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Series 4 - 60. A New Currency of Commitment
Image for Keira Knightley's stage debut and Sam Taylor Wood's feature film Nowhere Boy

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Keira Knightley's stage debut and Sam Taylor Wood's feature film Nowhere Boy

45 minutes
First broadcast:
Saturday 19 December 2009

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.

  • The Misanthrope

    Photo credit: Alastair Muir.

    The Misanthrope is at The Comedy Theatre in London until 13 March.

    More details
  • Nowhere Boy

    Nowhere Boy is in cinemas nationwide from Boxing Day, December 26. Certificate 15.

  • Let The Whole World Spin

    Let The Whole World Spin is out now, published by Bloomsbury.

  • Christmas TV

    The Turn of the Screw is on December 30th at 9pm.
    Sleep With Me is on ITV1 on New Year’s Eve at 9pm.

    An Englishman in New York is on ITV1 on December 28th.
    Cranford begins on Sunday December 20th on BBC1 at 9pm, with the second episode the following Sunday.


Arts & Culture selection

Damian Lewis on reading A Delicate Truth

A selection of highlights from arts and culture programmes.


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    Saturday Review

    Tom Sutcliffe and guests discuss the week’s cultural highlights on BBC Radio 4.

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