"Although a consummate presenter, John Inverdale strikes me as someone who DVRs Time Team when he goes on holiday, a man who surely has an entire wardrobe set aside for his fleeces. Meanwhile, Sue Barker’s uncanny jollity is often delightful, but the occasional glint of tired sadness in her eyes resembles nothing so much as the perpetual, nervy cheer of a kidnapped heiress long since brainwashed by her captors".
"While we’re on the subject of authenticity, of those three characters, the actors playing Texans are from London and Limerick respectively, while the supposed Dubliner is a Lancashire native with an Irish accent that might best be described as extravagantly migratory. Although he improves as the episodes progress, Gilgun wanders through several westerly brogues en route, at best managing a fun mongrel of Cork and Kerry, at worst giving up entirely when his tongue collapses some way east of the Irish sea."
"Lightly damp and ponderous, [Depardieu] plods from scene to scene with the queasy seriousness of a man who’s found a suitcase full of shellfish in a bus station and intends to keep working his way through it, no matter what his doctor says."
Why Black music matters: Beyonce, the Superbowl and the ongoing trend toward activism in black pop.
"This three-minute section may have been the most mainstream assertion of black identity in American cultural history, and promptly became the most discussed half-time show since Janet Jackson threw the US into existential panic by cruelly revealing that women have breasts."
My first contribution the Times - coming up with stupid new ideas for podcasts, as relayed by Culture Editor, Lawrence Mackin.
"Dustin For Prince: Dustin Hoffman takes us on a weekly two-hour ramble through both the music of His Purple Badness and breakthroughs in criminal forensics."
Can the hype for The Force Awakens possibly pay off?
"At the time, many raved about the realistic nature of The Phantom Menace's most ill-advised character, the pratfall irritant Jar Jar Binks. Sixteen years later, Jar Jar looks about as lifelike as a giant, orange, slightly racist version of the talking paperclip from Microsoft Word."
"As late as the 1990s, every single human watched the same shows at the same time.... [b]y 1998, audiences were so easily pleased that ministers could rescue underperforming speeches with a well-placed impression of the dancing baby from Ally McBeal".
"When shown footage of oncoming trains, early film-goers famously fled theatres in terror. Likewise, 1990s audiences were surprised and delighted by a cartoonish hole in Goldie Hawn’s stomach or the admittedly hilarious notion of eight Michael Keatons."
"[T]he track itself lurches from charming dorkiness to genuinely life-threatening levels of cringe. So far, those who’ve survived listening to it agree that it boasts all the lacerating street-cred of an ad for Glade Plug-Ins."
"A dispute for the nomination then ensues between our two titular heroes. The fight to decide is broadcast galaxy-wide, and the issue’s wraparound cover even showcases 70+ famous faces in the crowd, incongruously branched off into such rarefied strata as “show-biz personalities”, “DC heroes” and, sexiest of all, “Warner Communications Executives”.
Yes, dear reader, this is the Superman comic that boasts The Beatles, Woody Allen, and Time-Warner CFO Bert Wasserman among its big name cover-stars."