Armando Iannucci recently said that the UK falls behind the US when it comes to female comedy writers. Do you find it to be a male-dominated industry?
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Sunday 06 March 2011
Friday 25 February 2011
For years a proposed film adaptation of Charles Dickens's Great Expectations by one of Britain's best-loved authors languished in production limbo. The script had even been given the back-handed compliment of an inclusion on an annual list of the best British scripts that could not get made.
Monday 21 February 2011
Friday 11 February 2011
As WB Yeats wrote in a poem not included here (though several of his gems appear), "How but in custom and in ceremony/ Are innocence and beauty born?"
Sunday 06 February 2011
Thursday 03 February 2011
I don’t know what the precise procedure is for beatification, but I’d like to put forward the name of Mr Paul Wadey, the Head of English at Gad’s Hill School near Rochester in Kent.
Thursday 27 January 2011
If there is one scene that sums up the work of the French film-maker François Truffaut (the subject of a major retrospective at the BFI next month), it's a moment midway through his 1976 film, Small Change, about children growing up in a small town in France. A baby boy called Gregory is left alone in a high-rise apartment. He is playing with a pet kitten that refuses to come in from the window ledge and then gets stuck. Gregory playfully tries to rescue the kitten, loses his grip and falls downward to his certain death... but he doesn't die. "Gregory went boom!" the little youngster tells the adult onlookers as he dusts himself off on the ground dozens of floors below. His mother faints. Gregory makes no fuss. Nor does Truffaut. In his universe, no harm should ever be allowed to come to children. The film-maker was, as one friend described him, "a kind soul" and "a treasure trove of tenderness".
Wednesday 26 January 2011
Friday 21 January 2011
Walking into the wrong lecture theatre at the University of York in the spring of 1974, I found myself listening to a dramatised reading of Dickens's 'Bleak House' by a bearded lecturer who took the parts of Mr Chadband and Little Jo the crossing sweeper. Having "done" 'Oliver Twist' and 'David Copperfield' at school, I had no idea that later Dickens novels were masterpieces of attacks on hypocrisy, religion and the charitable classes. I went straight home and read the novel, which came with an introduction by the American academic J Hillis Miller.
Sunday 16 January 2011
Friday 14 January 2011
There are two books I cannot contemplate living without. The first is Dickens's 'Great Expectations' and the second the 'Poems of George Herbert'. I have taken my little Oxford World's Classics edition of the latter, bought in 1957, everywhere I have ever been. It has sustained, delighted and moved me in the heat of Australia and the ferocious cold of the American North-West. Herbert is the most sweet-tempered of the great Metaphysical poets and perhaps the most subtle too. Consider these lines from "Giddinesse":
Thursday 13 January 2011
The BBC will screen a new version of Great Expectations ahead of the 200th anniversary of the birth of novelist Charles Dickens.
Monday 20 December 2010
Friday 17 December 2010
"Charles Dickens" here means editor as well as author. This is the fifth Christmas number, from 1854, of his journal Household Words. Dickens himself tops and tails the festive story cycle, set after an archetypal Christmas Eve dinner ("I never saw a finer turkey, finer beef") in a Rochester almshouse.
Saturday 20 November 2010
Charles Dickens' former home is to receive a £2m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
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- 3 Professional big game hunter Ian Gibson crushed to death by elephant during hunt
- 4 Farmer told to tear down mock-Tudor castle after hiding construction behind hay bales