Betty Balfour Profile, James Lovelock, Peter Buwalda

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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.

Release date:

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Tue 8 Apr 2014 22:00

Betty Balfour

Betty Balfour

Love, Life and Laughter starring Betty Balfour, was one of the films on the most BFI's Most Wanted list.  

Gallery: Images of Betty Balfour

(from the BFI National Archive and the British Newspaper Archive)  

Image above and right: Love, Life and Laughter(1923) by George Pearson. © Courtesy BFI. 

Peter Buwalda

Peter Buwalda

Bonita Avenue by Peter Buwalda is available in paperback and e-book from 10 April 2014.

Image: © Mikel Buwalda

James Lovelock

James Lovelock

Unlocking Lovelock: Scientist, Inventor, Maverick, is at the Science Museum in London from 9 April 2014 to 9 April 2015.

Gallery: Images from the Unlocking Lovelock exhibition 

A Rough Ride to the Future by James Lovelock is available in hardback and e-book now.

From the Free Thinking archive

From the Free Thinking archive

Landmark: Charlie Chaplin's City Lights
Lucy Porter, Paul McGann, Kevin Brownlow and David Robinson join Matthew Sweet on stage at the Watershed during Bristol's Slapstick Festival to discuss Chaplin's film City Lights.


Role Contributor
PresenterMatthew Sweet
Interviewed GuestBryony Dixon
Interviewed GuestLucy Porter
MusicianStephen Horne
Interviewed GuestPeter Buwalda
Interviewed GuestJames Lovelock
ProducerLaura Thomas

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