Week in the arts
A founder member of The Independent David Lister joined the paper in 1986 as Assistant Home Editor. He became the paper's arts correspondent in 1988 and is now Arts Editor and writes a column each Saturday. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Saturday 21 March 1998
"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.
Life & Style blogs
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Who is Teresa Fidalgo? Debunking the fake ghost story that's got Instagram spooked
Scottish salmon sales leap as Asia develops a taste
Grim second life of the 'breastaurant': The oft-loathed sector is booming in the States thanks to Hooters, Twin Peaks and Tilted Kilt
Health: When masturbation can be fatal: The practice of auto-erotic asphyxia is often concealed by a coroner's verdict. Monique Roffey looks at a lethal taboo
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Millions of Britons struggling to feed themselves and facing malnourishment
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Nigel Farage: Ukip leader named 'Briton of the year' by The Times
Immigrants make UK racist, says Ukip councillor Trevor Shonk
- 1 President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
- 2 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 4 Sir Winston Churchill’s family begged him not to convert to Islam, letter reveals
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