Celebrity status belies film expertise

From: Francis Harvey Subject: Celebrity presenters Henry Gray’s
letter (30 September)n does a disservice to Jonathan Ross by sneering
that he succeeded Barry Norman as BBC1’s main film critic “simply
because he is a household name”. Ross is just as knowledgeable,
experienced and enthusiastic a film buff as Norman, if not more so.

Before becoming the film programme’s presenter, he was a consistent champion of cinema, in broadcast and print media.

Wossy’s CV includes programmes such as The Incredibly Strange Film Show and the cult-movie discussion series Mondo Rosso.

He
has also demonstrated his encyclopaedic film knowledge in interviews
with cinematic guests on his chat shows, reviewed movies in the Daily
Mirror, and frequently attends film premieres.

Meanwhile, Gray’s
preferred candidate, Mark Kermode, is a readily available fixture on
BBC2 and Channel 4 and in the Guardian. It isn’t as though Ross is
blocking him from mainstream media access.

But does it matter
anyway? Surely as long as they are competent, entertaining presenters
(though, judging by certain other Radio 1 DJs, this seems to not
necessarily be a criterion), everybody is happy.

Giving a radio
job to a deserving, charismatic, popular celebrity who has built up a
TV profile isn’t the same thing as recruiting an airhead nonentity who
is merely famous for being famous.

Francis Harvey By e-mail

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