The Candor Of A British TV Critic

The Guardian's resident television columnist, Charlie Brooker, decides ten years of abuse is enough. I can see why:

Why quit now? Well partly because I'm afraid of the future of TV, but mostly because 11 years of essentially rewriting the phrase "X is an arsehole haw haw haw" over and over until you hit the 650-word limit is enough for anyone. See, I was never a proper critic...

Oh, I tried to make the odd point here and there, but the bulk of it – the stuff people actually remember – consists of playground, yah-boo stuff.

I was horrible. I fantasised about leaping into the screen and attacking a Big Brother contestant with a hammer; then, without a hint of irony, announced that Nicky Campbell exuded the menace of a serial killer. I also claimed Jeremy Kyle (who struck me as "a cross between Matthew Wright and a bored carpet salesman") was the Prince of Darkness himself – almost ("Look at his eyes: there's a spine-chilling glint to them … Not that I'm saying Kyle himself is an agent of Satan, you understand. I'm just saying you could easily cast him as one. Especially if you wanted to save money on special effects.").

The moment anyone appeared on screen, I struggled to find a nice way to describe their physical appearance. David Dickinson was "an ageing Thundercat"; Alan Titchmarsh resembled "something looming unexpectedly at a porthole in a Captain Nemo movie"; Nigel Lythgoe was "Eric Idle watching a dog drown". I called Alan Sugar "Mrs Tiggywinkle" and said he reminded me of "a water buffalo straining to shit in a lake". What a bastard. And I'm no oil painting myself, unless the painting in question depicts a heartbroken carnival mask hurriedly moulded from surgically extracted stomach fat and stretched across a damaged, despondent hubcap. I think that constitutes some form of justification.