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The new Barry Norman ?

With Jonathan Ross scheduled to leave the BBC this summer after a rumoured dispute over his contract, speculation has risen as to who -- if anyone -- will take over the Film review show.

In the 1970s and 80s, original host Barry Norman turned the Film show into a must-see weekly treat for film-lovers, as he laid into the latest releases with considerable wit and aplomb. Ross took over in 1998, after Norman grew tired of the show being consigned to the graveyard slot.

It could be argued that the Film show has declined in stature in Ross's hands. More of a film enthusiast than a critic, he has tended to give movies an easy time of it, while concentrating too much on star interviews at the expense of the actual reviews.

Now that he's leaving, a number of names have entered the running to replace him on the weekly show. Graham Norton has been touted in the British media, but this seems a little unlikely. A safer bet would be Mark Kermode (left), the distinguished film critic who writes for the Observer and Sight and Sound and is also a regular contributor to BBC arts shows. Kermode certainly knows his stuff, and is never afraid to stick the boot in when required. So if he gets the Film job, the show could be in for something of a renaissance.

Irish Independent