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Clive James on Television (Picador Books) Paperback – 7 Jun 1991


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Product details

  • Paperback: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Picador (7 Jun. 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330319744
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330319744
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 13 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 494,993 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Clive James is the author of more than twenty books, including four previous volumes of autobiography (Unreliable Memoirs, Falling Towards England, May Week was in June and North Face of Soho), collections of literary and television criticism, essays, travel writing, verse and novels. In 1992 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia and in 2003 he was awarded the Philip Hodgins memorial medal for literature. His most recent poetry collection, Angels Over Elsinore, was shortlisted for the 2009 Costa Prize for Poetry.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By B. Knott on 11 July 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you were watching TV during the years covered by this book then I strongly suggest you buy a copy and enjoy Clive James' criticisms of the programmes. Written with humour and a real love of the medium they are the best of TV criticism. Then again, some might say they are the only books on TV criticism but I think that is not really true. Particularly amusing are the yearly articles written on the various sporting events (Wimbledon, World Snooker Final, Olympic Games etc) with particular reference to the strange way of speaking of the commentators. This brought back to me many memories of Frank Bough and Eddie Waring amongst others. Of course the standing joke, though maybe not appreciated by Clive James himself, is that his Australian accent has been butchering the English language on screen these 30 years and more! Just a warning, if youi are too young to remember the years covered I don't think you will understand much of what is going on!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 21 April 1999
Format: Paperback
This collected edition of Clive James's television criticism from 'The Observer' from 1972 to 1982 contains all of 'Visons Before Midnight', Glued To The Box' and 'The Crystal Bucket', plus a very useful index. As one would expect of Clive James, this collection is beautifully observed and often very funny: but it his sure hand when reviewing on the subject of Nazis and the Holocasut that he is at his best and most powerful. This is a humbling collection of writing which is at one moment so funny as to make one laugh out loud, the next cuts right to the quick. A must
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dougie Wells on 26 Sept. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When i was about 15, I moved on from just reading about football in the newspapers and began looking for what else might be interesting, including Clive James' TV reviews in the Sunday's Observer. The column quickly became the first thing I would read in the paper. I loved the humour, the wordcraft, the deft, but never pretentious, outside references to all sorts of other ideas. Re-reading them decades later, and nothing has been lost. The collection might not work unless you saw the programmes yourself at the time, but I can't help it if you were born after 1980.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 1 review
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Best of James 18 Feb. 2005
By L. R. Fisher - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is CJ's best book. He used to be a media pundit, on paper and then on television. But he aspired to be some kind of literary and intellectual figure (he can be forgiven, the 80s were like that). But don't bother with his serious stuff, it's unreadable. By far his best writing is contained in this compendium of his television criticism. Why read crits of television programmes from the stone age? It's a fascinating time capsule and shows what we in the UK have lost as much as what we've gained. (We don't have to suffer It's a Knockout any more, but are instead tortured by Big Brother. And for every Vanity Fair there are 20 abysmal travesties of The Moonstone.)

Even if you're uninterested in what goes out on the box in any decade, this book is worth reading for the sparkle of its writing and observation. An actress who reveals a little too much is advised that she might like to keep something in reserve to show close friends. CJ manages to slip in some pithy stuff about people and life in general. He's never so serious as when he's being funny. He's viperous about people who go to far flung places to "find themselves". They didn't listen - they're still doing it. And it's fascinating to read about the way TV treated WWII and the Holocaust. Some people were still reacting to the unspeakable reality with denial, distancing and nervous laughter. Read this book and meditate on the transitory nature of fame. Who on EARTH was Malcolm Muggeridge and why should we care? Clue: he was an elderly pundit, one of a breed who had far too much attention and airtime in those days. He and many others must be looking down (or up) in dismay at the complete oblivion that has overtaken their reputations. CJ went on to make some very funny TV programs that explored the medium (a pompous catchphrase he loved to throw rotten tomatoes at) as well as his columns, and run a witty chat show. His reviews of the year on New Year's eve were worth staying in for. Where are you now, CJ? His reputation seems to have fallen down the rubbish chute of time, and no one, except for Nancy Banks Smith of the Guardian, comes up to his stature.
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