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Arts and Drama
BACK ROW
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Saturday 17:30-18:00
Matthew Sweet presents the weekly film programme. Join in the discussion by visiting the Radio 4 Arts message board.
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PRESENTER
Matthew Sweet 
Jim White
Matthew Sweet is a writer and broadcaster with a doctorate in Wilkie Collins. He has been a director's assistant for the RSC, both film and TV critic of The Independent on Sunday, edited the Penguin Classic edition of The Woman in White, and has a monthly movie column in Red magazine. His first book, Inventing the Victorians (2001), put figures such as Julia Pastrana the Baboon Lady and the Bipenis Boy back into the story of the nineteenth century, and celebrated the achievements of the Victorian film industry.

His next, Shepperton Babylon: The Lost Worlds of British Cinema (forthcoming January 2005), uses candid interviews with nonagenarian survivors to rediscover the gossip, scandals and tragedies of the British film studio system. In the course of his research, he has lolled on a chaise longue and shared macaroons with Olivia de Havilland, drunk neat Vermouth with a 96-year-old mistress of Fred Astaire, and heard from a 99-year-old silent film star what it was like when Thomas Hardy came on location with the crew of the 1921 adaptation of The Mayor of Casterbridge.

The first film he saw was The Land that Time Forgot (1974), in which the dream cast of Susan Penhaligon, Doug McClure and Keith Barron discovered a menagerie of dinosaurs living on a hidden island in the South Atlantic. Since then, he’s been a sucker for any movie that involves fibre-glass pterodactyls.
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3 July 2004
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