Arts feature

The write stuff | 3 January 2019

Given their track record, you might think that Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais would be spared the struggles that lesser screenwriters go through to see their writing on screen. But this, it turns out, would be naive. Clement and La Frenais may have written some of the best-loved programmes in British television history: Auf

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Chilling out

The Royal Ballet’s Les Patineurs is January as you would wish it. No slush, no new-year sales, no streaming chest colds. Winter, as imagined by Frederick Ashton, is an eternal ice rink lit by Chinese lanterns hung from icing-sugar branches. Ashton’s choreography is ingenious. His dancers really do seem to glide, the boards of the


All in the mind | 3 January 2019

The Tell-Tale Heart is based on a teeny-weeny short story by Edgar Allan Poe. The full text appears in the programme notes. Here’s the gist. A madman kills his landlord and is haunted by a ghostly heartbeat that prompts him to confess his crime. Anthony Neilson’s adaptation turns both characters into women and gives away


Comic genius

For the hundredth, possibly the thousandth, time, Lucy van Pelt offers to hold the football for Charlie Brown so he can kick it. She cajoles him with the innocence of her eyes. He falls for it; he falls for it every time. Lucy, as she always does, whips the ball away. Charlie loops into the


Women on top | 3 January 2019

The Favourite is a period romp set during the reign of Queen Anne, but it’s not your average period romp. The women are in charge. There is hot lesbian sex. It is savagely funny and often preposterous, with duck racing and ludicrous, vertiginous wigs and an astonishingly weird dance scene. Yet it is also involving


Out of control | 3 January 2019

You may have noticed the flood of podcasts that’s been pouring out of the BBC since the launch of its BBC Sounds app. This is supposed to give us easier access to the programme archive but actually has been an excuse to show off the podcasts now made by the corporation, from the specially made