Peter Cook with wife Lin at Mick Jagger's 50th birthday party in 1993. Photo: Richard Young / Rex / Shutterstock

Lin Cook, who died before Christmas, personified that odd breed: the celebrity widow

4 January 2017 15:52

Amid the flurry of famous deaths during 2016, one particular passing has been more or less forgotten. Peter Cook’s third…

English writer John Berger near Paris in 2009. Photo: Ulf Andersen / Getty Images

Kenneth Clark was much better at opening people’s eyes to great art than Marxist John Berger

4 January 2017 12:35

It is one of those interesting quirks of postwar cultural history that John Berger, who has died at the age…

Cui Yongyuan attending the opening session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in 2014. Photo: Getty

The Chinese are willing participants in state censorship

12 November 2015 17:53

For three decades, Cui Yongyuan has been one of China’s national treasures. As a veteran television presenter for CCTV (China’s…

Have I Got News For You in 1998: Ian Hislop, Jackie Mason, Angus Deayton, a studio technician, Michael Crick and Paul Merton. Photo: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Why I won’t be celebrating Have I Got News For You’s 25th anniversary

1 October 2015 13:59

America, we’re told, has been enjoying a golden age of news satire. This is largely attributed to Jon Stewart and…


Why is the BBC’s latest ‘documentary’ on China fronted by someone who doesn’t know anything about China?

7 September 2015 16:08

The BBC’s latest pretty young face is Billie JD Porter. The 23-year-old is entirely lovable. With her brown roots proudly showing, that…

Leonard Rossiter and Sue Nicholls The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin. Photo: BBC Pictures Archives

Why the Reggie Perrin novel deserves to be considered a classic in its own right

7 September 2015 12:36

It was eerie the first time I watched The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin because it all felt so familiar. Suddenly my…


Entourage review: its obsession with boobs, babes and oiled up bodies continues

17 June 2015 14:54

Look, could everyone please stop denigrating the Entourage movie for spurious reasons like ‘it feels like an extended episode of…


The Wachowskis’ Sense8 reviewed: the kind of programme where nobody ever fully dies

5 June 2015 16:45

With 60 million international subscribers and a programme-making budget of about $3bn, Netflix is steamrolling most of the received wisdom…

Sansa Stark, star of Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones has always been a vacuous banquet of sex and violence. Why are people suddenly outraged by it?

20 May 2015 16:27

If you’ve never watched Game of Thrones, it is a twee fantasy show in which men and women discuss politics at length, dance…


What Afghan soldiers really think – the same as us

19 May 2015 11:36

‘The NATO Commander in Eastern Afghanistan has said that this year 54 foreign bases have already been closed…’ Last December…


Channel 4’s The Vote reviewed: ‘complex, acute, very funny and oddly moving’

8 May 2015 14:21

He’s back on top form. James Graham has taken the unlikeliest setting, a polling station during the last hour of…

Aidan Gillen as Littlefinger and Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark

Game of Thrones premiere at the Tower of London, review: the pride before the fall

19 March 2015 12:12

Television is in a golden age. Or at least so we are told. If you weren’t able to tell from…

Television UKIP: The First 100 Days

UKIP: The First 100 Days, Channel 4, review: a sad, predictable, desperate hatchet job

18 February 2015 11:31

This is an extract from this week’s magazine, available from tomorrow Just three months into Ukip’s shock victory as the…

Fargo, Channel 4

James Walton’s five favourite TV programmes of 2014

2 January 2015 10:30

1. Fargo, Channel 4 In a particularly strong year for thrillers (Line of Duty, The Missing and Homeland ­among them)…

Nigel Farage with Steph and Dom Parker. Photo: Channel 4.

Poor Farage was stitched up by Steph and Dom

16 December 2014 10:38

Steph and Dom are the posh-sounding, drunk couple from Gogglebox – the surprise hit programme where people are recorded sitting…

The Mike Leigh/Nick Serota puff piece for Newsnight

Newsnight’s arts coverage has descended into a string of fawning advertorials

17 November 2014 15:37

Newsnight‘s decision to interview misogynist comedian Daniel ‘Dapper Laughs’ O’Reilly has been slammed as a cynical ratings grab, a descent…


24 Hours in Police Custody: a C4 programme that finally tells the truth about ‘honour crimes’

7 November 2014 16:15

Settling down to watch 24 Hours in Police Custody, the new Channel 4 programme brought to us by the team…

Image: Getty

Jeremy Paxman’s last Newsnight made me want to be sick

19 June 2014 14:12

Did you not threaten to overrule him, Paxman? Did you not threaten to overrule your editor when he told you…


The best of Rik Mayall (1958 – 2014), master of the grotesque

9 June 2014 17:27

Sad news reaches us at Culture House that Rik Mayall, one of the mainstays of my TV-addicted teenage years, has…

Footballers' Wives

TV snobs hate the telly because it’s watched by those born on the wrong side of the tracks

9 June 2014 15:15

Growing up in the 1970s I watched as much TV as humanly possible. When we had important visitors to the…

Cloister Pic. 2 - With Kenneth Clark

Was Kenneth Clark wrong not to ‘understand’ the value of abstract art?

6 June 2014 13:58

Kenneth Clark’s view of culture may by now be ‘outmoded’, but I was surprised to read that it was also…


Did we know TV was crap in the old days?

4 June 2014 14:54

Here’s a question for those of you old enough to remember 1980s television: did we realise at the time how…

Chelsea Flower Show - Day 2

Monty Don, Kirstie Allsopp and Bear Grylls – we get the TV shows we deserve

22 May 2014 18:04

We’re now on day three of the Chelsea Flower Show, and this year the BBC have taken their coverage to…


Masterchef is a food programme by tossers for tossers

19 May 2014 12:47

There is so much to hate about massively successful TV series Masterchef that I have been glued to it for…

Kenneth Clark in the cloisters of the Cathedral of Santa Croce in Florence

Civilisation doesn’t need a woman presenter – and it doesn’t need to be remade!

1 May 2014 15:40

I was pleased to see that June Sarpong had added her weight to Kathy Lette’s petition to get a woman…