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Saturday Review
Saturday 7.15 - 8.00pm.
Saturday Review offers sharp, critical discussion of the week's cultural events.
This week
Saturday 20 October 2007
Listen to this programme in full
War Horse rides high at the National Theatre; arousing television with Fanny Hill; the terror of anti-terrorism techniques in Rendition; Posy Simmonds updates Thomas Hardy in Tamara Drewe; and a great British art collection from America.
Kathryn Hughes
– historian
Adam Mars-Jones – writer
Denise Mina - writer

War Horse
This stage adaptation of the children’s book by Michael Morpurgo tells the story of a young Devon boy’s love for his horse, Joey. When World War One breaks out the horse is sold to the cavalry and shipped to France. Soon after the boy lies about his age and joins up and sets off to war in the hope of finding Joey.

The life-size horses in this production are represented by puppets which are made by the South African Handspring Puppet Company. The play is directed by Marianne Elliot and Tom Morris.

War Horse is in the Olivier auditorium at the National Theatre in London until February 2008.

Tamara Drewe
Posy Simmonds’ comic strip for The Guardian has been extended and published as a graphic novel. Set in a writers’ retreat, it is a thrilling tale of jealousy and desire set in a remote rural village. Everything is peaceful until the arrival of a young journalist, Tamara Drewe, who has transformed herself into a stunning beauty with the aid of plastic surgery on her nose and a new wardrobe. She becomes an object of lust, envy and the focus of unrequited love.

Tamara Drewe is published by Jonathan Cape.

An American’s Passion for British Art: Paul Mellon’s Legacy
The Royal Academy’s new exhibition is celebrating the centenary of the birth of Paul Mellon, one of the greatest collectors of British art, with an exhibition of major works from the Paul Mellon Collection at the Yale Centre for British Art. The exhibition exhibits over 150 works, including prints, drawings, paintings, rare books and manuscripts. Many of the works have not been seen by the British public since they were purchased. The exhibition includes major works by Reynolds, Gainsborough, Stubbs, Constable and Turner.

An American’s Passion for British Art Paul Mellon’s Legacy is at The Royal Academy in London until January 27 2008.

Fanny Hill
This two part television series has been adapted by Andrew Davies from the famous 18th century erotic novel by John Cleland. Fanny Hill is the story of a young country girl who, through financial necessity, falls into prostitution. Forced to take a succession of lovers to survive, she slowly rises to respectability - but only after enjoying wholeheartedly the fruits of her labour.

Newcomer Rebecca Night stars as the eponymous heroine; Alex Robertson plays her true love, Charles. Alison Steadman is Mrs Brown, owner of a house of ill-repute who first introduces Fanny to the oldest profession in the world. Samantha Bond plays Mrs Coles, owner of a rival establishment.

The series is accompanied by two documentaries: The Curse Of Success which tells the story of the novel's author, John Cleland, and While in The Age Of Excess, in which Matthew Sweet delves into a world where bawdy ballads, licentious pamphlets and erotic prints helped set the aesthetic tone of 18th century England.

Fanny Hill
Episode 1: Monday 22 October 9pm on BBC 4
Episode 2: Monday 29 October 9pm on BBC 4

The Curse of Success – Mon 22 Oct, 11:35 pm on BBC4
The Age of Excess: When Britain Went Too Far - Fri 26 Oct, 1:20am

This film is a thriller directed by Gavin Hood and starring Reese Witherspoon, Meryl Streep and Jake Gyllenhaal. It centres on the controversial CIA practice of extraordinary rendition – abducting foreign nationals deemed a threat to national security for detention and interrogation in secret overseas prisons.

When an Egyptian-American man, Anwar El-Ibrahimi, disappears on a flight from South Africa to Washington DC, his American wife, Isabella (Reese Witherspoon), travels to Washington to try and learn the reason for his disappearance. Meanwhile, at a secret detention facility somewhere outside the United States, CIA analyst Douglas Freeman (Jake Gyllenhaal) is forced to question his assignment in an attempt to save thousands as he becomes a party to the unorthodox interrogation of El-Ibrahimi.

Rendition is in cinemas now, certificate 15.

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