Friday, 9 December 2011
So, seasonal congratulations to the Radio Times. This cover really stood out in the newsagents, surrounded as it was by its competitors that couldn't free themselves from the usual trashy soap celebs huddled together under snow-covered mastheads. For the RT to break free from this tradition is remarkable, guilty as it has been in the past for indulging the latest Doctor Who or dodgy chef. Christmas issues should be special; when it first came out the RT was in monochrome, and colour was usually only seen at seasonal highpoints. Covers by consummate professionals like Edward Ardizzone and Eric Fraser, and in my own time (under the editorship of David Driver) classic covers by the likes of Peter Brookes. I remember it all stopping when I stared in disbelief at a Christmas issue with a heavily retouched Mike Yarwood grinning out at me, probably doing his impersonation of Frank Spencer. Blimey, that dates me. But this current cover does it for me again. The actual details are very simple, but the overall effect is so rich, like the lid of a decorative biscuit tin. Even the Gruffalo offer is incorporated successfully, but a shame about the barcode, which annoys all designers. The cover is by Kate Forrester, and also comes in a green version. Which I suppose I'll have to get. Or three copies, a red and green for the library, another for seeing what's on the telly. But which colour? Oh God.