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Can Claudia Winkleman Save Film 2010?

Posted on Monday March 29, 2010, 18:05 by Damon Wise in Small Screen
Can Claudia Winkleman Save Film 2010?

In a year that saw Hollywood present the Best Director Oscar to a woman for the first time ever, the news that Claudia Winkleman is to replace Jonathan Ross as presenter of the BBC's Film 2010 show didn't exactly send out the shockwave the producers were perhaps expecting. But the truth is, I don't think too many people really care; all the story really boiled down to was this: New Presenter To Present TV Show. For a while, the joke about Film 2010 (as we shall call it) is that the title (which should be pretty easy to remember if you, like, remember what year it is), was always stuck in the year you first became aware of it. I've always called it Film 77. But I can't imagine there's been a new generation of viewers added since Jonathan Ross took over in 1999, and it boils down to two reasons. One is that the show hasn't strayed very far at all from its original format in nearly 38 years, the other is that the one way it has diverged could end up being its downfall. It went from being a TV show that created a TV personality to being a TV show that was fronted by one.

When it first started, Film 72, as it was called then, was presented by a rolling panel of arts figures, including Joan Bakewell and novelist Frederic Raphael. But from 1974, when it hit its stride, it was hosted by Barry Norman, who didn't look anything like anyone else on TV at that time (with the possible exception of dire chat show king Michael Parkinson). That was because the job was deemed to be a critic's job, and that's exactly what Barry Norman looked like. It's arguable that Norman couldn't have presented any other kind of TV show if he tried (and he did try, not too memorably, with the arts series Omnibus). And that was what was important about the show; he wasn't just anybody. Barry Norman looked like a man who spent his time at film festivals and in screening rooms – which he did. He looked like a man who might love John Ford, know the difference between Jimmy Stewart and Jimmy Cagney, and respect Ozu and Eisenstein, and although his reviews in the late 80s could be cranky and self-righteous (I remember strenuously disagreeing with his take on Robocop), at least they had that grounding.

In retrospect, I'd say the arrival of Jonathan Ross changed things more fundamentally than I realised at the time. Back then, I was all for it. Ross knows his films, many of the kind that would give Barry Norman a heart attack, and his enthusiastic manner made a welcome change from Norman's often wry delivery. But although Ross knows his John Woo from his John Carpenter, some of the show's gravitas went AWOL, having followed the ex-host to his new home at Sky, where it wasn't much in demand either, as it turned out. In that year, Film 99 turned from what used to be called a magazine show into another TV show. Let's face it, Jonathan Ross is available for corporate hire; he can do Children In Need, Dancing On Ice, Big Brother... But if Barry Norman did any of these things, you'd thing: hang on, that's the film guy – why's he doing this?

The appointment of Claudia Winkleman might be a further step in the same direction. She's a very good presenter, smart and funny. But is she synonymous with film? Is she the highest available authority? When I started out in film journalism there were no – repeat no – monthly film magazines on the market (with the exception of the BFI's dry and rather academic Monthly Film Bulletin). In those days, newspapers carried comparatively little film coverage and if they did cover film, they wanted an interview with the director, never the stars. In those days, I used to wince when people asked, “Are you going to be the new Barry Norman?” At the time, it annoyed me, but now it makes me a little nostalgic. Since 1999, no one has ever asked me if I'm going to be the new Jonathan Ross, because, quite simply, he doesn't represent the same thing. (Obviously, I can never be asked if I'm going to be the new Claudia Winkleman, but you see the argument, surely?)

To be honest, since Ross took over, I've hardly ever seen Film 1999-2010, partly because the BBC sticks it on in the graveyard slot and has supported it so half-heartedly it's been easy to forget when each new season is even running. But when I have, I've recently been struck by how little the programme seems to try. The nadir for me was a piece about Franklyn; after five minutes of dull on-location footage and bland interviews with the cast, there followed a lengthy review from Ross in which he crushed the film to a bloody pulp. So why had they wasted my time with a location report that simply said: “A film is being made. Let's watch them do it (for a little bit)”? It seems to me that the show hasn't had a particularly well-honed editorial direction in a long time.

So while I certainly think Claudia Winkleman is a good thing for television, I also worry that her appointment arrives at a time when the show badly needs some backbone, not just a new face. Without it, Film 2010 is in danger of going the way of Top Of The Pops, another flagship BBC show that was allowed to slide out of existence. Looking back, what happened to that show is pretty incredible: how can you mess up something as simple as a chart hits show? Somehow, the BBC managed exactly that, by messing with the format and the timing to the extent that its brand had been diluted – everyone who didn't watch it assumed it was being made for someone else who did, and in the end, non-watchers turned out to be the majority. And I think that may become true of Film 2010. In line with the rest of the media, the BBC has bought into the idea that film knowledge is somehow snobbish and elitist, and, as a result, film culture is really, really suffering. When I'm not watching Film 2010, I'm assuming someone else is. But are they?

