Rock on, Tommy

Saxondale1

In praise of Saxondale
This has just crept up on me, but Saxondale is my favourite comedy on television currently. As a writer who’s spent much of this year tackling Difficult Second Series Syndrome, I have to take my hat off to Steve Coogan and his mystery co-writer Neil MacClennan for not only matching the first series, but topping it, bringing new depth to Saxondale himself, and his relationship with surrogate son Raymond (the excellently lagubrious Rasmus Hardiker). Though the set-up is the same – ex-roadie pest controller living with saucy hippy girlfriend in suburbs – the writers seem to have taken the foot off the pedal a bit (sorry about the motoring metaphor). Coogan has really relaxed into the character now, as if perhaps in response to the decision to perm and highlight Tommy’s hair, which gives him a much softer look. (I know – sounds woolly, but might not be.) Equally, Raymond’s position in the house, and by Tommy’s side on the job, is just accepted. It’s not an issue; they are a team, and it’s a much more interesting one for a sitcom than two blokes of the same age in a pub. It’s rare that a “father” and “son” (or indeed, a father and son) are the lead two characters in a comedy. You’d have to go back to Steptoe, or, less classically, Home To Roost for that. Fathers and sons are ten a penny in sitcom, but usually in group casts. Darren Boyd’s neighbour character is a plus, too. Certainly a bit of a grotesque (square pretends he’s “down” with Tommy when really he’s a reactionary stiff), but entertaining, and he puts Tommy in a good light. I think that’s the nub, actually: here is a lead character who’s not a total loser. Yes, his glory days are behind him, but he’s in a solid, loving relationship, and seems to be running a reasonably successful small business. This is rare in British sitcom. The joke’s often on him, but not because he’s an idiot, simply because he’s complex. He wants to be on the side of some squatters, but discovers that they are useless bastards and switches allegiance. He thinks he hates the public school system when he and Raymond are sent to fumigate a posh school, but the teacher turns out not to be a Victorian throwback, but a decent sort, with a decent car – thus, Tommy must reallign his prejudices. This is not all laugh out loud stuff, but I find myself smiling all the way through it, and Coogan gives himself enough smart lines to raise a couple of chuckles from me a week. Is it getting good ratings? I’ll have to go and check.

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84 thoughts on “Rock on, Tommy

  1. Ah, 1.3 million, but it seems to be holding steady. I think Coogan has a special pass at the BBC anyway, and with good reason, considering his form, so I’d like to think BBC2 would hang on to Saxondale whatever the figures. (Notice that I’m not allowing professional jealousy to creep in here. Grass did about 1.1 million but was not picked up.)

  2. Ah, 1.3 million, but it seems to be holding steady. I think Coogan has a special pass at the BBC anyway, and with good reason, considering his form, so I’d like to think BBC2 would hang on to Saxondale whatever the figures. (Notice that I’m not allowing professional jealousy to creep in here. Grass did about 1.1 million but was not picked up.)

  3. Steve Coogan’s characters are always a bit hit and miss, but Tommy is a big big hit this second series. With The Office, I found myself squirming and asking “Have I ever done that?”, but with Saxondale I find myself smiling and thinking “I’ve done that”. The Queen tribute band sitting around drinking coke and checking their mail after the gig while Tommy is expecting a party was genius. I hadn’t considered that, for a sitcom, it is unusual to have a reasonably successful, and well meaning lead character. Along with The IT Crowd, Saxondale is my must see TV of the week.

  4. Steve Coogan’s characters are always a bit hit and miss, but Tommy is a big big hit this second series. With The Office, I found myself squirming and asking “Have I ever done that?”, but with Saxondale I find myself smiling and thinking “I’ve done that”. The Queen tribute band sitting around drinking coke and checking their mail after the gig while Tommy is expecting a party was genius. I hadn’t considered that, for a sitcom, it is unusual to have a reasonably successful, and well meaning lead character. Along with The IT Crowd, Saxondale is my must see TV of the week.

  5. I agree, it has crept up and become a don’t miss programme. I felt a bit baffled by it at first, because I didn’t really laugh very much. In fact I commented to a friend that it was ‘too real’. But now I’ve grown to like Tommy. Another frustrated middle aged bloke, a staple of comedy, but this time Coogan has played down the grotesque and farcical, and given him a decency which stops you just mocking him. Like talking down the suicide bloke, and then having to live with consequences. It’s a nice mix between comedy and straight drama, ambiguously hovering around both, without being out and out one or the other. Love those scenes when he goes back to the office, btw, when he goes back for another dose of humiliation.

