Visions Before Midnight

Clive James

06 April 2017
100 pages


A hilarious time-capsule of 1970s television, Visions Before Midnight is the first collection of Clive James's much-loved, inimitable columns skewering the entertainment of the day.

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

Clive James is the man who made TV criticism an entertainment in its own right, paving the way for writers like Charlie Brooker. His comic brilliance is on full display here, from the 1972 Olympics to the 1976 Olympics, from War and Peace to the fall of Richard Nixon, and from the election of Thatcher as Leader of the Opposition to the Eurovision Song Contest.

In this volume is collected the brilliant, uniquely Jamesian humour that saw hundreds of thousands of devoted fans turn to his column each Sunday morning.

Visions Before Midnight collects James's TV criticism published originally in the Observer between 1972 and 1976. Clive's TV criticism from 1976 onwards continues in The Crystal Bucket.

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 first, and also collected in a single volume in Clive James On Television.

Praise for Clive James:

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

'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

Clive James's television reviews are sufficiently potent to turn the pale glimmers on the set into something like a gaudily lit portable theatre of clacking wooden puppets speaking a splintered language which is instantly recognizable. His stunning pieces readjust horizontal and vertical holds almost before there is time to blink away the images that were actually transmitted