Mark Kermode takes over from Philip French as Observer's chief film critic

Mark Kermode has been named as The Observer’s new chief film critic.

The 50-year-old, best known for his BBC film reviews, will next month take over from veteran reviewer Philip French, who is retiring after 50 years.

Kermode, who describes film as “the single overwhelming obsession” of his life, started his career writing at Time Out and NME and has written for The Observer for more than a decade.

He currently co-hosts a film review show with Simon Mayo on BBC Radio 5 Live. He is expected to continue with his BBC commitments whilst in his new role.

"I'm honoured and thrilled to be taking over as film critic for the Observer," he said. "The paper is second to none, and writing for it has always been a privilege and a joy."

He added “When I first started working as a film critic over 25 years ago, Philip's Observer reviews were an inspiration. No one can match his breadth of knowledge or elegance of expression, but I hope I can bring to the role the passion for cinema which Observer readers expect.”

French, who announced his retirement back in May, will retire in August to coincide with his 80th birthday. His final Observer column will be published on 1 September.

On his resignation, he said: “Not all artists have a life-lease on their talent, but at least I am giving up now, while I still have my mind.”

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