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Evie

The Book Review Show

I have just discovered this TV programme - I missed the first episode, but have just been watching ep. 2.  It's presented by Martha Kearney, with four panellists, who I assume change each week, or perhaps they are recycled.  John Carey and Kate Mosse were among the contributors this week, and two others who were new names to me.

There were interviews with Alan Hollinghurst, Julia Donaldson and Philip Roth (excellent -  interviewed by Kirsty Wark), with discussion of their books, and John Sessions on Mervyn Peake and Gormenghast, followed by discussion - Peake's widow has apparently published a fourth Gormenghast novel based on a fragment Peake wrote, something John Carey said was 'not to be read', it was so awful.  But the discussion about Peake, and about his daughter's memoir of her father, was interesting.

Has anyone else seen this series?  Apologies if I have missed a thread somewhere else.  It seems a useful addition to the schedules - an hour-long weekly programme devoted to discussion of books, with author interviews and no gimmicks.  :0)
Evie

Oh, I may have jumped the gun a bit...it looks as though it is just an episode in the normal Review Show.  Must investigate further!
Chibiabos83

I saw the Roth interview by chance, and didn't realise it was part of a programme about books or I might have watched more. I dislike this kind of programme instinctively, and I didn't really enjoy the Roth interview, but I think that's because Kirsty Wark gets on my nerves. There's a Roth interview on the current Front Row podcast that may be more my cup of tea. Sorry to have missed the Hollinghurst bit. But I suppose it's a good thing that books are being discussed somewhere on TV in more depth than by Jo Brand and her bunch of Z-listers on Channel 4 at the moment (I read that programme's returned recently, but have less than no desire to watch it).
Evie

Oh, I loved the Philip Roth interview - I'm not a great fan of Kirsty Wark either, but she did seem to get some interesting things out of him.  Hollinghurst was not as interesting 9though his book does sound interesting) and he read a cringeworthy sex scene (heterosexual) from his latest book.  I didn't like him; I loved Roth's mixture of humour, seriousness, self-irony, honesty, playfulness - just wonderful.  A proper writer.
Chibiabos83

Maybe I'll give it another go - I presume it's on iPlayer? I was concentrating on something else while the Roth was on my TV, and I'm not good at multi-tasking. And I would like to see the Hollinghurst - I heard an interview he did with Mark Lawson recently, and Lawson thinks the new book is his best (which is saying something judging by the quality of the other one of his I've read, The Swimming-Pool Library).
Evie

I would definitely have a look on iPlayer - the panel discuss his book after the interview, and were pretty much in agreement that it's excellent, with the exception of one slightly irritating woman who kept saying that she couldn't follow the 'story' and needed more signposts.  I thought the Mervyn Peake section was interesting too, despite John Sessions!
Mikeharvey

This series is on BBC2 once a month.   I enjoyed the interviews, including the Philip Roth, and agree with the panellist who thought Roth's novel 'Nemesis' is outstanding.  Have acquired the new Hollinghurst and look forward to reading it.
county_lady

Evie I also enjoyed the Philip Roth interview.
The programme is only broadcast once a month but at least it is for discussion of books and not self-promotion.
Green Jay

What channel is it on, and what day of the week? Is it called the Book Review Show? I can try and find it on my catch up facility but I'd need to know what I'm looking for and when. I heard Hollinghurst speakign on radio and he had such a fogeyish voice, not in keeping with how he looks in the photos in the review sections recently - he sounded much older. Or maybe the tone of voice/accent of an older generation?
Evie

It was on Friday (30 June) on BBC2 at 11pm.

Thanks for the info, county-lady, will have to remember to look out for it each month.
Green Jay

Thanks, Evie.
Evie

I thought last night's programme, entirely about Dickens, was good (despite Kate Mosse having too much to say as usual).  Simon Callow was very interesting on Dickens' theatricality; and the panel then discussed the various recent biographies of Dickens, including Callow's, and some of the filmed adaptations and the problems involved in filming Dickens.  I enjoyed it all.
Mikeharvey

I enjoyed it too. I always like John Carey who seems an amiable person who wears his erudition lightly. I was interested in the discussion about those Victorian writers who live in Dickens' shadow like Mrs Humphrey Ward whose 'Robert Elsemere' I read and enjoyed last year.  Must read 'Lady Audley's Secret'. Thought the other man rather dragged in his Nietsche references though.  I thought the point about Dickens' adaptations being best on stage rather than film was interesting. I remember the RSC's wonderful two part stage version of 'Nicholas Nickleby' well. Apart from dramatising the characters they had the cast speaking lots of linking narrative.
county_lady

After watching TBR on Friday my husband said 'I must read more Dickens' so I think the programme worked. Like Mike I want to read Lady Audley's Secret and more of the other writers mentioned.
Evie

Mike, I agree that the Nietzsche references were a bit out of sync with the rest of the discussion - Geoff Dyer seemed to want a rather different sort of discussion, though I feel he was more interesting than Kate Mosse, had he been allowed a bit more of a voice.

I was particularly interested in the point about how the filmed adaptations so often go for a level of extreme realism in interpreting Dickens, when in fact Dickens' novels are in fact surreal at times rather than simply realist - I can't now remember if it was Simon Callow or John Carey who made that remark, but it made me think a lot about the way films have affected people's perception of Dickens.

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