The Newsagent's Window's the engaging story of how John Osborne and a friend move into an unfurnished house, only to realise they need some furniture. Despite being the sort of people who prefer self-service tills at the supermarket in order to minimise human contact, they become enthusiastic users of the local newsagent's window to seek out bits and bobs for their new address - a place with a garden and "a pond that rippled with a chorus of frogs".
The script is peppered with beautiful flourishes and delivered by John with warmth. It stands out because it's done in front of a studio audience. It would have worked, I'm sure, as a dry read in the style of Book at Bedtime, but the programme is lifted by the audience's appreciation of the humour and pathos that run throughout.
John asks the man who sells them beds why he advertised in a newsagent's window rather than online. The man replies: "I hate online." And by the end of this charming half-hour, you too might be tempted to cut your internet connection and start squinting at the little cards in your local newsagent's window.Eddie Mair, Radio Times, 3rd February 2013
John Osborne, who previously brought us John Peel's Shed, explains what happened when he decided to pursue the shopportunities arrayed in The Newsagent's Window (Sunday, 7.15pm, R4). How it led him to acquire the entire VHS collection of a man who'd just discovered DVD, to an innocent session with a masseuse who looked at his back and offered useful life advice, plus an encounter with a vicar in Bungay "who used words like shenanigans, higgledy-piggledy and kerfuffle". The studio audience is big enough to laugh when called for and small enough to keep quiet when it's not. Osborne quietly makes a point about the nerve and generosity it takes to seek contact in the real world rather than the digital one, and the production has a dream-like air which makes it an ideal companion for those fending off the existential melancholy that is the Sunday evening ironer's lot.David Hepworth, The Guardian, 2nd February 2013