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Points of View is a long-running television show shown in the United Kingdommarker on BBC One, featuring the letters of viewers offering praise, criticism and purportedly witty observations on the television of recent weeks. The current series began on 11 October 2009; it is now shown on Sunday afternoons, with the exact time slot usually varying 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 to the BBC. Each show now lasts around 15 minutes. Kenneth Robinson took over in 1965, though Robert Robinson returned in 1969 before the show was dropped in 1971.

The original theme tune to the programme was the first 13 seconds of Kid Ory's trad jazz piece "Yaaka Hula Hickey Dula".

The show returned in 1979 with the dry humour of Barry Took at the helm, and later adopting The Beatles' "When I'm Sixty-Four" as its theme tune (because of the lyric "Send me a postcard, drop me a line, stating point of view"), which is still used today. Took was eventually replaced by several presenters including Tony Robinson, Alan Titchmarsh and Chris Serle, none of whom lasted long, until Anne Robinson restored stability to the role. For many years during this period the programme held a slot of 8:50 pm on Wednesday evenings.

From 1999 to early 2008, the show was presented by Terry Wogan, who was replaced by Jeremy Vine, a regular presenter on BBC Radio 2. He continues as presenter of the current series.

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 Uxbridgemarker" 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."

Further criticism came from comedians Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie in their sketch comedy show A Bit of Fry and Laurie. In a sketch where Fry had supposedly removed Laurie's brain, Laurie said that he was "off to write a letter to Points of View", the implication being that only the brainless would engage in such an activity. In a later episode, a woman claims she has had two letters read out on Points of View, and that "they say if you get three, you're automatically sectioned under the Mental Health Act." However, the programme became (around 1994) the first BBC TV show to invite contributions by email, and at one point its producer Bernard Newnham had the only internet connection in BBC Television Centremarker

Points of View underwent something of a revision in 2007. Now as well as viewers' letters and emails there are home-made video comments and specially-filmed inserts with viewers putting questions to TV producers. In the 2007 season, Points of View featured diverse films, such as students from Sussex Universitymarker making an passionate plea for the BBC to keep the soap opera 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.

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