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45 minutes
First broadcast:
Monday 22 June 2009

Andrew Marr talks to Helen Mirren about playing Phedre at the National Theatre, Martin Jacques about the rise of China, John Armstrong about civilisation and Anna Minton about the 21st century city.


    Helen Mirren is already winning plaudits for her performance of desire and derangement in Phèdre at the National Theatre in London. But now the production can be seen around the country as Phèdre will be broadcast live from the National Theatre to cinemas in the UK and worldwide on 25 June.

    Phèdre is on at the National Theatre until 27 August.

    Phedre at the National Theatre

    China is set to become the world’s largest economy by 2027. Martin Jacques argues that although the West is prepared for its economic power, we have not considered how the growth will challenge Western ideas about what it is to be ‘modern’.

    When China Rules the World: The Rise of the Middle Kingdom and the End of the Western World is published by Allen Lane.


    The notion of civilisation may have got a bad name through colonialism, but the philosopher John Armstrong is determined to rehabilitate it. He argues that material and spiritual prosperity mutually enhance each other in a thriving civilisation. He explores what it means to be 'civilised' and the role of arts and business in directing us to the best in our society.

    In Search of Civilisation: Remaking a Tarnished Idea is published by Allen Lane.

    John Armstrong's biography

    Anna Minton examines how our town and city centres have shifted from public to private spaces and what effect this might have on our psychology. Is the emphasis on security and cleanliness creating a risk-averse and untrusting society?

    Ground Control: Fear and Happiness in the Twenty-First Century City is published by Penguin Books.

    Anna Minton's website


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