The BBC really needs to ask itself what Film 2010 represents. Back in 1972, it amounted to a man on a barstool telling us whether a film was good or bad. Whether we agreed with him or not wasn't really the point; he represented an establishment. In Norman's heyday, I often railed against this, but since 1999 I've stopped caring. As I said, I like Jonathan Ross very much, but he doesn't represent anything anywhere near so grand. He is a man who likes what he likes, and he often has very good taste, but I wouldn't necessarily want him on my team in a movie quiz. In a webchat with Matthew Vaughn last week, he couldn't even remember the name of the main character in Kick-Ass – a film that was co-written by his own wife! So when he's talking, what do we think? That the film is good or bad, that we must or mustn't see it? Or that this is just what Jonathan Ross thinks?

Increasingly, I think, more people are thinking the latter, and when Ross goes, a lot of viewers may go with him. Film 2010 has lost some of its authority at a time when it should be a brand that dictates, not courts, public taste. In an age when the most common word in the film lexicon is “reboot”, the BBC are taking a different route, and if it does follow TOTP into the ether, Film 2010 will be remembered as a missed opportunity. Film knowledge is a great thing; it's fresh, alive and it can be very, very funny. The way it's going, though, Film 2010 might end up ignoring all that, and what we'll end up with is just another TV programme, one that doesn't educate, illuminate, or celebrate. Which, in a sense, as Barry Norman might say, is what Film 2010 is there for...

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Posted on Monday March 29, 2010, 18:45
Got to say WTF

Who is she
What does she write for
OH some come dancing show great

J.Ross was crap too and if you never noticed Kermodes script in there then you are all deaf dumb and blind
yes rossy knew all about the crap movies its his taste
but c.mon some of the words he used well they were just not in his intellectual league
I know Kermode does not want the gig
but christ winkleman jesus.
oh i seem to be getting religious it's that bad
anyway i stopped watching years ago so it don't bother me that much
and i dont have a tv so whats the gripe
Its her i mean you guys all have tv licences (well some of you)
So she will do a great review for Bullock movies
sex in the city 2 is a must
but jeez louise yeah yeah i know another dame movie move over thelma
this is your BBC congrats
Its like Scorcese getting an oscar for the defeated
didnt any of you get the box set of the original
Internal affairs
I mean after watching all those 3 different ways of shooting it was directing by numbers

2 Juliette
Posted on Monday March 29, 2010, 23:10
You'd think the success of Mayo and Kermode's 5 Live show (so successful it's the only bit of Mayo's show they kept post-Manchester move) would tell something about what people actually want from a film review show - an expert giving us film criticism. (And a regular time slot, but even Mayo and Kermode have been denied that lately). If Kermode himself can't or doesn't want to do the gig, someone similar could work - Kim Newman perhaps. I love Claudia Winkleman, but so far her main skill has been in doing live television (which must be incredibly difficult) rather then film criticism.

On the other hand, maybe Claudia Winkleman has a film degree or great experience in film criticism or is a huge film buff and we don't know it, in which case, fine. She's a great presenter, no doubt. But it does seem a shame if they have gone for style over substance (and a bit of a waste of Winkleman's brilliancy when it comes to live TV - when it comes to dealing with live guests she's a genius).

3 nclowe
Posted on Tuesday March 30, 2010, 16:55
I think the BIGGEST problem BBC has had recently (and which was excellently highlighted in David-Mitchell-worthy rant on Being Human) is that it cannot seem to make up its mind about when it wants its shows on. If they just stuck with a regular timeslot and didn't fanny about with +- 5-30mins every week then ratings of course would pick up as then people would know when the friggin shows were on!

4 Jack'sSmirkinRevenge
Posted on Tuesday March 30, 2010, 17:23
I was gobsmacked by the appointment of Winkleman, and gutted when Kermode ruled himself out. It needed someone with his kind of authority and who clearly knows what they're talking about. I like Winkleman. I might even go as far as to say I have a bit of a crush on her. But this is not the place I want to see her. I actually quite liked Ross, and found myself agreeing with his reviews more often than Empire's. He definitely knows his stuff and I preferred his toned-down persona for that show, but I completely get where Mr Wise is coming from. The show definitely needs a regular time slot too, and not so late at night.

Still, at least OMNI didn't get the job. I don't get the comparison of this situation and Scorcese getting an Oscar for "The Departed" - not "The Defeated". And the original films were called "Infernal Affairs". Sorry to be a pedant.

5 monkey1138
Posted on Tuesday March 30, 2010, 18:09
Was about to have a go at the terrible grammer and errors in omni's post as well, but Jack'sSmirkinRevenge got there before me.

