Review: Front Row – Do we publish too many books?

Front Row - Do we publish too many books?BBC Radio 4, Front Row Hay Festival debate: “Do we publish too many books?”

Podcast Fri, 29 May 2015, duration 29 mins

From the Hay Literary Festival, BBC Radio 4’s arts show Front Row asks the question “Do we publish too many books?” In a lively panel discussion, Samira Ahmed heads a panel of publishers, journalists and authors: Philip Jones editor of the trade journal The Bookseller, Crystal Mahey-Morgan Digital Sales and Marketing Director at Zed Books, Alexandra Pringle, the group editor in chief of Bloomsbury and Ali Sparks author of 41 books for children. …

Review: Recommended Reads from a Century of Children’s Literature Pt II

Originally from Alan Garner, The Owl Service book coverSpeaking Well In Public’s Page on Facebook.

Continuing my recommended reads from a century of children’s literature.

CS Lewis
From The Magician’s Nephew to The Last Battle, the Chronicles of Narnia tells the story of another world from its dawn to its end. In the first written and best known, The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, four brothers and sisters find themselves drawn into Narnia and help in its heroic struggle to free itself. …

Review: Recommended Reads from a Century of Children’s Literature Pt I

Originally from Arthur Ransome, Swallows and Amazons, Vintage Classics book coverSpeaking Well In Public’s Page on Facebook.

My recommended reads from a century of children’s literature, featuring tales of mystery, adventure and the great outdoors, of magic, fantasy and other worlds, of theatre, ballet and life on the stage… Most will be enjoyed by girls and boys, and a great start to a bookshelf to keep for life. …

Review: Danny Boyle – Man of Wonder (BBC Culture Show Special)

Review: Danny Boyle - Man of Wonder (BBC Culture Show Special)“In a Culture Show special, Oscar winning director Danny Boyle talks to Mark Kermode about his new film Trance, London 2012’s afterglow and the highs and lows of an extraordinary film-making career.”

Danny Boyle began his career in subversive agit-prop theatre at the Royal Court and went on to be equally subversive in TV.

Breaking into feature films, his back catalogue includes the violent, kinetic, anarchic as well as touching, satirical, philosophical and romantic. From iconic counter-culture Trainspotting, frenetic horror 28 Days Later, to eight-Oscar triumph, the brutal romance Slumdog Millionaire, Boyle is at his best when he refuses to compromise. It was something he acknowledged in less successful projects – Hollywood excesses A Life Less Ordinary and The Beach.

Review: The History of the Future BBC Radio4

Illustration from "Illustrerad verldshistoria utgifven av E. Wallis. volume I": Phytia giving an answerJuliet Gardiner looks at how cultures of the past viewed the possibilities of the future, and what these visions say about the pre-occupations of the time.

Or as I like to call it – Where’s My Jetpack?

Here’s a curious thing; a BBC Radio 4 documentary series that doesn’t appear to exist on iPlayer, Listen Again or as a podcast. I caught the tail end of this series which finished in September, just the last couple of episodes. I’d like to hear the rest, but I can’t find them. Even though the show’s homepage is still up on the BBC website.

Review: Shakespeare Uncovered – David Tennant on Hamlet

Shakespeare Uncovered - David Tennant on Hamlet“In Hamlet, David Tennant whose own RSC performance was a huge hit, meets other actors who have played the role – from the legendary David Warner in the 1960s to the recent Jude Law. He also tries, alongside Simon Russell Beale and Ben Whishaw, to unravel the meaning of the play and the reason why it is considered the greatest play Shakespeare ever wrote.”

With this being some anniversary or other of the great Will Shakey, there’s an awful lot of actoreyness on the BBC at the moment. In this final episode of Shakespeare Uncovered, David Tennant’s take on Hamlet was one of the better dissections of a classic in under an hour. Hats off to BBC2 for attempting to explain and impress just how great it is. You know there’s a ‘but’ coming, though, don’t you… …

Review: Horizon – Out of Control? BBC2

Review: Horizon - Out of Control? BBC2“We all like to think we are in control of our lives – of what we feel and what we think. But scientists are now discovering this is often simply an illusion.

Surprising experiments are revealing that what you think you do and what you actually do can be very different. Your unconscious mind is often calling the shots, influencing the decisions you make, from what you eat to who you fall in love with. If you think you are really in control of your life, you may have to think again.”

“At every moment of our lives an unseen presence is guiding us,” announced narrator Hugo Speer. No, not God, the unseen presence is our own unconscious mind, which decades of psycho analysis since Freud has us believing is the Edward Hyde or Caliban in all of us, out to destroy civilisation. It turns out our unconscious is the foreman, brakeman, steersman and navigator of almost everything we do. …

Review: Perspectives – Lenny Henry Finding Shakespeare

Lenny Henry in Comedy of Errors (c/o ITV,  Matchlight Prodcutions)“As a working-class kid growing up in Dudley in the West Midlands, Lenny found William Shakespeare’s plays boring, irrelevant and inaccessible. But by the age of 50 and with a burning ambition to try his hand at serious acting, Lenny decided it was time he faced his fears and finally tried to get to grips with the Bard.”

To many, Lenny Henry is that big bloke who advertises the hotels. To those with a long memory, he is still the sixteen-year-old kid with the big grin and bags of energy, who barn-stormed the New Faces TV talent show and, via Tiswas, Three of A Kind and several seasons of his own sketch show, grew up to be a dramatic actor (Chef, Hope and Glory) of mixed successes. Some of us still expect jokes from Delbert Wilkins and Deakus every time he walks on; that or a bowl of Alpen muesli. It all rather undercuts his recent successes as a classical Shakespearean actor, notably Othello, the stage production later adapted for Radio 4. …

Review: Don’t Log Off, BBC Radio 4

Review: Don't Log Off, BBC Radio 4Don’t Log Off, BBC Radio 4
“Alan Dein discovers the real life stories behind on-line profiles via Facebook and Skype. Alan locks himself away for a week to talk to people on the Internet. He starts with nothing, just an on-line profile which says ‘talk to me’. The results are intriguing, funny and often very moving.”

Asked to review this, I almost said no;  Dein crosses continents and time-zones to engage new Internet ‘friends’ on Skype and by telephone. Previously, Dein presented Don’t Hang Up, in which he called public phone boxes around the world to see who picked up.

This programme didn’t do anything to change the view of the Internet as a home for the sad, the lonely, the isolated and counter to the objective, the disconnected. It didn’t move me much further than to depress me. …