Why ‘Call The Midwife’ is the most culturally and politically significant programme on British TV

Call The Midwife started as a quaint, conventional story of a post-WW2 midwifery practice in East London, based on the memoirs of a real-life midwife – Jennifer Worth – and quickly became a Sunday-night ratings success for the BBC.

Now into its sixth series, the setting may not have changed and the tales of expectant mothers in poverty still abound, but the tone and import of the show has grown and grown. Continue reading

Hollywood, we have an editing problem

Still from Fantastic Beasts - Eddie Redmayne

I used to work in magazines and one of the things I loved about writing for them was that you had a fixed word count.

Being told a piece had to be 350 words long forced you to be economical with your writing and avoid padding out the piece.

TV has a similar restriction placed upon it – making a BBC sitcom means each episode has to be between 25-27 minutes.

On Sunday I went to see the new JK Rowling-penned wizarding extravaganza Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them.

It was thoroughly enjoyable, but for one thing: it ran to 133 minutes.

That’s two-and-a-quarter-hours!
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10 things I’ve learned from appearing on TV quiz shows

The Mastermind chair

This Friday one small personal life goal will be achieved, as BBC2 airs my appearance as a competitor on Mastermind.

Ever since I realised at a relatively young age that I had the ability to absorb and regurgitate a large number of (mainly) useless facts, I’ve wanted to appear and sit in the big black chair.

However, this isn’t my first appearance on a TV quiz show – oh no. 

Since my fledgling outing on Blockbusters as a callow 17-year-old, I have bothered the schedules on a number of occasions, with varying degrees of success. Continue reading