Talk about Newsnight

A blog and forum.

Friday, 15 February, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 15 Feb 08, 05:33 PM

Tonight on Newsnight, yob culture and then on Newsnight Review, culture..

avery203x152.jpgThere have been a series of high profile stories this week involving inhuman behaviour by children. Gareth Avery was brutally attacked because he confronted a group of young drunks relieving themselves in his garden.

A 15-year-old girl admitted filming a fatal attack on Gavin Waterhouse in West Yorkshire by a 19 year old and a 17 year old. She then showed the footage to others even after it was known that Mr Waterhouse had died.

This was the response from a local criminal lawyer: “More than ever before young people are turning to extreme violence, in some cases for no reason other than entertainment. This case illustrates the gross callousness some teenagers are capable of."

Also this week Helen Newlove, the widow of Garry Newlove who was beaten to death by drunk youths has called for harsh measures for those selling alcohol to minors, and the ending of the glamorising of drinking on TV.

Tonight we devote the programme to trying to make some sense of what is going on. Why does no other country in Europe seem to have the same binge drinking nihilistic culture among it teenagers?

Why are some parents not able to exert any influence or control over anti-social behaviour? Are violent attacks by teenagers really up or is it that their ferocity distorts the true story? Is it adults who have let children down?

We hope to bring together in the studio tonight a teenager, a magistrate, a teacher, the police, a parent and the Children's Commissioner who said this week that the so-called "Mosquito" measure, a high-pitched sound used to disperse children from street corners, infringes their human rights.

Newsnight Review 15 February, 2008

  • Martha Kearney
  • 15 Feb 08, 04:22 PM

away203.jpgMark Kermode predicted on Review last week that Julie Christie wouldn't win an Oscar but she would get a Bafta for her performance in Away From Her.

In fact, the surprise Bafta winner was the French star of La Vie en Rose, Marion Cotillard. This is the fourth time that Julie Christie has been nominated for a leading actress Oscar - she won for Darling in 1966.

Now she is playing a woman who is struck down by Alzheimer’s and decides to move into a home. The first-time director Sarah Polley co-starred with Christie in The Secret Life of Words.

This week's panel - Bidisha, Rosie Boycott and Michael Gove - will be discussing Away From Her which has been re-released as a result of the Oscar nomination.

Art v commerce

By the way, one journalist blogged recently that they play Review roulette each week, predicting who will be on the panel. Guess they never read the email. Other people have told me they play Fantasy Guests. Do let me know who are yours.

Meanwhile, our real panel will also be discussing Speed-the-Plow, a Mamet revival on at The Old Vic in London. It stars the theatre's artistic director Kevin Spacey and Jeff Goldblum as two Hollywood producers confronting the age old clash of art versus commerce.

Our third item is a work which was voted best novel of 2007 by Time magazine in the States. It took Junot Díaz 11 years to write The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao after his highly acclaimed short story collection Drown.
The language of the book is bizarrely imaginative, switching between the Spanish of Oscar’s native Dominican Republic, the fantasy speak of Tolkien, sci-fi and street slang.

duffymarling203.jpgAmy Winehouse did brilliantly at the Grammys this week even though her visa came in too late for her to travel to the States. Whether down to her success or not, there is now a real vogue for young British women singer-songwriters.

We'll be looking at that new generation - Laura Marling who at 18 is picking up comparisons with Joni Mitchell; Adele whose album 19 is named for her age; and Duffy, the Welsh singer whom experts have picked as one of the key sounds of 2008.

Do join us at 11pm.

Martha Kearney

Sharia Law debate - Newswatch

  • Newsnight
  • 15 Feb 08, 04:06 PM


A number of viewers were unhappy with the Sharia law discussion we held last week (watch it here) with Douglas Murray from the Centre for Social Cohesion, Professor Tariq Ramadan of Oxford University, and the Rt Rev Stephen Lowe, Bishop of Hulme.

Editor Peter Barron went on the BBC's Newswatch to discuss the debate and coverage. Watch the programme here.

Belgian astronauts - an apology

  • Newsnight
  • 15 Feb 08, 02:35 PM

Last night during Steve Smith's piece on proposals to send more Britons into space - watch it here - it was suggested that there hadn't been any Belgian astronauts.

Dirk FrimoutHowever, as viewer Danny noted, Belgium has had not one, but two men in space. The first was Dirk Frimout way back in 1992, who flew as a payload specialist aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis.

An unsourced note on his wikipaedia entry claims he sparked "Frimout-mania" on his return to Belgium and spoke with Prince Philippe whilst aboard Atlantis. We can't confirm the extent of Frimout-mania but we'd love to hear of any examples. We did find this apparent homage on YouTube - La danse du Dirk Frimout.

The second Belgian in space was Frank De Winne, who flew as a member of a Russian Soyuz programme in 2002, and is due to fly again on another Soyuz mission to the International Space Station in 2009.

So apologies to Belgium and its astronauts and all its space enthusiasts.

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