25 February 2013 6:05 AM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

I had long been a fan of Denis Forman's Good Opera Guide, which manages to both venerate and debunk the art form, so when a new edition was published last year I was eager to interview its writer. In truth, Forman probably shouldn't have done the interview. He had been in St Mary's hospital in Paddington, London, for seven weeks and was hating it. Having always prized freedom and industry, he did not appreciate enforced idleness. "I can no longer read or be creative," he said, "and 24 hours is a lot to get through."

Yet even from his hospital bed, with his false leg parked beside him, you felt his energy as he recalled the great days of Granada – Sidney Bernstein had been a second father to him – and inveighed against the feebleness of much of our current ratings-driven TV. He called Downton Abbey a "pathetic little thing", set beside, »

- Stephen Moss

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