  6. I agree, it has crept up and become a don’t miss programme. I felt a bit baffled by it at first, because I didn’t really laugh very much. In fact I commented to a friend that it was ‘too real’. But now I’ve grown to like Tommy. Another frustrated middle aged bloke, a staple of comedy, but this time Coogan has played down the grotesque and farcical, and given him a decency which stops you just mocking him. Like talking down the suicide bloke, and then having to live with consequences. It’s a nice mix between comedy and straight drama, ambiguously hovering around both, without being out and out one or the other. Love those scenes when he goes back to the office, btw, when he goes back for another dose of humiliation.

  7. I totally agree on the hair issue. It’s clearly changed from a wig to Coogan’s actual hair and now he doesn’t look like a stereotype, he looks like the kind of bloke we’re all turning into. I know at least a couple of Saxondales, the way we all known a couple of Rodneys, a couple of Rigsbys, a handful of Brents. It’s really great, laidback stuff, and proves Coogan doesn’t need the back up of Iannucci and Marber to give a character longevity.

  8. I totally agree on the hair issue. It’s clearly changed from a wig to Coogan’s actual hair and now he doesn’t look like a stereotype, he looks like the kind of bloke we’re all turning into. I know at least a couple of Saxondales, the way we all known a couple of Rodneys, a couple of Rigsbys, a handful of Brents. It’s really great, laidback stuff, and proves Coogan doesn’t need the back up of Iannucci and Marber to give a character longevity.

  9. When Saxondale first started I think a lot of people did think “Is that it?” about it but very much like Vic and Bob’s Catterick it’s very much a throwback to a day before all these dark for the sake of it sitcoms clogged up our screens.More importantly have you been watching the final series of The Sopranos which was deserved praised to the high heavens at the Emmy Awards this weekend.

  10. When Saxondale first started I think a lot of people did think “Is that it?” about it but very much like Vic and Bob’s Catterick it’s very much a throwback to a day before all these dark for the sake of it sitcoms clogged up our screens.More importantly have you been watching the final series of The Sopranos which was deserved praised to the high heavens at the Emmy Awards this weekend.

  11. The characterisation in Saxondale is nonpareil. These are people you know and care about, which is a wonder to me as so many sitcoms these days just seem to be about churning out the jokes, regardless of quality. I’m not a big Ricky Gervais fan, but I liked Extras because of the relationship between Andy and Maggie, which was utterly believable. And of course, Saxondale is set in Stevenage. Those of us who grew up there really know it’s true.

  12. The characterisation in Saxondale is nonpareil. These are people you know and care about, which is a wonder to me as so many sitcoms these days just seem to be about churning out the jokes, regardless of quality. I’m not a big Ricky Gervais fan, but I liked Extras because of the relationship between Andy and Maggie, which was utterly believable. And of course, Saxondale is set in Stevenage. Those of us who grew up there really know it’s true.

  13. I hardly ever watch TV but I’m devoted to Saxondale. It manages to be edgy and gentle at the same time, with some brilliant attention to detail. Perfect proof that ‘show, don’t tell’ is always best; the little open ends where the viewers are left to fill in the blanks themselves work wonders. Lovely stuff.

  14. I hardly ever watch TV but I’m devoted to Saxondale. It manages to be edgy and gentle at the same time, with some brilliant attention to detail. Perfect proof that ‘show, don’t tell’ is always best; the little open ends where the viewers are left to fill in the blanks themselves work wonders. Lovely stuff.

  15. Why have they decided to set Saxondale in Stevenage and then filmed most of the recognisable exterior shots in Watford? Having lived in both places for most of my life they are such similar towns that they could just have easily have said it was set in Watford.By the way, I do not, and will never, resemble Tommy Saxondale in any way shape or form and anyone that says I do is probably sitting next to me watching it.

  16. Why have they decided to set Saxondale in Stevenage and then filmed most of the recognisable exterior shots in Watford? Having lived in both places for most of my life they are such similar towns that they could just have easily have said it was set in Watford.By the way, I do not, and will never, resemble Tommy Saxondale in any way shape or form and anyone that says I do is probably sitting next to me watching it.

  17. One other example of the father/son type relationship among the main characters in sitcom history (and one which seems to have been largely forgotten as its two protagonists have gone on to bigger and better things) is Men of the World starring John Simm and David Threlfall as two blokes working in a travel agent and sharing a flat.I’ve been waiting since Life on Mars started to mention this in an even vaguely relevant way.And Saxondale is great.