Anyway I think the BBC were saying they were going to make the format more like a panel reviewing the films and Winkleman as the host, something like Newsnight Review, which actually sounds quite good if they get good panelists.

I am glad Ross has gone he seemed to have no interest in film anymore so didn't deserve the job.

6 jonnytwist
Posted on Tuesday March 30, 2010, 18:29
Hopefully a Film 2010 producer reads Empireonline...

The problem with Film 2010 at the moment? Too late and too much Ross reading an autocue review. If people want to know if a film is any good, who is going to stay up till eleven for this? There are hundreds of film review websites, every newspaper has film reviews now. The features are dull, unrecognisable talking-heads giving their "inside Hollywood" view. Ross' interviews and location visits are boring too. On a James Bond set suggesting how he could be the next villain, doing an impression of stroking a cat. Yawn. Every Bond film.

When the Invention of Lying came out last year, Ross interviewed Gervais. No surprises there. But then, no review. Probably because it was ****!

I have never quite forgiven Ross for the time that he had Scorsese on his Friday night show, chatted with him for just fifteen minutes then brought out Johhny Vegas.

The only bit I ever look forward to? If they show a trailer at the end of the show.
New show needs to get me excited about going to the movies.

7 Johnny Burton
Posted on Tuesday March 30, 2010, 18:35
R.I.P. FILM 91
This is dreadful news. I became aware of the FILM programme sometime in the late 80s and truly 'discovered' it in the early 90s as it was the ONLY show on TV that seemed interested in movies. It became my bible in gauging whether a film was any good and formed a great partnership with a certain movie magazine when I climbed aboard the Empire Express in '94. Barry Norman was not always right, but I always valued his opinion. It was a sad day in 1999 when he left. Handing the gig to Ross felt OK at the time, but I barely remember it's on these days. I would have welcomed a revamp with a proper movie critic (which Winkleman most certainly is not) but, alas, she will just prove to be the skinny, annoying nail in it's coffin. If you don't believe me then you clearly haven't seen the Oscars coverage on Sky the last couple of years. Giving her the FILM show is like handing over EMPIRE to the makers of the Hannah Montana 2010 Annual. Sad times indeed.

8 Johnny Burton
Posted on Tuesday March 30, 2010, 18:36
R.I.P. FILM 91
This is dreadful news. I became aware of the FILM programme sometime in the late 80s and truly 'discovered' it in the early 90s as it was the ONLY show on TV that seemed interested in movies. It became my bible in gauging whether a film was any good and formed a great partnership with a certain movie magazine when I climbed aboard the Empire Express in '94. Barry Norman was not always right, but I always valued his opinion. It was a sad day in 1999 when he left. Handing the gig to Ross felt OK at the time, but I barely remember it's on these days. I would have welcomed a revamp with a proper movie critic (which Winkleman most certainly is not) but, alas, she will just prove to be the skinny, annoying nail in it's coffin. If you don't believe me then you clearly haven't seen the Oscars coverage on Sky the last couple of years. Giving her the FILM show is like handing over EMPIRE to the makers of the Hannah Montana 2010 Annual. Sad times indeed.

9 stephenhinton
Posted on Tuesday March 30, 2010, 23:52
When I first heard this news I thought it was an early April Fools joke but when it unfortunately wasn't I thought this is the final nail in the coffin for this show. But then it has been a dying breed for a long time with Jonathan Ross who I think is great on other shows but watching him present this over the last few years as been very tiresome and why I say this is that he doesn't actually watch all the films he reviews, that is the job of someone else!

Winkleman is quoted as saying she 'goes to the cinema three times a week' I am not sure where she finds the time to fit this into her busy schedule mind as with Ross she seems to be on every other TV show at present! and her presenting of the Oscars on SKY was absolutely awful.

To me the choice of presenters (who know their films) and an easy one of that the BBC should have gone for to make this show great again, like back in the days of Barry Norman and move it to an earlier time slot. Number one choice should have been Mark Kermode who is highly respected in the industry and anyone who loves Film should read his brilliant 'It's only a movie' book.

Second choice would have been radio one's resident film critic James King.

It's obviously early days yet and the jury is still out on Winkleman and like anyone starting a new job I always give them a chance but with this one I am being very apprehensive!

10 andyk74
Posted on Wednesday March 31, 2010, 02:06
i am never one to judge until i have seen the finished product. So i will give CW the benefit of the doubt until I see the program.

my biggest disppointment with the Ross years was the obvious conflict of interest he had with his other shows. Whenever an actor was going to be on Friday Night with JR without fail the review of their film they had out that week would not be there

he would talk about the film and what it was about etc but would never give a review knowing the actor wouldnt come on his other program if he did give a shit review

dont get me wrong when he did give a review he wasnt often wrong but i was annoyed at this deliberate pandering to stars

norman never shunned from his duty - and again was rarely wrong in my opinion about a film - and i found his reviews useful for helping me decide what films to watch and not watch- this has sadly been missing from Mr Ross

can miss winkleman bring this back - personally i dont think so i believe it will be watered down even more - but i will give her chance - if it fails then we only have empire to rely on

but even they are downgrading in my experience - 5 stars given too easily

here endeth the lesson lol

11 Rave-O13
Posted on Wednesday March 31, 2010, 09:08
Did anyone ever watch Talking Movies on the BBC News Channel?

It was an insightful, intelligent show about movies presented by Tom Brooks. Like Barry Norman, he's grounded in film and was able to bring that to his film reviews and reports about the film industry as a whole

So what did the BBC do, they cancelled it (well that's what I think happened to it as it just disappeared from the screen!)

I did watch Film 2010 until it ended recently but that was mainly out of curiousity as I wanted to see how much Ross slated someone's film after being how sycophantic to them when he interviewed them on his chat show!

I agree with Damon and feel that this new format for Film 2010 is the the next step of a slow and painful death for the show (nothing against Claudia Winkleman as she's obviously good at what she does otherwise she wouldn't be on TV)

12 mercury71
Posted on Wednesday March 31, 2010, 10:13
OH YES!!! Finally the BBC are doing something right, she is gorgeous, i predict the viewer ratings rocketing!

13 chris wootton
Posted on Wednesday March 31, 2010, 12:21
I think we should all reserve judgement until after she has had a crack at it. She is very watchable and having a panel of guest critics could work quite well. The problem i always had with Ross, was that he told you absolutely everything about the film he was reviewing. He'd describe the plot then show a clip and then tell you precisely what happens after the clip.. it became pointless to watch it as you would find out everything. It's like some of Empire's reviews (which i read after seeing the film these days), giving away too much. But, is there a point to Film 1975 now? With Empire and other publications you can know all there is to know about upcoming films at the click of a button or a turn of the page. I can't help but feel that the show is now redundant

14 timgowen
Posted on Thursday April 1, 2010, 16:30
Well to begin with, the internal logic of Damon's piece: Parkinson isn't dire, he's exactly the sort of figure that Damon was talking about. A chat show host, and that's what he does - just like Barry Norman looks like a film critic. All chat show hosts pale in comparison and there's no decent talk show on British TV now.

And yes, to have a 30 minute Film Review show which disappears for the summer is ridiculous. It needs to be 45-60 minutes.

Claudia could be very good. We don't want Kermode-style film criticism, it has to have a popular angle. I'd have chosen Andrew Collins myself. But having heard some of CW's arts show on Radio 2 I think she'll certainly be more interesting than J. Ross.

15 SmithyBoi
Posted on Thursday April 1, 2010, 20:14
No way can that crossed eyed witch replaace wossy , Tv has been hooked to his showes since he begun and for the bbc to get rid of him is a discrace!. I think this will show when the viewing start to fall. She is a woman who knows nothing of film but because she presented the british oscars they think shes cawlaafield to become the new bbc filmm reviewer , Perfetic!. Jonathon Ross cannot be replaced by her and Film 2010 won't be as good.

16 Damon_Wise
Posted on Thursday April 1, 2010, 22:06
Not much to do with internal logic -- I don't rate Parkinson as a chat show host. He's awful!

17 nicnicnic
Posted on Tuesday April 6, 2010, 19:32
Winkleman the Davina McCall clone. Pretty to look at just don't actually listen to her. I imagine she is full of stupid half-witted inane tat. Just a guess. Personally I don't find her that funny and she grates on me as a presenter. I hope she proves me wrong though and I agree with Chris Wooton above, she does deserve a good crack at it. Although if it is panel based it will improve the show greatly, having more than just Wossies overly informative opinion will be good. But I hope they get some decent panellists in. I'm looking forward to it, lets hope it's on at a decent time.

18 simjamlmx
Posted on Wednesday May 26, 2010, 16:22
Selecting her as the new presenter represents the dumbing down of television that we all like to talk about. From barry norman who famously had that argument with robert (mumbles) deniro, to smutty ross and now some dumbass from daytime television. I really don't know why kermode isnt doing it, he's the natural choice.

19 JapStrangler
Posted on Saturday June 19, 2010, 06:54
Eve Pollard's daughter? It's gonna be a big pink girly disaster. After Wossy's arse-lickery now we'll have more gushing sycophancy from this pointless eye candy. Fucking BBC.

20 MontyWest
Posted on Friday February 10, 2012, 12:20
Interesting to read all the doubters above, before the programme had even been shown.

As someone who grew up watching Barry Norman on Film 7x, I think CW is great on Film 2012. She's enthusiastic, knowledgeable, funny (and sexy as hell) and has great chemistry with her co-presenter Danny Leigh. Definitely a must-see programme.

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