- Radio Times
- Review by:
- Jane Anderson
I did not want to write this review
of Clive James’s appearance on the closest thing radio has to celebrities penning their own aural obituaries:
I wanted him to do it. There is no finer journalistic swordsman than James. But then I got this polite but terribly sad response from him: “You’re asking me to sprint when I can barely walk, so I have to say a reluctant no.”
Like many people, I had read about his treatment for leukaemia, but had not appreciated how poorly he is at the moment. Just seconds in to this remarkable interview with John Wilson all becomes clear: “I’m getting near the end. I’m a man who is approaching his terminus,” declares Clive, his trademark wit at work in perfect harmony with his trademark honesty.
If this is to be his radio swan song — and I sincerely hope that it is not, as he is in this year’s Proms programme, giving a talk on the great musical wordsmiths on August Bank Holiday Monday — then it shows him as a staggeringly creative thinker, the keeper of some of the best anecdotes from the worlds of showbusiness
and London’s literati and, most of all, a man utterly in love with the English language.
This is the most remarkable thing that I have heard on radio all year. Thank you, Mr James.
About this programme
2/3. Broadcaster and writer Clive James joins John Wilson to reflect on his life through the BBC archives, from his student days at Cambridge, to his popularity in the 1980s and 90s. Having left Australia to come to the UK, James found success as a TV critic for the Observer before making the move to on-screen shows such as Saturday Night Clive and Clive James on Television. He also takes time to discuss his battle with leukaemia, having been diagnosed with the illness in 2010.
Cast and crew
- John Wilson
- Clive James
- Emma Kingsley