Camilla Swift Camilla Swift

Spectator Play: The highs and the lows of what’s going on in arts this week | 27 September 2013

When you hear the words ‘English art’, there are very few people who would immediately think of embroidery. As Dan Jones said when he was asked if he would like to present a programme about ‘the golden age’ of English embroidery, ‘Embroidery? What, like sewing?’ But accept the offer he did, and found that there’s a lot more to embroidery, as an art form, than ‘just’ sewing. In this week’s magazine he writes about everything he learnt about ‘one of English history’s most underappreciated art forms’. Here’s a clip from one of the previous ‘Fabric of Britain’ programmes – this one on knitting.

Downton Abbey has returned to our screens for its fourth season. Is that a reason to crack open a bottle? In Clarissa Tan’s television review this week, she argues that Downton has most of the appeal it had in earlier series. There are so many similarities between our royal family and the family at Downton that it almost ‘lets the light in on the magic’ of our royals. But ‘what a disappointing light it was’. Rather than drama, it was all rather pedestrian – ‘it needs to whip up more action’, advises Clarissa.  Mind you, it is only episode 1. Who knows what might be in store for the family in the next few months?

Woody Allen’s back and he’s on ‘top form’ – at least as far as Deborah Ross is concerned. His new film, Blue Jasmine, ‘is brilliant’. ‘It’s brilliantly written, directed and observed; it’s brilliantly watchable… and brilliantly performed’. That’s probably all you need to know about the film; so here’s the trailer.

The story of Scott’s ‘ill-fated but heroic expedition to the South Pole’ in 1910-1913 is one which Julian Broke-Evans promised his father he would continue.

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