You don’t say


It’s funny. I’ve been getting the Sunday Times for years, and always scan the Culture section, but only this weekend did I notice YOU SAY in the bottom right hand corner of the TV listings. It invites you to email in YOUR VIEWS on the telly, and they print them. Let’s assume these are real. My eye was drawn, self-servingly, to one about Not Going Out. It pleased me. This is what it said:

BBC1 comedies Not Going Out and The Old Guys have excellent scripts and are well cast. They both liven up the weekend viewing.
Tudor Williams, Cheltenham

Now, apart from the unlikely name, this was a pleasant little comment. It made me feel fleetingly flattered to have had something to do with a programme praised by a Sunday Times reader. What a refreshing oasis of reason this section must be, I thought. Good on the British public. Then I read on. This is what the next YOU SAY said:

What hold does Jo Brand have on the BBC? She is crude, rude and yet appears on so many programmes – she is even choosing photos for the Countryfile calendar. Her choices shows she has no knowledge of photography
Peter A Rushforth

What?! Her choices show she has no knowledge of photography? That’s really sticking it to her – a woman who obviously has photos of the BBC Trust in uncompromising positions, hence her fruitful career. I couldn’t help but check out the other entries in this intriguing corner section. I’m afraid they rather give the impression that Sunday Times readers are thundering nutters.

I agree with people who have written about Gregg Wallace on Masterchef (BBC2). I find the absurdly named “ingredients expert” a total waste of space.
Tony Gurmley-Grennan

That can’t be a real name, surely? And if it is, and Mr Gurmley-Grennan finds Gregg Wallace a “total waste of space” why does he persist in torturing himself by watching the programme? He is a food expert. Food is ingredients. He is an expert in them.

We agree with the recent comments about Today (R4). We switched off after the Gordon Brown interview. Humphrys’s patronising tone was very annoying. It ruined what would have been the start of a pleasant day.
Clive & Eileen Walton

Who writes joint letters apart from the fictional characters Howard and Hilda on Ever Decreasing Circles? And if you want a pleasant day, my advice is: don’t listen to Today at the start of it; it’s all about war and recession and politics and John Humphrys is usually on it.

The first Red Riding (C4) was intolerably violent. The journalist playing the lead was brutally attacked many times. Also, I could not understand a word due to the dialect. Very depressing.
Clare Chatham, Worthing

The journalist playing the lead? Surely the actor playing the lead? And do some people in Worthing still live in a world where “dialects” are difficult to follow? That really is depressing.

Re Lindsay Duncan’s appalling turn in Margaret (BBC2). She was repetitive, robotic and android-like – a sub-Harold Pinter leftie. Had she mixed herself up with her script for a coming Doctor Who? She was truly embarrassing. Best raspberry, surely?
David Smith, Grimsby

Why was Christopher Patten airbrushed out? His name wasn’t even mentioned.
Edina Reith, London N19

Tories with an axe to grind, by any chance? You’d think a descendent of Lord Reith might have a better grasp of how TV drama is made. (I’m not sure Patten was important enough for airbrushing out, but I like the Stalinesque paranoia.) And as for Mr Smith in Grimsby: was Margaret Thatcher really played as a leftie? Worse, a sub-Harold Pinter one? (They’re the worst kind: lefties who aren’t even as good as Harold Pinter at being lefties.)

I think the Culture should recruit some of these definitely real readers as TV critics. It would make a refreshing change from all those reasoned, articulate, knowledgable, TV-loving lefties the papers usually employ! I can’t wait for next Sunday now . . .


One thought on “You don’t say

  1. The real Tudor Williams of Cheltenham is a writer and friend of mine. If he hasn't already read this blog, I will direct him to it immediately.I'm sure he'll be very amused by the whole discussion.KarenC

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