Hello! And, well, let’s just get straight to the point here. I’m very much aware that there may now suddenly be a substantial influx of ‘new’ readers alighting on my website and that they won’t have the faintest idea of where and how to start with all of this bewildering nonsense. There’s pictures of the Channel 4 logo and the Music Box from Camberwick Green, and something about WandaVision and… no, I don’t envy you trying to make head or tail of it either. So who the hell am I?
I’m Tim Worthington, a writer and occasional broadcaster who has a tendency to spend way too much time half-remembering old Smiths Square Crisps adverts on Twitter, and this is where you can find links to various things that I’ve written and/or appeared on, and indeed there’s so much of it that I thought I’d pick out a few highlights that anyone who’s never heard of me before – probably around eighty percent of the Multiverse if I’m honest about it – can head for to get a sense of whether they would like to stick around. Meanwhile, those of you who do follow what I do but hadn’t read or listened to any of the below, well, now is your chance to catch up on it and avoid embarrassing social situations where you ask me why I haven’t talked about x and y yet despite me relentlessly linking to it for months on end. Anyway…
You’ve probably more than likely found your way here after listening to the edition of Looks Unfamiliar with Grace Dent (and if you didn’t, it’s here). If you haven’t, this is a podcast where I chat to a guest about some of the things that they remember that nobody ever seems to. It’s mostly incredibly funny chat, but I’m not afraid to go into the darker side of nostalgia either and we haven’t shied away from acknowledging racism, sexuality, ‘handy’ teachers, regional prejudice, kink-shaming, grief, and above all how downright fucking terrifying BBC Test Card F is. Also, I hate how dominated nostalgia is by men and a very narrow set of obsessions, so I try and make the gender balance as equal as possible because, well, you get better choices that way.
I like to have a mix of guests on the show, so alongside the well-known likes of Rae Earl, Richard Littler, Mitch Benn, Paul Putner, Paul Cornell, Lydia Mizon, Meryl O’Rourke, Martin Belam and Deborah Tracey you’ll find names that may be new to you but are well worth familiarising yourself with including Garreth Hirons, Catrin Lowe, Justin Lewis, Shanine Salmon, Gillian Kirby, Darrell Maclaine, Melanie Williams, Lucy Pope, Anna Cale, Phil Norman and Ben Baker. You can find a collection of listener-selected highlights here – and also find me appearing as the guest here – but here are a couple of editions that might be of particular interest to anyone who’s never actually heard Looks Unfamiliar – or of Looks Unfamiliar – before.
Samira Ahmed joined me for a chat about the Selfridges Space: 1999 Walkthrough, The Fun Food Factory and plenty more besides, including our shared obsession with cheap cash-in recipe books and obscure characters from The Magic Roundabout.
Bob Fischer recounted his childhood fear of dangerous plant Giant Hogweed, and on a less paranoid note the history of dreadful EastEnders cash-in singles and the essential style guide How To Be A Wally.
Joanne Sheppard expressed her longing for a packet of KP Wickers and her slightly less powerful desire to encounter David Bellamy’s pop single, Roger Hargreaves’ Timbuctoo books and her childhood nemesis the Colorado Beetle again.
Joel Morris recalled how easily entertained he was by the View-Master Demonstration Reel, Chutes Away!!!!! and Marks And Spencer’s ‘St. Michael’ gift books.
Will Maclean joined me for a spooky spectacular looking very nervously at The Fourth Pan Book Of Horror Stories, Look And Read: The Kink’s Dragon, the Zegazoid chew bar and more.
Gabby Hutchinson Crouch expressed her fondness – if that’s the right word – for Saturday Morning BBC show Parallel 9 and Irish-themed alcopop Craic, and also revealed how a nineties indie band later gave her the confidence to come out.
Some Things To Read…
If you’d much rather prefer something to read, you can get several collections of my columns and features – including Can’t Help Thinking About Me and Not On Your Telly – in both paperback and Kindle, although if you’d rather try before you buy, here are a couple of notable features you can actually find on this website. You can always buy me a coffee here, though. Hint hint.
Hits 5 Revisited – a track by track look back at 1986’s definitive pop compilation, taking in the hits, the misses, the song that even The Real Thing didn’t know they’d recorded, and a conspicuous lack of ‘Belouis’ ‘Some’.
The Fear Of A Clown – as a very young child, I was absolutely terrified of the clown from the start and end of Camberwick Green, but I was also insistent on watching Camberwick Green itself. As you can imagine, this presented something of a problem…
That Was This Life That Was – how does the mid-nineties defining drama serial This Life hold up all this time later? A lot more securely than their trousers do, that’s for sure.
