Week in the arts

MR BEAN, rubbery-limbed and accident prone, is a lovable sort of chap. He also says very little. Perhaps that comes from studying the outbursts of his alter ego, Rowan Atkinson. The latter has taken a snipe at Bafta in advance of next month's awards, because the British Academy had failed to nominate the Bean film. And as with all notable comedians, it's the way he tells 'em.

"I have become accustomed to Mr Bean's lack of appeal to the kind of people who work in television and the media," his quote ran, "and so I am a little more philosophical about our latest failures. The entertainment industry is littered with characters and personalities who have enjoyed broad popular appeal and a regular critical mauling in equal measure."Actually I can think of other examples. There were The Two Ronnies, for example, huge in the ratings but mercilessly mocked some years ago in sketches on Not The Nine O'Clock News (starring Rowan Atkinson). There was also Benny Hill, a pariah to critics in the years before his death and publicly attacked by Ben Elton, co-writer on Rowan Atkinson's Blackadder.

Rowan Atkinson's argument, namely that there should be a correlation between popular appeal and critical acclaim, does not stand up. If it were the case then there would never be a need for judging panels. The top three at the box office would simply win the top three prizes. It can be hard for those involved to accept that, just as it can be hard for them to accept that they may have now joined the comedy establishment that they once picked up awards for pillorying.

IN THE whole HarperCollins affair, the publisher's best-selling author, Jeffrey Archer, has been unusually silent. No longer. He explained to me in his penthouse flat that he had felt in a difficult position, being an old friend of the two opposing protaganists - UK chairman Eddie Bell and his own editor, whistleblower Stuart Proffitt. But he did manage to find words, none too friendly, for his fellow authors threatening to leave the tarnished publishers. "You don't walk out on old friends just to get a bit of praise and publicity."

So could I take it that Lord Archer's agent would not be renegotiating his own three-book deal? "I don't have an agent any more," he grinned, glancing up at the Monet on the wall. "When you earn what I do, 15 per cent comes to rather a lot."

NOEL COWARD, I suspect, might have taken quite a fancy to Blur's Damon Albarn. But the two are never to be linked, not even on disc. Albarn collaborated with Michael Nyman on a version of Coward's London Pride for a new tribute album. But executive producer Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys has rejected it. Apparently the pair had written an experimental electronic track. "It bears no resemblance to the original," says a startled spokeswoman. And thus The Master's chance of joining Cool Britannia disappears.

THE quarterly journal of the National Art Collections Fund places the obituaries column for leading figures in the art world next to the column on people moving jobs. So next to the heading Obituary is the heading "Going, Going, Gone". I can reassure Lord Gowrie's friends that though his name appeared under the black letters GOING, he may be leaving the Arts Council but remains in robust health.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

    £35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

    Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

    £18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

    Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

    £35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

    Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

    £45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
    Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

    Flesh in Venice

    Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
    Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

    Juventus vs Real Madrid

    Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
    Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

    Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

    Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power