Sky Arts' random-presenter-generating machine has thrown up an interesting pairing to front their new television competition show. Portrait Artist of the Year will be presented by veteran broadcaster Joan Bakewell and that er... renowned expert in fine art Frank Skinner. It's Bake-Off, but with painting, because apparently there is no hobby or artistic pursuit that won't do as the basis for a TV talent competition. Whatever next? A show about competitive stamp collecting presented by Kerry Katona and Alan Yentob? A taxidermy tournament with Mary Beard and Peter Andre? Let's hope so, because on the evidence of last night's episode these marriages of high and low culture can be surprisingly successful.
Man Booker Prize
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Friday 15 January 2010
Popular interest in history is peaking like perhaps never before in the 21st century. Films such as Spartan gore-fest 300 have proven big hits at the box office in recent years, and many more ancient world movies – including Centurion, Clash of the Titans and Valhalla Rising – are set to arrive in 2010.
Sunday 08 November 2009
Sunday 11 October 2009
Wednesday 07 October 2009
So often in recent years a playground for the maverick judge, the runaway panel, the perverse decision, yesterday the Man Booker Prize rewarded a genuinely outstanding novel.
Tuesday 06 October 2009
With the sound of fanfares and the clash of arms, history has made a noisy comeback in this year's Man Booker prize, which will be awarded tonight. Critics and readers have both cheered and cursed the idea that our most prominent prize for fiction should be fought for by a company of books whose settings stretch from the 1530s (Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall) to the 1970s (JM Coetzee's Summertime).
Monday 05 October 2009
Sunday 04 October 2009
Thursday 01 October 2009
Bookies stand by for shock Booker result," yelled a headline this week. Eyebrows were raised in August about the rush of bets that were placed on Hilary Mantel's Tudor bodice-ripper, Wolf Hall, when the Booker longlist was revealed. One turf accountant stopped taking bets after Mantel reached 2/1. Now, as Tuesday's prize dinner approaches, the judges are being asked to start early – as if anticipating trouble, heavy going, unspecified horse-trading.
Wednesday 30 September 2009
Saturday 12 September 2009
Gordon Brown has followed Tony Blair's example and taken to apologising for things that he had nothing to do with. In Blair's case it was the Irish potato famine; with Brown it is the suicide of the brilliant wartime code-breaker Alan Turing, a homosexual who killed himself after being convicted of gross indecency.
Tuesday 08 September 2009
The South African writer and twice Booker prize winner, JM Coetzee, could make literary history if he wins a third time with his ficitional memoir, which was today selected on the annual award shortlist. No other Booker winner has performed a hat-trick in the prize’s 41-year history.
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