Clarissa Tan

Clarissa Tan was a staff writer and TV reviewer for The Spectator.

Illustrated by Carolyn Gowdy

The Visit

Clarissa Tan, who wrote articles and TV reviews for The Spectator, has died of cancer aged 42. She came to…

EDL Girls, Amanda, Gail and Antonia Photo: BBC

If BBC3 was allowed to keep its hits, perhaps it wouldn't be getting booted online

So BBC3 will be online-only from next autumn. If the Beeb had presented this news as the channel being the…

Bendor Grosvenor searches for the lost portrait of Bonnie Prince Charlie

A quietly stunning quest for Bonnie Prince Charlie

What if Bonnie Prince Charlie, as he swept down from Scotland towards London to lay claim to the throne, hadn’t…

Race Demo

Britain has many major problems - racism isn't one of them

Britain has less prejudice than the countries where I’ve lived before – and more people taking offence

Joachim Klaus leads the raid on the Jonkhere bank in Salamander

So long, Scandinavia. Bonjour, Benelux! 

So long, Scandinavia. Bonjour, Benelux! BBC4, your subtitle-friendly channel, has filled the hole left by Nordic-noir The Bridge with Belgian…

A comforting combination: WWI and Jeremy Paxman (Photo: BBC)

Jeremy Paxman's Great War is great. But is 2,500 hours of WW1 programming too much?

Why are we so fascinated by the first world war? As its 100th anniversary approaches, we’re already mired in arguments…


Clarissa Tan's Notebook: Why I stopped drinking petrol

Florence was in fog the day I arrived. Its buildings were bathed in white cloud, its people moved as though…

Will she or won’t she kill the President? Ellen Sanders’s family on tenterhooks

After Sherlock, TV will never be the same again

You know the holiday season is over when, instead of being torn between The X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing…

Together again: Holmes (Martin Freeman) and Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch)

Is Sherlock starting to suffer from ADD?

Sherlock’s not dead. A good thing, since on New Year’s Day BBC1 launched its third series of Sherlock, and it’d…

Besieged by troubles: Anne Reid (Celia) and Derek Jacobi (Alan)

Are events in Last Tango in Halifax too bad to be true? 

Does love run out when life runs out? Or does it intensify, touching and changing all around it? Two series…


Ben Saunders' digital expedition along Captain Scott's unfinished route

With one companion and 200 kilos of food and equipment, Ben Saunders has set out along the polar route Captain Scott never finished — and you can follow him virtually every step of the way

An adventure in space and time Photo: BBC

Why doesn't Doctor Who travel far from Britain? 

If I could go back in time, I’d watch Doctor Who from the very first episode. I wasn’t born in…

Gareth Malone (Picture: Pete Dadds/BBC)

Come to the Spectator office, Gareth Malone, and hear our 'Carmina Burana'

They’re now televising proceedings from the Court of Appeal. Great. As if I didn’t have enough to do already, keeping…

Davis (David Mitchell) and Neil (Robert Webb) (Picture: BBC)

Will the women of The X Factor stop perving?

Will the women on ITV’s The X Factor (Saturday) stop perving? I suppose there are two ways to tackle the…

Dr Lucy Worsley presents A Very British Murder

Introducing the celebs of Victorian reality TV

Did Dr Jekyll turn into Jack the Ripper? Besides becoming evil Mr Hyde, did Robert L. Stevenson’s fictional creation morph…

All eyes on George: Lady Mary and Nanny West in ‘Downton Abbey’

Downton Abbey is now a weird parallel universe of the royal family. Except with less action

Are you following the world’s most watched aristocratic family? If you recall, they recently took into their ranks a member…


The ideal death show

I am in a yurt, talking about death. Everyone is seated in a circle, and I am the next-to-last person…

Mesmerising: Cillian Murphy as Thomas Shelby in Peaky Blinders

The Wipers Times - 100 years on, this newspaper still lives

Funny what rises from the rubble. In 1916 British army officer Captain Fred Roberts was searching the bombed-out remains of…

Cake is for everyone: Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry

The sight of a rose-and-pistachio cake with lychee flavouring, strewn with petals, makes Clarissa Tan’s heart lift

I’m not crazy about cookery shows. I suspect they indicate how little we are cooking, rather than how much. We’re…

Vulnerable: David Walliams as Mr Church, the chemistry teacher, in ‘Big School’

Big School left me po-faced

How did our comedies become so sad? BBC1’s new sitcom Big School (Fridays) opened with a scene that would probably…


You’re never really on holiday with a smartphone

Why not give your smartphone a holiday?

Top Gear

Clarissa Tan experiences the greatest show on earth, and laughs

I watched Top Gear (BBC2, Sunday) for the first time in my life last week (the rock under which I’ve…

Chris O'Dowd stars in new BBC2 sitcom Family Tree Photo: BBC/NBC Universal/Ray Burmiston

If you’re craving some Kiwi bush angst, Top of the Lake fits the bill

I sincerely hope you’re not watching television. With the glorious summer sun we’re having, you should be having picnics and…

DCI John Luther Photo: BBC/Steve Neaves

TV review: Get out of my way, Tessa Jowell. Women are not all touchy-feely

Luther is back, in Luther, and so is Donny Osmond, of Donny & Marie fame. Could there be two more…

Cézanne’s ‘Les Pommes’ sold recently for £42 million at auction

Investing in passion

The pleasures, opportunities and risks of investing in one-of-a-kind luxuries