ARTS / Overheard

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We (the British) have developed cynicism and sarcasm to a fine art. It provides us with some interesting television shows and some very good comedians, but it creates a culture which is prohibitive and restrictive.

Brian Eno, artist, musician

and curator, Independent

Once put down, it is impossible to pick up.

Lord St John, royal-watcher, on

the book Princess in Love

By and large television is wallpaper, and getting worse. It goes for viewers who sit with the sound half-down and blether right through the programme. Just because 18 million people have their sets switched on, it doesn't mean they are watching.

Robbie Coltrane, star of

the ITV hit Cracker, Radio Times

You know why they don't drink in California? Because they spend so much time telling lies, they can't remember them if they drink.

Coltrane again

I'm not going to pretend that there is any great big fat characterisation going on, because all I was thinking was, Keep everybody safe.

Meryl Streep, actress, on her

role as a heroic canoe-guide in

The River Wild, US magazine

It was foreseeable that he would lose his footing. He was an inexperienced, incompetent and nervous rider. They should never have allowed him to thunder across the bridge.

Peter Weitzman QC,

on the death of the actor

Roy Kinnear, filming The

Return of the Musketeers in 1988