FRONT ROW, BBC2, 7.30pm

I’M going to give Front Row another chance. They say “third time lucky” and this is its third episode.

It got off to a terrible start a few weeks ago by being totally low-brow. Why — and this is a serious question — can’t the BBC do a decent arts review show which is unashamedly about the arts? Why must they, as they did in the first episode, pollute it with Harry Potter and DJs?

Forget the disc jockeys and the children’s books and get some proper, hearty literature and some decent cultural commentators.

Is this me being elitist? Well, why not? If we have elite sportsmen and are proud of them, then why can’t we celebrate “elite” novelists, directors and musicians in the same way? Why are we reluctant to appear learned or civilised? Must everything be “YAY!” and casual? Tonight the show interviews Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling about the Blade Runner sequel and, for us whining elitists, Ian McKellen gives a masterclass in playing King Lear.


ONE autumn evening back in 1997, the poet Ross Sutherland was on the couch with his parents watching EastEnders — but he never got to see the full episode. Nine minutes in there was a knock at the door.

It was his pal, James, inviting him to go out for a run in the car. Just as the episode was ending, they crashed. Now Ross is seeking to explore that fateful evening by recreating the episode of EastEnders he missed.

His work seeks to “blend poetry and pop culture” and so, with the help of a musician — and EastEnders — he “remixes” the missed episode into “an audio-visual poem on nostalgia and loss” which takes place in his old living room.

It’s quite eerie and strange. Sutherland delivers his pacy poetry against a domestic backdrop where we see the TV flickering away with that old EastEnders episode.