Barry Norman dies aged 83 – “The Master” film critic

Barry Norman Barry Norman was the first film critic I came across, given the Film… programme which he hosted from 1972 onwards.

I must’ve come across it in the early-to-mid ’80s, but since I loved films, and with the internet age being a fair few years away, he was always the go-to person to watch to find out what was due for release and which movies were worth watching. He called time on it in 1998 after the BBC kept moving the show later and later, moving to Sky.

Barry Norman’s career also included being the showbiz editor for the Daily Mail, as well as writing columns for The Guardian and The Observer, plus presenting a number of other occasional shows on the BBC, but it was the Film series which I remember most fondly. I didn’t take to it after Jonathan Ross took over, and let’s not even talk about the Claudia Winkleman years. The best TV equivalent these days, is Mark Kermode’s Film Review on BBC News, which premieres at 5.45pm on a Friday afternoon.

Back to the main man, referred to some as The Master, and thanks to his occasional use of the phrase “And why not?”, it became associated with him as his sole catchphrase thanks to Spitting Image, but he took it in good humour and also made it the title of his 2003 book, And Why Not?: Memoirs of a Film Lover. This was followed ten years later with See You In The Morning, in tribute to his late wife, Diana, who passed away in 2011.

I hope wherever he is now, he’s getting to see all the films in advance that he wants to, and is able to suggest how many of the standard Hollywood fare of late need tweaking before releasing 😉

Check out the Film programme theme below: