A Nation Of Creative Shopkeepers

“L’Angleterre est une nation de boutiquiers.” —Napoleon I I always thought that perhaps Napoleon was right. Certainly, finishing JB Priestley’s marvellous London novel ‘Angel Pavement’, you get the feeling that it’s not just what we did best but what we most enjoyed. The book is peppered with individual characters thinking and behaving like shopkeepers. One […]

London’s Hidden Histories

‘The Secret History of our Streets’ is the kind of old-school documentary series at which the BBC excels. If you live near any one of the six streets being featured over each hour-long episode, you’ll know how accurate the programme-making is proving to be. At the top of my street is the Caledonian Road, the […]

Locked Rooms

On Monday 21st at 4:00pm on Radio 4 you can hear me talking about locked room mysteries on ‘Miles Jupp in a Locked Room’. The show will also available to listen to again for seven days. We recorded the show in the basement of St Bride’s Church, where the next Bryant & May book is […]

Love What You Do – You Won’t Get Paid For It

For anyone stumbling across this blog, sorry today’s entry is a bit type-dense. Normally we do knob jokes and LOLcat virals, honest. This is a piece penned in frustration – never a good idea – but it’s a subject close to my heart. Last night I went to an event for writers, artists and directors, […]

News For the Weaselly Pleased

These days the press is getting such bad press that neutral reporting is clearly a desirable commodity. But neutrality still allows wordsmiths to subtly influence readers. These hidden persuaders are called ‘weasels’ in the advertising trade. I culled these examples from yesterday’s papers. The BBC reports: Singer Charlotte Church says she is “sickened” by what […]

TV Experiments & ‘Taxpayers’ Money’

Every few years there’s an attempt to change people’s idea of what opera might be. I’m not much of a fan of long, impenetrable Wagnerian opera, or trippery-frippery Italian plots involving mistaken identities and dying courtesans. Some of the music is wonderful, of course, but too much is demanded of modern audiences who can’t relate […]

BC, AD & The BBC

The BBC has been accused of “bizarre” political correctness over a section on its religion website advising staff to use the terms ‘Common Era’ and ‘Before Common Era’ instead of Anno Domini – the Year Of Our Lord – and Before Christ. It states: “As the BBC is committed to impartiality, it is appropriate that […]

Basically Brilliant Channel

Nothing Under The Bonnet

The BBC’s viewing figures for a lavish new production of Jane Austen’s ‘Emma’ managed a pathetic 3.5 million, despite high quality production values and a cast that includes my old pal the ever-excellent Jonny Lee Miller as Mr Knightly. Of course this is the four millionth Austen production turned out in the last five years […]

Opinion: Why Is An Idea Worth Less Than A Brand?

There’s much hand-wringing about expenses and salaries in the press at the moment. The BBC seems to be suffering such a desperate dearth of ideas that all they can think of doing is throwing money at existing ‘faces’, but the idea-generators, the writers, are still on a pittance. This is highlighted when you consider that […]