The Third Leader: Take a bow

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The Independent Online

Critics may carp about the number of West End musicals; actors and playwrights may rise up in anguish at the Arts Council's cuts to smaller theatres, but out there in the auditoria of central London, where it matters, there are more and more bums on seats. And not just in the theatres, if figures for cinema takings are to be believed. Britain may have become a nation of couch potatoes but more and more people are choosing an evening out at a theatre rather than a TV dinner at home. All for the good, say we.

The Society of London Theatre attributes last year's record attendance of 13.63 million at plays, musicals, opera and dance – up 1.25 million on 2006 - partly to the influence of such television talent shows as How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? That's no bad thing.

Theatre, television, cinema – they are all part of the same business of talent and performance. The more they play into each other, the better.