Media: Things we like

England's 'online only' World Cup match

No, we didn't bother to order it, nor did we go to a dodgy pub to watch a feed of England's World Cup qualifier against Ukraine last Saturday. But as we were not among the paltry 250,000 or so who paid out to watch the match (which, judging from the highlights later, was pretty dire), we had plenty of time to get on with things that weren't football-related for once. At least, that is, for the two hours before enjoying the far superior Ireland v Italy game on Sky.

Good Food's 20th anniversary

The BBC Magazines title is celebrating its 20th anniversary in rude health, with its circulation of 323,171 making it the eighth best-selling magazine title in the UK. The anniversary issue includes a free book of the title's best recipes from the past 20 years and, in addition to the usual features and recipes, there are some interesting pieces on how the UK food scene, and its representation on TV, has changed over the period.

The Times' free REM 'album'

The Times is trying some funky new stuff (such as its Times+ club) in an attempt to woo younger readers and we liked Saturday's offer of a free iTunes download card offering ten live tracks from REM's latest album. A good offer and one that will have saved News International a few quid by avoiding the usual CD giveaway. We weren't so sure about the page in every section to puff the deal - one page in the magazine would have been enough.

The return of Harry Hill's TV Burp

It's an old favourite but we laughed out loud again at the return of Harry Hill's topical clips show on ITV1. Opening with some good sketches poking fun at The X Factor and Stephen Fry's Last Chance To See, the show also had funny clips from all the old favourites such as EastEnders and Coronation Street. The format might now be getting a bit too familiar, but Hill and his writing team continue to inject enough quirkiness to make things interesting.


ITV axing Kingdom

We were sad to see that ITV isn't commissioning a fourth series of the gentle Sunday-night Stephen Fry drama, Kingdom. It's been a well-produced and enjoyable show over the years and can still pull in a strong audience of seven million or so. Yet times are hard at ITV and drama seems to be in the firing line. Let's hope that just because ITV can get 13 million watching the the X Factor results show (a great achievement), it won't axe even better shows such as Poirot or the return of Inspector Foyle in Foyle's War.


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