Potter may have written his own biography. Who knows?

Leave the fatalistic shoulder-shrugging to me, IF you don't mind. Next!

I OFTEN get queries from readers about the arts, such as "Can you suggest a good musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber?" or, "All right, what kind can you suggest then?", and I always pass these queries straight on to my resident expert, the veteran showbiz observer Nat West. He is here again today to deal with the current crop of most-asked questions. Take it away, Nat!

I have noticed that Dennis Potter is in the news again, despite being dead. There is a book out about him by Humphrey Carpenter and there are TV profiles of him... why is this all suddenly happening? I mean, it is not happening about Robert Bolt, or anyone else who has recently died, is it?

Nat West writes: Well, you have to remember that Dennis Potter spent the last year of his life knowing he was about to die and writing non- stop TV dramas to fill up the next 20 years of broadcasting, so he probably spent a week or two writing all these tributes as well. Maybe he wrote the Humphrey Carpenter book, too. Who knows?

I have noticed little newspaper stories recently saying `Potter family up in arms over Carpenter book' or words to that effect. What was all that about?

Nat West writes: I expect these were newspaper stories written by Dennis Potter before he died. He liked to plan everything like that, you know. Who can tell?

This Humphrey Carpenter chap: I've seen him on TV and heard him on the radio and he seems to be a jolly, inoffensive, quite enthusiastic sort of a chap. Indeed, he seems to play the bass saxophone as well, which shows a kind of muscular innocence. Yet whenever he produces a biography, there's always a whiff of danger and controversy about it. Benjamin Britten, Ezra Pound, Robert Runcie, now Dennis Potter. Is it because Carpenter is drawn to dangerous subjects? Or because he knows how to make them dangerous?

Nat West writes: No. It is more likely that his publisher has a good publicity department. Who knows?

Why do you keep emitting those little questions such as `Who knows?' and `Who can tell?'

Nat West writes: Shall we ever know?

Just tell us.

Nat West writes: This is designed to impart a slightly Jewish world-weariness to my gnomic statements. And the next!

I wonder if you could offer me some advice. I am running a very successful opera house in central London, but it is losing millions of pounds a year. What should I do? Nat West writes: Sell to Murdoch.

Why would Rupert Murdoch want to buy the Royal Opera House?

Nat West writes: Well, come to that, why would he want to buy The Times?

Who can say?

Nat West writes: Leave the fatalistic shoulder-shrugging to me, if you don't mind. And the next!

I would very much like to be an announcer on Radio 3, as I can pronounce `Janacek' correctly and don't like hard work. Can you advise me?

Nat West writes: Well, now, one thing you will have to have is an Irish accent. Just as it is becoming mandatory to have a Scottish accent if you are presenting current affairs and to be called Gordon or Kirsty if possible, so it is becoming obligatory to have an Irish accent for culture. In the old days an Irish accent in a broadcaster meant having the common touch, being a man of the people - Eamonn Andrews, Terry Wogan, and so on. Nowadays there is a cultural overtone to an Irish voice. Anthony Clare, being in charge of psychiatry... Sean Rafferty being drafted into Radio 3... Tom Paulin on late-night culture... Henry Kelly masterminding Classic FM...

Where does Frank Delaney fit into all this?

Nat West writes: Where indeed?

What about the Welsh accent? How does it fit into your scenario?

Nat West writes: How indeed?

The other day in `The Spectator' I noticed the poet Hugo Williams starting an open season on the universally loved Seamus Heaney. Not loved by Williams, it has to be said, who much prefers Larkin and poured cold water on Heaney's fame. The implication of what he said was that you couldn't really trust a man who had won the Nobel Prize - he was too establishment. What do you feel about all this?

Nat West writes: Well, I am reminded of what Erik Satie said when Ravel was offered - and accepted - the Legion of Honour.

What did he say?

Nat West writes: He said that even if Ravel had accepted the Legion of Honour, all his works had rejected it.

Sounds very clever, but what does it mean?

Nat West writes: Who can say?

Arts and Entertainment
Thomas carried Lady Edith over the flames in her bedroom in Downton Abbey series five

TV
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck as Nick Dunne, seated next to a picture of his missing wife Amy, played by Rosamund Pike

film
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel, Chandler and Ross try to get Ross's sofa up the stairs in the famous 'Pivot!' scene

Friends 20th anniversary
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham

books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey

There’s revolution in the air, but one lady’s not for turning

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Chloe-Jasmine Whicello impressed the judges and the audience at Wembley Arena with a sultry performance
TVReview: Who'd have known Simon was such a Roger Rabbit fan?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams plays 'bad ass' Arya Stark in Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne modelling

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape

Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'

music
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'

film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    Secret politics of the weekly shop

    The politics of the weekly shop

    New app reveals political leanings of food companies
    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
    Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

    Beware Wet Paint

    The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits