Essays: The Observer TV column |
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The Observer TV column

Thanks to a generous reader (the noted writer and journalist Christopher
Bray, himself a film and television critic, who interviewed Clive for the
Daily Telegraph in 2005 and has reviewed several of his books), we have
obtained copies of almost every edition of Clive’s television criticism
column published in the Observer Sunday newspaper (London) between
1972 and 1982. Many of these were omitted from the Cape and Picador
collections reproduced in our Books section, while the ones included
were subject to various degrees of editing. We’re now adding the full text
of the originals to the Archive in chronological order, starting in 1972 —
select by date (hover) or title from the menu at left.

The process of scanning, OCR-ing and correcting these will take some time,
as some of them are in the form of poor photocopies*, but when complete
we intend to move on to more of Clive’s early work, for such periodicals as
The Listener, Punch, New Society, the New Review and the TLS.

Archive Editor, 18th June 2022

Update, April 2024:

We have now completed all ten years (spanning eleven calendar years) of
the Observer TV column, although the final three years are still lacking our
customary TV screen-shots, illustrating (where available and relevant) the
“very frame” referenced by Clive in his review. These images will follow
in due course. I've created an index table listing all issues by date, here:, with notes
on their availability. As you’ll see, 21 issues (marked with a red square)
remain incomplete or missing in action as of today, and we in turn remain
hopeful that some obsessive reader will have retained his or her old news-
paper copies, from which we might be able to fill in the gaps left by the
flawed on-line database, and make our endeavour complete.

SJB, 14th April 2024

* Anyone interested in the process by which we transfer old newspaper cuttings to the Web might like to see the screen-shots below, which show the first two paragraphs of Clive’s Observer column for 8th October 1972 (click for a larger image). The raw output of the Optical Character Recognition program (top right) can be particularly amusing. Most of the time it’s still quicker to correct this than to re-type everything, but in this case, though far from the worst, I’m not so sure!