If you're in any way interested in the Radio Times, this book is a must. It covers the history of the Radio Times from its inception in 1923 until the departure of Sue Robinson in 2000, and it does so illustrated by cover after cover, many of them in colour. It's obviously a work of love and devotion, by an author fascinated by his subject.
However, it is not the definitive history of Radio Times - that has yet to be written. It fails to fully address many of the issues surrounding TV listings, particularly in the last two decades, or place the magazine in a broader context. Major points, such as the shift of editorial control of billings from BBC producers to Radio Times staff in the 1980s, aren't even mentioned, while others which had a significant impact on the content of the magazine, such as the introduction of new technology for printing and editing, are glossed over in a few short paragraphs.
The book also pays relatively little attention to the actual content and presentation of the listings pages. Rather surprisingly for a book about a TV and radio listings magazine, there are very few pictures of the actual listings themselves, or much commentary on how they have evolved over the years. The emphasis is very much on the covers - admittedly more interesting visually, but not always the heart of the magazine.
I hope I don't sound too damning, because I really enjoyed this book and value it as a good basic source of reference. But buyers should be aware that it is really aimed at magazine collectors - those who are more interested in getting that rare Scottish-only cover than in how the minutiae of the journal's content week in, week out reflects changes in British broadcasting and social climate.
A fascinating book for anyone with an interest in Radio Times - but leaving room in the market for an in-depth history of one of Britain's best-loved magazines.