Image for 08/02/2013Not currently available on BBC iPlayer

Duration: 50 minutes

Martha Kearney and guests Erica Wagner, Hadley Freeman and Paul Morley mark the 50th anniversary of the death of Sylvia Plath by discussing a new biography of her early life: Mad Girl's Love Song. They also visit an exhibition of 1970s Glam at Tate Liverpool and assess Anthony Hopkins' performance in the title role of the film Hitchcock.

  • Hitchcock


    Starring Anthony Hopkins in the title role, Hitchcock is a new film about the master of the McGuffin, Alfred Hitchcock, and the woman who stood shoulder to shoulder with him for over 50 years. Set during the making of one of his most successful films, Psycho, and billed as a love story, Hitchcock chronicles the influence of the director’s wife Alma Reville (Helen Mirren) on the director’s career at a time when his usual financial backers had refused to finance this controversial film. Mirren’s performance has earned her a nomination for the Best Actress trophy at the BAFTAs, and the film’s impressive supporting cast includes Toni Collette, Scarlett Johansson and Jessica Biel. But does the film reveal new insights into Alma’s influence on the legendary director’s films and career?

  • Mad Girl's Love Song

    Mad Girl's Love Song

    Andrew Wilson’s detailed account of Sylvia Plath’s life before she met Ted Hughes reveals her fragility and discord with society from an early age. The poet and novelist published her most famous work The Bell Jar fifty years ago but this month also marks five decades since her suicide at the age of 30. Academics and Plath fanatics have long debated the reason for her suicide, some pointing the finger at her estranged husband, Ted Hughes. Now Wilson’s book draws on unpublished letters and interviews with Plath’s friends to piece together her troubled childhood and to attempt to shed new light on the short but notable life of one of the twentieth century’s greatest poets.

    Mad Girl's Love Song
  • Glam! The Performance of Style

    Glam! The Performance of Style

    Bringing together over 100 works from around the world, Glam! The Performance of Style is an eclectic collection of high and low culture from an extravagant era in the early 1970s. The exhibition takes as its starting point the dynamic art, music and fashion which emerged from Britain’s art schools in the 1960s and extends to the glam culture in New York and the evolution of camp and androgyny, with Andy Warhol named as a key figure of the movement. Alongside paintings and photographs, on display are record sleeves, posters, movies, magazines and even stage costumes (once worn by Brian Eno, Bryan Ferry and Marc Bolan) which reveal the glam aesthetic in all its kitsch and transgressive glory.

    Photograph: David Bowie by Terry O'Neill, 1974

    Glam! The Performance of Style
  • House of Cards

    House of Cards

    Andrew Davies’ adaptation of Michael Dobbs’ political novel House of Cards – featuring the late Ian Richardson as the Machiavellian MP Francis Urquhart - was a big hit for the BBC in the early 1990s. Now David Fincher, the director of Fight Club and The Social Network, pays tribute in a new series set in contemporary Washington – with Kevin Spacey as the new series’ anti-hero, House Majority Whip Francis Underwood. The entire first series of 13 episodes – available to view on the world’s biggest online broadcaster, Netflix – was released on one day. So is the move from Westminster to Washington a successful one, and does this release of an entire season of shows at once reflect changing trends in TV consumption?

    Photo credit: Melinda Sue Gordon for Netflix

    House of Cards
  • Lady Lazarus

    Lady Lazarus

    February 11th 2013 is the 50th anniversary of the death of Sylvia Plath. To mark the occasion The Space is publishing Lady Lazarus, a film by Sandra Lahire from the BFI collection. It's an intricately woven response to Plath’s readings of her own poetry, with extracts from Ouija, The Decline of Oracles, Cut, Daddy, Point Shirley, The Applicant, Lady Lazarus, Fever 103 and Ariel, recorded in 1957/58. These readings plus extracts from an interview given in 1962 provide an anchor for a film which celebrates Plath’s macabre humour and cinematic vision. A radical and feminist whose films seemed to arise out of a single uncompromising personal and political vision, Sandra Lahire (1950-2001) created a trilogy of films inspired by Plath, including Lady Lazarus (1991), Night Dances (1995) and Johnny Panic (1999).

    The Space Website
  • The Golden Age of the Album

    The Golden Age of the Album

    50 years on since the Beatles recorded their album Please Please Me at Abbey Road Studios, BBC Four, Radio 2 & 6 Music have launched a fortnight of programmes celebrating the golden age of the album. With the advent of stereo and the development of multi-track recording in the 60s, the album changed from a collection of singles into a platform for artists to indulge their creative freedom. Not only did the album become a new way to listen to music, but the record collection became an expression of musical taste and status. Later, the advent of the CD boosted sales of both new and old music but albums sales have been declining for the last 8 years. Downloading and streaming have made it easy for music fans to pick and choose from a multitude of individual tracks available online. So is the album, so beloved by music fans of a certain age, doomed to suffer death by download?

    BBC Golden Age of the Album Season


Martha Kearney
Executive Producer
Andrew Lockyer
Paul Morley


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