Schama on Portraits

It's funny how TV creates the impression of relationships. I feel I know Simon Schama and Alan Yentob. superficially similar types - middle aged Jewish intellectuals, enthusing about the arts. but they couldn't be more different. I love watching and listening to Schama, partly because he really scares about the stuff he's looking at, partly because he's a writer with a feel for words. As you listen, you think "I wouldn't mind reading this." His current series on portraits is just brilliant. Flashing about in time, flitting between very different societies, and also digging up real gems that I've never seen before - this is the series which might well make me visit the exhibition, and then buy the book.

And then there's Yentob. There was a programme on Shylock the other night I didn't watch, just because it was him. To me, he seems self-important and assertive, as though what he's saying is more important than what he's talking about. that may be wildly unfair, and other viewers might well react in opposite ways - Schama's all too easy to caricature. but for me, the choice is very clear.