Peter Preston: Something 'a bit rum' about Purves and Muir's new critic roles

Former Guardian editor Peter Preston thinks it’s “a bit rum” that Times editor James Harding has appointed two non specialist writers to the jobs of theatre and film critics: Libby Purves and Kate Muir respectively.

Preston believes that those who have devoted their careers to the genres might do a better job than these relative late-comers.

He writes in the Observer: “The Nightingales, Billingtons and Frenches of this life are much more than fizzy wordsmiths. What they write – thumbs up or down – matters.

“Will Libby Purves be able to supply that essential service? Let’s hope so. She’s 60, too late for a career in theatre reviewing but at least the right sort of age for the audience she’s going to ­command.

“And Kate Muir, on the nether side of 40? If she looks around as the house lights go up, she’ll see that she’s one of the oldest people in sight: 30 is more or less top weight at her Finchley Vue.”

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