Points of View

"Points of View" is a long-running television show shown in the United Kingdom on BBC One, featuring the letters of viewers offering praise, criticism and purportedly witty observations on the television of recent weeks. It is shown on Sundays, late afternoon (the time varies each week).

Originally designed as an occasional five-minute show to plug the gap between shows, the show began in 1961 with Robert Robinson presenting viewers' letters. Each show now lasts around 15 minutes. Kenneth Robinson took over in 1965, though Robert Robinson took over once again in 1969, before the show was dropped in 1971.

The show returned in 1979 with the dry humour of Barry Took at the helm, and with The Beatles' "When I'm Sixty-Four" as its theme tune (courtesy of the line "Send me a postcard, drop me a line, stating point of view"), and has continued to this day. Took was eventually replaced by a succession of short-lived presenters including Tony Robinson, Alan Titchmarsh and Chris Serle, until Anne Robinson restored stability to the role of presenter. From 1999 to early 2008, the show has been presented by Terry Wogan. Terry Wogan moved on and was replaced by Radio 2's Jeremy Vine. The most recent series ended on 22 June 2008. During that episode, Vine stated that the programme will return with a new series this autumn. He continues as presenter of the current series, which began on 28 September 2008.

The programme has been hosted by no fewer than four presenters with the surname "Robinson": namely Robert, Kenneth, Anne and Tony.

This perennially popular show typifies the British method of complaint; as Victoria Wood put it, "When the Russians feel strongly about an issue they form a bloody revolution — the British write a strongly-worded letter to "Points of View". Although much less common now, the show has over the decades featured many a letter beginning "Why, oh why, oh why..." and signed "Upset of Uxbridge" or "Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells", or something similar (these days, most, if not all, simply use their real names), with the complaints receiving little but a pre-packaged witty comment from the presenter. Along the way the show has always discretely catered for those who reminisce about the so-called "golden days" of the BBC, featuring letters asking "Please, please, please could you show the clip where Vera Lynn sang to the troops on the 50th anniversary of D-Day last week", and the like.

The series has often been criticised for featuring too much praise of the BBC and its programmes, and playing down criticism. This tendency has been sent up by many comedians over the years, including memorable skits in "Monty Python's Flying Circus" and "Not the Nine O'Clock News". In the latter, positive letters said such things as "I think the (television licence) fee is far too low. I would willingly sell my house and all its contents to help the BBC."

"Points of View" has undergone something of a revision in 2007. Not only are letters and emails from viewers featured, but also home-made video comments and specially filmed inserts featuring viewers putting the questions to the TV producers. In the 2007 season, "Points of View" featured diverse films such as students from Sussex University making impassioned plea to the BBC to keep "Neighbours", John Leivers interviewing Roly Keating, the controller of BBC Two, on the channel's direction and Jill Parkinson asking why there aren't more people with disabilities featured in BBC programmes.

"Junior Points of View"

Between 1963 and 1970 Robert Robinson (later replaced by Sarah Ward, and Gaynor Morgan Rees) presented a version designed for children's letters entitled "Junior Points of View".

External links

*bbc.co.uk|id=pov|title="Points of View"

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