Victor Lewis-Smith

From Academic Kids

Victor Lewis-Smith is a British television producer, critic and prankster. He was educated at the University of York. Known for his acerbic wit and biting criticism (often in questionable taste, and muted slightly by his tendency to repeat the same gags over and over again), he wrote a weekly page for the Daily Mirror until 2003 and edits the "Funny Old World" column in Private Eye. He gained notoriety whilst working for the Evening Standard, where he still contributes daily television reviews and occasional restaurant reviews. From autumn 2004 to April 2005 he was the resident restaurant critic of The Guardian's Saturday magazine supplement. He lives in York.

Lewis-Smith is famous for his hoax phone calls. Some of his more entertaining hoax calls include:

These types of prank phone-calls have been carried on most recently in spirit by the impersonator Jon Culshaw, who phones up branches of Kwik Fit pretending to be Obi Wan Kenobi. These are heard on the Radio 4 programme Dead Ringers.

He has made three short-lived shows for British television:

He also made several surreal radio commercials.

In the early 1990s he released a CD entitled "Tested on Humans for Irritancy", which was drawn from his two series for BBC Radio 1.

His company, Associated-Rediffusion, has also made numerous one-off documentaries, including one about eccentric journalist Benjy Pell, who dished the dirt on public figures by literally raking through their garbage to find incriminating documents. Cynics might accuse Lewis-Smith of having invented Pell, but he and his exclusive stories appear to be genuine.

"Inside the Magic Rectangle", a book collecting his early Evening Standard TV reviews, is co-credited to Paul Sparks. Sparks is also credited as co-producer on some of Lewis-Smith's television shows, and may be a silent partner in all of Lewis-Smith's projects. Another regular collaborator is John Warburton, who is the main producer for most of VLS' TV shows.

Lewis-Smith is the credited executive producer of a series of short programs called "21st Century Bach". Each one features one of Johann Sebastian Bach's organ works, filmed in performance with some odd visual tricks, such as mirrors along the organist's hands. The series started on BBC2 in June 2003, and is expected to take three years.


"My name is Victor Lewis-Smith, and I live inside your televis-i-on set."


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