The Crystal Bucket

Clive James

08 May 2014
240 pages


Following Visions Before Midnight, The Crystal Bucket is another hilarious time-capsule of 1970s television – the second collection of Clive James's ruthlessly funny, inimitable columns dissecting the entertainment of the day.

'One of the few columnists who makes you laugh aloud' – Melvyn Bragg, Sunday Times

In many ways, the 1970s were a dark time for Britain – a time of struggle, deepening divisions and Christmas with the Osmonds. Clive James, the man who made TV criticism an entertainment in its own right, provided the relief. By turns insightful and hilarious, this collection sees his lens turn to television as diverse as the election of Margaret Thatcher's Conservative Party, the Silver Jubilee, endless Star Trek reruns, the Frost/Nixon interviews and Charlie's Angels.

'He is one of the most remarkable figures in British cultural life at the moment: a poet and gifted literary critic who is also genuinely liked by the mass audience' – London Review of Books

The Crystal Bucket collects James's TV criticism published originally in the Observer between 1976 and 1979. Clive's TV criticism from 1979 onwards continues in Glued To The Box.

Clive James (1939–2019) was a broadcaster, critic, poet, memoirist and novelist. His much-loved, influential and hilarious television criticism is available both in individual volumes, of which this is the second, and collected in a single volume in Clive James On Television.

Praise for Clive James:

'There can't be many writers of my generation who haven't been heavily influenced by Clive James' – Charlie Brooker

'A wonderfully witty and intelligent writer' – Verity Lambert

'The perfect critic' – A.O. Scott, New York Times

His contribution to the art and enjoyment of TV criticism over the past ten years has been immense. His work is deeply perceptive, often outrageously funny and always compulsively readable
One of the few columnists who make you laugh aloud . . . if there were angels he would be on their side: and that would certainly include Charlie’s Angels
C.J. didn't get where he is today just by being funny. He is humane, liberal and compassionate . . . What he writes is always pertinent and always witty . . We own him a deep debt of gratitude