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BBC TwoNewsnight Review
Page last updated at 11:46 GMT, Wednesday, 15 February 2006

Your views and reviews


What do you think of the programme and the subjects it's reviewed? Do you agree or disagree with our panels' opinions?

  • 16 DECEMBER 2005
  • 11 NOVEMBER 2005
  • 4 NOVEMBER 2005
  • 28 OCTOBER 2005
  • 21 OCTOBER 2005
  • 14 OCTOBER 2005
  • 07 OCTOBER 2005
  • 30 SEPTEMBER 2005
  • 23 SEPTEMBER 2005
  • 16 SEPTEMBER 2005
  • 09 SEPTEMBER 2005

  • The e-mails published reflect the balance of opinion received.

    16 DECEMBER 2005

    All these references to Sky look like product placement particularly from someone who claims never to have read Bleak House. I enjoy Rome. It is very thrilling. It shows you what Bodies or "The Thick of It" would be like if people were less civilised, but there is a certain resonance in the way inconvenient people get despatched. I look forward to Rome every week. Congratulations to the people who produced it.
    James Williams, Nottingham

    I don't know, I think Rome is Brits having a great time with American money. Overall it must be doing OK, season two has already been commissioned. Shakespeare it isn't, but Up Pompeii style antics it is. Great fun.
    Neil Higgins, Birmingham

    TV highlight of the year? The Rotter's Club. Yes, it occasionally allowed itself to wallow in a nostalgia-fest, but the young cast were a delight, the script was sharp and funny, and the depiction of 1970's Britain was terrific. Now for an adaptation of "The Closed Circle".
    Ken Kimber, Swindon

    Bleak House has been great, although I've missed a couple on Fridays, because, like the excellent West Wing, early Friday is bad for my memory. Rome has been what I expected it to be, a 21 Century "Borgias", entertaining & amusing at the same time. Am I the only one to think that Little Britain series three isn't funny? Worst Week of My Life gets better & could run & run. My children enjoyed Shoe Box Zoo & watch Strictly Come Dancing. My 8 year old daughter also loves Third Rock from the Sun on ITV 3, which shows the incredible John Lithgow at his best. Can Paul Abbott do another political thriller in 2006?
    Andrew Walker, Altrincham

    I agree with Roy from Portsmouth, both programs have been entertaining and to some degree enlightening a real breath of fresh air on the box. By the way, what's all this advertising Sky Plus? Money money money makes the world go round!!
    Barry Tebbs, Leeds

    I agree a hundred per cent with M Kermode, Crash, was, IS one of the Best films of the year
    Richard Francoise, Dijon France

    I thought the idea was for viewers to send in their cultural "highlights" of the year and as London has the lot I offer a small handful of mine. I'm not about to condone or compliment the panel but simply offer my views of the best of 2005 starting with the theatre. it's been a very good year for the theatre with His Dark Materials commanding sell-out shows and there was Sonia Freedman's superb production of As You Like It on at Wyndham's during the summer but the best of the crop, and this is purely subjective, has to be the limited production of Just for Show on at The Lyttelton in November which simply blew me away. The music, design, costume and content fused together creating one of the most imaginative shows I have seen to date and it was also interactive.

    On to Art. This has been a great year for art exhibitions with the Raphael earlier this year at The National Gallery and The Frieda Carlo at Tate Modern during the summer. However my favourite has to have been Edward Munch by Myself on at The Royal Academy till 11 Dec which was fascinating because it was autobiographical and there was stylistically always a different element to the portraits and as a writer myself it inspired me to write a poem.

    Next television and this is a tough choice but the BBC has pipped the post once again with its fantastic portrayal of 2000 Streets Under The Sky which was so underplayed that the drama was almost perfect. However the modern day "takes" on Shakespeare have to come a close second.

    I can't review any books because as a writer I don't have time to read them so it's straight onto my final choice film. There have been some fantastic films this year such as Million Dollar Baby and Cinderella Man two very different takes on the world of boxing but my favourite has to be the one I saw last night; The Exorcism of Emily Rose where music, cinematography, direction and acting brought together a highly imaginitive film, terrifying too which kept you on the edge of your seat from start to finish and with that I would like to conclude my review of the year!
    Melanie Miller, London

