Friday, 16 September 2011

21st Century Dodos

Hello everyone (which is probably just one or two people but hello nonetheless!)

This blog, as you may have noticed, has been dormant for some time. There is a (sort of) good reason for that. I have been working on a follow-up to It Is Just You, Everything's Not Shit and it is published at the end of the month.

21st Century Dodos is a collection of endangered inanimate objects. And other stuff.

Essentially I have compiled a list of stuff that is on the verge of extinction, or are already no more, and tried to come up with a fitting tribute. A fond farewell.

So we have typewriters, Texan bars, VHS tapes, Woolworths, Smarties tubes, usherettes, rotary dial telephones, white dog poo... oh, you get the idea.

It is a bit of a nostalgia-fest. I hope you enjoy it.

21st Century Dodos: A Collection of Endangered Objects (and Other Stuff) is published on September 29th. If you are in London on October 6th you'd be very welcome to come along to the launch. Details are here and also on Facebook.

Perhaps I'll see you there?

Wednesday, 21 October 2009


One of the most inspirational and moving speeches I have ever heard.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

The Digital Future

Much as I thought my little book would have vanished without a trace after a year I am delighted to report that is has just been issued as an eBook.

Yes, that's right, you can now read me on the toilet - in digital form.

And what's more, my publisher The Friday Project has done something rather brave and set all of their eBook prices at £2.99 or below.

Which must be the reason it is selling!

You can download the book here.

Joy T-Shirt

Sorry that I have been silent for so long. I am busy writing two different books and they both involve a lot of research but I felt moved to blog about this great idea from Canada.

Joy T-Shirts is a very simple concept with a remarkable aim - to change the world in five easy steps.
  1. Select a portrait of someone you don’t know. Click on their thumbnail to read about them & to start building your shirt.
  2. Customize your own T-shirt. All shirts are Sweatshop free and made from certified organic cotton or bamboo.
  3. Wait for your marvelous Joy T-shirt to arrive in the mail. We ship our shirts all over the world.
  4. Take a stand for Global Awarness: Wear your shirt and think about the person printed over your heart.
  5. Upload your photo via the Participate link to have your photo drawn by hand and worn on the hearts of others!
And pretty soon the whole world will be thinking of one another.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Children Baking

As I write this I am working on my laptop at the kitchen table. Around me, in a frenzied cloud of flour, my children are baking. Now, I know the results may not be to Michelin star standard and there might be a few mystery additional ingredients but no cake will ever taste better.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

That Pine Fresh Scent

The tree has been up and decorated for a couple of days. You come in from the cold after a bracing winter walk. The smell of pine needles hits you as you walk in the door.

Welcome to Christmas.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

The Second Layer

You have been enjoying the chocolates that you received for your birthday/were given by an admirer/bought for yourself, but they are going fast. Holes are appearing in the crinkly plastic tray. Round holes. Square holes. Triangles. Diamonds. Ovals. You have nearly finished them off.

But, oh sweet and gorgeous but...

You remove the plastic tray and, lo and behold, there is another identical layer of chocolates underneath.
Double the fun. Applies equally as well to tins of biscuits.

Whoever originally had the idea of putting two layers into chocolate and biscuit boxes should be knighted. Canonised even. Let's raise a mug of tea and toast them, whoever they are.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Ladysmith Black Mambazo

I find it impossible to listen to these guys without smiling.

They make a beautiful noise.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Smells That Spark Memories

The other day I was walking through the lobby of an office building and a smell hit me from nowhere. It was a slightly fruity, chemical smell. A bit like shampoo, a bit like perfume. Suddenly I was transported back to my childhood and weekends round my friend's house. His parent's hallway had precisely the same small, or at least one so similar as to kickstart my memory.

I have no idea what the source of the smell was, either then or now, but it brought a smile and happy memories.

Friday, 12 September 2008

Rice Paper

I realise rice paper isn't very exciting to jaded, world-weary adults such as ourselves, but remember the first time you came across it? Beautifully incomprehensible to a child - paper you can eat. An irresistible invention, especially the sweet variety. You probably ate loads, just like I did.

I used to write on it using food dye and a cocktail stick and then swallow the messages.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Beavering Away

I have been quiet for a while, sorry. I am working on my new book, more on which shortly.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Feeding The Ducks

Quite clearly bread is not a foodstuff that occurs in nature. It is man-made. So why it should be the snack of choice for ducks and swans, or quite how man first came to feed them baked goods, is beyond me.

