Tom Sutcliffe and his guests writer Gillian Slovo, historian Dominic Sandbrook and anthropologist Kit Davis review the week's cultural highlights including Julian Barnes' new novel.

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes is narrated by Tony Webster, a man in his sixties who is forced to think again about the story of his life when he receives a lawyer's letter about an unexpected and puzzling bequest. His problem is that he can't be sure how reliable his memory is about two significant events in his life.

Lee Chang-dong's film Poetry won the Korean director the Best Screenplay award at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. Yun Jung-hee plays Mija - a woman who is diagnosed at the beginning of the film as being in the early stages of Alzheimer's. She also discovers that the surly and ungrateful teenage grandson who is living with her has committed a crime which has led to a girl's suicide - she finds herself coerced into persuading the girl's mother to hush the matter up.

The starting point for Nicholas Wright's play Rattigan's Nijinsky - which has premiered at the Chichester Festival Theatre - is an unfilmed screenplay which Rattigan wrote in 1974 for the BBC, about the relationship between Sergei Diaghilev and the brilliant young Russian dancer. Wright locates the drama in Rattigan's suite at Claridges where episodes from the Nijinsky script play out between the playwright's meetings with the dancer's widow and with a BBC producer.

Amy Winehouse's death has generated a huge amount of instant reaction copy in the press. Tom and his guests have been reading news stories, tributes and opinion pieces to get a sense of how the British media have responded to this sad event -- and to what extent they have attempted to fit Winehouse's death into the same well-worn template of rock-star misbehaviour that characterised most of the coverage of her while she was alive.

The Borgias is a Showtime mini-series about the prominent Renaissance family which is being shown on Sky Atlantic. Written by the Irish writer and filmmaker Neil Jordan, it stars Jeremy Irons as Rodrigo Borgia whose elevation to the papacy is the subject of the first episode. Sex, poisoning and corruption soon enter the picture.

Producer: Torquil MacLeod.

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45 minutes

Last on

Sat 30 Jul 2011 19:15