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About Mark Kermode

Mark Kermode | 10:51 UK time, Saturday, 1 March 2008

First things first: Hello to Jason Isaacs.

Right, now we've got that out of the way, down to business.

Welcome to this, the new Kermode Uncut website. This is a BBC blog which will link you to all the places where you can find my film reviews, and any other associated nonsense which I have been broadcasting in the recent past.

There are a couple of reasons for setting up this website. One of them is the increasing plethora of other 'Mark Kermode' websites which seem to have sprung up on myspace and facebook and the like, which have nothing to do with me. So I thought I'd finally stick my flag in the ground and have an official site of my own. If you read it here - it's me. Anywhere else, who knows who it could be ...?

More importantly, the site will have a regular blog, which I have opted to film rather than write because a) it's more exciting and b) let's face it, it's easier for me. I'll be filing these video blogs in my usual grumpy fashion, so don't expect a lot of smiling, or good natured bonhomie. But it's my way of letting off steam, and if you enjoy it too then that's an added bonus.

I've been asked by the powers that be to supply a brief biog about myself, which seems a little like applying for a job I've already got, but in the spirit of co-operation, here goes:

I'm a film critic and broadcaster (which I assume, if you're reading this page, you already knew) and I also break instruments in a skiffle band (which you may not know).

My main job is arguing with Simon Mayo for an hour on Radio Five Live on a Friday afternoon between 3 and 4. If you miss the show, you can download it as a podcast, and there's a link to do just that on this site. If you're feeling particularly masochistic, you can actually watch me and Simon bickering like an old married couple on the 'Live Web Cam' (whatever that is) or watch highlights on the neatly edited version which is put together just after the show's finished.

I also do the film reviews for BBC News 24, and once again, if you don't see them on telly you can catch up with them through the miracle of the internet.

From the beginning of June, I'm going to be co-presenting 'The Culture Show' with Lauren Laverne in its glittering all-new format. The new show will go out on BBC 2 in a thirty minute version on Tuesday nights, with an extended 'Culture Show Uncut' running to 45 minutes on Friday nights.

On the writing front, I remain proud to be a longstanding contributing Editor to Sight & Sound magazine, and I file DVD reviews and features for The Observer. I've also written a couple of very slim books - both BFI modern classics, one about (guess what?) 'The Exorcist' and the other about 'The Shawshank Redemption'. I've written and presented television documentaries about them too: 'The Fear of God, 25 years of The Exorcist' and 'Shawshank, The Redeeming Feature', both of which have wound up on various special edition DVD releases. Other documentaries include 'Hell on Earth', 'Fire in the Sky' and 'On The Edge of Blade Runner'.  

In order to maintain a façade of academic respectability, I'd also like to point out that I do have a Phd in Modern English and American Horror Fiction and so that's Doctor Kermode, thank you very much. I'm also a Fellow of the English Department of Southampton University, where I regularly bore the students to death on the subject of why 'The Exorcist' is the greatest movie ever made. 

And, as I mentioned before, I play the double bass in skiffle band 'The Dodge Brothers', singing songs about transport and homicide with a heartbreak in every tune...


  • Comment number 1.

    Right on, Mark! We love you here at Rue Morgue Magazine!

  • Comment number 2.

    Mark - Don't sell yourself short - you forgot to include mention of the excellent Linda Lovelace documentary that you did. Was both facinating and moving.

  • Comment number 3.

    Dear Mark, seeing as you started with Jason Isaacs, how does one say hello to John F - your bro'?!!!

  • Comment number 4.

    Hi Mark,

    I am a less well informed but equally enthusiastic film watcher. Listened to you review of Indiana the other day. I agree with everything you mentioned. Title poor choice, does not live up to the expectations etc.

    Think you still managed to enjoy it more than me though. My main complaint was just how implausible some of the action sequences where e.g. the bendy tree that allowed the car to drop of the cliff into the water, how they managed to fall of a number of very high water falls in a wrecked car without anything more than a scratch. A car chase through a perfectly flat jungle where the only hazards where to Shia LaBeouf's family jewels.

    Although previous instalments have seen water-healing bullets, magical rocks etc it still seemed as though there was a chance that Indy and co would not win through. In this movie however Indy and co felt about as mortal as Wile E. Coyote

    At times these scenes descended into farce and were reminiscent of some of the CGI effects from the last 3 star wars movies, which feel more like cartoon than an action movie. The scene that typifies this is when Shia's effort to find a suitable aid to get Indy out of quick sands results in him using a conveniently located 20 foot snake, I'm sure there could have been a more impact and less obvious way of reminding audiences of Indys Ophidiophobia.

