In The Kitchen by Monica Ali, and State of Play gets a Hollywood makeover

Tom Sutcliffe is joined by columnist David Aaronovitch, director of the ICA Ekow Eshun and anthropologist Kit Davis to discuss the cultural highlights of the week - featuring conspiracy in Washington DC, an unexpected sex change, 160 years of Afghan history and a chef losing the plot.

State of Play - originally a critically acclaimed British TV series - gets a Hollywood makeover. Russell Crowe plays a grizzled, old-school newspaper reporter who starts joining the dots between a couple of murders in Washington DC and finds a sinister conspiracy lurking in the background. Scratch the surface and it's also a eulogy to good, old-fashioned print journalism.

Suspicious death also features in Monica Ali's third novel In The Kitchen. Set in the cosmopolitan kitchen of a hotel restaurant, head chef Gabriel is confronted by the changing nature of Britain and Britishness as his world unravels. Ali presents a deregulated world in which old certainties have gone and abuses are rife.

The Great Game was a phrase coined for the conflict between the British and Russian empires in central Asia. It is also the title of an ambitious series of 12 short plays by various writers which explore the history of Afghanistan from the mid-19th century to the present day. Commissioned by the Tricycle Theatre because 'Afghanistan felt like an untold story that was going terribly wrong'.

The ever-popular device of the body swap is revived in the TV comedy Boy Meets Girl, starring Martin Freeman and Rachel Stirling. Danny gets struck by lightning and finds himself in the body of glamorous Veronica. Inevitable problems with high heels ensue.

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45 minutes

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Sat 25 Apr 2009 19:15