Guardian columnist, writes books, comes late to technology.

Inside Canterbury Cathedral review — In its almost 1,500 years as Anglicanism's mother church, I doubt whether Canterbury Cathedral has witnessed such a quintessential moment of Church of Englandness as we did in the opening episode of the three-part documentary Inside Canterbury Cathedral (BBC2).

Christmas parties: a survival guide — Parties - how do I hate thee? Let me count the ways. There's the dressing up for them. There's the getting to them. There's the being at them. The getting back from them. The meeting of strangers. Or people you know. There's the not being at home.

Sesame Street, World Cup 1970, Big Brother: the joy of shared TV moments — It feels like a hundred years ago and, by any measure other than strict chronology, it was. On 29 July 1981 there were just three channels - the need to insert the word "terrestrial" in front of them was, like Channel 4, not even born yet.

Jamie’s Cracking Christmas - review: bish-bash-bosh, that’s Christmas sorted — Christmas is the time even the most committed secularists among us become vulnerable to spiritual sensations, whether it is being moved to tears by beautiful carols sung in a church, storied centuries of music, architecture and intimations of the divine rising all around you, or helping with the preparations for a school nativity play and musing that Herod may indeed have been on to something with that massacring of the innocents thing.

Castles: Britain’s Fortified History - review: a glorious edifice of sturdy facts — Isn't knowledge a wonderful thing? And isn't it great how many people are willing to share it? Open almost any page of the Radio Times (it's a sort of magazine, children - you can get it in newsagents and heritage museum shops) and there will be someone offering you the fruits of a lifetime's knowledge in easily digestible but still nutritious form.

Confessions of a Secretary - review: a brilliantly nosy look at the era of the office sex-pest — There is nothing more strange than the recent past. Before it becomes hallowed by time, before it becomes dismissable with a shrug and an "Oh, everything was SO different then" it is just ... bizarre. How bizarre that children were once given free milk in school and sold sweet cigarettes in the shops outside.

Russell Brand and Neil Gaiman’s childhood reinventions — When it comes to Russell Brand, it always seems to me that the guardians of our media outlets get temporarily possessed by a rogue Johnsonian spirit. "A man with a cockernee accent using long words! It is not done well, but you are surprised to find it done at all.

Britain’s Bloodiest Dynasty; Nigel Slater’s Icing on the Cake; The Fall - review — Yeah, sure he looks like he only passed his history GCSE 10 minutes ago - albeit with an A**, for which I hope he got an ice-cream, an extra go on the Playstation or whatever it is the kidz get these days - but once you have got over this disconcerting fact, Dan Jones is a presenter who always gets you where you need to be got.

Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia; The Fall - review — As long as you are at peace with the fact that a documentary made by a friend of the subject's nephew and executive produced by that nephew is probably not going to be a forensic examination of the man's dark side or give the same attention to his critics as it does to his admirers, Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia (Sky Arts 1) was 90 minutes of pure joy.

Ebola Frontline - Panorama; Dancing Cheek to Cheek: An Intimate History of Dance - TV review — Patients arrive at the Médecins Sans Frontières treatment centre in Sierra Leone 10 to an ambulance. The overcrowding means that by the time they get there, even those whose original symptoms may not have been Ebola will have been sufficiently exposed to catch it on the way in.
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Dec 18, 2014

RT @collinsdict: Panemone, ergocoach, and other new word submissions get the @LucyMangan treatment... #newwords

Dec 17, 2014

@MeganPerry8 Ditto and ditto. But I reckon they would enjoy an appreciative audience, n'est-ce pas?

Dec 17, 2014

Is no-one bringing out a book about Guedelon castle? Could someone, please? #secretsofthecastle #bbc

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