Just Janice


Welcome to my new weekly blog. I'm a writer and broadcaster who has hosted many arts and entertainment shows for TV and radio on the BBC, Channel 4 & ITV, including Filmnight, The Book Show, Proms in the Park and my current BBC Radio Scotland shows - the Movie and Comedy Cafes. I've lost count of the number of big names I've interviewed over the years - but my favourite artist, a certain Leonard Cohen, remains elusive. Undaunted, I'm on standby with tea and oranges.


  • There is a down-side to balminess, though – when I attended a performance by two musicians from Mike Oldfield’s seminal album, it was more Tubular Smells than Tubular Bells.  Fortunately the jaw-dropping virtuosity and ingenuity of the musicians made me block out le Pong d’Homme, but it was touch and go for a while. Oi, blokes – lard on the deodorant before you set off on your round of Fringe shows, please.

  • That was a shameless plug, but, only in the spirit of the Fringe, which canny participants prepare for by doing advance workshops in leaflet-thrusting and self-promotion.

  • Aw, the welcoming words at the beginning of Listen With Mother on the wireless a few decades ago.

    It's a phrase that should be resurrected for use on television now. Not on CBeebies, but as an introduction to the evening news. Just after the migraine-inducing graphics reveal a cluttered studio with Huw Edwards sitting at his shiny desk (is it just me who thinks that the reflection of his shirt and tie on the table-top, makes it look as though his fly is open?), the avuncular newsreader would invite us all to bunch in and enjoy a lovely story or two.

  • Funnily enough, often it’s the younger generation who are more mature about this than the supposed grown-ups.

    The Scottish Album of the Year Awards are a case in point. This year’s event, which took place on Thursday at the Glasgow Barrowland, was a feel-good affair, with everyone who is anyone in the Scottish music business, in attendance.

    The winner was Thirteen Lost & Found, the second album from Glasgow’s RM Hubbert, a self-taught guitarist who had conceived the record as a way of reconnecting with old friends and making new ones.

  • The master of fiction had handled the stark facts of his terminal cancer so brilliantly - going public when it was appropriate to do so, leaving that now famous statement on his website, that he was “Officially Very Poorly”.

    Fans were encouraged to leave messages there for Iain, and they did so in their hundreds, with their recipient acknowledging both his surprise at the outpouring of love and admiration for him, and the fact that the responses, some of which made him laugh, provided succour for him at such a difficult time.

  • It turns out that the former wild child turned mother-of-three has been collecting songs for around thirty years. Now she’s assembled many of her favourites and put them into a chunky “singalong” book, jauntily entitled Hook, Line & Singer.

  • Not the glittery posing pouches, ermine capes and saccharine music - loved all that - no, our nausea and throbbing nappers were brought on by the sheer strain of trying to concentrate on the on-screen action for almost two hours, surrounded by people for whom the film was just a minor accompaniment to the important business of the evening - eating while making as much noise as possible.

  • Radio 1 Controller, Ben Cooper, has been asked by the BBC Trust to implement a youth strategy and lower the average audience age.

    New presenters and a shift in music programming have resulted in many listeners aged between 25 and 55 defecting to other stations which target older audiences. Hilariously, though, it’s the over 55s who are refusing to budge, despite the schedule changes, and Radio 1 does not want to grab those grannies.

  • I know, it’s ridiculous, isn’t it? After all, the city already has a surplus of female commemorative sculptures - Queen Victoria in George Square, Lady Isabella Elder in Govan, and La Pasionara on the Clyde Walkway. 

  • The policies and the leadership style - you either love her or hate her, eh? How interesting then to read a memoir by a young Scot whose feelings about Maggie are not so clear-cut.

  • As well as the May Day march and rally there will be films, concerts and talks, with Monday evening’s Great May Day Cabaret at Oran Mor sure to be a highlight.

    The line-up includes a Marxist magician (you don’t see many of them on Britain’s Got Talent), Ian Saville, and the rumour of an unlikely musical collaboration between Dave Anderson and the Co-op Funeralcare Brass Band, which is bound to be cheerier than it sounds.

  • Vicious, which begins on ITV on Monday, stars Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Derek Jacobi as Freddie and Stuart, a gay couple who’ve lived together for almost 50 years. 

    Freddie is an ac-torrr; Stuart, his long-suffering one-man support network, and, for them, bickering has become a way of life. It’s sure to be criticised in some quarters for portraying gay men as pursed-lipped, bitching stereotypes, but it looks as if it’s going to be a ground-breaking show for the UK.

  • The long-time Pink Floyd collaborator produced some of the most memorable LP covers of all time, including the iconic glass prism reflecting a colour spectrum on Dark Side Of The Moon. It regularly tops polls of the best album covers of all time, and Dave Gilmour and co. have paid tribute to him, saying that his vision was inseparable from their music.

    For those of us old enough - and lucky enough - to remember the heyday of vinyl, those memories of hours spent in record shops flipping through LPs are surely as much about the cover as they are about the music.

  • When the BBC airs a clip of the track on Sunday during the official chart show, it’s likely to be preceded by a Newsbeat reporter explaining to the teens and 20s audience why a 74-year-old song is suddenly charting. While they’re at it, they should probably explain who Margaret Thatcher is.

  • Not an easy task on a TV show in which the star guest is only allowed to speak in 90 second segments, between items on eco-funerals/roller-skating dogs/eco-dogs/roller-skating funerals, or something similar.

    Stone’s project, which explores some of the USA’s darkest episodes, sounds interesting, but I’m afraid I can’t provide you with any detail, as I was only able to focus on one element of his chat - his constant references to the UK as England.

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Just Janice

Job Title

Janice Forsyth

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