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
The crowd enjoy Latitude Festival 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment
'I do think a woman's place is eventually in the home, but I see no harm in her having some fun before she gets there.'

Is this the end of the Dowager Countess?tv
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Martin of Coldplay performs live for fans at Enmore Theatre on June 19, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

music
Arts and Entertainment
Keith from The Office ten years on

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams prepares to enter the House of Black and White as Arya Stark in Game of Thrones season five

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

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift won Best International Solo Female (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Shining star: Maika Monroe, with Jake Weary, in ‘It Follows’
film review
Arts and Entertainment

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith arrives at the Brit Awards (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn's beheading in BBC Two's Wolf Hall

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Follow every rainbow: Julie Andrews in 'The Sound of Music'
film Elizabeth Von Trapp reveals why the musical is so timeless
Arts and Entertainment
Bytes, camera, action: Leehom Wang in ‘Blackhat’
film
Arts and Entertainment
The Libertines will headline this year's festival
music
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Dean Anderson in the original TV series, which ran for seven seasons from 1985-1992
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Muscling in: Noah Stewart and Julia Bullock in 'The Indian Queen'

opera
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'

TVViewers predict what will happen to Miller and Hardy
Arts and Entertainment
Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright in season two of the series

Watch the new House of Cards series three trailer

TV
Arts and Entertainment
An extract from the sequel to Fight Club

books
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant, Eve Myles and Olivia Colman in Broadchurch series two

TV Review
Arts and Entertainment
Old dogs are still learning in 'New Tricks'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
'Tonight we honour Hollywood’s best and whitest – sorry, brightest' - and other Neil Patrick Harris Oscars jokes

Oscars 2015It was the first time Barney has compered the Academy Awards

Arts and Entertainment
Patricia Arquette making her acceptance speech for winning Best Actress Award

Oscars 2015 From Meryl Streep whooping Patricia Arquette's equality speech to Chris Pine in tears

Arts and Entertainment

Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants

Arts and Entertainment
Lloyd-Hughes takes the leading role as Ralph Whelan in Channel 4's epic new 10-part drama, Indian Summers

TV Review

The intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz star in Sex Tape

Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron

Latest stories from i100
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.

    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
    Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

    Poldark star Heida Reed

    'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn