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Sandraseahorse



Joined: 21 Nov 2008
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 9:34 am    Post subject:  Reply with quote

I was irritated by the fact that Claire Tomalin was given just a small spot in this programme when, as a Dicken biographer, Tomalin was far more qualified to present the programme than Sue Perkins, who seems to get massive TV exposure.


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MikeAlx



Joined: 17 Nov 2008
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Location: Seaford, East Sussex

PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's symptomatic of our TV culture in general though, isn't it? This is why we get programmes like these now, instead of things like Bookmark.

I heard Tomalin interviewed on the Guardian Books podcast and on Radio 4's Front Row - she had some very interesting things to say about Dickens, amongst other things suggesting that Peter Ackroyd was too much of an apologist regarding the author's relationship with Ternan, and marshalling strong evidence to support her side of the argument. You'd be lucky to find such rigour on TV nowadays.



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TheRejectAmidHair



Joined: 19 Nov 2008
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Location: Staines, Middlesex

PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 10:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's good to see Radio 4 maintaining standards. Now, if they could get the three Dickens biographers (Peter Ackroyd, Michael Slater & Claire Tomalin) together to argue out their differences ... with no input from celebs...



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KlaraZ



Joined: 29 Jun 2010
Posts: 193



PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 11:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I wanted to hear more from Claire Tomalin too, plus a few more Dickens scholars. A Slater v. Tomalin debate would have been good. Oddly enough, I'd never even heard of Sue Perkins before! I suppose I just don't watch the programmes where she appears and she wasn't on my radar. Lots of 'popular' TV types aren't, esp. if they're not actors. (I'm not as bad as my husband, though, who hadn't heard of Jill Dando until she was murdered.) But to get back to 'Mrs Dickens' Xmas. Much as I enjoy spoofs like 'Bleak Expectations' and 'Bleak Old Shop Full of Stuff', I don't like what purports to be a serious comment on Dickens being overlaid with some of the pantomime Sue Perkins indulged in, all the dressing up and strutting about doing bogus Dickens readings. It really annoyed me!


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Green Jay



Joined: 13 Jan 2009
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Location: West Sussex

PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 3:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, dear - I rather enjoyed the programme!  Laughing More so than the rather disappointing and disjointed Armando Iannucci programme on Dickens a day or two later. Or maybe it was just that I was reading the paper at the same time that was on - but only because it didn't grab me as much as I'd hoped from the start.

Sue Perkins is over-exposed on Radio 4 and TV at the minute, and she did take a very partisan view, but I minded her much less in this than in some things she's done. I even enjoyed the melodramatic readings. But I would like to have heard a lot more from informed sources.

On Klara's point about why would Catherine Dickens want to stay with a husband who didn't love her any more - though presumably she loved him - this is the very stuff of Victorian marriages. To be separated in those days (and by force) was highly unusual, and a public humiliation. If Dickens was the ultimate star of his day, as this programme claimed, then it would be very public (footballers wives!!)   It was really a rather disgraceful position for a woman to be in at the time, a sort of social limbo, and it probably meant that you had no proper position in society; to be respectable you were either a spinster or a wife or a widow. Also her children were banned from seeing her, and she had no legal right to them at all. Whatever you think, or we can know,  about the causes of this rift, her position hardly seems one anyone would want to be in, however comfy the allowance. Think of the mysterious disgraced and outcast women in other authors' fiction and plays of the 19th century - theirs is never shown as a desirable position.


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MikeAlx



Joined: 17 Nov 2008
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Location: Seaford, East Sussex

PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For a woman to actually sue for a divorce in those days she would have had to prove her husband's infidelity. This remained the situation right into the 1920s. Even after that, it was quite difficult and potentially expensive for a woman to seek divorce. These facts are seldom brought up when people start bemoaning the high number of divorces these days!



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KlaraZ



Joined: 29 Jun 2010
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I take your point, Greenjay i.e why Catherine would have wanted to stay with Dickens. Of course, many women 'put up' with adulterous husbands in those days, and maintained a front to the world. As for Dickens 'banning' Catherine from seeing her children, certainly Sue Perkins asserted this in the programme, but I'd have liked to know what her evidence for this was. From the biographical material I've read, (incl.  Edgar Johnson's 'Dickens, his tragedy and triumph), it wasn't as clear-cut as that. Kate Dickens sided with her mother, and she was a very strong character, not at all the kind of person who would blindly obey her father) whereas Mamie sided with her mother.  Charley, the eldest son, also supported Catherine.


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Apple



Joined: 24 Nov 2008
Posts: 1751



PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 10:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I watched another Dickens biographical type programme as well over christmas, I can't remember what it was called, some bloke presented it and it was totally different from the Sue Perkins one which I think was meant to have a lighter feel to it, but it was interesting but didn't seem to flow as easily and personally I prefered the other one.


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Green Jay



Joined: 13 Jan 2009
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Location: West Sussex

PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 3:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Apple, I think that must have been the one presented by Armando Ianucci I mentioned above. I agree, it seemed rather bitty; and it was trailed as being about David Copperfield but seemed to stray off in all directions.


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Mikeharvey



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 3370


Location: Lancashire

PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm beginning to resist these programmes about Literature presented by people who are famous in another field.  Why not have the programmes led by an expert? Both the Ianucci programme and the Perkins were somewhat patronising to the viewer. It seemed as though they thought we were unable to appreciate the subject without jokes and references to Harry Potter...............



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