  18. One other example of the father/son type relationship among the main characters in sitcom history (and one which seems to have been largely forgotten as its two protagonists have gone on to bigger and better things) is Men of the World starring John Simm and David Threlfall as two blokes working in a travel agent and sharing a flat.I’ve been waiting since Life on Mars started to mention this in an even vaguely relevant way.And Saxondale is great.

  19. Yep, another big fan here. I think we’ve all got a bit of Saxondale in us, but some have got a bit more than others. And I still can’t believe my girlfriend hadn’t heard of Barnes Wallis or Douglas Bader…

  20. Yep, another big fan here. I think we’ve all got a bit of Saxondale in us, but some have got a bit more than others. And I still can’t believe my girlfriend hadn’t heard of Barnes Wallis or Douglas Bader…

  21. I’m yet to start watching the second series, so I hope they’re all sitting there on the PVR. I was certainly very keen on the first series. I particularly liked the way that each episode started in the anger management sessions yet they rarely let loose with that side of his character. It’s a lovely subtle thing and proof that a comedy show doesn’t have to be full of jokes (not that there’s anything wrong with that), it just has to be good.

  22. I’m yet to start watching the second series, so I hope they’re all sitting there on the PVR. I was certainly very keen on the first series. I particularly liked the way that each episode started in the anger management sessions yet they rarely let loose with that side of his character. It’s a lovely subtle thing and proof that a comedy show doesn’t have to be full of jokes (not that there’s anything wrong with that), it just has to be good.

  23. Attention to detail, well observed, blah blah blah. No bloody jokes! A comedy for the type of people who kid themeselves that Frasier was funnier than Friends (it wasn’t) because they thought it was more intellectual.If I want comedy without jokes give The Mighty Boosh over this any day. And if I want to laugh the only thing worth bothering with at the moment is The IT Crowd or ITV News.

  24. Attention to detail, well observed, blah blah blah. No bloody jokes! A comedy for the type of people who kid themeselves that Frasier was funnier than Friends (it wasn’t) because they thought it was more intellectual.If I want comedy without jokes give The Mighty Boosh over this any day. And if I want to laugh the only thing worth bothering with at the moment is The IT Crowd or ITV News.

  25. You’re a harsh critic, Old Nathan. No need to get so aggressive, though. Perhaps some people actually liked Frasier more than they liked Friends because it was about middle-aged rather than twentysomething people. I loved both, but Friends isn’t for everyone. I think it would be odd for someone to convince themselves that they liked a programme because they thought it was more intellectual. Frasier was more intellectual, but that isn’t why I liked it.

  26. You’re a harsh critic, Old Nathan. No need to get so aggressive, though. Perhaps some people actually liked Frasier more than they liked Friends because it was about middle-aged rather than twentysomething people. I loved both, but Friends isn’t for everyone. I think it would be odd for someone to convince themselves that they liked a programme because they thought it was more intellectual. Frasier was more intellectual, but that isn’t why I liked it.

  27. I love Frasier slightly more than Friends, as it’s intellectual AND warm, the perfect combination. The Boosh boys have made me laugh once, hysterically, but that’s it. For me, comedies labelled as ‘cool’ simply don’t cut it. Victor Meldrew is my hero.

  28. I love Frasier slightly more than Friends, as it’s intellectual AND warm, the perfect combination. The Boosh boys have made me laugh once, hysterically, but that’s it. For me, comedies labelled as ‘cool’ simply don’t cut it. Victor Meldrew is my hero.

  29. Here’s my opinion – for what it’s worth… Frasier is ok. Not my cup of tea but I can handle it. Friends is Satan. Hackneyed jokes, perhaps two half-decent attempts at a gag per episode.Boosh is great, if a little patchy.I’m still mourning the fact that the Garth Marenghi boys made such a limp comeback…

  30. Here’s my opinion – for what it’s worth… Frasier is ok. Not my cup of tea but I can handle it. Friends is Satan. Hackneyed jokes, perhaps two half-decent attempts at a gag per episode.Boosh is great, if a little patchy.I’m still mourning the fact that the Garth Marenghi boys made such a limp comeback…

  31. Old Nathan, a comedy needs to be funny. It doesn’t have to have jokes in it. Surely it’s not up to us as viewers to disect it to determine what makes it funny. As long as it makes me smile all the way through with a few laugh out loud moments then as far as I’m concerned it’s hit the spot and that is exactly what Saxondale does. It had never occurred to me whether I found Frasier more or less funny than Friends. In fact I don’t think I’ve ever associated the two, having recently watched quite a few of both of them I would say that Frasier seems to have aged better than Friends and I think I prefer it. Out of the most recent crop of US sitcoms I think my favourite is King of Queens which in no way could be claimed to be intellectual and sort of crept up on me. I guess that different things make different people laugh – as long as the scriptwriters realise this and don’t try and please most of the people most of the time there are enough channels/outlets available now for everyone to get what they want. I want another series of Saxonadale, Lead Balloon and Curb Yor Enthusiasm, I’m also looking forward to the new series of Banter and QI. I tried the new series of Going Out and it still isn’t for me, I don’t know why and as there’s not a lot I can do about it, I don’t care why, I’m happy to let others watch it and reach for my Seinfeld box sets.

  32. Old Nathan, a comedy needs to be funny. It doesn’t have to have jokes in it. Surely it’s not up to us as viewers to disect it to determine what makes it funny. As long as it makes me smile all the way through with a few laugh out loud moments then as far as I’m concerned it’s hit the spot and that is exactly what Saxondale does. It had never occurred to me whether I found Frasier more or less funny than Friends. In fact I don’t think I’ve ever associated the two, having recently watched quite a few of both of them I would say that Frasier seems to have aged better than Friends and I think I prefer it. Out of the most recent crop of US sitcoms I think my favourite is King of Queens which in no way could be claimed to be intellectual and sort of crept up on me. I guess that different things make different people laugh – as long as the scriptwriters realise this and don’t try and please most of the people most of the time there are enough channels/outlets available now for everyone to get what they want. I want another series of Saxonadale, Lead Balloon and Curb Yor Enthusiasm, I’m also looking forward to the new series of Banter and QI. I tried the new series of Going Out and it still isn’t for me, I don’t know why and as there’s not a lot I can do about it, I don’t care why, I’m happy to let others watch it and reach for my Seinfeld box sets.

  33. Friends is poor on many levels, but I find I’m guaranteed 4 or 5 chuckles per episode, and it’s on around my dinnertime, so that helps.Frasier at its best is untouchable but can be irritating. However, since I realised it has a bizarre Jungian connection to Hancock’s half hour (both radio stars with delusions of grandeur forced to house-share with people they think are beneath them and frequently caught out by their own vanity) it’s opened a whole new dimension for me.I am sadly coming to terms with the fact that Scrubs is past its best. This distresses me more than I can say. Occasionally I wonder what the Scrubs production team would have made of Green Wing, and like to hope they came across a DVD of it somehow.Presumably if the Curb Your Enthusiasm team came across a DVD of Lead Balloon they would make a lawsuit of it.

  34. Friends is poor on many levels, but I find I’m guaranteed 4 or 5 chuckles per episode, and it’s on around my dinnertime, so that helps.Frasier at its best is untouchable but can be irritating. However, since I realised it has a bizarre Jungian connection to Hancock’s half hour (both radio stars with delusions of grandeur forced to house-share with people they think are beneath them and frequently caught out by their own vanity) it’s opened a whole new dimension for me.I am sadly coming to terms with the fact that Scrubs is past its best. This distresses me more than I can say. Occasionally I wonder what the Scrubs production team would have made of Green Wing, and like to hope they came across a DVD of it somehow.Presumably if the Curb Your Enthusiasm team came across a DVD of Lead Balloon they would make a lawsuit of it.

  35. I know this has nothing to do with the theme of posts relating to comedy, but am I the only one that thinks the photo put on by Andrew of Saxondale looks like Eric Cantona?AnonoNick

  36. I know this has nothing to do with the theme of posts relating to comedy, but am I the only one that thinks the photo put on by Andrew of Saxondale looks like Eric Cantona?AnonoNick

  37. I’m not aggressive, I’m passionate Andrew. And I didn’t want to start a Frasier v Friends war because I liked both. But I AM very much aware of people who think certain TV programmes are more intellectual than others, so why shouldn’t this apply to comedy too? I know people who are addicted to The Apprentice but think that Big Brother is beneath them. I like them both but it’s like comparing dog poo to cat poo. It’s all poo.I’m just relieved to find a middle class person such as yourself who even admits to watching TV at all. God preserve us from pretentious bores who claim that they only listen to the Today programme and The Archers on Radio 4, like it makes them Steven Hawking or something. Or even worse, those who bang on and on about not having a TV at all and just read books because it takes more imagination. No it doesn’t! It takes imagination to WRITE a book it, not to read one.Yes it’s a bit of a tangent from Saxondale but you set me off!

  38. I’m not aggressive, I’m passionate Andrew. And I didn’t want to start a Frasier v Friends war because I liked both. But I AM very much aware of people who think certain TV programmes are more intellectual than others, so why shouldn’t this apply to comedy too? I know people who are addicted to The Apprentice but think that Big Brother is beneath them. I like them both but it’s like comparing dog poo to cat poo. It’s all poo.I’m just relieved to find a middle class person such as yourself who even admits to watching TV at all. God preserve us from pretentious bores who claim that they only listen to the Today programme and The Archers on Radio 4, like it makes them Steven Hawking or something. Or even worse, those who bang on and on about not having a TV at all and just read books because it takes more imagination. No it doesn’t! It takes imagination to WRITE a book it, not to read one.Yes it’s a bit of a tangent from Saxondale but you set me off!

  39. I’ll stay with my original point: anyone who liked something for any reason other than they liked it would be very strange indeed. Do such people exist? I watched The Apprentice and Big Brother this year, but only one of them made me feel dirty and melancholy, so there must be a difference!I wouldn’t say it takes more imagination to read a book necessarily, but it does take more effort and patience and concentration than watching telly, which is by and large a passive medium.Let’s not be anti-intellect. (The Mighty Boosh, which I would lay down my life for, is intellectual as well as just daft, I’d say.)

  40. I’ll stay with my original point: anyone who liked something for any reason other than they liked it would be very strange indeed. Do such people exist? I watched The Apprentice and Big Brother this year, but only one of them made me feel dirty and melancholy, so there must be a difference!I wouldn’t say it takes more imagination to read a book necessarily, but it does take more effort and patience and concentration than watching telly, which is by and large a passive medium.Let’s not be anti-intellect. (The Mighty Boosh, which I would lay down my life for, is intellectual as well as just daft, I’d say.)

  41. Exactly. I know it’s your blog AC and you are entitled to return to your point but I think you are wilfully missing mine. I’m not saying anyone is lying to themselves but there are clearly people who think it’s big and clever to watch certain programmes and consider others beneath them (or claim not to watch TV at all). You must have met them. You must get invited to loads of dinner parties. You must have seen those ‘why all modern TV is disgraceful’ articles in the Daily Mail. Next to the essays on why all modern life is rubbish and why everything you know was better in 1950.I have no problem with people not liking reality TV programmes, it’s up to them, but why do they feel the need bang on and on about it at such great length? Nothing is beneath me (believe me); I just don’t like some programmes. I watch University Challenge, Newsnight, This Week and Question Time but I also watch BB and that Celebrity Jungle thing too. I’m hooked on Heroes right now. I won’t watch anything on ITV at 9 O’clock because at best it’ll be ‘just alright’ and at worst it’ll have Robson Green or Caroline Quentin in it. But they’re all just TV programmes and people shouldn’t give themselves credit for what they do and don’t watch.So yes let’s not be anti-intellect (as long as it isn’t pseudo) but let’s not dismiss ‘trash’ TV and the people who watch it either.But I’ll end on something we agree on. I never thought Boosh was ‘cool’ as described above, or particularly intellectual. I just love it because it’s really, really stupid. And I love ‘stupid’ I do.

  42. Exactly. I know it’s your blog AC and you are entitled to return to your point but I think you are wilfully missing mine. I’m not saying anyone is lying to themselves but there are clearly people who think it’s big and clever to watch certain programmes and consider others beneath them (or claim not to watch TV at all). You must have met them. You must get invited to loads of dinner parties. You must have seen those ‘why all modern TV is disgraceful’ articles in the Daily Mail. Next to the essays on why all modern life is rubbish and why everything you know was better in 1950.I have no problem with people not liking reality TV programmes, it’s up to them, but why do they feel the need bang on and on about it at such great length? Nothing is beneath me (believe me); I just don’t like some programmes. I watch University Challenge, Newsnight, This Week and Question Time but I also watch BB and that Celebrity Jungle thing too. I’m hooked on Heroes right now. I won’t watch anything on ITV at 9 O’clock because at best it’ll be ‘just alright’ and at worst it’ll have Robson Green or Caroline Quentin in it. But they’re all just TV programmes and people shouldn’t give themselves credit for what they do and don’t watch.So yes let’s not be anti-intellect (as long as it isn’t pseudo) but let’s not dismiss ‘trash’ TV and the people who watch it either.But I’ll end on something we agree on. I never thought Boosh was ‘cool’ as described above, or particularly intellectual. I just love it because it’s really, really stupid. And I love ‘stupid’ I do.

