When I was writing for the Daily Telegraph in the 1990s, critics in all genres were exhorted to ‘be more like Charlie’.
Charles Spencer, the chief theatre critic, was cock of his walk. Shrewd, sharp, entertaining and without a scrap of pomp and circumstance, Charlie dispensed overnight accolades and spitballs with scant regard for rank and celebrity. His reviews counted more at the West End box-office than any of his ilk.
I have no idea what else lies behind his decision, but the digi-crazed, cost-slashing Telegraph has progressively downgraded its critical faculty over recent years and it would not surprise me if Charlie felt jaded by the steady drip-drip devaluation of intelligent journalism.
I wish him well.