by an usherette, lying prone and covered in popcorn.
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When, 150 years ago, Ebenezer Morley sat around a pub table to establish the Football League by saying “right then lads, get the pints in and let’s codify footie”, I don’t imagine a voice piped up at the back: “Don’t forget the Dow Jones Index.”
If Leonardo Da Vinci even knew where or what South Wales was, I bet that, equipped as he was with something of a wild imagination, he would never have thought that one day a fictionalised account of his life would be filmed in Port Talbot.
The occasionally disturbing thing about having the music system on random play is that you get quite an eclectic menu.
So Doctor Who has returned with another new assistant. For each new sidekick, everything always comes as a big surprise.
I was in a bit of a bind this week after locking myself out while daringly rescuing a stray cat from the garden.
The top five recorded programmes of the week are all drama, with one exception: ITV’s documentary Our Queen (which makes her sound a bit like she comes from Yorkshire).
The future: it’s confusion, wrapped in contradiction inside uncertainty. Wonderbra ad man Trevor Beattie says the 30-second ad is dead: long live the bite-sized, five-second ad, or, unhelpfully, the two-minute ad.
A wise sage once said to me: “You aren’t going outside dressed like that are you?” Days later, a different sage ventured that a repeat is only a repeat if you haven’t seen it; how true.
Getting into a lift in busy, cacophonous Tunis, with all its ancient Carthaginian history and recent rebelliousness, it feels rather incongruous to stand in an airtight box listening to classic piano for 20 seconds.
I don’t write this column very often, so I hope you’ll indulge me in a list of five reasons why some programmes might increase their consolidated audience significantly more than others.
Just how smart are smart TVs? Do they know the capital of France, the average weight of cheese or why England’s cricket team can be brilliant then suddenly hopeless? Do they know why we are all here? Probably not.
Murder among palm trees, prisons and serial killers whetted the viewers’ appetite this week and, by Jove, they lapped them all up with a spoon.
Somewhere in the pages of Margaret Mitchell’s voluminous novel Gone With The Wind there is a line that laments: ‘Death and taxes and childbirth! There’s never a convenient time for any of them!’
Ratings are strong for just the kind of madness that soothes the soul.
And we’re off. No sooner has Christmas finished than TV gets its glad rags on to entice us with all-new trimmings as each broadcaster seeks to get the year going with some oomph.
A study of ancient history reveals that in 2006, total live viewing on Christmas Day between 3pm and 11pm averaged 20.4 million.
Congressman Brody’s taboos in Homeland are pretty dark, what with his central role in international terrorism aided by some barking plot wrangling – and oh, for goodness sake, just put those two ridiculous kids in jail and be done with it.
If you recorded the Apocalypse, what would standing at the office watercooler the next day be like? Paper cups full of cockroaches probably, and no one to spoil the ending.
One of the most chanted refrains emanating from the US elections was the Obama camp’s “four more years”. In the even more ruthless world of American TV, it’s often a more plaintive “four more episodes”.
Alas and alack the cakes, buns, bunting and icing sugar are but a memory. Alas and alack for BBC2 anyway, for everyone else the end of The Great British Bake Off might evoke a more bitter ‘thank goodness, get lost’.
Downton Abbey continues to prove that the UK’s appetite for costume melodrama remains unabated, as the latest consolidated episode, which aired on 7 October, is again at the top of the table.
Perhaps the most famous of all Welsh poet and drinker Dylan Thomas’ works is Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, with its epic exhortation to “rage, rage against the dying of the light”.
At school, my maths teacher had a very distinctive non-local accent, with which I became so fascinated that I often ignored the sums.
ITV1’s Downton Abbey and Sky1’s Moone Boy picked up strong audiences after consolidation.
ITV1’s The Jury and A Mother’s Son, Sky Atlantic series The British, BBC2’s Great British Bake Off and Channel 5’s Dallas all picked up strong audiences after consolidation.
Doctor Who’s return to BBC1 was recorded by nearly 2m viewers making it one of the highest rating episodes in close to two years.
The full gamut of the dramatic narrative was on display this week. It felt a bit like being at school in double English, studying a very thick and intense book full of meaning, apparently, and then rushing home to watch Hong Kong Phooey.
The Hairy Bikers quest to lose weight was recorded by nearly half a million BBC2 viewers taking it to the best audience of the series.
It all feels like a faraway dream: the wild cheering, the tears of joy/despair and the super-human feats amid the general balmy madness of the Olympics.
For all time, seemingly, the news has been dominated by grey men and women talking solemnly about the financial crises and scandals that afflict our daily lives, assuring us all that this time it’s all fixed; it never is. So it’s no big surprise that the Olympics has caught fire in such a stupidly massive way.
Having a touch of the Kardashians sounds like the sort of thing the Borgias might contract after a particularly debauched evening in the Vatican. Apparently, however, they are entirely different entities that are breaking records for E! in the same way the errant Pope and his troupe broke bed springs.
Movies such as Avatar have helped Film 4 secure major audiences in recent weeks.
Heroic figures come in all shapes and sizes.
Driving through Warwickshire up the M40, the trees are greener, the roads slightly smoother and the sun shinier. I am sure William Shakespeare felt the same on his journey home (though not up the M40, obviously) after a hard day’s scribbling.
The final episode of BBC1 legal drama Silk topped all-comers for the most recorded programme of the week.
Graham Norton has now established his position as BBC1’s king of chat pulling some of his biggest audiences to date and stepping out of the shadow of predecessor Jonathan Ross.
Sky Living’s supernatural drama series Bedlam returned for a second run and managed to boost its live ratings by nearly half a million viewers.
ITV1 detective drama Lewis topped the consolidated raintgs chart with more than a million time-shifting viewing.
BBC4’s Restoration history series Harlots, Housewives And Heroines is clearly something to watch immediately, for its recording is relatively small but its numbers are decent.
Crime & Investigation Network recorded an unusual spike in PVR viewers for a doc about curious deaths. Elsewhere, Lewis was top dog, The Voice UK recovered some respectability, Silk beat itself and Hart of Dixie made its mark.
As the summer finally arrives it’s suddenly apparent that the avalanche of events, rumbling down the mountain side of fate to smother the TV screens of destiny, is almost upon us; the Diamond Jubilee, the European Football Championships and some running, jumping, throwing and swimming somewhere in the East End.