GenreFilm review
Directed byStephen Neal
Presented byJacky Gillott/Joan Bakewell/Iain Johnstone/Barry Norman/Frederic Raphael and others (1971–1972)
Barry Norman (1972–1998)
Iain Johnstone (1982)
Jonathan Ross (1999–2010)
Claudia Winkleman (2010–2016)
Danny Leigh (2010–2017)
Clara Amfo/Zoe Ball/Edith Bowman/Charlie Brooker/Ellen E Jones/Al Murray/Antonia Quirke and others (2017–2018)
Theme music composerBilly Taylor
Opening theme"I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free" by Billy Taylor (1963)
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
Executive producerJanet Lee
Production locationsStudio V, Broadcasting House
Running time30 minutes
Production companyBBC Studios
Original release
NetworkBBC One
Release16 November 1971 (1971-11-16) –
28 March 2018 (2018-03-28)
The Film Review

Film '71Film 2018 was a British film review television programme, which was usually broadcast on BBC One. The title of the show changed each year to incorporate the year of broadcast until its cancellation in December 2018.[1]

Presenters and critics

Early years

The show was first broadcast on 16 November 1971 but it was only shown in the South East area of the UK under the title Film '71.[2] It was eventually shown in all areas of the UK in March 1976. The show was first hosted by several presenters, including Jacky Gillott, Joan Bakewell, Frederic Raphael, Iain Johnstone, and Barry Norman.[3]

Barry Norman (1972–1998)

Barry Norman became permanent host of the series in 1972.[3] For his first episode on Film 72, his first film review was of The Last Picture Show, while his first studio interviewees were Charlton Heston and James Stewart.[4] For much of his time on the show, "with Barry Norman" was appended to the show's title.[5]

Norman remained as host until 1998, except for a few months in 1982, when he was busy with other projects and Iain Johnstone returned as temporary host. Norman eventually left the show after signing a contract with BSkyB, with his last appearance being at the end of June 1998 hosting Film '98.[6]

With the series now described as the BBC's flagship cinema review, Norman's departure to Sky was said by The Guardian in 2002 to have been "seismic", and due to its nature and timing, his exit was described as being acrimonious. Norman said of the departure, "I honestly believe that if they had said to me, 'We would like you to work out your contract but then we don't want you any more,' they would have given me quite a big send off – at least they would have had a drinks party. But because I left at a time that was not convenient for them I became a non-person. Even on the last day, nobody called up to say, 'Good luck in your future life,' or even 'drop dead'." Of his reviewing style Norman said: "I always knew that nobody's right and nobody's wrong in criticism. The only thing I could do was to make sure that whatever I said was what I really believed."[7]

Jonathan Ross (1999–2010)

Jonathan Ross

Jonathan Ross was chosen as the next host, and presented the show from 1999 until March 2010. Reflecting the change in host, the phrase "with Jonathan Ross" was appended to the show's title.

Ross began presenting the show as Film '99 in March 1999, on a contract reportedly worth £500,000 a year. Ross, described by the BBC as a long-time film buff and fan of cult movies, stated that he had dreamt of doing the job since childhood.[8]

To mark the turn of the millennium, the viewers of Film 99 voted in a poll to name their favourite film of the century, with the top 100 published by the BBC and with Star Wars coming top overall.[9] Following the millennium, the show switched from the two-digit format to using the full year in the title, i.e. Film 2000, Film 2001...

Film 2008 was briefly removed from the schedules during Ross's 12-week suspension from all BBC activities following the Sachsgate controversy.[10]

Ross presented the programme for the last time on 17 March 2010.[3][11] This came after he announced in January 2010 that he would not be renewing his BBC contract, with his BBC One chat show and BBC Radio 2 show both also finishing in July 2010.[12]

Claudia Winkleman (2010–2016)

In October 2010, Claudia Winkleman took over as host of Film 2010 in a revamped format.[13] This saw the adoption of a live studio format and the introduction of a co-presenter, film journalist Danny Leigh. The first episode of Film 2010 with Claudia Winkleman aired on Wednesday 13 October at 10:45 pm.

Regular contributors also included film critics Catherine Bray, Chris Hewitt and Antonia Quirke.[14][15]

BBC Radio 5 Live's Mark Kermode had been tipped as a likely successor to Ross for the show.[3][12] However, in March 2010, Kermode said that he han't been contacted about hosting the show which he said "requires a mainstream sensibility",[16] and instead Winkleman was announced as a surprise choice for the presenter's role.[17][18]

Damon Wise of Empire feared that Winkleman's appointment represented a rejection of film knowledge as a requirement of a host for the show, and that it might foretell the demise of the series in the same manner as Top of the Pops, "another flagship BBC show that was allowed to slide out of existence."[19]

The Guardian stated, through her recent hosting of Sky Television's coverage of the Oscars, Winkleman had "proved both a passionate and engaging advocate of cinema," while her husband Kris Thykier is a film producer with credits on several mainstream releases.[3] She also presents a weekly arts show on BBC Radio 2 on Friday nights, which covers film.