What I do know is that a trip to the lake, pond, river or large puddle to feed the ducks never fails to entertain. It is therapeutic, relaxing, smile-inducing and just jolly good fun.

It is also an ideal way to dispose of stale bread.

Monday, 7 July 2008

Swimming In The Rain

I dont know why, but it is the best type of swimming.

Apart from, perhaps, skinny dipping with Winona Ryder.

But that may be just me.

Saturday, 5 July 2008

A Good Book

Here is another mention of Fiona's book. This time with a lovely picture of the cover.

It gets a big thumbs up from me.

If you like your literature short and thoughtful then I would also recommend the wonderful sound of splinters poetry blog.

Friday, 4 July 2008

Guest Blogger: Fiona Robyn

I am delighted to able to welcome Fiona Robyn, author of Small Stones: A Year of Moments as a guest blogger today. We share a similar philosophy on life and I hope you can take the time to check out her book and her blog.

Over to Fiona...

According to Steve, everything isn't shit. I happen to agree. I know because I try to look at things closely. I try to see at least one thing properly every day, and the result is my blog and book. And when you look at something up close, putting your nose into peonies, listening hard to chaffinches, concentrating on the cold feel of the wooden floor against the soles of your feet, then they are definitely not shit. Sometimes the things I notice make me feel sad, or annoyed, or disgusted. More often than not they make me feel grateful, or curious, or fill me with awe. They are just ordinary things. And they are also all extra-ordinary. The only difference between something being shit, and something being rich and juicy and full of complexity, is how much attention we pay it. I call each of my daily mini-observations a 'small stone'. I hope my blog (or my book if you feel like treating yourself) will help you to notice your own small stones. Slow down - they're all around you!


Do you ever find yourself rushing through your days with no time to pause and look around you? Do you pay attention to the smell of your coffee? Do you notice pigeons gulping from puddles?

This book contains 365 'small stones' - bite-sized truffles of poetry celebrating the extraordinary in the everyday and the ordinary. It will remind you to slow down and engage with your own world, because right here and right now is where the wonder is.


11 month old Florence says look!
every ten minutes there is something new to fill her up with awe


She jumps off her bike and knocks the girl over, shouting and kicking her in the head and stomach. Men step in, pull them away from each other. Just further on, a pink pool of cherry blossoms lie under a naked tree. I pick one up, as if it might help. It has no scent. The tissue-thin petals are as soft as the soles of a baby’s feet.


today I saved the life of a pocket-sized mouse -
he had twitching whiskers and trembled in my hand


papery pink pea-blossoms hover over the green of the field like stopped butterflies


the moon is so transparent you could slip a thumb-nail under the edge and peel it from the sky

Monday, 30 June 2008

Unexpected Encounters With Nature

Last weekend I was sitting in my living room watching the television when a blackbird walked in through the open door. It simply tottered along, had a look around, gave me a curious glance and then walked out again.

My smile lasted the rest of the day.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

And While We're On The Subject Of Bread

Sitting in the shopping trolley while your parents push you round the supermarket. They hand you a stick of French bread to hold. By the time you reach the tills it is hollowed out and your belly is full.

Monday, 16 June 2008

The Smell Of Freshly Baked Bread

So good that it can add thousands to the value of your house.

Friday, 6 June 2008

Father's Day Special Offer

It is Father's Day in the UK this coming Sunday and if you are struggling to find the perfect gift for your dad then why not give him a copy of my book. I will personally sign and dedicate each one with any message you wish.

And, for this week only they will cost a mere £5. Postage and packing are free. Just click on the button below.

I await the influx of orders!

Saturday, 31 May 2008

Walking Barefoot On Grass

Grass between your toes on a warm sunny day.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Cookie Cutters

There is a certain pleasure to be had as you push the heel of your hand down and feel the give in the dough. A myriad of shapes to choose from. Stars, circles, letters, numbers, gingerbread men, gingerbread women.

But nothing is quite as wonderful as the cookies and biscuits they create.

Warm, sweet heaven.

Tuesday, 29 April 2008


Ice Cream. Custard. Cheesecake. Body oil. Biscuits. Perfume.

It matters not.