  43. Let’s not forget that ‘The Mighty Boosh’ started out on that bastion of reactionary pretention, Radio 4.I’d personally LOVE to be pretentious. But, alas, my somewhat elementary grasp of Russian prohibits me.PS – Tommy Saxondale DOES look like Eric Cantona, doesn’t he?

  44. Let’s not forget that ‘The Mighty Boosh’ started out on that bastion of reactionary pretention, Radio 4.I’d personally LOVE to be pretentious. But, alas, my somewhat elementary grasp of Russian prohibits me.PS – Tommy Saxondale DOES look like Eric Cantona, doesn’t he?

  45. The Boosh might be daft and stupid but it’s also very inventive and weaves in a huge number of cultural references very skilfully. So it’s also clever – or intellectual if you will – even if it wears its intelligence pleasingly lightly. And while it clearly depends on your definition of what constitutes a joke, I’d say it has fewer jokes in it than Frasier.

  46. The Boosh might be daft and stupid but it’s also very inventive and weaves in a huge number of cultural references very skilfully. So it’s also clever – or intellectual if you will – even if it wears its intelligence pleasingly lightly. And while it clearly depends on your definition of what constitutes a joke, I’d say it has fewer jokes in it than Frasier.

  47. Wasn’t the whole point of the first series of Saxondale Tommy having anger management issues? This seems to have been completely removed from his character now, save for the group therapy business at the beginning.Funny though that bit usually is, it seems to lack a context now.

  48. Wasn’t the whole point of the first series of Saxondale Tommy having anger management issues? This seems to have been completely removed from his character now, save for the group therapy business at the beginning.Funny though that bit usually is, it seems to lack a context now.

  49. Couldn’t agree more Old Nathan.The broadsheets, or rather their magazine supplements run those awful ‘barometers’ wherein they say what’s going up and going down – you know the kind of thing… ‘Going Down – The Boosh: We are soooo over Noel Fielding’. Going up ‘Beth Ditto: Thank god for real women’. It’s an indication that a certain kind of person doesn’t actually pay attention to content, they only heed cultural significance. It’s quite annoying if you dwell on it, which I do, though I shouldn’t.

  50. Couldn’t agree more Old Nathan.The broadsheets, or rather their magazine supplements run those awful ‘barometers’ wherein they say what’s going up and going down – you know the kind of thing… ‘Going Down – The Boosh: We are soooo over Noel Fielding’. Going up ‘Beth Ditto: Thank god for real women’. It’s an indication that a certain kind of person doesn’t actually pay attention to content, they only heed cultural significance. It’s quite annoying if you dwell on it, which I do, though I shouldn’t.

  51. Interestingly, Oldnathan, I almost never get invited to dinner parties, so I haven’t met people who claim not to watch TV, or who pretend to like things when they don’t. Conversely, I meet a lot of people who care not a jot what anybody thinks about their viewing tastes and just like what they like. Maybe I’m lucky. Maybe working alone, in my office, means I get to avoid people like that. Thank God. I accept their existence, though, if you insist that they’re out there. (Although please tell me that nobody bases their opinion on taste barometers in newspapers and magazines!)You, Oldnathan, exhibit your own prejudices against ITV at 9pm, and of course, it’s easy to see why anybody might arrive at those prejudices, but what’s the difference between this and the prejudice involved in thinking Big Brother is beneath them. (By the way, some people object to Big Brother not because they feel it’s beneath them, but because they think that it represents something worrying about our culture. Diffrent thing.) We all have our own tastes, and hooray for that, but I’m not “wilfully” missing your point, I’m challenging it because it’s full of contradictions. I’m also challenging it because I don’t know what it is. That all television should be judged on its own merits and not because of its intellectual content, or lack of? You enjoy a wide range of different programmes including Newsnight and The Mighty Boosh and Frasier and I’m A Celebrity, and yet you avoid a particular channel at an alloted time because you feel sure that you won’t like what’s on. So you’re open-minded and closed-minded at the same time. Unless I’ve misunderstood, which is a distinct possibility.