When the programme returned for a new series in November 2012, it began being referred to in the titles as Film 2012 with Claudia Winkleman and Danny Leigh with Leigh now co-host alongside Winkleman.

Rotating presenters (2016–2018)

In September 2016, Winkleman announced that she would be leaving the show.[20]

Following her departure, the show was hosted on rotation. Clara Amfo, Zoe Ball, Edith Bowman, Charlie Brooker, Al Murray and Antonia Quirke have all hosted at least twice.

Danny Leigh served as the resident film critic from 2010 to 2017. Following Leigh's departure, recurring critic Ellen E Jones became the new resident critic.[21]

Each show, the presenter and resident critic were joined by another established screenwriter or critic. These included: Peter Bradshaw, Rhianna Dhillon, Chris Hewitt, Larushka Ivan-Zadeh, Tim Robey, and Jason Solomons.

In December 2018 the BBC dropped the show and, despite a spokesperson promising "an enhanced offer for lovers of film", fans were still dismayed by the change.[22]


The theme music of the show was I Wish I Knew by Billy Taylor, which is also known in its vocal version I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free, popularised by Nina Simone in a 1967 release. During short sequences of films being shown, incidental music would be played, often from a light jazz music style, known as hard bop.


  1. ^ "BBC axes Film programme after 48 years". BBC News. 28 December 2018. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  2. ^ "Barry Norman looks back at 21 years of the film programme" (Film '92), Retrieved 16 October 2009.
  3. ^ a b c d e MacInnes, Paul (29 March 2010). "Claudia Winkleman named as Jonathan Ross's successor on Film 2010". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 27 July 2010.
  4. ^ Viner, Brian (24 April 2001). "Barry Norman: Films ain't what they used to be". The Independent. London. Retrieved 22 July 2010.[dead link]
  5. ^ "Film 98 with Barry Norman (1998)", BFI.
  6. ^ "Barry Norman defects to Sky". BBC News. 9 June 1998. Retrieved 22 July 2010.
  7. ^ Brooks, Libby (29 August 2002). "So I said to Liz Taylor..." The Guardian. London. Retrieved 22 July 2010.
  8. ^ "Jonathan Ross to host BBC film show". BBC News. 22 December 1998. Retrieved 22 July 2010.
  9. ^ "The Film 99 top 100". BBC News. 8 December 1999. Retrieved 22 July 2010.
  10. ^ Conlan, Tara (31 October 2008). "BBC to pay cancellation costs on Jonathan Ross shows". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 22 July 2010.
  11. ^ "Episode 10". BBC Programmes, Film 2010 with Jonathan Ross. BBC. n.d. Retrieved 22 July 2010. Jonathan Ross nestles into the presenter's chair for the final time, reviewing new releases including The Bounty Hunter, and providing behind-the-scenes access to major upcoming films including Clash of the Titans. BROADCASTS Wed 17 March 2010 23:25 BBC One (except Northern Ireland, Wales)
  12. ^ a b "Jonathan Ross to quit as TV and radio host with the BBC". BBC News. 7 January 2010. Retrieved 22 July 2010.
  13. ^ "Claudia Winkleman named as presenter of new-look Film 2010" (Press release). BBC. 29 March 2010. Retrieved 29 March 2010.
  14. ^ "Regular Film 2013 contributors".
  15. ^ "Regular Film 2014 contributors".
  16. ^ "Mark Kermode will not replace Jonathan Ross on Film 2010". The Telegraph.
  17. ^ "Kermode not taking over Film 2010". Metro. 26 March 2010. Retrieved 22 July 2010.
  18. ^ "Claudia Winkleman to take over from Jonathan Ross as Film 2010 presenter". Metro. 30 March 2010. Retrieved 22 July 2010.
  19. ^ "Can Claudia Winkleman Save Film 2010?". Empire. 29 March 2010. Retrieved 22 July 2010.
  20. ^ @ClaudiaWinkle (3 September 2016). "Am so sad to be leaving the film show, I just felt I was unable to give it the time it deserves. All love to brilliant Danny and the team" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  21. ^ "Ellen E Jones replaced Danny Leigh as resident film critic".
  22. ^ "BBC's long-running Film Show to be cancelled and replaced for 2019".