Michael Grade.

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

Chuckle muscles at the ready, I prepared to be simultaneously tickled and enlightened by David Mitchell's History of British Comedy.

Sadly, however, it turned out to be an all-too-familiar trawl through the early days of music hall, variety and radio, with precious little of the Mitchell magic we know and love from his prolific radio and TV output.

A catch-all documentary series such as this is only really as good as its clips and contributors, so it was disappointing to find Mitchell, or his producer, rounding up the usual suspects - Michael Grade, Barry Cryer, Ken Dodd and token academic CP Lee, all of whose reflections on comedy have been documented to death over the years.

The country must be crawling with people with a different take on early British comedy and its connection to the comedy of today, as well as people in their 70s, 80s and 90s who saw the likes of Max Miller, Sid Field, Robb Wilton and Jimmy James in their heydays. Where were they?

By far the most vivid and original recollections of early comedy came from 91-year-old Denis Norden, a living encyclopedia of British comedy and variety who merits a documentary series to himself.

Nick Smurthwaite, The Stage, 11th March 2013

Old Roman joke: "That slave you've sold me has just died." "My God, he never did that when he belonged to me!" Ah well...perhaps you had to be there...and by "there", I mean a tavern somewhere in the Suburra around 40BC, because the gag didn't exactly bring the house down in Michael Grade and the World's Oldest Joke.

In fact, it died, along with a startling number of other historical jokes and quite a few contemporary ones, the producer of this otherwise intriguing exploration of the history of the rib-tickler having taken the perverse decision to give the job of telling the gags almost exclusively to people who weren't very good at it. What Michael Grade was interested in was the embedded human need to crack wise. What the director seemed to be interested in was getting in the way as often as possible, quite often with members of the public mangling perfectly blameless jokes.

To be fair, it was hard to imagine anyone being able to revive some of these vintage gags. Take this, from a Tudor compilation of humorous quips - Q: What is the cleanliest leaf? A: The holly leaf, because no one will wipe their arse with it. Or the jokes that depended on the reliable hilarity involved in beating your wife. And once the programme had calmed down a bit - and got away from the philosophising about the nature of comedy that also bogged down the opening - it proved interesting. It was good to learn about Poggio Bracciolini, a papal employee who compiled the Liber Facetiarum, an early joke book full of stuff that only a cardinal could read without blushing. And I liked the revelation that the Greek passion for lettuce gags was dependent on the belief that it was an aphrodisiac. Substitute Viagra for the little gem and most of them would (half) work now. The oldest joke in the world, incidentally, was a fart gag, which seemed somehow comforting. A warm, gently rising fug of carnality.

Tom Sutcliffe, The Independent, 7th March 2013