    11 NOVEMBER 2005

    Sarah Churchwell was allowed too much airtime in this programme with her tedious I know best type of attitude. Her comments about Lord Lichfield were insensitive and tasteless. I thought it appalling that you should criticise the work of a man who had died the same day. It's generally agreed that he was a photographer who had made a significant contribution to contemporary photography and some of the highest praise came from his fellow photographers Terry O'Neill etc. I sometimes find your reviewers pretentious but I really liked Alex James who was on last night. I enjoyed the images of the China exhibition and a bit more authoritative info on this would have been welcome.
    Anne Harris, Bath

    Whilst the practice of having the reviewers make gallery visits to discuss art has been widely criticised, I have found it one of the most valuable changes to the format of the programme. A round table discussion of a piece of art, especially to someone like me with little artistic awareness or sensibility, has always seemed artificial and sterile. The new approach in which you can see the reviewers react and respond to the item makes the whole experience more accessible. I may even visit a gallery myself.
    Peter Owen, Glossop

    Watching Newsnight Review last night, I was surprised by the response of two of the panel, who when asked by the presenter to give a quick summary of the worth of the legacy left by Patrick Lichfield, dismissed his work with faint praise and just a touch of contempt. However one judges his work, and I for one judge that it will stand the test of time both in quality, independence and honesty of view, it is not clever to ask for snap judgements from two people who apparently had little idea of what he was really about. It also strikes me as rather insensitive and bad mannered.
    Nicholas Bowlby, Lewes


    4 NOVEMBER 2005

    I've gone from loving Review to sometimes watching it. I still love Kirsty, Mark and Tim when they host but your topics for review are becoming far too mainstream. This weeks included Babyshambles, can it get any worse. I mean average rock star who takes drugs, wow! I guess next week will include Harry Potter, some new TV show sponsored by HBO and Judy Finnegan sings Bob Dylan. Your audience doesn't care for celebs and blockbusters so ease up on your reviews of them.
    Dean Peacock, Essex

    NR is great but the "lets walk around the gallery" format just doesn't work - it doesn't have the natural interplay of the studio. It's just stilted. Secondly, I am not convinced that most of the reviewers know that much about art. Some of the comments are vacuous and very pseudo corner-ish. I get the feeling that they are just one page ahead of me in the book! Thirdly, I hate to see the reviewers in the gallery without the public being there. It smacks of elitism and special pleading. That's not how we, the audience, see art and surely the whole point is for reviewers to experience it as we would. That said, I still think that generally the reviewers are good. To mention just two - I like Mark Kermode's intensity and I love Julie Myerson's directness and lack of pseudery.
    Tom McFadyen, Glasgow


    28 OCTOBER 2005

    What has happened to Newsnight Review? Tonight's programme was dire. It had four guests, instead of the usual three, and none of them could be described as reviewers. Why invite guests onto the programme who are, as they confessed, ignorant about the arts in question? The only participant who came away with any credit is Ian Rankin who correctly complained about being put in the invidious position of commenting on another panellist's book. Come back Bonnie Greer and Tony Parsons, all is forgiven! As for you, Mark Lawson, the new job at the National Gallery just isn't working out.
    Clare, London

    The new Newsnight Review format is very disappointing, and never more so than tonight. Four witless panellists instead of three intelligent ones, art-gallery tourism and an unfunny cultural roundup combined to make the programme almost unwatchable. Even Mark Lawson seemed embarrassed. Rightly so.
    Armand Leroi, London

    With the notable exception of Ian Rankin this week must have seen the dullest panel of critics ever assembled on British television. Mark writes on the website about conflict and eccentricity adding vibrancy to the programme and then introduces a group of almost comatose guests. I want to be provoked, enraged, even intimidated by the views expressed in a review; left angry, amused, bemused or even hating the critics. Last night, quite frankly I could not have cared less.
    Steven Gregory, York


    21 OCTOBER 2005

    Newsnight Review on the net. Fantastic. Could you stick "Have I Got News for You" on too?
    Jack, Edinburgh

    Aerial (Kate Bush) - did they actually listen to the album? Totally negative... Kate's genius is that SHE CAN use Rolf Harris!
    Gary Orger, Brighton

    Why does John Harris use glottal stops so much? Pronouncing the words "article" or "critic" without the "t" is very annoying. Is it because he is trying to be both intellectual (pronounced without the first "t") and cool? Maybe that is why he also doesn't look his fellow guests in the eye when he is speaking but looks around the studio or down at his knees to show how aloof he is from certain (but not all) aspects of what he considers Newsnight Review to represent.
    Gregory Jones, London

    Back to three on the sofa please and no culture weekly news/quips - the Culture Show on a Thursday does that. More Mark Kermode, please.
    Helen Nicholls, London


