Newsnight Review: Friday, 23 January, 2009
Here's Kirsty with news of tonight's programme:
Frank Skinner, Natalie Haynes and Tony Parsons try to answer a big question... Where do you draw the line? Sexual taboos, comedy, cults, bodily functions, gay politics and Hollywood's hand on history.
We begin with Scandalous, Russell Brand's new stand up tour - his first big outing since the Andrew Sachs affair, in which he returns to the controversy with gusto. "In my head", he says, "I'm always at the top of the news - and then I really was." Our panel will review the show, debate whether he was right to devote so much of the show to the scandal, and discuss whether comedy been tamed since the Ross/Brand farrago.
Milk - the biopic of the man who was the first openly gay official in any US administration - has picked up ten Oscar nominations, including one for Sean Penn. He plays Harvey Milk over the eight years of his campaign for office in San Francisco throughout the seventies, and his subsequent assassination. I've been speaking to director Gus Van Sant. He first wanted to make this film 15 years ago, but it has turned out to have contemporary resonance as California has just banned same sex marriage. Does the film downplay Milk's lifestyle while celebrating gay politics?
We stick with Hollywood's version of modern history with Valkyrie, the true story of the last plot to kill Hitler, in the beginning of 1944. There's been huge controversy around this story of the officers who were part of the German Resistance. Tom Cruise plays Col Claus von Stauffenberg, who actually detonated the bomb beside Hitler. Cruise's belief in Scientology has caused waves in Germany, where it's regarded as a totalitarian organisation and the government considered banning it.
And then some very sticky moments. Wetlands is a first novel which has sold half a million copies since its publication in Germany. Written by the High Wycombe born star of German TV Charlotte Roche, and now out in English, it is a voyage around her 18 year old character's private parts. Throughout the story Helen prods, pokes, smells and inserts implements into her nether regions in her hospital room where she is recovering from a serious accident after shaving around her haemorrhoids. Is it porn, or a feminist tract?
Do join us later.