Arts and Entertainment

Nina Stibbe moved to London in 1982 to work as a nanny for Mary-Kay Wilmers, the editor of the London Review of Books. In the years following, she wrote letters home to her sister in Leicester, and Love, Nina is the result.

TV's classic shows are missing

DENNIS POTTER, Alan Bennett and The Beatles have all been victims of gross acts of carelessness. Classic television programmes featuring them and other famous names of the Fifties and Sixties are still missing after a six-year search.

Small screen: Novel programming

We all have a novel in us. Anyway, that's the view of the author, Nigel Williams, who presents The Write Stuff, a new three-part BBC2 series on the art of novel writing. "Everyone has the ability to tell stories," he argues. "Look at News At Ten. You get fantastic storytelling from eye-witnesses with wonderful natural eloquence. You even see it on Beadle's About." Surely not.

Theatre Review: Flushed with success

New European Writers

The Critics: The reason Miss America came on earth

Four women today, none quite what she seems. First on the catwalk is Miss America 1958: let's hear it for her! Eighty million people watch, awestruck, as this blue-eyed blonde is crowned. From now on, the compere proclaims, her address will be Main Street USA. But this girl, Marilyn Van Derbur, is Not Just a Pretty Face (R4); oh no, she has a beauty that makes all the other girls seem drab - so let's see the rest of her wholesome family. On come her three lovely sisters, her proud momma gushing about this coronation being every mother's dream, her father saying she's bin a lovely gal all her life ...

THEATRE Marat / Sade Olivier, RNT, London

To join The Caucasian Chalk Circle in this first in-the-round season in the Olivier, the National Theatre has chosen another work that predominantly exists as a play-within-a-play. The heightened sense you get of being voyeurs when seated round a dramatic action in a self-aware ring should be of particular benefit to a staging of the Marat / Sade. Set in an asylum in 1808, it makes you privy to a performance, put on by the inmates, of a play about the historical events leading up to the assassination of Jean-Paul Marat.

That nice Alan Bennett takes the gloves off for Tory politicians, the Queen Mother - and Dennis Potter

The writer and his victims: Home truths for six leading lights in politics, literature and the arts

What, no Aunt Agatha?

Andrew Lloyd Webber meets Alan Ayckbourn in the all-new Stephen Joseph Theatre. The result: somewhat less than top hole. By Paul Taylor

A close shave with genius

TELEVISION

LETTER: Quality television direct from the West End

From Mr David Aukin

Silver daggers vs the kitchen knifers

Robert Richardson gives an insider's view of dissent among the crime writers

DEATH OF A SLACKER

A MESSY HAMPSTEAD living-room in the early hours of a mid-Eighties morning. Stacks of hippie records and yellowing newspapers line the walls. Cigarette ash is scattered on the stained shag pile. The television blinks. Peter Cook sits tired-eyed on a G-Plan sofa with his back to a floor-to- ceiling mural of an autumn forest. His friend and neighbour George Weiss, whose house this is, sits opposite him, smoking a joint and tugging at his straggly grey beard. A reel-to-reel tape-recorder in an alcove across the room turns as they talk. There is a knock on the door. Weiss goes to answer it, returning with a local tramp called Bronco John. He is wet - rain falls heavily outside in the mews - and carrying his habitual teabags. He is breathless and excited.

Take a ride through suburbia

Jason Cowley finds forgiveness and reconciliation in an English dormitory town

HOW DO YOU SAY `NOWT'?

Bennett, Leeds, Barrie Rutter, luvvies and loves, dialogue and dialect, Bennett again: the stage is set for Blake Morrison's theatrical dbut. This is his production diary

They're all making plans for Nigel

The years as unflappable Sir Humphrey are standing Nigel Hawthorne in good stead now: he's staying cool as Hollywood heats up with rumours of Oscar nominations and imminent stardom ...

Ring, ring. Will you let Poet Pete in?

If the people won't buy poetry from bookshops, why not take the fruits of your labour to them. Jim White meets the man injecting a little lyricism into London's streets
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