Latest Issue


Howard Goodall's Channel 4 series on 20th-century music was a triumph of intelligent television. It worked because it was driven by a powerful polemic

By David Herman   February 2005

After a terrible year, Channel 4 ended 2004 on three high notes: the start of David Starkey’s ambitious history of the British monarchy; Green Wing, the most original British comedy series of the year; and the outstanding factual series of 2004, Twentieth Century Greats, presented by Howard Goodall.

Goodall’s series was rightly acclaimed by critics when it was shown just before Christmas. But the critics failed to notice precisely why it stood out from the bland culture of current British arts television.

First, Twentieth Century Greats was driven by a powerful polemic. The great story of 20th-century music, argued Goodall,…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect