TV review: Jonathan Ross gets into a Hot Fuzz

He might divide opinion like no other person on television, but even his fiercest critic will admit that the BBC will sorely miss Jonathan Ross when he quits in the summer.

Ross has been the nation's leading chat-show host ever since Michael Parkinson hung up his microphone in 2007 and when it comes to snaring the biggest names in showbiz, Friday Night with Jonathan Ross is in a league of its own.

Such is the show's popularity, that even the volcanic eruption in Iceland a few weeks ago couldn't prevent Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow and Demi Moore from appearing on the show - albeit via a live satellite link.

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Eager to be seen on the Bafta-winning programme come what may, they were interviewed by Ross, while Jeremy Clarkson, Paul Weller and Pineapple Dance Studio's Louie Spence appeared in the flesh to give the presenter an attractive guest list.

While tonight's show won't feature six A-list celebrities, it will still be worth watching.

The last time Nick Frost appeared on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, it was to promote his and Simon Pegg's comedy Hot Fuzz in 2007.

It's a different matter this week as the larger-than-life funnyman returns to promote Money - the BBC's two-part dramatisation of the Martin Amis novel.

Frost plays John Self, a successful British TV commercial director who is thrust into the world of New York movie deals, shark agents and impossibly petulant actors in order to shoot his first film. He might be sinking his teeth into his first serious role, but expect plenty of laughs as Nick swings by the studio to chat about his appearance in Money.

But savour every moment as Friday nights could be devoid of laughter on the BBC when our gregarious host leaves in the summer.

Ross was all smiles as he announced his decision to leave the Corporation after 13 years, despite media reports suggesting that his departure was acrimonious and couldn't speak more highly of his employers, singling out his Friday night chat show as the one show he'd miss the most.

"While there (at the BBC] I have worked with some of the nicest and most talented people in the industry and had the opportunity to interview some of the biggest stars in the world, and I am grateful to the BBC for such a marvellous experience.

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"I love making my Friday night talk show, my Saturday morning radio show and the Film Programme, and will miss them all."

It's safe to say we will miss his risque humour and cheeky grin on a Friday night, so let's hope that when this series concludes it's not long before he is back on our screens doing what he does best - poking fun at A-list celebrities and making us laugh.


(BBC One, 10.35pm)

Pick of the day

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers: Runnin' Down A Dream

(BBC Four, 9pm)

IN his native America, singer-songwriter Tom Petty is regarded as a rock and roll legend.

This film clocks in at an epic-eclipsing four hours. Luckily, there's more than enough music and interviews to justify it, as the Heartbreakers have been on the road for more than 30 years.

The director and talking heads are a cut above as well. Film-maker Peter Bogdanovich, who made the acclaimed Last Picture Show and Paper Moon, finds time to squeeze in chats with celebrity fans like Stevie Nicks, producer Rick Rubin and Petty's old Travelling Wilburys bandmate Bob Dylan.

Frank Skinner's Opinionated

(BBC Two, 10pm)

Frank Skinner started his career with a four-year slog on the stand-up circuit, before winning the Perrier Award at the Edinburgh Festival ahead of Jack Dee and Eddie Izzard.

Fantasy Football League and Baddiel and Skinner Unplanned catapulted him into the mainstream and cemented his place among the nation's most popular comedy duos with David Baddiel for more than a decade between 1994 and 2005.

His latest show, Frank Skinner's Opinionated, has been a welcome addition to the schedules.

Tonight, Dave Gorman joins Frank in Manchester to debate a wide variety of issues close to the heart of the studio audience.

Be sure to tune in next week to catch the final programme of the series.

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