All taste and/or smell lovely.

Except, perhaps, Vanilla Ice.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

I've Been Blog-tagged

Whatever that means! DJ Paterson was the culprit.

I think I know what I am supposed to do. I have to write down six random things about myself, which are:
  1. I cannot whistle.
  2. I was once driven to Manchester in a limo which Kate Moss and Sophie Dahl had just vacated.
  3. During a regional radio interview, in which I was being beamed in from London, I was asked to pretend that I was live in the studio alongside Ruby Wax who had apparently recorded her contribution the day before.
  4. I write complaint letters to all manner of businesses and organisations under an assumed name. Some of the complaints are about my own book or radio appearances.
  5. I bake a mean banana loaf.
  6. I can sleep through anything.
Then I need to tag six other bloggers. The poor, unsuspecting victims are:


Jamieson Wolf

Phat Beats and Shiny Paper

Thriving Too

Still Amazed

May December Home

Hope you don't mind guys. If you decide to play then here are the rules:
  • Link to the person who tagged you.
  • Post the rules on your blog.
  • Write six random things about yourself.
  • Tag six people at the end of your post linking to their blog.
  • Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
  • Let the tagger know when your entry is up.
Hopefully it will send some of my readers your way. Enjoy!

Thursday, 17 April 2008

The Perfect Hiding Place


You sprint from room to room in a quiet rush, looking, searching for the ideal spot.


It needs to be large enough to conceal you completely but not so obvious that you'll be discovered straight away.


It can't be somewhere too scary, like the cupboard under the stairs, or the monsters will get you.


Come on, come on. There must be somewhere.


Hang on.


'Coming, ready or not!'

And you stay there. Perfectly hidden. Until you hear that most wonderful of phrases:

'OK, I give up!'

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Dice Poppers

I am not sure I could explain to anyone how to play the board game Frustration. The rules are lost in the mists of time. I think it involves getting counters round a board and landing on your opponents.

But even though the strategies for success and subtle nuances of the game elude me, I recall only to well the joy of the dice popper.
A plastic dome, the board game pre-cursor to the Eden Project, with a flexible base. You push down on the top and it makes the dice pop up, spin round, and display a new number. No more lost dice and a curious amount of pleasure.

They should manufacture them as stress relief toys.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Live & Direct

I will be appearing on Radio 5 Live tonight at about 11pm. It is a phone-in about a new survey which suggests that 30 years of economic growth has made us no happier. My argument is that happiness has very little to do with economic growth, it is the small things in life that make us smile. Do listen out for me if you are at a loose end.

A Field Full Of Daisies

Like a million stars sprinkled across a lush green sky.

Or the biggest collection of fried eggs you'll ever see.

The stuff of poetry.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Balloon Animals

I can make balloon animals. Actually, if I am being entirely honest, I can make one balloon animal. In a variety of ways. My area of expertise is the sausage dog. It is the easiest of balloon animals. Two twists and you are done.

What is great about it is that it never fails to impress. Need to make a child smile? Twist off a sausage dog and hand it over. Works on grown-ups too. Although I wouldn't recommend it on a first date.

Sunday, 6 April 2008

The Sugar At The Bottom Of The Cup

When you are a kid and start drinking tea for the first time you tend to be permitted plenty of sugar without the guilt that grown-ups have. When you get to the end of the cup, assuming mum or dad haven't stirred it properly (often on purpose), there is a surprise stash of undissolved sugar. This syrup is liquid gold and can only truly be consumed by sticking your finger in.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Those Nice People At Innocent

Those nice people at Innocent sent me two of their books. One is a business book that takes a look at their history and philosophy. The other is a recipe book for smoothies. Both are great, although I must confess that the smoothie one has been the most thumbed so far.

I sent copies of IIJYENS to most of the people featured within its pages and a remarkable number of them wrote back. Sir David Attenborough, James Alexander Gordon, The Pudding Club and now Innocent. I must confess I did hope that Heston Blumenthal would offer me a free meal at The Fat Duck but it was not to be.

Oh well, always best to aim high.

And apparently my book is being kept in the gents loo at Fruit Towers. Brilliant.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008


I am on Facebook!

I can't pretend to know much about it, or even how to use it, but lots of my readers have been telling me I should join so I have got off my backside and done just that.

So, what next?