    14 OCTOBER 2005

    Please, enough with the inane, illiterate, fascist assertion that "Dickens would have written Eastenders if he was alive today". Oh yes, and Milton would have written Pam Ayres poems and Thomas Hardy the Archers. Eastenders is opium for the masses. Dickens was and is the utter opposite: Life, Air, Truth.
    Wynn Wheldon, London

    I don't like the format change. Who would have thought that an extra person on the purple couch would make such a difference, but somehow it does. Three guests was perfect, four is a crowd.
    Eamonn Conlon, Dublin

    More of Hardeep Singh Kohli please. He was enthusiastic and witty and radiated a genuine desire to understand and appreciate. Even Michael Gove - the acceptable face of the Tory party. Tom Paulin, Mark Kermode and Paul Morley all genuine and interesting enthusiasts too. Why are the women so quick to condemn Rachel Whitehead? I found her explanation of the multiple boxes moving and interesting. Too easy to dump on her and belittle her work as too domestic and repetitive.
    Anon


    7 OCTOBER 2005

    As a regular viewer of most BBC arts shows, I never cease to be disappointed at the lack of comment about the arts "up North". We have in Halifax, one of the best touring companies - if not the best - in the country. Yet have they ever been given a mention? No. Recently they premiered a play, written for them, by Alan Plater. It even toured nationally, did it get a mention? No. Why not? We up North pay the licence fee as well. Within 50 miles of my home I have seen most of the modern theatre greats, from Kenneth Branagh to Timothy West plus a few premieres, as well as visited some great provincial theatres. So how about mentioning the northern arts scene now and then?
    Chris Ryan, North Yorkshire

    I am so impressed to be able to watch Newsnight Review on the net. I missed it last night and had particularly wanted to hear the panel's views on Richard II which I went to see the other night. I was delighted to discover that I hadn't missed my chance - BBC to the rescue! Thanks to the BBC and the wonders of modern technology.
    Karen Golanski, Watford

    Despite being a fan of Kathy Lette's books, her constant prepared one-liner puns were annoying and a real distraction. Mark Kermode remains excellent - more of him please!
    Ravi Theva, Birmingham

    Any chance of extending Newsnight Review by 10 to 15 minutes? It does appear a little rushed towards the end at times.
    James Gasson, Manchester

    Having the programme segments on the web is great. After immigrating to Canada I missed Newsnight. The BBC World and BBC Canada schedule doesn't include the programme and this way I can catch up.
    Jan Dmowski, Toronto, Canada


    30 SEPTEMBER 2005

    Like Mark Lawson I enjoy political and journalist films. So it was good to see independent films like King's Game and Rag Tale discussed by the Panel.
    Paul, London

    Bit disappointed with the one-liners midway through Newsnight Review this week... Michael Jackson kid jokes and the liveliness of Coldplay fans? Come on guys, you're cleverer than that.
    Wes, Glastonbury

    What is this? Newsnight Review tries to be funny?! Come on. The quick, punchy, overly humorous Culture Roundup is a nice idea, but please spare us the tabloid low comedy.
    Matthew Jones, Leamington Spa

    More critics, and more items makes it look like the producer thinks we are just too dumb to listen to a bit of chat. Bring the simple format back and let people talk - they are interesting enough without all the silly extras. Have faith in your audience!
    Sara, Edinburgh


    23 SEPTEMBER 2005

    Isn't it a bit too easy to jump on the bandwagon and criticise any new band such as Franz Ferdinand? I'm not their biggest fan but they are commonly acknowledged as a mildly pioneering band in both sound and personal style. It seems Paul Morley thinks a negative opinion supported by a sound-bite is more noticeable than a simple nod of acknowledgement.
    Dominic Lutterloch, Gidea Park

    Thoughts on Mark Lawson's wonderful question: What is shocking today? I think that "be shocked now" has become another signposted group response, like "cheer", "boo" or "gasp". What's more shocking today is moral ambiguity (like "The Woodsman"), where audiences are broken back down into individuals and left to fend for themselves. Ironically, these works won't necessarily spark predictable, group-affirming protests. The truly shocking is more likely to be spoken about in hushed tones to trusted friends or quietly ignored until history tells us what to think.
    Adele Gregory, Edinburgh

    I usually love Newsnight Review. I watch it as often as I can, but, for the first time ever, I turned off the TV disgusted tonight. Tonight was the MUSIC night. It was the chance for the BBC to put forward a balanced musical programme. A balanced programme would have been a review of a pop item, an opera or musical, an orchestral concert and a chamber music concert. Instead we got Dylan, who wrote fine ballads, which I loved in the 60s, but will never have the staying power of, for example, Dowland. The opera's inclusion was entirely viable, but the musical, Hair, was, even the panel recognised, a third rate fill-in. Franz Ferdinand was a totally viable representative of the pop music world, although I would have preferred Skin, Pink, Black Eyed Peas or System of Down. What disgusted me was the BBC's totally anti-classical music stance. You seem to think that because you do the Proms once a year the rest of the twelve months can be crammed full of ephemeral pop to the exclusion of the more durable classical music.
    Bertie Johnston


    16 SEPTEMBER 2005

    Having listened to the Newsnight Review panel discussing (in an almost self-congratulatory groupie-hug) the recent film of "Pride and Prejudice", it seemed to me that they managed to reduce this highly satirical novel to the level of a Mills and Boon romance. I realise that they were reviewing the film but surely some comparison with the book should have been made - perhaps they hadn't read it?
    Mary Gad, Ormskirk, Lancs

    Tonight was so "right on" it could have been devised and scripted by any typical sociology common room; but it also scored a huge own goal - how could the other panellists opine other than very "diplomatically" with such an overtly "sensitive" Alison Lapper present for the statue piece?

    For this viewer what we need is more balanced John Harris as-it-isness, and less "right on" numbered button pressing. I can make my own mind up, and so too can most viewers of such a "high-brow" slot - do we really need to be so consciously manipulated? Please think of the bigger picture, not the latest sociologically "idealised" representational focus.

    PS. Please forgive the rancour, I just feel TV and public life is becoming increasingly mannered and thought policed. I do wonder what George Orwell would make of this day? If not dangerous, anti-intuitive and overly analytical to the point of hysterical artifice!
    Steve Crawford, Lincoln

    I think it was really good to get Alison Lapper speaking about the statue of herself in Trafalgar Square. Interesting to find out that she's hoping it will launch her career and mean that she will be taken more seriously as an artist. Also good to get the other reviewers' views on it. I think the Weeds programme looked quite interesting but it was a bit frustrating for those of us who don't have Sky.
    Julie Nelson, Marlow


    9 SEPTEMBER 2005

    Hardeep Singh Kohli and Julie Myerson's comments about A Few Good Men made me wonder whether I was at the same play. Comments from Julie Myerson about Rob Lowe were cheap and unnecessary. Lowe was good, extremely good, and his portrayal of Kaffee was refreshing. This was a play that the audience seemed to love and certainly seemed to appreciate some tension as I heard audible gasps towards the end of the court room scene as Jessop received his comeuppance. Mark Kermode appeared far more on the ball than the other two and gave a more balanced and fair review. Unfortunately Julie Myerson just seemed gratuitously offensive.
    Frances, London

    Hardeep Singh Kohli was terrific - funny, sharp, plenty of insight, incisive and concise. How hard is it actually to get on to the Booker short list? Same names? It's a cosy, self-selecting, smug clique - discuss? Come on, you KNOW it is.
    Stuart Manger, Cumbria

    I thought the review of A few Good Men was ridiculous. Julie Myerson announces that Rob Lowe is "thick"? If reviewers are going to make comments like that, can they please do a little research instead of showing themselves to be totally ignorant of the actors they are discussing? Another reviewer was more concerned with Rob's tie and the fact that it wasn't neat when he was supposed to be drunk? What sort of review was this? I can see this must have troubled the reviewer terribly so I can put him at ease about it. Rob did the drunk scene with his tie over his shoulder but on both occasions it remained like that well into the next scene. The reviewer may have noticed that Rob is on stage most of the play and scene changes are often little more than a change in lighting and so it was probably decided to leave the tie as it was. Thank God for Mark Kermode, his was the only sane, balanced voice there.
    Pam Ridgwell, Godalming

    I think The Aristocrats is clever, because if you disagree with it or dislike it you will be accused by default of being conservative, anti-liberal and anti-free speech, and none of us want to be accused of that do we? Well, I didn't like it. Not because I was offended by it, or shocked. It was because after 30 minutes of jumping from one smug talking head to another, hearing snatches of a desperately unfunny joke in increasingly wearying, soul-destroying variations I was so bored I could weep. So I left. Since when did obscenity become so tedious?
    Paula Edwards





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