Alan Bennett - Forty Years On. Alan Bennett.

I saw Miller in Beyond the Fringe - I'm still dazzled

The Guardian's theatre critic was at the sketch group's first show in 1960. It was the beginning of a friendship ... and a satire boom that changed the world.

Michael Billington, The Guardian, 28th November 2019

Edinburgh Fringe review

Broadway Baby, August 2018

Maggie Smith is a marvel as Miss Shepherd, the eccentric elderly woman who parked her campervan in Alan Bennett's drive for a few weeks, and stayed for 15 years. Alex Jennings is a joy as Bennett, but this is Smith's film: her comically cantankerous exterior masking an inner sadness. There's fun, too, in the neighbours' perplexed reactions to her mucky presence. This small but big-hearted comic drama is a great alternative to the talking animations and blockbusters that fill the festive TV schedule.

Paul Howlett, The Guardian, 24th December 2016

Every Home Should Have One: DVD review

The humour is adolescent throughout. A movie that ought to have given the increasingly tired-looking Carry On series a run for its money is a curious period piece that captures the ad game well it has it has its brighter moments like the take-offs of Ken Russell, Benny Hill, a Swedish nudist picture and a hell-for-leather Buster Keaton-like fight sequence in the BBC props room. It was ad guru David Ogilvy who said that advertising was 'the best fun you can have with your clothes on'. Every Home Should Have One proves him wrong.

Ken Wilson, TV Bomb, 30th June 2016

Alan Bennett's hugely popular play about Sheffield schoolboys aiming for Oxbridge gets a respectful big-screen treatment from Hytner, using the original cast and letting the wise and witty words do the work. The lovely Richard Griffiths's idealistic, repressed gay history teacher is the biggest act among many astute performances.

Paul Howlett, The Guardian, 27th April 2016

Radio Times review

Stephen Fry has been the face of the Bafta Film Awards for many years now and the British Academy is behind this glowing tribute to the writer, raconteur, actor and wit. There will be contributions from Fry's friends and colleagues Michael Sheen, Hugh Laurie, Alan Davies and John Lloyd. But in the main, Fry himself waxes lyrical on his love of meeting film stars at the awards, his early passion for drama and comedy and the bathroom encounter with Alan Bennett that prompted him to play Oscar Wilde in the 1997 film.

This may be a little luvvieish for some tastes, but the goo will have a dose of savoury in the form of his reflections on his various private struggles over the years, including his battle with depression.

Ben Dowell, Radio Times, 23rd December 2015

Radio Times review

Maggie Smith doesn't need to do chat shows, so she usually doesn't. The latest coup for Graham Norton is that he's persuaded Smith to grace a TV sofa for the first time in 42 years, to discuss her new film, Alan Bennett's The Lady in the Van - and to discuss the end of Downton Abbey, no doubt.

Alongside the Dame are her co-star Alex Jennings; Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller, the two leads in new chef drama Burnt; and the ever-regal Cindy Crawford, who's 50 next year and has a coffee-table photo-memoir out. Justin Bieber more or less provides music.

Jack Seale, Radio Times, 30th October 2015

Radio Times review

When an impressionist has such a distinct face, sketches can fall flat on television, no matter how uncanny the voice. The same could be said of Jon Culshaw and Debra Stephenson, so a return to radio should bode well.

I have to say, however, it's a mixed bag. The John Craven skit was by far the funniest, where he's challenged to sex up Countryfile à la cult US show Breaking Bad. "Have you ever cooked crystal meth?" asks a terribly posh female TV exec. Ironically, the impersonation of Craven is probably the least accomplished in the programme.

Not so the ones of Alan Bennett, Jools Holland and William Hague, whose vocal quirks are caught to a T, though the scripts could have been tighter. In all, the show leaves a satisfactory, if not great, impression.

Chris Gardner, Radio Times, 28th November 2013