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"Oh frabjous day, callooh, callay, he chortled in his joy" - Lewis Carroll


A personal note from The Grumpy Old Sod himself …
Regular visitors here will know that in a previous life I was a musician, and that I am outraged by the BBC series Last Choir Standing, a lurid abortion of a choral competition decked out in spangles and lycra, an insult to music, to the choirs taking part and to the viewing public. I don't know which patronising twerp at the BBC dreamed it up, but I feel inclined to seek him out and kill him and kill him until he dies from it. The bastard.
However, the reason I'm taking up your time with this page rather than exposing the latest lunacy from some Town Hall or yet another piece of unnecessary legislation from those power-crazed morons in Westminster, is that I have just watched the first programme in another BBC musical competition, Maestro.
Oh what bliss. Eight intelligent and remarkably able celebrity contestants (well, seven plus Peter Snow) with plenty of intelligent musicians and advisors, all being intelligent about music. People like Jane Asher, David Soul and Goldie making a very creditable stab at conducting a professional symphony orchestra, four judges who clearly have no axes to grind, and not a single ignorant glad-handing compère in sight. Instead, Clive Anderson introduced and interviewed the contestants without taking the show over himself. He's not as good-looking as Mylene Klass, of course, but he does at least display a certain amount of brain. Well, forehead, anyway.
It was musically accurate, it was funny, it was entertaining, it was strangely touching, and one warmed to the contestants as they warmed to the task they had been set. Not Peter Snow, admittedly, but he got voted out so that was all right. It was wonderful, and if you didn't see it, you should make a point of watching next week. BBC2, 9 p.m., Tuesday.
Thank you, God. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.
Now, if the BBC can get this right, why the hell did they make such a mess of Last Choir Standing?

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