Points of View (TV programme)

Points of View is a long-running British television series broadcast on BBC One. It started in 1961 and features the letters of viewers offering praise, criticism and observations on BBC television programmes of recent weeks. The current series is being narrated by Tina Daheley.


Points of View began in 1961 with Robert Robinson presenting viewers' letters to the BBC. It was originally designed as an occasional five-minute "filler" to plug gaps between shows. A critic for the Daily Herald wrote "I believe this marks an important turning point in the BBC's attitude to its audience". The series was regarded cynically by the public as some believed most of the letters were written by the BBC themselves. Kenneth Robinson took over in 1965, though Robert Robinson returned in 1969 before the show was dropped in 1971. During the 1960s there was also a spin-off, Junior Points of View.
The show returned in 1979 after a hiatus of eight years, with the dry humour of Barry Took at the helm. Originally only being broadcast in the London area as a five-minute filler part of the regional programming, by 1980 it was broadcast across the whole of the UK. Took left in 1986 and was replaced by guest presenters including Tony Robinson, Alan Titchmarsh and Chris Serle, until Anne Robinson took over as presenter in 1987. For many years during this period, the programme held a slot of 20:50 on Wednesday evenings. In 1997 Anne Robinson left the series to concentrate on Watchdog.
In September 1999, Points of View was moved to a Sunday early evening slot presented by Terry Wogan and now included emails in addition to letters and telephone calls. In the 2007 series, Points of View featured diverse films, such as students from Sussex University making a passionate plea for the BBC to keep the soap opera Neighbours, John Leivers interviewing Roly Keating on the channel's direction, and Jill Parkinson asking why there aren't more people with disabilities featured in BBC programmes.
In 2008 Jeremy Vine became the regular presenter of the series. From April 2013, production switched to BBC Northern Ireland. On the last show of the present series on 1 July 2018, Vine announced his retirement from the show. In order to refresh the series, which will return in the autumn, and allow more time for audience feedback the show will no longer be presenter-led.

Public perception

The show has been seen as representing a certain passive-aggressive aspect of British culture; Victoria Wood once said "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. Along the way the show has catered for those who wish to see particular parts of programmes again, 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 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 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." The programme became 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 Centre.


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DateFormat = dd/mm/yyyy
Period = from:01/01/1961 till:31/12/2018
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bar:RRobinson text:"Robert Robinson"
bar:KRobinson text:"Kenneth Robinson"
bar:Took text:"Barry Took"
bar:Guest text:"Guest"
bar:ARobinson text:"Anne Robinson"
bar:Vorderman text:"Carol Vordeman"
bar:Lynam text:"Des Lynam"
bar:Wogan text:"Terry Wogan"
bar:Vine text:"Jeremy Vine"
bar:Daheley text:"Tina Daheley"
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bar:RRobinson from:02/10/1961 till:30/06/1965
bar:KRobinson from:01/07/1965 till:30/06/1969
bar:RRobinson from:01/07/1969 till:30/06/1971
bar:Took from:01/07/1979 till:30/06/1986
bar:Guest from:01/07/1986 till:30/06/1987
bar:ARobinson from:01/07/1987 till:30/06/1997
bar:Vorderman from:01/03/1998 till:31/12/1998
bar:Guest from:01/07/1997 till:30/06/1998
bar:Lynam from:01/01/1999 till:30/06/1999
bar:Wogan from:01/07/1999 till:30/09/2007
bar:Vine from:01/01/2008 till:01/07/2018
bar:Daheley from:01/09/2018 till:31/12/2018

''Junior Points of View''

Between 1963 and 1970, Robert Robinson presented a version designed for children's letters entitled Junior Points of View.


The original theme tune to the programme was the first 13 seconds of Kid Ory's trad jazz piece "Yaaka Hula Hickey Dula", played by the Dutch Swing College Band. When the series returned in 1979 a new piece called "Northern soul" was used before switching in 1983 to adopted The Beatles' "When I'm Sixty-Four" as its theme tune. This was dropped by the early 90s.
In 2003, a bespoke acapella theme tune, entitled "Blah Blah" or "Blah Boopity Baya" was introduced, alongside a new title sequence featuring members of the public talking to a screen showing BBC programmes, set against a black background with streaks of light flying past. The composers and performers involved in the creation of this theme tune are unknown. In 2009, the theme gained notoriety when it was featured on BBC Radio 6 Music's Adam and Joe radio show, with the presenters mocking the theme tune's upbeat sound compared to the overall serious tone of Points of View at the time, adding that "the BBC's been in some quite serious trouble of late, so this is just a suggestion to our colleagues at the castle ... you might want to change that music".
In 2011, an alternative mix of the previous theme came into use, with the acapella vocals being swapped for a synthesiser and background strings.