  52. Interestingly, Oldnathan, I almost never get invited to dinner parties, so I haven’t met people who claim not to watch TV, or who pretend to like things when they don’t. Conversely, I meet a lot of people who care not a jot what anybody thinks about their viewing tastes and just like what they like. Maybe I’m lucky. Maybe working alone, in my office, means I get to avoid people like that. Thank God. I accept their existence, though, if you insist that they’re out there. (Although please tell me that nobody bases their opinion on taste barometers in newspapers and magazines!)You, Oldnathan, exhibit your own prejudices against ITV at 9pm, and of course, it’s easy to see why anybody might arrive at those prejudices, but what’s the difference between this and the prejudice involved in thinking Big Brother is beneath them. (By the way, some people object to Big Brother not because they feel it’s beneath them, but because they think that it represents something worrying about our culture. Diffrent thing.) We all have our own tastes, and hooray for that, but I’m not “wilfully” missing your point, I’m challenging it because it’s full of contradictions. I’m also challenging it because I don’t know what it is. That all television should be judged on its own merits and not because of its intellectual content, or lack of? You enjoy a wide range of different programmes including Newsnight and The Mighty Boosh and Frasier and I’m A Celebrity, and yet you avoid a particular channel at an alloted time because you feel sure that you won’t like what’s on. So you’re open-minded and closed-minded at the same time. Unless I’ve misunderstood, which is a distinct possibility.

  53. Why do those barometers exist if they’re not for the simple-minded to find out what’s in and what’s out? Simply to annoy me?Why is the Hawley Arms suddenly a celeb hotspot? Because the likes of Polly Vernon and a few celebrities say it is. Of course people decide what’s cool based on the opinion of others.

  54. Why do those barometers exist if they’re not for the simple-minded to find out what’s in and what’s out? Simply to annoy me?Why is the Hawley Arms suddenly a celeb hotspot? Because the likes of Polly Vernon and a few celebrities say it is. Of course people decide what’s cool based on the opinion of others.

  55. Aha – the perils of Central London. It’s a Camden Boozer, was lovely until early 2005 (I estimate wildly). Razorlight made it their ‘local’ despite driving from Hampstead to drink there and now it has bouncers and rich people within. With my trainers, they’d never let me darken its door again.Another example – Little Britain. First series was palatable but then quality dropped in conjunction with popularity. It was the thing to watch, suddenly. And I’m sure a lot of the laughter wasn’t genuine laughter.Am I being an indie snob again?

  56. Aha – the perils of Central London. It’s a Camden Boozer, was lovely until early 2005 (I estimate wildly). Razorlight made it their ‘local’ despite driving from Hampstead to drink there and now it has bouncers and rich people within. With my trainers, they’d never let me darken its door again.Another example – Little Britain. First series was palatable but then quality dropped in conjunction with popularity. It was the thing to watch, suddenly. And I’m sure a lot of the laughter wasn’t genuine laughter.Am I being an indie snob again?

  57. You make some very good points AC. However as they don’t coincide with my particularly jaundiced view of the world then I’m choosing to ignore them.I discriminate purely on the basis that I don’t like something not because I think I’m superior to it. There is a difference. Although I am superior to Robson Greene and Caroline Quentin. Anyone who thinks that anything on Big Brother is, in any way, representative of this country needs (for want of a better, less clichéd, phrase) to get out more. Actually this year’s housemate’s were, in the main, a rather agreeable bunch. What happened that sullied the nation and made you feel dirty?I suspect you’ll want to call this a day now so lets just agree that I won and move on. Despite anything that might have sounded hostile from me in our exchanges I do think you are spot on with most of your stuff on here and you are welcome to come to dinner at Mr &Mrs Oldnathan’s (real name Richard Smith in case you think I’m hiding) house anytime.

  58. You make some very good points AC. However as they don’t coincide with my particularly jaundiced view of the world then I’m choosing to ignore them.I discriminate purely on the basis that I don’t like something not because I think I’m superior to it. There is a difference. Although I am superior to Robson Greene and Caroline Quentin. Anyone who thinks that anything on Big Brother is, in any way, representative of this country needs (for want of a better, less clichéd, phrase) to get out more. Actually this year’s housemate’s were, in the main, a rather agreeable bunch. What happened that sullied the nation and made you feel dirty?I suspect you’ll want to call this a day now so lets just agree that I won and move on. Despite anything that might have sounded hostile from me in our exchanges I do think you are spot on with most of your stuff on here and you are welcome to come to dinner at Mr &Mrs Oldnathan’s (real name Richard Smith in case you think I’m hiding) house anytime.

