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…

Photo: ITV

Good Morning Britain: news, sport, showbiz and blithering nonsense

28 April 2014 17:15

Some of the greatest minds of our generation have struggled to get to grips with the thorny conundrum of breakfast…


Game of Thrones: ‘Our Island Story’ for the HBO generation

7 April 2014 16:23

When I was a boy I used to love the stories of the old kings of England, devouring book after…