thu 13/08/2020

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Listed: Celebrating Dylan Thomas

Jasper Rees

It won’t have escaped the attention of anyone with an ear for poetry that Dylan Thomas turns 100 this year. He was born in a suburban house on a hill overlooking Swansea Bay a few months after the outbreak of war, and by his early 20s had been hailed a significant poetic voice by TS Eliot. By 39 he was dead, hastened to his grave by a lethal combination of alcohol, pneumonia and New York doctors.

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Preview: Martin Amis's England

mark Kidel

On Sunday night, you can hear Martin Amis sound off about Englishness. An advance selection of extracts from the interview were published in the Radio Times on Tuesday. The reaction from the press was instantaneous: Amis is always good copy.

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BAFTAs 2014: Hollywood winners made in Britain

Emma Simmonds

Long before the stars had begun walking (and working) the red carpet, this year's British Academy Film Awards were a hot topic. Unfortunately it was for all the wrong reasons. A whistleblower writing for the Daily Mail alleged that many of the Academy's 6,500 members make little effort to consider the full gauntlet of options, often voting for the big-budget American favourites sight unseen.

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Listed: The 12 Derangements of Christmas

theartsdesk

We at The Arts Desk are as fond as the next person of swans-a-swimming, partridges and pear-trees, not to mention gold rings, but be honest: 'tis already the season to be jolly sick and tired of all those knee-jerk compilations of Slade, sleighbells and Celine Dion's "O Holy Night". Without wishing to audition for the role of Ebenezer Scrooge, it’s time to admit that not everything made in the name of Christmas is of the highest artistic merit.

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'I've gone far far too early': David Coleman, voice of sport

Jasper Rees

David Coleman never said, "Juantorena opens his legs and shows his class," any more than Queen Victoria said, "We are not amused." The words belonged to Ron Pickering, but Private Eye got it wrong. The chances are that Coleman, who has died at the age of 87, was not amused. A lot of people were, however. Who knows how much damage that one mis-attribution did, how much it contributed to the image crisis that Coleman put up with for so many years?

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Sifting the Evidence: the Great Train Robbery, 50 Years On

Andy Plaice

There’s a wonderful moment in Bruce Reynolds’s autobiography when he describes what became of his mate, a fellow train robber who had fled to Canada but was hunted down by the enigmatic Tommy Butler. Four and a half years after the Great Train Robbery in which crooks made off with £2.6million, Detective Chief Superintendent Butler had come to arrest Charlie Wilson and was knocking on his door.

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Listed: Television's long-runners

theartsdesk

In the past weeks there has been a frenzy of publicity about the timelessness of a Time Lord. Through sundry incarnations (and one sizeable moratorium), Doctor Who has been on television screens for 50 years. But it's by no means the only show possessing what a football pundit once called stickability. In this edition of Listed, we celebrate the shows which have been knocking around for what feels like forever, nearly half of them for even longer than the good Doctor.

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Opinion: Today's BBC would have rejected Morecambe and Wise

Jasper Rees

A couple of weeks ago I was queueing to get into the BBC’s magnificently revamped HQ at Broadcasting House. Just behind me in the same queue were Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse. Their faces are craggier, their hair less confident than when the two comedians became part of the national furniture 20 years ago. And here they were, lightly joshing about the indignity of signing in to enter the offices of the national broadcaster which owes them so much.

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Why Birgitte of Borgen has your vote

Jasper Rees

God morgen. Yes, Borgen is back on Saturday nights, and it’s all change at the top of Danish coalition politics. It gives nothing away to say that Birgitte Nyborg is no longer statsminister – she called an election and the opposition’s bluff at the end of the second series but it turns out that after three years in power Denmark’s fictional electorate had had enough of the Moderates.

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Mystery Dance: On filming Elvis Costello

mark Kidel

Making a film about an artist with the phenomenal range and creative effervescence of someone like Elvis Costello was never going to be easy. There have been over 30 albums since he started out in 1977, hundreds of songs, many of which are as brilliant as anything written in the last 50 years, and a series of collaborations with artists including Paul McCartney, Burt Bacharach, Bill Frisell, Chet Baker, the Brodsky Quartet, Emmylou Harris, T-Bone Burnett and many others.

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