Michael Grade.

Michael Grade


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Lenny Henry's Race Through Comedy review

Despite a small handful of high-profile exceptions, black and Asian characters tend to be under-represented in TV comedy. But this fascinating new series demonstrates just how far we've come in a generation, while also giving an insight into Britain's social history as reflected through the screen.

Steve Bennett, Chortle, 15th October 2019

Michael Grade claims he 'saved' Blackadder

Michael Grade believes he "saved" Blackadder by ordering it to be filmed in a studio.

Female First, 30th September 2019

20 facts for Jonathan Creek's 20th anniversary

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the first time that David Renwick's ingenious creation first hit our screens. To celebrate, here's a look at 20 things you may not know about everyone's favourite tousle-haired, windmill-dwelling amateur sleuth.

Jon O'Brien, Metro, 10th May 2017

Preview - Lenny Henry: A Life on Screen

Sir Lenny Henry has been part of British TV since the 1970s when he won talent show New Faces in 1975 at the age of 16. Since then he's done sitcoms, sketch shows, stand-up, the stage, children's TV and charity work.

Ian Wolf, On The Box, 19th December 2016

Maybe the Beeb could have improved on David Frost - Hello, Good Evening And Farewell, but ITV got in first, something of which Frosty the journalist would surely approve.

Actually, I'm not sure I wanted much more from this programme. Frost raising his palms for a lightning punch combo by Muhammad Ali - check. Frost introducing his musical guests: "Ladies and gentlemen... the Beatles!" - check. Frost signing off, filling the screen, while the insurance swindler Emil Savundra gesticulated behind him, eager to put his crooked point across - check. The latter was Frost inventing trial by television. He also invented television satire. And, hang on, didn't he invent actual television?

"The first star conceived and created by TV," said Sir Michael Grade, who was good value as usual and, not wishing to hasten his demise, I hope TV will do him proud too. Concorde was invented for Frost, said Grade, so he could beat the time difference to present eight daily shows in a seven-day week, here and in the US. He was electric back then; you just plugged him in. The old clips must have surprised those watching whose earliest encounter with him was Through The Keyhole, when he seemed to be in urgent need of clockwork wind-up: "Let's. See. Whose. House. It. Is."

So many clips. To Noel Coward: "Do you wish you had ever been a critic?" Coward, appalled: "Good God, no. I also wish nobody else had ever been a critic." We got to see that when Frosty said "Hello" he always narrowed his eyes; when he said "Good evening" his body shuddered, as if it had been given too many volts; when he said "Welcome" he was as sincere as he could be, though on That Was The Week That Was he was quickly into some Establishment-baiting, such as this mimicking of a royal reporter: "The Queen, smiling radiantly, is swimming for her life."

Frost didn't invent chat television but never again will an interviewer get his own movie (Frost/Nixon - there's no point waiting for Norton/Biggins). Yes, he became Establishment himself. No, I didn't think politicians saying they liked how he asked questions (Breakfast With Frost) was any kind of praise. But the autumn of his great career did produce the tribute's funniest moment: Tony Blair's reaction on being asked, re President Bush: "Do you pray together?"

Aidan Smith, The Scotsman, 22nd September 2013

Maybe the Beeb could have improved on David Frost - Hello, Good Evening And Farewell, but ITV got in first, something of which Frosty the journalist would surely approve.

Actually, I'm not sure I wanted much more from this programme. Frost raising his palms for a lightning punch combo by Muhammad Ali - check. Frost introducing his musical guests: "Ladies and gentlemen... the Beatles!" - check. Frost signing off, filling the screen, while the insurance swindler Emil Savundra gesticulated behind him, eager to put his crooked point across - check. The latter was Frost inventing trial by television. He also invented television satire. And, hang on, didn't he invent actual television?

"The first star conceived and created by TV," said Sir Michael Grade, who was good value as usual and, not wishing to hasten his demise, I hope TV will do him proud too. Concorde was invented for Frost, said Grade, so he could beat the time difference to present eight daily shows in a seven-day week, here and in the US. He was electric back then; you just plugged him in. The old clips must have surprised those watching whose earliest encounter with him was Through The Keyhole, when he seemed to be in urgent need of clockwork wind-up: "Let's. See. Whose. House. It. Is."

So many clips. To Noel Coward: "Do you wish you had ever been a critic?" Coward, appalled: "Good God, no. I also wish nobody else had ever been a critic." We got to see that when Frosty said "Hello" he always narrowed his eyes; when he said "Good evening" his body shuddered, as if it had been given too many volts; when he said "Welcome" he was as sincere as he could be, though on That Was The Week That Was he was quickly into some Establishment-baiting, such as this mimicking of a royal reporter: "The Queen, smiling radiantly, is swimming for her life."

Frost didn't invent chat television but never again will an interviewer get his own movie (Frost/Nixon - there's no point waiting for Norton/Biggins). Yes, he became Establishment himself. No, I didn't think politicians saying they liked how he asked questions (Breakfast With Frost) was any kind of praise. But the autumn of his great career did produce the tribute's funniest moment: Tony Blair's reaction on being asked, re President Bush: "Do you pray together?"

Aidan Smith, The Scotsman, 22nd September 2013

In David Frost: Hello, Good Evening and Farewell, a tribute to the late presenter and interviewer, we learned that there was far more to the man than a memorable greeting. He was, said Michael Grade, the first real television creation. By which he meant that Frost didn't start in another medium and migrate to television. He went pretty much straight from Cambridge University to television fame. There was no gap year.

He instinctively grasped what made watchable television. He interviewed everyone in the days when everyone could be interviewed: Muhammad Ali, Enoch Powell, Idi Amin, the Beatles and, of course, Richard Nixon. It's hard to believe that anyone else could have landed the exclusive Nixon interview and also fronted Through the Keyhole. It's hard enough to believe that Frost did it. Alas, he never managed to fuse these two achievements into a Through the Keyhole on Nixon - Loyd Grossman: "There's an orful lort of yellow damarsk. A sheik, perhaps, or a master criminawl."

For a time there were rumours that Frost wasn't well liked by some of his contemporaries. Peter Cook once called him the "bubonic plagiarist" for muscling in on his satirical territory. But everyone here was emphatic that Frost was one of nature's nice blokes. Michael Palin, the nicest man in the world, even said he was very nice. And what of the tribute itself, which was presented by Jonathan Ross? In a word, nice.

Andrew Anthony, The Guardian, 22nd September 2013

The best contacts book in entertainment gets dusted off once more as David Frost recruits Michael Palin, Stephen Fry, Michael Grade et al to look at the rise - and perhaps fall - of the sketch show. The question posed at the outset - has the sketch show had its day? - is a pertinent one, although not answered in the 15-minute taster we were able to see.

Still, we can promise plenty of clips, both unfamiliar (some lovely corpsing from the early days of live variety shows) and over-familiar (Andre Preview, The Frost Report's class sketch). With any luck, a very watchable primer to a comedy format that should ideally be as easy to watch as it apparently is hard to master.

Gabriel Tate, Time Out, 13th May 2013