Sarah Millican on the highs and lows of recommending TV shows

“You can be in real danger of judging people based on their reactions to what you love,” says Sarah

Recommendations can be tricky. I’m happy to steer someone towards something ace and away from something rubbish, but my only tool is my opinion. What I like, other people may not (idiots). I am brilliant at picking things for me. So if you know someone who likes Take That, hairy chests and satsumas, send them my way. I can walk them through life.


When I was at the Edinburgh Fringe, a taxi driver asked me to recommend a show to him. What I should have done was ask him a series of questions to ascertain his taste in entertainment. Do you like laughing? Are you offended by bare bums? Do you mind being shouted at? The Fringe has something for everyone – but my cab ride was only a short one (it was week three of the Fringe when I’m so tired I try to hail a cab from the bed to the loo and back – “Keep your meter running, I’m not even going to flush”). So instead I recommended Charlie Baker, an all-round entertainer with many talents.

If you aren’t grinning throughout his show then you are joyless. Food recommendations are a must, but be careful. A friend went to a café I’d suggested and got food poisoning.

I might as well have been in the kitchen, judging the meat to be “all right” and asking people if the rule for picking food up off the floor is10 or 20 minutes while peppering the work surface with spittle. That’s how bad I felt. She was fine, saying, “honestly it could happen anywhere” between retching, but her eyes were saying “I’m never listening to you again”.

My fella recommended a brilliant film, The Orphanage, to his friend. We’d found it creepy and atmospheric. My fella’s friend watched it and gave us the DVD back with an unimpressed face. We were shocked. He just thought it was OK. We were just about to judge him when we realised that his deafness meant that all of the creaky floorboards and moody score were lost on him.

And you can be in real danger of judging people based on their reactions to what you love. If I recommend Modern Family to someone and they return saying it wasn’t for them, I finish their sentence with “cos I hate brilliantly written and hilarious sitcoms.”

My friend came over last night and as we were flicking round the channels they said, “I’ve never watched Geordie Shore” to which I replied “It’s hilarious,” knowing that we’d watch ten minutes then move on.

It’s just drinking and humping on a loop anyway. We watched it for two hours. I wish I was kidding. And now we’re both judging each other for not turning over and watching anything else.

Sarah’s stand-up DVD, Thoroughly Modern Millican Live, is available at