And The Senses Being Dulled Are Mine – for some mysterious inexplicable reason, I never really find myself wanting to listen to The Smiths quite as much any more, and that really is quite sad.
You’re Weird, Ronald – a very long time ago, I accidentally saw a film that really should not have been on ITV at two o’clock in the afternoon, and this is the story of my attempts to find out what it was.
Shine Like Stars – for a friend.
Doctor Who And The Rosa – I had wanted a female Doctor Who for a long, long time – call me a woke lefty snowflake at your peril – and the episode where she met Rosa Parks proved in no uncertain terms that this was the right decision. Yes it was, stop complaining.
The Books I Couldn’t Help Thinking About – a quick flick through some of the books that have had the biggest influence on me as a writer.
And You And I Would Call Them Dragonflies – for many years, the beautiful music from Bagpuss was almost impossible to get hold of, and this was how I tried to fill that space in my record collection.
Hang On A Minute Lads, I’ve Got A Great Idea… – how do you do a proper ending? Well, here are ten times I think they got it exactly right. Needless to say Lost is not on the list…
It’s Good, Except It Sucks
This is another podcast – this time about the Marvel Cinematic Universe – which I started partly as a bit of fun and partly in response to the irritating snobbery that followed in the wake of Ken Loach and Martin Scorsese complaining that people were actively choosing to go and see Iron Man punching some variants on Iron Man instead of being forced against their will to see their latest eight million hour depression-fests. The intention was always to keep it as light and as short as possible, but always to concentrate on just how good these movies and television series actually are in their own right (well, apart from Inhumans), with a variety of guests from comic obsessives to some who didn’t even really know who Spider-Man was beforehand. Anyway, here are a couple of highlights, although please be advised that they do contain spoilers in places…
Captain Marvel – Carol Danvers’ cosmic escapades were a major step forward for gender representation both in print and on the big screen, and novelist Una McCormack joined me for a chat about what a relief it was to finally see a movie which addresses who is left to do the washing up while everyone’s off having adventures.
The Punisher – ruthless vigilante Frank Castle represents the dark heart of superheroics, as explored in spectacularly dark fashion in a television series that journalist Mic Wright joined me to talk about.
Ant-Man And The Wasp – I’m the guest on this one, for a chat about how Scott and Hope’s attempts to fit romance around child supervision and crime fighting has a lot more to say about modern dating than it’s really given credit for. You can also find me talking about the vigilante team-up series The Defenders here.
Loki – the God of Mischief’s tampering with time finally catches up with him courtesy of some dull people behind desks, although Gabby Hutchinson Crouch had plenty to say about his attempts at tampering with representation.
Spider-Man – Into The Spider-Verse – David Smith loves the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but has never read a Marvel comic and enjoys classic rock… so how is he going to take to an animated movie full of Spider-variants with a hip-hop soundtrack?
Jessica Jones – the Marvel television series have been allowed to go deeper and darker than the movies, and Miriam Kent joined me for a look at just how easy it is to make a storyline about male coercion and emotional and physical abuse into a witty edge-of-the-seat action serial.
Agent Carter – after Captain America went into the ice, Peggy Carter was left to try and find her way as a woman in a man’s world full of malevolent alien sludge, and Hanna Flint thinks good on her, frankly.
Into The Multiverse
I sometimes make guest appearances on other shows – well, quite a lot of the time to be honest – and here are a couple that I’m told I was actually quite good on…
Perfect Night In – Neil Perryman asked me what I would put on if I was in control of television for an evening, and you can hear – and see! – what I chose here.
Yellow Submarine – I joined Beatles expert Chris Shaw for a spirited defence of an album that most people tend to just ignore because one side of it is by George Martin rather than John, Paul, George and Ringo. If you do ignore it, you’re missing out…
(Music For) The Head Ballet – when Paul Abbott asked me to talk about my favourite novelty single, what else was I going to choose but I’m Gonna Spend My Christmas With A Dalek by The Go-Go’s?
It’s An S Pod Thing! – I joined Sophie Davies on her quest to watch all of S Club 7’s insane television shows for a look at their ridiculous feature-length time-travel movie Back To The ’50s.
The Zeitgeist Tapes – Emma Burnell and Steve Fielding present a show looking at the point where politics and pop music collide, which normally means heavyweight dramas but on this occasion I joined them for a look at the Clangers Election Special Vote For Froglet.
© Tim Worthington.
Please don’t copy this only with more italics and exclamation marks.