    Anyway big fan of you reviews, would love to know if you agree with any of this

    Neil B

  • Comment number 5.

    Hello there Mr Mark. That was a brilliant interview with the wonderful Mr Roeg. I wish it had gone on longer! I could of watched and listened to you two in discussion all day. It was so great to see you had such a genuine rapport with him. It was so insightful your discussion on the opening scenes on Don't look now. I wish I could hear you talk about his other works too. He is such a rare treasure who deserves to be celebrated more. Would the BBC ever consider a retrospective of his work? You added even more life and brilliance to something I already admired deeply, and that is such a rare thing, thank you so very much!!!

  • Comment number 6.

    Hi Mark,
    Reg Meuross, ex Panic Brothers here. If you read this could get in touch?

  • Comment number 7.

    HI Mark, would really love to know your favourite school movie if you have a moment as we're making a top ten programme for Teachers TV and we'd love to invite you on to the show or just to add your fave to the on line voting list. Thanks so much, and anyone else reading this do let us know yours too? Thank you.

  • Comment number 8.

    Hi Mark,
    ever thought of nudging into the BBC 1 Film 2008 slot?

  • Comment number 9.

    Hi Mark
    Need an hairkut ?
    Mr Ducktail the demon barber from flickstreet

  • Comment number 10.

    This is genealogical. I have just visited Kionslieau Foxdale, old Kermode home. Are you a Foxdale Kermode as I am? If so you have relatives reporting in the Beeb/ITN. I have much genealogical research collected by another Foxdale Kermode. Can find no regular way to contact you. Hope to hear from you.

  • Comment number 11.

    Hello Mark
    I hope you get to read this.
    Did you ever live near Abingdon? If so I may have taught your sister in primary school. Give her my best wishes. It was a long, long time ago!!
    From sixtyplus-girl

  • Comment number 12.

    Dear Mark
    I was very much hoping that you might take a little time to advise me on an important cultural project.
    I have written a revisionist cultural history of youth culture, style and design: 'Juke BoxBritain:Americanisation and youth culture 1945-60' (Manchester Uni.Press, Feb., 2009). It has been well received and features on the cover of the MUP winter catalogue.
    My problem is to know who to approach to have it made into a documentary or documentory series. The OU and several production companies have been keen to pitch my proposals to the BBC and have only been turned down in the final stages of the selection process.
    I know that it will be produced sooner or later but I am now at a loss to know who to pitch it to. Although the book is an academic piece it also has wide popular appeal: when researching, following an article I wrote for the Manchester Eving News where I asked for people who were teenagers in the 40s and 50s to contact me if they would like to be interviewed, my phone didn't stop ringing for 2 weeks.
    Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. I would be very grateful for any advice you might like to give me. You may even be interested in getting involved yourself - which would be fantastic.
    Very best wishes, Adrian Horn

  • Comment number 13.


    I'll be teaching GCSE Film from September and our genre study is disaster films.

    I'm trying to get hold of the documentary you did for Ch4 called 'Fire in the Sky, Hell Underwater'.

    The WJEC (exam board)recommend it as a good overview to this topic but I can't seem to find it. I've emailed Ch4 but thought I may as well cover all bases!

    I'd be really grateful if you could let me know if my College could buy a copy of this.



  • Comment number 14.

    Hi Mark,
    Always enjoy watching the show! Having said that - do you know about the new Media Festival in Tunbridge Wells? The Lantern Media Festival.
    Put on by two young guys passionate about film. Looks exciting, first weekend in September at Trinity Arts. would be great to see you there, some interesting stuff being shown!

  • Comment number 15.

    Mark you should check out this film director in Manchester, Aneel Ahmad.
    Ive just visited his site. It will interest you

    he seems to have a huge following.... Very interesting

    Regards Alice

  • Comment number 16.


    Hail from the U.S.! I wrote to you about your "Deep Throat" analysis in 2002, but my lengthy email to you bounced. I was so annoyed! Hopefully this finds you well.

    Folks, "Last House" is on in 10-min increments. The cemetery scene is uncut. I did not ck the rest of the flick.

    While the U.S. cut from MGM is said to be the 'most complete,' who really knows? Wes Craven and S. Cunningham seem to be no help as to what's missing all these years later. Anchor Bay released the UK 'cut' version, and it had a featured that's unavailable in the U.S.: Something about when "Last House" was paired with "Amityville Horror" in 1979. Could someone tell me about this? Anchor Bay said they cannot market it to the U.S.

    I hope to visit the site where they filmed "Last House" -- it's in Connecticut, near my sister.

