The Diary: Roald Dahl; Marina Lewycka; Eva Mendes; Charlotte Rampling; Lars von Trier; Wilton's Vintage Christmas

Never a Dahl moment

It sounds unlikely, but the late children's author Roald Dahl once received a death threat, according to his daughter, Lucy. She recalls returning from the theatre to her childhood home in Oxfordshire with her father, when her brother Theo picked up the anonymous, threatening phone call. Her father called the police immediately, but treated it "like a game", so as not to scare his children. "I really have no idea or recollection of its source. I do not remember being frightened," she adds. Speaking about the annual Roald Dahl Funny Prize, whose winners this year were Louise Rennison and Louise Yates, Dahl also revealed that she is working on a TV show, Nuclear Family, to be produced by NBC and Working Title, which will be based on her experiences as a mother of seven at the age of 32 (her husband had five children and she had two). "I got the idea when I was going through my stepson's backpack one day. It's a truthful, modern-day version of The Brady Bunch." It will include sex, drugs and plenty of teen spirit.

Tortuous comic path

The comic writer Marina Lewycka admits to feeling momentarily stumped when looking for passages featuring torture to read aloud at an evening to raise funds for the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture."Well, I thought of the passage in Pat Barker's Regeneration when a man is tortured with electrodes, because it has a particular resonance and it goes against the idea that torture happens to people in other, far away countries." And then there's Milton, she adds. "There's a part in Paradise Lost when the fallen angels are being tormented in Hell, but it's epic and medieval, and so beautiful that it doesn't seem like torture." In the end, she may read neither. "I like to think of myself as a comic writer, and I if I read these passages I think everyone's going to be thoroughly miserable by the end of the night. I might read from George Eliot or John Donne instead." For more information about the event on 14 December, go to www.torturecare.org.uk/literarynight

Mendes in mysterious new project

Eva Mendes, who was billed, alongside John Malkovich and Gael García Bernal, as one of the judges for thisyear's Marrakech Film Festival, had only just arrived in Moroccan city last week when she announced she would have to abandon the task. When asked why, the actress cited a mysterious new project that needed urgent attention. "It's an independent film and I'll be working with a child. It's so hard getting an independent film running these days, so I feel so superstitious about it," maintains Mendes. "There are so many times that you are so close to filming and the film goes away. It's heartbreaking."

Von Trier keeps quiet

Charlotte Rampling reveals that two decades after the director Lars von Trier asked her (in vain) to star in his Europa trilogy, she has finally ended up working with him on Melancholia. Von Trier has earned a fearsome reputation as a director (most recently for the genital self-mutilation scene in Antichrist, which left Charlotte Gainsbourg deeply affected), and Rampling was duly braced for an eventful experience. "You hear the stories and these stories give him this aura," she says, "but he was quite quiet." The worst thing about the experience, she says, was having to go to Trollhättan in Sweden, for the filming. "It's the dullest place on Earth."

This is not a panto

Wilton's Vintage Christmas, now playing at London's Wilton's Music Hall, starring Graham Seed (of The Archers), was originally conceived as a site-specific promenade, which would take audiences on a walk across the grittier side of the city. When it started snowing, though, the director Nick Hutchinson brought the show indoors. Hutchinson, who has chosen pieces by Dylan Thomas and T S Eliot, believes we have over-sentimentalised Dickens and wanted to put the radical social message back into a Victorian Christmas story. "Dickesns was furious about poverty. He felt it was only Christmas when it applied to everyone." It's a festive show, he adds, "but it's not panto."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Chvrches lead singer Lauren Mayberry in the band's new video 'Leave a Trace'

music
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Home on the raunch: George Bisset (Aneurin Barnard), Lady Seymour Worsley (Natalie Dormer) and Richard Worsley (Shaun Evans)

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers

Strictly
Arts and Entertainment
NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton

film
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell and Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
New book 'The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep' by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin

books
Arts and Entertainment
Calvi is not afraid of exploring the deep stuff: loneliness, anxiety, identity, reinvention
music
Arts and Entertainment
Edinburgh solo performers Neil James and Jessica Sherr
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
If a deal to buy tBeats, founded by hip-hop star Dr Dre (pictured) and music producer Jimmy Iovine went through, it would be Apple’s biggest ever acquisition

album review
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith is joining The Voice as a new coach

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Dowton Abbey has been pulling in 'telly tourists', who are visiting Highclere House in Berkshire

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Patriot games: Vic Reeves featured in ‘Very British Problems’
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Summer nights: ‘Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp’
TVBut what do we Brits really know about them?
Arts and Entertainment
Dr Michael Mosley is a game presenter

TV review
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

    A nap a day could save your life

    A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
    If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

    If men are so obsessed by sex...

    ...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

    Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
    The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

    Rolling in the deep

    The bathing machine is back but with a difference
    Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

    Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

    Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

    Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
    House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

    The honours that shame Britain

    Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
    When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

    'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

    Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
    International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

    International Tap Festival comes to the UK

    Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
    Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

    'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

    Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
    Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

    BBC heads to the Californian coast

    The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
    Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

    Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

    Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
    Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

    Car hacking scandal

    Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
    10 best placemats

    Take your seat: 10 best placemats

    Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory