Late Edition, BBC4

by | Mar 3, 2005 | All, Reviews

What to say if you liked it

A sharp and smart satire on the week’s news delivered with righteous relish by Marcus Brigstocke.

What to say if you didn’t like it

A disgraceful diatribe of socialist sedition that is made by and watched exclusively by guilty capitalists living in fortresses in Hampstead who only remove the revolver from their mouths to chuckle at the illusory decapitation of conservatism.

What was good about it?

• Marcus Brigstocke’s presentation which almost reads like an extended interview for the position of Have I Got News For You host. But he is also capable of witty improvisation such as “Charles Clarke has not been proved to be a terrorist, but under his legislation that might not be necessary.”

• The satirical barbs often hit the mark and are in the vein of the bits at the beginning and end of Have I Got News For You. (“I’m for a ban on hunting gay dogs with bishops.”)

• Marcus’s analogy of applying Charles Clarke’s policy on locking people up without trial based on what they might do on the future. “I presume that Dido’s going to release another dinner party album; that doesn’t mean I can rip out her larynx.”

• The sketches were often quite funny with the best being Steven Pound MP being confronted by a hunt saboteur angry that the hunting ban had stripped him of the pleasure of “hitting horses”.

• Marcus’s comical routine delivered in the character of an ignorant bigot about the risks of letting thousands of foreigners into the country for the Olympics. “They’ll be pole vaulting in at Dover.”

What was bad about it?

• The first 10 minutes was a solid list of satirical remarks, which while often funny, soon blurred into one another to become indistinctive. It might have been better to introduce a guest earlier.

• Marcus’s occasional sanctimonious slips reminded us of Clive James’s supercilious reviews of Japanese game show Endurance.

• Politically it’s hopelessly left-wing and smug, which was most keenly demonstrated in the treatment of guests. While Steven Green of the Christian Union, who opposed the appointment of gay bishops, was probed with some serious questions, anti-hunt MP Steven Pound was indulged to enter into a diatribe about the wrongs of hunting.

• Sometimes it falls between the two stools of impish satire and hard-nosed political inquisition. When Steven Green remarked that he thought homosexuality was a sin because it was listed alongside child sacrifice, incest and bestiality, Marcus reasonably responded that homosexuality was between two consenting adults while child sacrifice and bestiality didn’t have such moral clarity. Yet even before the audience’s appreciative applause had finished, Green had countered that incest could be between consenting adults, too. But rather than take the discussion further on other inconsistencies in the Bible, Marcus made a weak quip and moved on.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles


Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!


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