tue 16/10/2018

Radio 4

War and Peace, BBC Radio 4

All happy families are alike, Tolstoy declares at the start of Anna Karenina, but this adaptation of War and Peace stresses how the surviving Rostovs and Bolkonskys went through various hells to get to that enviable state. In this one respect...

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Black-Out Ballet: The Invisible Woman of British Ballet

In 2006 an elderly dancer died in Bexhill-on-Sea, Sussex. She was 88, and had once been one of Britain's most recognised ballerinas. Why did she die in obscurity? Why is the great ballet company that she ran now a forgotten name? This was what I set...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Dramatist Lee Hall

Like his most famous creation, Billy Elliot, Lee Hall left his native North East to pursue what turned out to be a glittering career in the arts. Although I can’t speak for the fictitious Billy, Hall has certainly never forgotten his working-class...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Actor Nicholas Parsons

Nicholas Parsons in celebratory mode on 'The  Arthur Haynes Show': 'I was taking the role of the straight man to the comedian into a different direction'

Nicholas Parsons has been an actor – he is most adamant that he is first and foremost an actor – for almost 70 years, so it’s not surprising, given the erratic nature of his profession, that he has been obliged to assume a number of alternative...

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Punt & Dennis, Touring

Hugh Dennis and Steve Punt: Funny, but less than the sum of their parts

Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis originally came to fame in the late 1980s as one half of the satirical sketch group The Mary Whitehouse Experience, with fellow Cambridge alumni David Baddiel and Rob Newman. Now, though, most people know them (as a double...

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'Things' Ain't What They Used To Be

'Things' is a modern play on the traditional cabinet of curiosities

The public works for free. That is the founding principal of modern broadcasting culture. It phones radio stations with its air-filling thoughts on this and that. It monopolises Saturday nights on primetime in singing and dancing and plate-spinning...

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Call You And Yours: Are arts nice-to-have or must-have?

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey joined BBC Radio 4 Call You and Yours to debate public arts funding, joining a panel and answering phonecalls and emails from the public. The government will be incorporating some of the public comments into its current...

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That Mitchell and Webb Look, BBC Two

If you know David Mitchell and Robert Webb from Peep Show on Channel 4 (written by Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain), in which Mitchell plays the insufferably self-important Mark and Webb the self-deluding idiot Jeremy, then you will easily recognise...

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Sean Lock, touring

Sean Lock: he has the inspired idea of audience Battleships in his show Lockipedia

Sean Lock, as well as being an acclaimed stand-up for many years, has also written for other comics, including Bill Bailey, Lee Evans and Mark Lamarr, and his profile has risen hugely through his stints as team captain on 8 Out of 10 Cats on Channel...

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The antidote to charity fundraisers

Next month a concert celebrating the unique career of Humphrey Lyttelton, the great jazzer, broadcaster and quizmaster, will take place at HMV Apollo in Hammersmith, west London. The show, which takes place on 25 April, has been constructed about...

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Beyond the Pole

Beyond the Pole: Mark and Brian meet their Norwegian opposition

Do the words “British film comedy” cause your heart to sink as deeply as they do mine? Thought so. I wish I could say Beyond the Pole, which is perhaps the first eco-comedy and was made with the intention of raising awareness about polar melting...

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Bellamy's People, BBC Two

Gary Bellamy (Rhys Thomas) with his fanclub, Bellamy's Babes

Born out of the spurious Radio 4 phone-in show Down The Line, created by Fast Show veterans Paul Whitehouse and Charlie Higson, Bellamy’s People takes bogus broadcaster Gary Bellamy out on the road and in front of the cameras to meet his public. On...

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