In The Loop, The West Wing, American Adulterer by Jed Mercurio, and Reggie Perrin

Tom Sutcliffe is joined by novelists Linda Grant and Sebastian Faulks and broadcaster Matthew D'Ancona to discuss the cultural highlights of the week. Featuring a serial adulterer, scathing political satire and the reworking of an enduring love story.

Linda Grant puts the political television series The West Wing in the dock, to make her case that this much-revered drama is wildly overrated. Sebastian Faulks and Matthew D'Ancona beg to differ.

The novel American Adulterer by Jed Mercurio explores the life of an habitual womaniser, yet this particular philanderer is in no position to live with bohemian abandon. He must go to extraordinary lengths to conceal his affairs from his wife and his political rivals - and with good reason, since he is the 35th President of the United States, John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

After Dido, Katie Mitchell's version of Purcell's opera has the performers manipulating cameras so that the action unfolds on screen as well as on stage. Three modern stories are told simultaneously, the conceit being that each of the characters is listening to a radio broadcast of Dido and Aeneas, in different locations and in real time. Each of the female characters reflects an aspect of Dido: there is a suicidal depressive, a woman breaking up with her partner and a bereaved wife receiving comfort and catharsis from the music she hears.

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45 minutes

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Sat 18 Apr 2009 19:15