Category Archives: Theatre

A Smashing Time: Murray Melvin on busting taboos in the 60s

 This is one of the most read pieces on my website but the link had stopped working so I’ve re-posted it here. The interview is still available to listen on the iplayer One to One link just below. For the … Continue reading

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The Drag Queen Tombola and other tales of cross dressing glory

This column first appeared in The Big Issue magazine. I was once asked what was the best night out I ever had in London. My husband, thought I’d say it was that romantic night we went to the National Theatre … Continue reading

Posted in Comedy, Culture, Film, Germany, Theatre, TV, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

First World War: Myth or Misbegotten Shambles?

“This official UK £2 coin remembers one of the most significant moments in British history with a design that recalls the spirit, and with hindsight, the poignancy, of the rush to enlist encouraged by Lord Kitchener. This £2 coin, a … Continue reading

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Pink Flamingos, red poppies & the fine art of causing offence

I have been pre-occupied with offence these past few weeks. Preparing to interview the Pope of Trash (copyright William Burroughs) ahead of his Nov 8th appearance at Liverpool’s Homotopia festival,  I have been starting each day with a John Waters film. … Continue reading

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Oh What A Lovely War Commemoration!

Recently the Prime Minister  spoke of his hopes that events  to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War would be a “commemoration that, like the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, says something about who we are as … Continue reading

Posted in Comedy, History, Media, Music, Politics, Radio, Theatre, Uncategorized, War | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Alan Bennett: Why spilling all is not the art of the monologue

I was lucky enough to be asked to chair an In Conversation with the playwright, diarist and screenwriter Alan Bennett at the British Film Institute last night. It was focussed on his skills with the monologue, as part of a season of TV monologues. … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Comedy, Culture, Film, Media, Theatre, TV, Uncategorized | Tagged | 1 Comment

Poor Cows and Angry Young Men: 50 years of Kitchen Sink Drama

The director Ken Loach and the theatre critic Michael Billington remember the dawn of the 60s well. “The 50s weren’t bleak and depressing,” spluttered Loach, listening to art critic Rachel Campbell-Johnston explain the grim postwar era that spawned the new … Continue reading

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The secret elite club of ex-Virgin Marys

“I was always the sort of child who got picked on to DO things, you know?” recalls Julie Christie’s Darling, in the 1965 film, as we see her as a 6 year old Mary in the school nativity play. (watch … Continue reading

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In Hulme: a stately Hippodrome decree’d

There is a grand Victorian theatre house where Laurel and Hardy once performed, Nina Simone sang and the Beatles made their first radio recording. If it were in Stratford-Upon-Avon or central London, the rich paintwork and red plush seats and … Continue reading

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A Smashing Time: Murray Melvin on busting taboos in the 60s

For the third of my One to Ones for Radio 4 I wanted a Missing Angle on the golden age of British theatre and cinema — from the late 50s to the early 70s. You can listen to it here. … Continue reading

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