If you are also on Facebook and fancy poking me or prodding me or whatever it is you do there then do feel free.

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Children Reading

Watching your kids reading alone for the first time. Comfy on the bed or on the sofa, their fingers tracing the words, they lips mouthing each sound with a whisper. So engrossed they don't know you are watching. You smile with the knowledge that they have unlimited worlds in front of them in the years to come.

Friday, 14 March 2008


I am sitting in my armchair by the window as I type this. Dusk is descending in lazy fashion and the window is open to let in the early evening air. Birds flit from tree to telegraph wire and sing their songs as they do so. All is good in the world.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Fristy Frosty Mornings

As a good friend of mine calls them. Those beautiful crisp mornings, just like this morning, where everything is silver gilted with delicate white frost.

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Peeling Satsumas

And trying to create one unbroken spiral of peel.

Any peelable fruit or veg will do but I prefer satsumas as they leave your fingers fish-scaled with glitter.

Saturday, 26 January 2008

Relaxing After A Hard Day's Work

You have been on manual labour mode all day. Perhaps you've been digging the garden, building a brick wall, doing some serious DIY or renovations. Whatever it is, you've been working bloody hard and at the end of they day you have five minutes to catch your breath. You sit down into a nice comfy armchair and close your eyes for a few seconds.

9 times out of 10 you will be fast asleep before you know it, but however you spend it this chill out time is some of the best there is. A rest is better when well-deserved.

Saturday, 12 January 2008

The Bit In The Song Where The Gospel Choir Kicks In

2 minutes and 52 seconds into All These Things That I've Done by The Killers a gospel choir starts to sing and elevates the song from a cracking rock tune into something that makes you want to move mountains.

Add a gospel backing to any song and I am completely at its mercy. The history of popular music is littered with examples. No matter what your personal taste there will be one for you.

I am not religious and never will be but if anything was going to convert me it would be this.

Oh happy day!

Thursday, 10 January 2008

Blossom In January

Walking through a local formal gardens last weekend I saw the beginning of blossom on some of the trees. They carry with them the promise of spring.

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Satisfied Readers

Now that Christmas is over, and many of the people who received my book as a gift have started to read it, my inbox is starting to fill up with lovely emails from people who have enjoyed my humble offering.

There was one from someone who had been quite depressed since a death in the family and my book helped her to pick herself up; another from a teenage boy who read his father's copy and wanted to say how much it amused him; and today one from someone who has been inspired to purchase an Eglu and visit a Landmark Trust property.

I am bloody chuffed to tell you the truth.

Monday, 31 December 2007


Oh, I like this idea. I like it a lot. Friend of this blog Barb, over at May December Home, has pronounced January as National Nap a Day Month. As an ardent supporter of the nap I am fully behind this wonderful scheme. Now, where is my pillow?

Thursday, 27 December 2007

Leftover Sandwiches

Turkey and cranberry sauce stashed between two thick slices of crusty bread. Slivers of ham with pickles. Stuffing. Onions. Bacon. Sausages.

It doesn't really matter what goes in it, a sandwich made from Christmas leftovers is one of the finest meals known to man. Or woman. Or child.


Monday, 24 December 2007

The Night Before Christmas

The presents are wrapped. The house smells of pine needles and cinnamon. The sound of sleigh bells can be heard off in the distance.

The air is buzzing with expectation.

Thank you all for supporting my blog and my book this year. You have all been very good so Santa will certainly bring you everything you wished for.

A very Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Sunday, 23 December 2007

Signing Books

I was doing some last minute shopping today and popped into my local bookstore where I saw someone flicking through my book. I couldn't resist going up to her and confessing that I was the author. I offered to sign it for her if she was buying it as a gift. She accepted and before I knew it I had a queue of people wanting the same. I sold six copies in as many minutes. I should have stayed there all day.

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

The Everything's Not Shit Tour: Jamieson Wolf

I am guessing that this might be the final leg on my world tour (although if anyone else wants to host a visit then do shout). It has been amazing and most humbling to be invited to appear on the sites of so many people all over the world.

So today I land at the blog of Jamieson Wolf. I hope you can find the time to pay it a visit.

Sunday, 16 December 2007

This Morning

Watching as our eight-year-old son walks to my bookshelf and selects something to read.

Good job he didn't go for Lady Chatterley's Lover.

