What do you think of the programme and the subjects it's reviewed? Do you agree or disagree with our panels' opinions?
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YOUR COMMENTS FROM LAST YEAR
The e-mails published reflect the balance of opinion received.
10 MARCH 2006
Hmm...I may be getting old (27) but...what has happened to the format of the programme? Are studio music performances really necessary? Also I personally thought that three guests were enough...four seems to be too many for them to have a decent discussion. I'm sad to see Mark Lawson go; he was very good at controlling the guest's conversation and encouraging interesting threads of discussion. Martha Kearney is not much of a replacement...even Gavin Esler was better than her! Also there seems to be a wider range of guests which I don't think is that good a thing as many of them have little of interest to say. There seemed to be a "golden period" where the regulars were Kermode, Myerson, Harris, Morley, Paulin, Greer G and B, Macmillan, Perry, that politician, a bit of Hislop and so on. These guests were great as they were so diverse and always had vibrant opinions. Please bring them back! (End of rant)
Gareth Stephens, Bolton
Last Friday's panel was one of the best for some time. It was a lot better for having a chair who was neither Martha Kearney nor Kirsty Wark. As good as they may be within their own specialisms, I really feel that chairing an arts review is not one of them.
Edna Winchcombe, Solihull
I'm amazed at the fashionable conceit paraded once more by Hardeep Singh Kohli, that Americans don't do irony. Compare the use of irony on Seinfeld or Curb Your Enthusiasm to, let's say, Meet the Magoons.
10 FEBRUARY 2006
Newsnight Review on 10 February was great BUT yet again we were told an ending (this time by Joe Queenan who revealed the ending of Proof). Not only will I now not go to see Proof, but sadly - along with several friends and out of total frustration - will have to stop watching NR. Could you also communicate this to Joe Queenan?
Carolyn Mason, Belfast
Why must you invite such narrow-minded people such as Anne Atkins onto the show? Anyone who doesn't think that the violence and abuse inherent in the military is not an important subject for a piece of theatre is, frankly, ignorant. Does she not think it's possible to like anything unless she has personal experience of it, as was the case with the film Proof? I found myself doubting whether she actually understood the fundamental purpose of art; extraordinary, considering that she's a writer herself.
Daniel O'Connor, Norwich
I was sorry Joe Queenan's question as to the analogy between the Roman invasion of Britain (Romans in Britain) and the US/UK invasion of Iraq, ie the Romans weren't after anything in Britain, wasn't taken up. Just as a point of information, the Romans were in Britain because of the lead that was to be found in its greatest quantity in SW Britain at the time and, of course, lead was as fundamental to Roman life as is oil to US life today. Otherwise - good debate. I was in Oxford for discussions around the first production of the play and this discussion was better than ones I attended at the time.
Nuala Young, Oxford
Isn't it time some poetry was reviewed on Newsnight Review?
What was the point of having Anne Atkins on the programme? She who fell asleep four times during the play The Romans in Britain? Can you not find people who are able to stay awake for a couple of hours? Her excuse that it was boring is no excuse when she was asked to review it for Newsnight Review. Most of her remarks were puerile and her final comment, in relation to Kurt Vonnegut's new book, where she stated she agreed with him about primitive people being stupid, says more about her than it does about the book.
3 FEBRUARY 2006
Could you perhaps think of including some discussion of contemporary music on your programmes, preferably with musicians as critics. By contemporary music I mean a variety of 20th and 21st century "classical" music, which has a genuine intellectual basis and can be discussed in depth. An in-depth discussion is only possible with musicians of quality on the panel. Although intellectually stimulating, the programme does tend to focus always on Literature and Art, and occasionally popular music. Popular music has very little intellectual/cultural basis and therefore is not as suited to the type of intellectual discussion which Review Provides as contemporary "classical" music would be.
Gregory Armstrong, Belfast
Why waste precious time on a studio musician? This week's vocalist was unbelievably dire, but you don't need one at all, good or bad. Talk is fine and is why people watch the programme, or used to. With the time squandered on this, together with excessive film clips and the "arts roundup", you could have fitted in a fourth item - possibly, even, though I realise this may be an absurd suggestion, a book.
D W Walker, Cheltenham
Why Beth Orton? Do you think you must compete with chat shows, like Jonathon Ross et al, who have studio guests playing live? Viewers like Newsnight Review because of the opinions of others, NOT because of entertainers. A real test would be to have the panel talk about - or at least interview - Beth Orton or any performer briefly, after they had performed. She simply took up valuable discussion time. Why is NNR so short, anyway? Wonderfully refreshing to have Martha back, however. Kirsty Wark shouts and is too controlling. Mark Lawson has too many of his own opinions to make a good chair.
D Norie, Bath
Mark Kermode is such a hypocrite. I remember last year when he was critiquing the biopic Ray he went out of his way to play down the brilliant performance of Jamie Foxx and didn't seem to be impressed by the fact Jamie Foxx not only sang like the man himself but also played the piano, not to mention the fact that he was playing the role as a blind man. Mark, as well as others, described JF's performance as merely mimicking. Yet here we are a year later and he is overwhelmed with Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon's performance - "they sing all the songs". He has lost all credibility in my eyes. If he could just get past his own prejudices maybe he would have given Jamie Foxx the praise he deserved - he didn't have to like the film but he could have at least given JF credit for giving an incredible performance of the great Ray Charles. Let's have some people on the show who have a more inclusive mindset for a change!
A Thaws, Bristol
27 JANUARY 2006
I've just watched The IT Crowd on Channel 4's website and what a refreshing experience it was. It is great to have a sweet but surreal UK sitcom back on air. As much as I loved The Office and the like, watching them was often more painful than fun. The IT Crowd really made me miss the days of Father Ted when jokes were simple, fast and built around characters you liked. It will probably take a few more episodes to get into the characters properly but I think it will be worth the effort. I hope it gets the ratings and if it doesn't Channel 4 doesn't pull it like BBC1 or ITV1 would.
I have just watched the preview screening of Channel Four's new "comedy" series The IT Crowd. I wish I hadn't bothered. The students at my local secondary school could and do produce better. Put simply "The IT Room" is what happens when people who believe they are talented are given the tools to prove they are not. It also suffers from that other now familiar Channel Four disease - looking for new home grown ideas and talent but, as this proves, not looking very far for it. If they had, this might have been half decent but instead it's only saving grace comes at the end in the shape of the closing credits. I'll be surprised if this survives much beyond July 2006, so please do not waste your time by watching it.
Neil Welton, Cardiff
It would be good to have had some variety of opinion on tonight's show - all of the panel seem to come from the same ideological position, which produces a show where they just nod in agreement with each other. Where is the controversy that produces the wit?
John Marshall, Norwich
So-Mozart gets tailed on, after a discussion that included the musical medleys of Fritz Speigel. What is going on? Why is this programme constitutionally incapable of reviewing serious classical and orchestral music? Is it simply that the chatterati no longer know the difference between Mozart and Franz Ferdinand?
Robert Davis, Glasgow
Of Spielberg's Munich - what was the panel expecting? Subtlety, intelligence, accuracy are not things he's particularly renowned for. Schindler's list - the same, most of that was artistic license. He's always taken a sledgehammer to everything. Spielberg making a film like this is like Tarrantino trying to make a twee English rom-com -it's bound to come across as not quite right. I preferred him when he made films about outer space and dinosaur theme parks - and before he grew a social conscience. The panel have backed up all the reviews and confirmed my worst thoughts so I won't be watching it - so I'm grateful for that.
mark Sellek, Liverpool
20 JANUARY 2006
When John Harris appears on the show, is what he says scripted, or does he work out before hand what he's going to say? Has he really got a brain the size of England? And is he hyper articulate or just quite clever and very prepared? Funnily enough I often thought this of that other verbose ex music journo Tony Parsons when he appeared on the show about 10 years ago.
I feel compelled to complain about why you have fakes like Paul Morley and John Harris on the show. Two stereotypical upper middle class types, one (John Harris) who seems to sound more Mancunian the longer he lives in London, despite the fact he's a posh kid from Wilmslow in Cheshire. Well done for getting rid of that middle-brow Mark Lawson, hopefully Mark Kermode will follow soon - keep Germaine on though, she makes me laugh and is one of the few people with any genuine passion, honesty and conviction around nowadays. Cheers
Tony O'Brien, Oldham
I have just watched Newsnight Review (of Jan 20) on the BBC's Internet web site and I hope there will be no further invitation to John Harris. Because of him, the programme was unpleasant. It is one thing to express strong or controversial opinions bluntly; it is quite another to be rude and surly. Those qualities in Mr Harris were aggravated by his affectation of substandard pronunciation. I am happy for the programme to contain unfettered conflict of opinion, but it is spoiled by people who think gracelessness is clever. It should not be too hard for the producers to avoid choosing such people.
Michael Bulley, Chalon-sur-Sa˘ne
What a great interview with Rufus Wainwright! Will this footage be made available on BBC Online, as so many of your other interviews have been?
Adam Hadley, Truro
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