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My biggest TV pet peeves... from football fever to citizen journalism

For God's sake, Nina, put on some shoes, says Alison Graham

Published: Tuesday, 7th June 2016 at 9:37 am

I am raging through the Radio Times office in an important fury and I cannot be placated. (Don’t tell me to calm down! I will not be told what to do!) It’s been going on for weeks, ever since I watched the first episode of the pallid comedy drama Love, Nina. I’m furious because the titular heroine, north London nanny Nina, doesn’t wear shoes in the street.


For the love of God, why not? This is never explained. She turns up for her interview to the bohemian enclave of Gloucester Crescent in Camden shoeless, and remains so throughout every episode.

Again, why? And why does no one ever ask her, “Nina, why aren’t you wearing shoes? This is London, not a beach in Bali. It’s a horrible, dirty city. The pavements are revolting, you risk slid- ing on a pool of sick, or standing on a discarded chicken bone, the greying remnants of some- one’s takeaway. Then there’s dog muck, dog wee, spit, all manner of horrors. WHY DON’T YOU WEAR SHOES? Your feet must be filthy. Filthy!”

No one at RT understands why this upsets me so much, though they are all aware of my horror at uncleanliness of any kind. But maybe I’m simply easy to annoy, so here’s my list of other irritants. Perhaps you share some, or perhaps you think I’m too delicate for this world...

Football fever

Euro 2016 looms and perfectly sane people will bang on about the England team as “we”. My grandad was a devoted Middlesbrough fan and went to all of their home games. I didn’t understand such footie devotion then and I don’t now. But it will be all over the telly for weeks.

Don’t patronise!

BBC Breakfast did a piece about how to woo women voters in the EU referendum and invited the female participants to afternoon tea. Cue close-ups of victoria sponges, though mercifully no ruddy cupcakes. The male equivalent would involve men in the wood- panelled snug of a gentleman’s club, talking about how they bagged a tiger. It’s outmoded and outdated and patronising. Stop it.

Hurry up!

Stop taking an age before you announce who’s been dumped from a reality/talent show. It’s not ramping up the tension, it’s irritating. Get on with it, MasterChef, The X Factor et al.

Citizen Journalism

It’s not journalism, it’s being somewhere when an awful thing happens, which you then film badly on your mobile phone, at possible risk to yourself and others. I was recently caught up in the emergency evacuation of a London Tube station. We didn’t know why a metallic voice was screaming at us to leave – a swarm of killer bees, an escaped grizzly bear, Isis? But the berk in front of me with his wheelie suitcase pottered through the passageways, mobile aloft, filming. Mate, MOVE! I don’t want to risk being turned into jam so you can get something on the news/ YouTube. Telly – don’t use these contributions from halfwits.

Dry your eyes

Stop playing soppy piano music when you reach self-consciously poignant bits in heart-tugging documentaries. Lose Weight for Love is a current culprit. I’ll decide when/if I’m sad.

Sit down

I won’t apologise for returning to this one, but if you’re in the BBC newsroom during a bulletin, either please sit still or stay out of shot. I don’t want to watch you packing your rucksack to go home.

I’m not passionate


I can’t describe quite how much I detest the word “passionate”. It’s a limping, weary thing, raddled by overuse. It’s now meaningless.


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