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
World’s largest chocolate manufacturer adds voice to warnings of 'potential cocoa shortage by 2020'
UK cities with the most single people: Most residents of Manchester are not hitched
Boys born in south of England 'live eight years longer' than those born in the north
GTA 5, Xbox One review: Next gen Los Santos is beautiful chaos
Care Quality Commission report: Just how good is your GP?
'Muslims pre-date Columbus in discovering America,' says Turkish president Erdogan
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Former Tory PM Sir John Major says 'we would not have an NHS without migrants'
G20 summit: David Cameron warns Vladimir Putin that Russia's relationship with the West is at a 'fork in the road' over Ukraine
Myleene Klass: Ed Miliband 'strikes back' by comparing UK's need for Labour's mansion tax to Hear'Say track
Coalition government has 'shifted money from poorest to better-off' through welfare cuts and tax reductions, study claims
- 1 This is what the one in ten British men who pay for sex need to know
- 2 Lee Evans announces retirement from comedy on The Jonathan Ross Show
- 3 These grandmas smoking weed for the first time are wonderful
- 4 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 5 Angelina Jolie confuses everyone with 'ay up me duck' East Midland's greeting to Derby actor Jack O'Connell at awards show
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