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Playing: Invitation to the dance - rondo brillant, orch. Berlioz [orig. for piano] by Carl Maria von Weber
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45 minutes
First broadcast:
Friday 12 December 2008

Ian McMillan presents the weekly cabaret of language, with guests including Anthony Horowitz, the best-selling novelist and creator of teenage spy Alex Rider and popular TV drama series Foyle's War. Known for writing adventure-packed tales of danger and heroism, Horowitz has written a new mini-drama especially for the programme about Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton.


    Novelist and screenwriter Anthony Horowitz is among Ian McMillan’s guests on The Verb this week with a play about explorer Ernest Shackleton. Originally commissioned by a theatre director, it was supposed to be a polar epic, complete with icebergs and penguins. But the director was unamused to receive a script set in Eastbourne, with the great Shackleton down on his luck at the end of his life, and so the play never saw the light of day – until now! In tonight’s programme, The Verb brings you Spooks star Robert Glenister as Shackleton, and Ewan Bailey as Dowdan in Anthony Horowitz’s The Fourth Presence.

    Anthony Horowitz is perhaps the busiest writer in England. He has been writing since the age of eight, and professionally since the age of twenty. He writes in a comfortable shed in his garden for up to ten hours per day. In addition to the highly successful Alex Rider books, he has also written episodes of several popular TV crime series, including Poirot, Murder in Mind, Midsomer Murders and Murder Most Horrid. He has written a television series Foyle's War, which recently aired in the United States, and he has written the libretto of a Broadway musical adapted from Dr. Seuss's book, The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. His film script The Gathering has just finished production.

    Anthony Horowitz's website

    Meone is Jamaican patois for “all alone” and the adopted name of the singer/songwriter appearing on The Verb. He blends folk, soul, reggae and hip hop and talks to Ian about teaching students about lyrics.

    Meone's website

    What makes a good orator? Laura Trevelyan, the BBC’s UN Correspondent, and Steve Richards, from The Independent, discuss their favourite orators, with some surprising results.

    Change We Can Believe In, by Barack Obama, is published by Canongate.

    Listen to famous speeches of the 20th century on the Guardian website

    John Kinsella, the Australian poet, was commissioned to write Comus: A Dialogic Mask for performance, alongside Milton’s original, in Christ’s College, Cambridge, as part of the 400th anniversary celebrations of Milton’s birth in 1608. John joins Ian McMillan to talk about what he has done with the text, and the attraction of adapting this work.

    Comus: A Dialogic Mask by John Kinsella is published by Arc Publications.

    Read Milton’s work at Project Gutenberg


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  1. Image for The Verb Presented by Ian McMillan

    The Verb Presented by Ian McMillan

    The Verb, words and performance with poet Ian McMillan : language at its most creative interviews,…

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