Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain towards the end of January 2018 for about a month
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

A most enticing programme preview. Not.

(Please see UPDATE at end)

This week's Radio Times has one of the most devastatingly unfavourable reviews for an upcoming programme that I can ever recall reading. So explicit is the withering comment about what viewers can expect to see tonight at 9pm on BBC4 television that I felt I just had to reproduce it here. The preview is on page 82 of this week's print edition of Radio Times (at least in the Scottish edition) and can be found in the online Radio Times here. Marvel at its frankness:

How to Be Old with Nicholas Craig
Tuesday 14 July
9.00pm - 10.00pm BBC4

Third-division thespian Nicholas Craig is inexplicably given another hour of airtime to sound off on acting technique, a subject where his lack of expertise could not be plainer. This time, the precious gasbag delivers a footling, downright insulting bulletin on how to portray elderly characters, betraying his trivial outlook by advising on coughing, hobbling, falling ("into a coma or under a bus") and playing grumpy butlers.

It's hard to know what's most unbearable about Craig: his vain self-promotion (he plugs his dreadful Charming Walks for Older Actors book), his flagrant name-dropping or his evident bitterness at having been written out of Doctors when his salty sea-dog character went mad. In any event, Derek Jacobi, Patricia Routledge and Liz Smith are among those who'll be livid when they see this.

Radio Times reviewer - Jack Seale

No doubt Mr Craig and his agent (assuming he still has one after tonight) will have been overjoyed to read this write-up.

I can't record this easily, as I'm already recording two other programmes on my DVR at the same time this evening, so may end up watching as much of it as I can stomach, failing which I will have to try and rig up one of my rather ancient VCRs to record it on the now somewhat outmoded videotape so I may savour it later.

UPDATE: (Wednesday 15JUL09 14.30 BST) Well, it seems this whole show was a spoof by the actor Nigel Planer, a fact I was alerted to by James Higham in the comments. Well it is a fine conceit I suppose, one that I seem to have been completely taken in by. Doh!!


  1. Hi Bill,

    I'm not a subscriber to the RT, despite their excellent choice of initials. Is this normal for them, or was it maybe just a reviewer having a bit of fun which the sub-editors failed to pick up before it went to press?

    The reason I ask is because whoever used to do the TV listings for Scotland on Sunday used to have lots of fun doing little things like that. I remember with great joy reading one Sunday morning his pithy description of 'Flipper' as being "Sixties dolphin hokum". :-)

  2. It does seem devastating. Is it a spoof, do you think? Nigel someone [from the Young Ones] did a master class on being a weatherman and I wonder if this is similar.

  3. Hi RT ;)

    I'd say it is a little unusual for a review to be quite so frank, although some movies they rate as 1-star do receive pretty mediocre reviews, too. one almost wonders if the reviewer has some personal 'beef' against Craig.


    Because of the fantastic review I decided I had to watch the programme; otherwise I'm sure I wouldn't have bothered. I recorded it last evening and watch it in bed this morning. I'd say it was every bit as cringe-making as the review suggested it would be and I don't think it was played anything other than deadly serious (and self-important) by Craig. It's a shame because the last time I recall seeing him I didn't think he was that bad, but whatever has happened to him in recent years seems to have left him a somewhat jaded individual whose 'jokes' and attempts at humour I found embarrassing, mixed-in with the shameless name-dropping we were promised. So it was an honest review, I'd say, on balance.

  4. Bill, right. Look, I found it and have posted at my place. It was Nigel Planer all along, ex Young Ones.

    Watch it if you can record it [I don't have a TV] and I'll await your report.

    If it is Nigel Planer, it should be quite funny. The RT review then is tongue in cheek.

  5. James

    Well, it looks like I have been well and truly 'had' ;)

  6. Saw the review in the RT, looked at the picture and immediately thought - I wonder if I have aged as much as Nigel Planer? Spoofs have never appealed to me though.

  7. It did seem a bit OTT, really.


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