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Newsnight Review 24 October 2008

Len Freeman | 12:32 UK time, Friday, 24 October 2008

Here's Martha Kearney with details of tonight's Newsnight Review.

We're starting Halloween celebrations early with a haunted edition of Newsnight Review and a bewitching panel - Candace Bushnell, Will Self, Ekow Eshun and Sarah Churchwell.

Ghost Town

We begin with Ghost Town which is Ricky Gervais's first film in which he plays the lead. After the awful characters in The Office and Extras, he takes on the role of another extremely irritating man Bertram Pincus. He's a British dentist working in Manhattan who after a near death experience on the operating table can suddenly see the dead. Apparently at one press conference, a US journalist praised Gervais for the fake teeth he wore in the film. They were real.

The Widows of Eastwick

We stay with the supernatural for John Updike's sequel to The Witches of Eastwick. The temptresses are much older now, living apart. In The Widows of Eastwick we see them return to the Rhode Island resort town where the counter culture they loved has disappeared.

Little Dorrit

Our third item features a spook, well a former one, Matthew Macfadyen who is one of a plethora of stars in Andrew Davies' new adaptation of Dickens' novel Little Dorrit for BBC One. This story of literal and figurative imprisonment takes the same form as the highly successful Bleak House. Will it be as successful?


And we will end with the new Royal Academy exhibition Byzantium. This has brought together treasures from all over the world to celebrate the culture which lasted from the foundation of Constantinople in 330 to its sacking by the Turks in 1453.

I hope you will join us tonight. Be afraid.



  • Comment number 1.

    what do ghosts like to eat at birthday parties?

    Ice scream.

    Try and get them to upload the show this time. they didn't last week. i gave up looking for the new version after two days.

  • Comment number 2.

    As the Newsnight feedback page never seems to elicit a response, I thought I'd put this suggestion here to see if anyone else agrees.

    How about putting the Paxo / Heseltine interview on the website?

    Elsewhere on these blogs it's being hailed as a masterpiece of Paxo being on the losing end, but having missed it live, I'd very much like to see it for myself.

  • Comment number 3.


    In fact the meeting was a draw. Paxo feigned his usual OTT affront (high voice - eyebrows at 12 o'clock) while Tarzan feigned incomprehension (smile of 1000 yrs breeding, knowing a 'modest yacht' when he sees one).

  • Comment number 4.

    This is hilarious! Two excited Americans who like junk and a nonplussed Will Self.

  • Comment number 5.

    Martha, get a grip! Not one person was able to finish stating their views before someone else was allowed to butt in. It was chaos!

  • Comment number 6.

    An arts programme should be about providing a space to think. But the guests on Newsnight Review spend the time interrupting each other and assuming they know what a person is saying before they've had a chance to explore and articulate their ideas. This confines thought and turns the programme into a lot of hot air.

  • Comment number 7.

    One too many items for review, and one too many on your bewitching panel, I think.

    Things could have been interesting, had Churchwell, Eshun and Self been able to develop argument further.

    Also, a tiny administrative note: At least one of the panel's profile photographs needs to be updated.

  • Comment number 8.

    Too much shrieking at each other by the ladies.

  • Comment number 9.

    What utter chaos! The female panel members constantly interrupting and screeching over - and not letting - the men finish! Will Self had to stop mid sentence half the time! No wonder he looked as though he couldn't be arsed towards the end! 'Maybe it was just cheese', indeed!

    And what was the deal with this Candace? Was she trying to out-slur Kerry Katona? Watching her speak was cringeworthy -- on Updike's book: "It was very readable' -- come on! Is that the best you can do?

  • Comment number 10.

    Martha didn't bother to chair this at all.

    Really poor quality of discussion. Candace Bushnell had nothing to say - the other American was loud and rude and interrupted. No wonder Will Self looked as if he didn't want to be there.

  • Comment number 11.

    i think people might be missing the point of NNR. Its not about the reviewed but the reviewers. Here we have an exhibition of reviewer 'cage fighting'.

    First we see faces tortured by politeness with agonised painted smiles as they endure each others 'pitch'. Voices start to move higher and lower and faster. Then verbal javalins are launched and soon all pretence is dropped. They get to grips like professional gladiators in close verbal to verbal combat. Around and around they square up. There is furious hand chopping and slashing.No quarter given nor expected.

    Then at the end with the field strewn with dead ideas and beliefs we realise that we witnessed a fierce drama in a tea cup.

  • Comment number 12.

    BOOKISH DANO (# 11)

    Pure poetry! You should be on the panel!

  • Comment number 13.

    Wow, I've just watched this programme and I know why I have such a disdain for Will Self. What a pompous, condascending, overblown man he is. Do Ricky Gervais will ruin the office by starring in a romantic comedy. What an idiot! He seems not to understand the whole concept of acting. He reminds me of Jeanette Winteron. Both are over-rated, literary snobs who really shouldn't be inflicted on the world any more than is absolutely necessary. Both write nothing but 'irrelevant, out of touch books' so I suppose they have a lot of time on their hands, because they're not spending it on honing talent.


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