  59. But isn’t TV like any media, sometimes you engage for intelligence or knowledge or pure entertainment and sometimes you just watch crap.Personally I think BB is utter crap and does actually reflect the state of our society, but then I like Battlestar Gallactica and people will regard that as escapist nonsense (true!). It is strange to assume that a time and a channel will automatically be crap and unwatchable and a slightly more open mind might lead to some interesting discoveries? Through this blog I have discovered Dexter and will be tuning into Saxondale tonight for instance…And can I come for dinner too? Can we watch telly while we eat?AnonoNick

  60. But isn’t TV like any media, sometimes you engage for intelligence or knowledge or pure entertainment and sometimes you just watch crap.Personally I think BB is utter crap and does actually reflect the state of our society, but then I like Battlestar Gallactica and people will regard that as escapist nonsense (true!). It is strange to assume that a time and a channel will automatically be crap and unwatchable and a slightly more open mind might lead to some interesting discoveries? Through this blog I have discovered Dexter and will be tuning into Saxondale tonight for instance…And can I come for dinner too? Can we watch telly while we eat?AnonoNick

  61. You’d be most welcome. We could watch my ‘Best of ITV at 9 O’clock’ DVD box set. I forgot to say though that dinner at our house is noon ’til 1 p.m. What civilised people call ‘dinner’, we call ‘tea’. And anything after 8 p.m. is probably supper.

  62. You’d be most welcome. We could watch my ‘Best of ITV at 9 O’clock’ DVD box set. I forgot to say though that dinner at our house is noon ’til 1 p.m. What civilised people call ‘dinner’, we call ‘tea’. And anything after 8 p.m. is probably supper.

  63. Oldnathan,That’s what watching BB does to you, see! Noon to 1pm HAS to be lunch. I think the evening meal can be called either tea (informal) or dinner (more formal). If you invited someone for an evening meal you would probably use the dinner word, if you phoned your wife up with a gentle question about the night’s cuisine I suspect you would say “what’s for tea?”. Well that’s what they do on Battlestar Gallactica anyway……AnonoNick

  64. Oldnathan,That’s what watching BB does to you, see! Noon to 1pm HAS to be lunch. I think the evening meal can be called either tea (informal) or dinner (more formal). If you invited someone for an evening meal you would probably use the dinner word, if you phoned your wife up with a gentle question about the night’s cuisine I suspect you would say “what’s for tea?”. Well that’s what they do on Battlestar Gallactica anyway……AnonoNick

  65. Hey, Oldnathan, in a previous comment you used the phrase “dinner parties”. Touche!(I only felt dirty because I’d watched so much of this year’s Big Brother and had allowed it to rule my free time with its various spin-offs. The dirt was on me for caring, not them for making it. I didn’t post on the blog about it because I just couldn’t allow it to eat into any more of my week by starting debates off.)

  66. Hey, Oldnathan, in a previous comment you used the phrase “dinner parties”. Touche!(I only felt dirty because I’d watched so much of this year’s Big Brother and had allowed it to rule my free time with its various spin-offs. The dirt was on me for caring, not them for making it. I didn’t post on the blog about it because I just couldn’t allow it to eat into any more of my week by starting debates off.)

  67. Yes touché indeed but I don’t understand why. Have you caught me out again? I really am losing track of what I’m on about.I understand the concept of what a ‘dinner party’ is for most people and can use it in the context you would. For me it involves inviting people to our house around 12.30 in the afternoon for egg and chips and a mug of tea whilst watching Loose Women. For most of you it probably means: early evening, bottle of wine, something in a red sauce whilst listening to Anthony and The Johnsons (I would have said Saint Sufjan Stevens but I worship him and didn’t want to sully him with the scenario).I’ll completely understand if you’ve had enough of this Andrew but I could keep this up for weeks.

  68. Yes touché indeed but I don’t understand why. Have you caught me out again? I really am losing track of what I’m on about.I understand the concept of what a ‘dinner party’ is for most people and can use it in the context you would. For me it involves inviting people to our house around 12.30 in the afternoon for egg and chips and a mug of tea whilst watching Loose Women. For most of you it probably means: early evening, bottle of wine, something in a red sauce whilst listening to Anthony and The Johnsons (I would have said Saint Sufjan Stevens but I worship him and didn’t want to sully him with the scenario).I’ll completely understand if you’ve had enough of this Andrew but I could keep this up for weeks.

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