Barry Norman: the man with a backstage pass and front-seat view at the movies


Known to millions as an outstanding film critic, Barry Norman was the go-to movie man for a generation. From 1972 to 1998, he ruled the British TV airways with his unique Film… series on BBC. His insight into the industry and its movers and shakers is second to none.

Barry Norman photograph by Hattie Miles

Barry Norman photograph by Hattie Miles

With a front-seat view and backstage pass Barry had unique access to a golden era of film-making. As its name suggests this Barry Norman’s Favourite Films finds him showing extracts from his personal selection of top movies. The list is an eclectic one and Barry talks about the merits of both the films and the stars who worked on them. Last night he was in Berwick on Tweed. Next week he’s at the University of Hertfordshire. There are some fascinating anecdotes and rare insights into the movie industry.

Barry’s list of all-time greats includes classics like Casablanca, Gone with the Wind, and The Godfather as well as one or two surprises. Barry knows his stuff. He grew up steeped in the world of cinema. He is the son of the late Leslie Norman, director of 1950s and 60s films like The Cruel Sea, Dunkirk, Spare the Rod and The Long and the Short and the Tall.

A former Show Business Editor of the Daily Mail, Barry has also contributed over the years to The Guardian, The Observer, The Times and also worked  as scriptwriter on the Flook strip cartoon in the Daily Mail.He wrote and presented four acclaimed series on The Hollywood Greats and followed these with a series on The British Greats.  He has also presented a wide range of documentaries for the BBC and ITV as well as writing a number of best-selling books.

*Fascinating Fact: Barry is inextricably associated with the catchphrase “and why not?” but he never said it. It was in fact used by his puppet in the satirical show Spitting Image. He has since adopted the phrase himself as the title of an autobiography.

Barry Norman’s favourite Films plays the University of Hertfordshire Arts on Wednesday March 13th.