    A woman horror fan at work, about 5 yrs younger than me, had never heard of "Last House," and another seemed sickened as to "why" anyone would have flocked to see it! Interesting commentaries, but a different era these days.

    Oh, yes. Martin Kove -- one of the cops -- told me at a convention that he regrets having starred in the movie as he now has 2 daughters, and said he and its other actors are suing for residuals. It'll be a long haul, me thinks.

  • Comment number 17.

    Hi Mark,
    Would you be kind enough to let me have your views on Sidney Lumet's film Fail-Safe. Sadly, it's my favourite film, made a big impact on me as a kid. Amazing performances from all involved, especially Larry Hagman as the interpreter!

  • Comment number 18.

    Regarding your musical tribute to Local Hero: Please please don't ever do that again.

    All my best,


  • Comment number 19.

    As an avid listener to your programme on radio 5 live on Fridays I wondered if you read the Thunderer column in The Times on 20th November 2008 by Melanie Reid regarding Nicole Kidman? She is writing about the movie Australia and is not at all complimentary about her.quote..'she drifts about like a lost porcelain doll'. She also makes some pretty unflattering comments re: Miss Paltrow and Miss Knightley describing them as the biggest screen turn offs in decades. I wonder if you agree?

  • Comment number 20.

    Where can I find that special person to champion European cinema at the BBC.Where is the french Cinema , German and Italian Cinema,English cinema apart from the modern tripe.I will tell you where it is ..The bastion that enables us to see the wonder of our european film heritage Should be the BBC but Alas is

    Ps. just bought 4 dvds of early films by Mario Bava..
    So when is the BBC going to show any of his films??

    I will not hold my breath...

    I bet you do not print this .....

    ~Regards Venitian~

  • Comment number 21.

    Hi Mark

    Apart from directing 'Exorcsit 2 The Heretic' what is your main problem with John Boorman as a director. He has some good movies in his Filmography 'Deliverance' 'Point Blank' 'Hell In the Pacific, and even gulity pleasures like 'Zardoz and Excaliber. Sure he had been guilty of cinema crimes, but more guilty than Friedkin? i.e 'The Sorcerer' 'Jade' and the one that burns in my mind 'The Hunted' I couldn't belive this was the same guy who directed 'The French Connection'.

  • Comment number 22.

    I've always wanted to know this.

    James Ferman banned The Exorcist on video, and the television networks wasn't allowed to show the movie.

    And as far as I'm aware once Ferman banned a movie, that was it you couldn't see the film legally in this country.

    So why could we legally see The Exorcist at the cinema, without the Director Of Public Prosecutions kicking the cinema's doors down?

    I remember reading once, that the DPP did stop a screening of A Clockwork Orange, which was being shown at an art house cinema, but that film wasn't banned by the BBFC, or was on the DPP's list.

    So why was The Exorcist different?

  • Comment number 23.


    Do you have any plans to do an in-depth documentary about James Ferman, about his life, views, and keenness to ban and cut movies, and how he handled the pressures of the media, and the Mary Whitehouse brigade, surrounding horror and exploitation films which were dubbed video nasties.

    I have read and seen various one sided documentaries about him, but I think you would give a more fair and balanced approach towards the man, and be interesting to hear what your views are of him.

  • Comment number 24.

    Hi Mark love your blog, always fascinating.

    I have a question regarding the fantastic Spinal Tap movie. I have heard that there is a 6 or 7 hour cut of the film. However I have never been able to find any official reference to this. I know the dvd set comes with about an hours worth of extra footage that doubles the length of the film. However I was wondering if you knew anything about the 6 or 7 hour cut of the film or if its just a rumour among Tap fans.


  • Comment number 25.

    Hi Mark

    Really enjoyed your With Great Pleasure Selection, particularly your grandfather's recitation. Just read Matthew Kneale's English Passengers in which a character is based on a William Kermode, a Manx-man who settled in Tasmania. Was he an ancestor perhaps?
    Regards Jim

  • Comment number 26.

    Mark, I saw 'Bug' on Film4 the other day. Honestly, what do you see in that film? No doubt if Friedkin made a video diary of his bowel habits you'd also consider that a masterpiece. I interpreted the film to be about nothing but drug abuse, since we never get to see the damn bugs; am I the only one who couldn't give a monkeys about drug addicts? They should get clean, and stop thinking their tedious lives are of any interest to anyone else. The same goes for 'A Scanner Darkly' - god what a pretentious title, and what a flatulent piece of drivel. And Robert Downey JR does indeed sound like a bloody freight train, I didn't understand a word he said half the time. Maybe he was on drugs...Rant over.


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