DONE with presiding over TV output, Michael Grade is free to make the kind of programmes he likes, and pretty good they are too.
They’re mostly about showbiz, but his love of its traditions shines through. This film is about “the most gregarious, garrulous, glorious creature in all theatre” – the dame.
Grade remembers his very first panto – “sat on a bucket in the wings of the Finsbury Empire watching my Auntie Cathy play the principal boy”. He tells us about 18th century impresario John Rich who discovered that harlequin shows were ten times more lucrative than Shakespeare. And he travels to York to meet Berwick Kaler, the “first lady of modern panto”, who himself started out in thrall to the Bard but has now been dressing up in women’s clothes for 30 years. Oh no he hasn’t. Oh yes he has.
Olympics 2012: 50 Greatest Moments
I’ve written about tonight’s Sports Personality of the Year (BBC1, 7.30pm) elsewhere in the paper, but if after the awards show you still want more from London 2012, this Gabby Logan-hosted affair will sprinkle moments – and indeed Mo-ments – of unintentional comedy through a recall of all the drama of the greatest show on earth (after the panto, of course).
At last, Noddy Holder and the boys get their own theme night, including a rockumentary, the film Slade In Flame and Slade At The BBC, gathering up interviews by Lesley Judd, turns on Crackerjack!, the Top Of The Pops residency and, first off, black-and-white film from the forgotten Monster Music Mash of surely the only skinhead combo to boast a violinist.