His name will always be synonymous with his TV talk show, but there's more to Jerry Springer than spoof operas and fighting dwarfs. James Rampton meets a fiercely political animal who's coming to terms with a painful family history
Too close to home
The co-creator of the controversial hit musical Jerry Springer: The Opera has got another icon of modern American pop culture in his sights, the late glamour model Anna Nicole Smith.
There are many playwrights you might expect to write a sympathetic play about the Conservative Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, but Howard Brenton is probably not one of them. This the man who, along with David Hare, David Edgar and Caryl Churchill was at the epicentre of Britain's blazing maelstrom of left-wing theatre that dominated the 1980s. He's the man who got the establishment in a tizz with the infamous Romans In Britain (1980), whose scenes of simulated buggery prompted Mary Whitehouse to mount a private prosecution against Michael Bogdanov, the play's director. He's a socialist and an atheist, a mischievous and sometimes pugilistic iconoclast who has carved a prolific career out of attacking right-wing institutions and sending up England's romanticised notions of its own mythology. So what's he doing writing what he calls "an apology to the memory" of a Tory, and one who stood so emphatically for the old England of empire at that?