Mark Kermode’s Birthday Concert


The UK’s most trusted film critic Mark Kermode is turning 50 and wants to celebrate with you. Anyone who listens to Kermode’s Film Review show on BBC Radio 5 Live knows that he is passionate about all aspects of cinema, all aspects barring 3D that is. It is this passion which makes his reviews unique and his opinion one you can rely on whether you agree with it or not; only when a critic openly holds Mary Poppins and The Exorcist in equally high regard can you truly trust what they have to say. What Kermode particularly has a passion for is film scores and music. As such, to mark his 50th Birthday Mark Kermode is hosting a series of cinematic concerts across the country.

Kermode will be joined by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra at four venues to perform music from the films he loves most. Any fan of Wittertainment will not be surprised that music from Twin Peaks, Mary Poppins, Silent Running, North By Northwest, and of course The Exorcist will be performed amongst others. During the show Mark will talk about his career and be joined by a surprise guest. I am waiting by the phone/email/Twitter. I’m sure he’ll be in touch any day now…

A few years ago we were invited to attend a recording of the 5 Live radio show during which the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra would be performing live movie scores. Sadly we had to miss the event and have regretted it ever since. This time around I will not be passing up an opportunity to hear classic film music performed live and see one of cinema’s biggest fans share his love/hate for my favourite medium.

The concerts will be performed in July at the Cheltenham Festival with Jim Broadbent, Barbican in London with Jason Isaacs, The Bridgewater Hall in Manchester with David Arnold and Paddy Considine, and Symphony Hall in Birmingham with Jeremy Irons. For further information go to

10 Years of Wittertainment

Roughly one year ago I discovered the joys of having podcasts to listen to while on frequent and lengthy trips on public transport. Searching for a film podcast to join me on the London Underground I came across Wittertainment or Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo’s Film Reviews, to give the show its actual title.

This month the show is celebrating its ten years of existence, ten years of becoming the BBC radio’s flagship film show and of Mark Kermode’s rants and Simon Mayo’s Kermode wrangling. I may not always agree with their reviews but it’s always fun to listen to, despite Kermode’s often irritating impressions.

To celebrate their ten years on the air the BBC has a series of special shows on 5 Live, all of which are available as podcasts. The first included a live recording at Mark Kermode’s childhood cinema and a clip show fronted by Hugh Bonneville, but what is really exciting is the show that aired last Friday.

On Friday Mark and Simon were joined by the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra in Salford (far too far away) to perform classic film scores including Star Trek, Taxi Driver, The Godfather and Raiders of the Lost Ark. How can you not give that a listen? Truly nerdy fans can even listen to an hour-long show in which they chose the list of songs for the show along with Andrew Collins, Paloma Faith, Richard Wigley and Robert Ziegler.

In summary Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo’s Film Reviews is a brilliant, if poorly titled, show and we just wanted to say happy tenth birthday.

You can listen to any of the special shows or just subscribe to their podcast here.