Tom Sutcliffe is joined by Richard Coles, Jude Kelly and Amanda Vickery to discuss the cultural highlights of the week, including Keira Knightley's debut stage appearance in The Misanthrope. Starring alongside Damien Lewis in Martin Crimp's translation of Moliere's classic 17th century French comedy, directed by Thea Sharrock, the play explores the very contemporary issue of celebrity.
Sam Taylor Wood's feature film debut tells the story of John Lennon's troubled adolescence in Liverpool, torn between his strict, domineering Aunt Mimi, played by Kristin Scott Thomas, and his inconstant but loving mother Julia, played by Anne Marie Duff. Yearning for a normal family, Lennon (Aaron Johnson) escapes into the new and exciting world of rock n' roll, where his fledgling genius finds a kindred spirit in the teenage Paul McCartney (Thomas Brodie Sangster).
Colum McCann's novel Let The Whole World Spin won the prestigious National Book Award in America. It is set in 1974 against the backdrop of Philippe Petit's celebrated high wire walk between the Twin Towers, a pivotal moment loosely drawing together a rich cast of New York residents. From two immigrant Irish brothers to an uptown mother grieving for her son lost in Vietnam, from the realities of life in the Bronx for a streetwalker to the cocaine adventures of two trendy young painters. McCann's is a vividly-drawn portrait of 1970s Manhattan.
Plus a review of the highlights on television over Christmas, featuring the Cranford Christmas Special, starring Judi Dench and Imelda Staunton, a new adaptation of Henry James's The Turn of The Screw, John Hurt reprising his role of Quentin Crisp in An Englisman in New York, and Andrew Davis's adaptation of Joanna Briscoe's erotic thriller Sleep With Me.