Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

Does Claudia Winkleman deserve an apology?

Well, no. Last year, after climbing upon my high horse, I questioned the BBC’s decision to name Ms Winkleman as Jonathan Ross’s successor on the “Film” programme. It remains the case that she seems somewhat under-qualified. Whatever you think of …

Wed, Jan 19, 2011, 18:18

   

Well, no. Last year, after climbing upon my high horse, I questioned the BBC’s decision to name Ms Winkleman as Jonathan Ross’s successor on the “Film” programme. It remains the case that she seems somewhat under-qualified. Whatever you think of Mark Kermode, to that point the favourite, you can’t deny that he knows his stuff and has put in the hours. In film terms, Claudia’s most prominent role was making a total mess of Sky’s Oscar coverage. Nothing she’s done or said since suggests she is likely to be appointed Professor of Film at the University of Snootbridge.

None more black.

But here’s the thing. Film 2011 really isn’t that bad. I understand that I am nearly alone in thinking this. The show has got pretty awful notices from cinephiles since it debuted a few months ago. Yes, Claudia is a bit giddy. Yes, it seems a bit weird that the programme — featuring contributions from Danny Leigh, Pete Bradshaw and Xan Brooks — sometimes comes across like the televisual wing of the Guardian’s film pages. True, they pay too much attention to stupid “tweets”. But it is a vast improvement on the Ross incarnation. For years, Jonathan, apparently welded to his seat, read the dreary copy with all the animation of a speak-your-weight machine. The exchanges between Winkleman and Leigh have some energy to them and the occasional discussions of classic cinema — Howard Hawks last week — offer a rare break from youth-mania on mainstream cultural telly.

Put it this way. Every time I’ve sat down to watch the thing, I’ve got through the 40 minutes without shouting at the television. Okay, that’s not quite true. The internet fetus who turns up to include Kick-Ass on every one of the inevitable Top Fives makes my blood boil. But the show does, I think, just about work. Just about.

I’m not apologising though.

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