Thursday, 22 November 2007

Letterman Returns to the UK

Despite the myriad complaints I have about ntl/VirginMedia, and how I wish that rather than spend a fortune on Uma Thurman’s attempts to lure innocent young men blindly to their Dark Side, they’d put that money into providing even a modicum of customer service, I can applaud them for one thing: recently giving us DivaTV. It almost makes up for the channels that we’ve lost. DivaTV (Ch 192) appeared on my wishlist not because I have some talk show fixation; I assure you I gladly bypass all of them, despite having occasionally glanced at Oprah in the past. (Her programmes are loathsome when they fawn over some Hollywood star, but are great when they teach you something, like how to survive a plane crash or an encounter with a grizzly bear—the latter being either to play dead or to climb a tree; I can never remember which is grizzly bear and which is black bear, and hope I figure it out before the worst happens…..).

Nay, the diamond in Diva’s crown is the Late Show with David Letterman, which has been absent from these shores for far too long. I can barely control my elation at being exposed again to the hilarious Top Ten Lists and Stupid Pet Tricks, never mind so many wonderful musical guests and the great Paul Schaffer. These programmes are about a month old when shown on Diva, which is disappointing, particularly as I used to gain my knowledge of American current events from Letterman's monologues, but I am too thrilled by the return of this fine man and his cohorts to mind too much. Diva shows the Late Show at the early time of 9pm, but then I tend to fall asleep earlier after a hard day at work so I can deal with that.

We’re terrifically lucky to have the opportunity to see him again in the UK (weeknights at 9pm), and I continue to be thankful that Letterman has survived some serious health scares (an emergency quintuple bypass in 2000—when the likes of Bill Cosby guest-hosted--and a dreadful case of Shingles in 2003, when even Elvis Costello guest hosted, but stiffly). My fondness for Letterman runs deep; I’ve practically grown up with him, and I remember trying to convince my freshman year college roommate of his merits back when he was known for more acerbic, confrontational and sarcastic interviews. I even mentioned him in my father’s eulogy as they always reminded me of each other. I thank goodness I can see one of them every night again; I wish I could say more.

[Sadly, Diva dropped David Letterman not long afterwards, so I'm in the devastated position of being Letterman-less again. And there's no point in watching DivaTV.]

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