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Betty Balfour Profile, James Lovelock, Peter Buwalda

45 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 08 April 2014

Matthew Sweet presents an edition of Radio 3's arts and ideas programme.

Betty Balfour

Comedian Lucy Porter and British Film Institute Curator Bryony Dixon reflect on the short-lived stardom of Betty Balfour, whose 1923 film Love, Life and Laughter has just been rediscovered in Holland, after decades in which it was thought lost. Called 'Britain's Mary Pickford' and 'the world's greatest film comedienne', she was a much loved silent film actress in the 1920s, making the popular Squibs series with director George Pearson and Champagne with Alfred Hitchcock, before the coming of sound relegated her to a disappointed retirement in the home counties.

There's also a chance to hear the Life, Love and Laughter Overture, by Haidee de Ranse, played live in studio by pianist Stephen Horne.

Peter Buwalda: Bonita Avenue

The Dutch novelist joins Matthew live in studio to discuss his multi-award-winning fictional debut, about a liberal Dutch academic pushed towards insanity by the discovery that certain vices that he might tolerate in the public sphere have roots close to home.

Bonita Avenue, by Peter Buwalda, is published by Pushkin Press.

James Lovelock

Inventor, scientist, and writer James Lovelock has had a profound impact on our understanding of climate change. In the 1960s he invented a device that detected CFCs in the atmosphere, proving beyond doubt for the first time that pollution was global, not local. His Gaia theory, meanwhile, postulated that the earth should be seen as a single self-regulating organism, in which the living and non-living elements interact. In tonight's programme he talks to Matthew about whether humans face the same fate as the dinosaurs.

Unlocking Lovelock: Scientist, Inventor, Maverick, is at the Science Museum in London until next year.

A Rough Ride to the Future, by James Lovelock, is out now, published by Allen Lane.

Producer: Laura Thomas.


3 items
Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes
  • Betty Balfour

    Lucy Porter and Bryony Dixon reflect on the short-lived stardom of Betty Balfour.

  • Peter Buwalda

    Peter Buwalda talks about his debut novel Bonita Avenue.

  • James Lovelock

    Interview with inventor, scientist, and writer James Lovelock.


Matthew Sweet
Interviewed Guest
Bryony Dixon
Interviewed Guest
Lucy Porter
Stephen Horne
Interviewed Guest
Peter Buwalda
Interviewed Guest
James Lovelock
Laura Thomas


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