Media: Things we like

Sky One's Brainiac

A cross between the BBC's Top Gear and ITV's 70s children's show How?, Brainiac is wasted on the 15- to 24-year-old demographic that it is probably targeted at. The show combines stunts with science - surely this means it virtually qualifies as public service broadcasting? Recent experiments include finding out how much cannon-fire is required to destroy a black-box recorder, discovering the best way to destroy a caravan and finding out whether the radiation emitted from 100 mobile phones is sufficient to fry an egg. Brilliantly hosted by the pocket-sized Jeremy Clarkson wannabe Richard Hammond and now in its third series, all that is missing is Fred Dineage.

David Reviews

Who is David? By the look of it, he's a bloke called Jason who sits in a flat in Glasgow watching TV all day. In any case, he runs a great website,, where you can search for and watch TV ads online, all for free. Or you can pay him £599 a year and he'll send you every new ad that comes out, on a DVD each month. You do the maths.

Bravo's Italian football coverage

At last, Bravo is coming to resemble a proper television channel. Its recent acquisition of Italian football rights adds extra bite to its offer and is the jewel in the channel's crown. As well as showing live Serie A games and match highlights, fans of calcio believe Bravo's masterstroke will be the revival of the Gazzetta Football Italia show. Presented by the expert but ever-sarcastic James Richardson (pictured), Gazzetta features interviews with the league's star players and managers and keeps fans up-to date with the latest football stories and opinions courtesy of an Italian media round-up. Lazy English pundits should take note. Let's just hope whoever buys Bravo's owner, Flextech, doesn't ruin it all.

National Geographic's Africa issue

While other media brands have attempted to focus on Africa's recent problems, National Geographic's September issue provides a welcome reappraisal of a continent, with some spectacular photography and reports on everything from Ethiopian monkeys to the oil industry in Nigeria and Chad. The feature on rain-forest tribes is a particular highlight. Some of the ads look pretty stunning, too.


Tabloid coverage of The X-Factor

The ITV "talent" show is annoying enough in itself, but how many "Louie Walsh is nastier than Simon Cowell" stories do we have to read in the red-tops? Tedious revelations about contestants who haven't even made the final shortlist are even worse than stories about Big Brother contestants. Give us scoops about real celebrities.

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