With its Times font throughout, the Radio Times was once upon a
time (up until last week, actually) bravely classy in a market awash
with magazines furnished with red typography, primary colours and
mandatory soap celebs wearing expressions appropriate for their
storylines on the front page. While the What's on TV's of this world
were the equivalent of the tabloids, the Radio Times was endearingly as
close as you'd get to a television magazine broadsheet.
But now the Radio Times has a new look, and securing my vote depended on
whether it was out there to play with the contemporaries while
maintaining its integrity, or merely dumbing down to cater for us, the
The italic on the cover has gone and in its place is a contemporary feel
with minimalist graphics and a clean striking image, albeit of a
meditating Alan Titchmarsh. Inside, the same enduring attention to
detail is evident, however the look is different - more Time Out than TV
There are still articles that cover enough of a brilliant documentary so
that it is not the end of the world if you miss it, interviews with
heavyweight luvvies, and it is still the thickest of all magazines
solely dedicated to the viewing of telly.
It's a hefty volume of the thinnest sheets and programmes are listed
comprehensively. The digital and satellite channels are covered with
much more detail than before and each day's viewing graces no less than
eight full pages, and that's without films and radio. All this is done
in a new, but less than exciting, linear layout, which includes no
patronizing colour strips to separate either the channels or the times
of day. I was exhausted wading through it all.
Yes, the Radio Times has maintained its classier-than-the-rest image and
clearly this degree of minutiae is invaluable for some, as no other
listings publication gets close. It hasn't dumbed down, but it hasn't
got to the point either.
Of the five TV magazines I pored over, which would I buy? None of them,
actually. To be frank, I want a TV listings magazine to do just one
thing - tell me what's on the box. So, thanks to the three newspapers I
bought over the weekend, I have three marvellously free mags to do just
But even they, in their glorious simplicity and altogether freeness,
can't solve the fact that after too many evenings out and a hectic work
week, when I'm settling down with my spinach and vitamin pill salad on a
Saturday night to recoup in front of the telly, there's never anything
on except Blind Date.
Publisher BBC Worldwide
Full-page ad rate pounds 18,700
Advertisers include World Books, Dyson, Suzuki, Thorntons, Flora, WH
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