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Friday, 14 December 2007

The Everything's Not Shit Tour: This Writing Life

Dr Ian Hocking has kindly hosted me on his This Writing Life blog just before he pops off to India. It would be good to see you there.

Thursday, 13 December 2007


Following my exciting excursion into the world of headphones with my radio interviews is has been the turn of the press and television to cheer (or boo) about the book.

Al Gore's Current TV ran this exciting review, complete with a picture of me, in both the UK and the USA. International superstardom surely awaits.

Martin Rowson in The Independent featured the book in a round up of humour titles for Christmas and called it 'far too long and not particularly funny'. Seems that he is precisely the sort of chap the book was written for. Give it time to work its magic Martin, you will cheer up eventually.

And Sam Leith in the Telegraph mentions the book and reckons it is 'the opening salvo in a philosophical ping-pong game'. Well, he may be right I guess.

Finally, The London Paper picked It Is Just You, Everything's Not Shit as one of its recommended Christmas stocking fillers. Hurrah!

Monday, 10 December 2007

It's A Wonderful Life

George Bailey, a young family man who has spent his life serving others, finds himself on a bridge outside his hometown of Bedford Falls contemplating suicide. He faces financial ruin because of one silly mistake, something that isn’t even his fault, and his world appears to be falling apart. Suddenly he sees someone fall into the river and he jumps in to save them. That someone turns out to be Clarence, an angel (second class) sent to earth to help George at his hour of need. When George wishes he had never been born, Clarence makes that wish come true and takes him on a tour of Bedford Falls, a very different town without the influence of George Bailey.

So goes the basic premise of It’s A Wonderful Life, one of the most treasured films in cinema history. To the outsider, or unfamiliar, it may seem a little trite or sentimental, but that would be a mistake. Frank Capra’s classic movie is actually quite dark and sinister, many people forget the depths of despair that George Bailey is driven to, but it needs to be bleak and melancholy as that makes the final redemption all the more striking, all the more effective.

When first released in 1946 it was a commercial flop, losing money for the studio and the CIA considered it a subervisive, pro-Communist movie. As a result it wallowed in obscurity for many years. Its enduring legacy is actually down to an administrative error. The movie was accidentally allowed to fall out of copyright which meant that American TV stations could broadcast it for free and as a result it became a staple of Christmas viewing during the 60s and 70s, elevating it to classic status. It now ranks as #1 in the American Film Institute’s list of Most Inspirational Films.

Friday, 7 December 2007


Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry which follows a strict structure but is intended to prompt an emotional response from the reader. Each haiku follows a 5-7-5 syllable structure. In the original Japanese it would usually be written as one line, but when translated into English it tends to be rendered into three.

The best definition of the motivation behind writing haiku can be found in The Haiku Handbook by William J. Higginson:
‘It is hard to tell you how I am feeling. Perhaps if I share with you the event that made me aware of these feelings, you will have similar feelings of your own’
Traditional haiku would normally take nature as its subject, often with the poet observing a natural phenomenon of some kind. It would also feature a prominent grammatical break at the end of the first or second line. A good example is this haiku:
Furu ike ya
kawazu tobikomu
mizu no oto
This was written by Basho, one of the most famous and revered haiku poets. He lived from 1644-1694 and began writing haiku at the age of 18. His work contains some of the most beautiful and thought-provoking poetry of any culture and the haiku above is one of the most famous in Japanese literature. It has been translated many times by a variety of translators but this version, by R.H. Blyth:
The old pond.
A frog jumps in –
the sound of the water.
Haiku is no longer exclusive to Japanese and has been embraced worldwide. In the process it has shed some of its formalities so that nowadays most English language haiku simply follows the 5-7-5 structure but does not stick to the theme of nature or include the grammatical break.
I have to tell you –
everything is not shit,
so, it is just you.

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Live From Our London Studio

I am in the middle of a flurry of radio interviews at the moment. I appeared on Dave Barrett's show on BBC Radio Bristol on Tuesday. He tactfully referred to my book as It Is Just You, Everything's Not Poo throughout.

I will be live on the Ian Timms show on BBC Radio Cumbria at 9.30 tomorrow morning followed by a 10.45 appearance on BBC Kent (oh the magic of broadcasting). I then do a pre-recorded interview for BBC Humberside in the evening.

On the 21st I will be guest on The Tessa Dunlop Show on BBC Radio London and I am also booked on to Radio 5 Live for Christmas Eve.

Oh the busy life of the celebrity author!


Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. A rainbow is caused when sunlight is dispersed through water, usually raindrops but they can occur at waterfalls as well. Acting like a prism, the drops of water refract the light from behind. The various wavelengths are bent at slightly different angles which causes an optical effect for the viewer which we know as a rainbow.

But we don’t care about all that. We just like spotting them. The pleasure of finding one in the sky does not seem to diminish with age, a bit like the excitement of hearing an ice cream van.

I once saw a double rainbow, one beneath another, and stood motionless getting gradually more wet until a third rainbow appeared below the second. A moment I shall never forget.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

The Everything's Not Shit Tour: Still Amazed

I am California Dreaming today as my world tour hits the Golden State care of the lovely Cynthia and her Still Amazed blog. Cynthia's post are always worth a read, and often provide real food for thought, so I count myself very lucky to appear on her pages. I have written a guest post for her about my fan mail. Well, sort of.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

The Everything's Not Shit Tour: Me & My Big Mouth

Badass of the publishing world, and a man who put Tim Adams' nose well and truly out of joint, Scott Pack has deigned to host my latest tour visit. And he has really gone for it with a Q&A, pics, video and voting forms.


Last Day Of Term

No uniform and you can bring in a toy. Halcyon days.

Monday, 3 December 2007

Chinese Chips

Obviously it is a bit silly to order chips from a Chinese takeaway but if you have ever done so you will know that the Chinese have a secret magic recipe. Somehow their chips taste nicer than any others. I have no idea how they prepare them, and I have never thought to ask. Perhaps they cook them in a wok. Whatever it is they do, it elevates the chipped potato to a whole new level.

Add some curry sauce and heavenly pleasures await.

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Advent Calendars

This post appeared earlier in the year but today feels the right day to repeat it for some reason. Can't think why.

Why restrict the joy of Christmas to one solitary day when you could extend it to cover the 24 preceding ones as well? All you need to do is hang up a sheet of cardboard with little windows cut into it. Easy.

For some reason, pulling open the little hinged flaps to reveal the picture or - if you are middle-class and not related to a dentist - chocolate hidden behind is a minor miracle every December morning. Just watch as parents volunteer to help children who are having trouble getting their’s open.

The first advent calendar was made in either Austria or Germany in the early part of the 20th Century. The Austrians and Germans can’t seem to decide who got there first, while the rest of the world think of them as pretty much the same country anyway so aren’t that fussed. Before printed calendars families would light an advent candle (some still do) or mark the 24 days off with chalk marks on the fireplace (slightly less popular now).

Friday, 30 November 2007

Fascinating Fact #5

Despite the protests of Columbo’s star and creators, NBC produced a show called Mrs. Columbo in 1979. It featured the crimestopping adventures of the lieutenant’s supposed wife and starred Kate Mulgrew who later went on to captain the USS Enterprise in Star Trek: Voyager. Unsurprisingly it was cancelled after one season.


Peter Falk’s portrayal of the seemingly hapless LAPD homicide detective Lieutenant Columbo has become one of the most popular character performances in television history. With its genre-breaking format – the audience know the identity of the killer from the outset – the show became hugely popular during the 1970s although the pilot episode was shot as far back as 1968. In fact the character of Columbo dates from much earlier, having appeared in a one-off TV drama in 1960, written by creators Richard Levinson and William Link. In that live broadcast Columbo was played by Bert Freed.

Although it had a unique approach to the cop show format, the makers of Columbo were not averse to the world of cliché and the programme built up its own repertoire over the years, much to the delight of fans and aficionados. Enthusiasts revel in hearing Lt. Columbo utter his catchphrases ‘just one more thing’ or ‘about that alibi of yours’, watching him trying to find somewhere to stub out his cigar or parking his battered old Peugeot really badly.

The original 70s series featured a cornucopia of special guest stars including William Shatner, Robert Culp, Johnny Cash and Leonard Nimoy but was also a breeding ground for significant talent behind the screens as well – John Cassavetes, Jonathan Demme and Stephen Speilberg all directed episodes.

Now a staple of weekday afternoon television, Columbo continues to find new audiences every year and its appeal looks likely to go on for many more years to come.