Arts feature

Mystery of the missing tapes

Selina Mills on how some newly discovered tapes give us a glimpse into the life of Agatha Christie One hot summer’s afternoon in London, when I was five or six, I was sent to the garden of our house in Chelsea, rather than attending a birthday party, to contemplate a naughty deed. I can’t remember

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Unlimited beauty

Paths to Fame: Turner Watercolours from the Courtauld Courtauld Institute, Somerset House, WC2, until 25 January 2009 This is the first full display of the Courtauld’s holding of Turner watercolours, recently enriched by nine paintings from the Scharf Bequest. The exhibition is further enhanced by loans from the Tate, and offers a splendid introduction to

Change of tack

Gethsemane Cottesloe State of Emergency Gate There’s a massive hole in the middle of David Hare’s new play. It’s called Iraq. What an issue that was. What a best-seller. Talk about box-office. For two or three years it seemed that Hare had single-handedly won the Iraq war but his victory proved tenuous and short-lived. Once

Power struggle

Boris Godunov English National Opera La rencontre imprévue Guildhall School of Music and Drama The new production of Musorgsky’s most important work Boris Godunov, at English National Opera, raises more questions than it answers. It is an impressive achievement, showing a seriousness of commitment to the work on the part of everyone involved, and yet

Depth to the dynamics

Triple Bill Royal Opera House According to a tacitly shared, unwritten code of common professional practice, critics ought not to divulge their opinion before being published. Which is why I felt terribly guilty when, at the end of Wayne McGregor’s Infra, I gave my first impressions to a BBC interviewer. True, I did not say

Could do better | 19 November 2008

Body of Lies 15, Nationwide Body of Lies is the latest film from producer/director Ridley Scott and it is an espionage thriller set mostly in the Middle East — Iraq, Jordan and Syria — featuring espionage, counter-espionage, counter-counter-espionage and, if you can keep up, which I didn’t, there is probably a considerable amount of counter-counter-counter-espionage

Here’s an idea . . .

I really, really wish I could change places this week and become a TV critic. Nothing on radio has quite matched the drama of that extraordinarily necessary BBC2 documentary, The Fallen, which in three long hours commemorated each and every one of the British soldiers who have died in the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Winning formulas

Andy Hamilton was an exceedingly welcome panellist in the days when I did The News Quiz, so I’m biased. Andy Hamilton was an exceedingly welcome panellist in the days when I did The News Quiz, so I’m biased. But I genuinely found his sitcom, Outnumbered (BBC 1, Saturday), co-written with his long-time collaborator Guy Jenkin,

Glorious gadgets

Is Christmas creeping up on you, unawares? Again? Have you found yourself, even at this late hour, facing a nil-all draw as far as presents bought, and presents asked for, is concerned? Never mind. When, finally, you can no longer ignore what is happening all around you, at least you can be comforted by the

Due discretion

During the two previous recessions it was not unknown for Rolls-Royce and Bentley owners to replace their cars covertly. Proprietors were reluctant to be seen to trade in their two-year-old Shadows or Turbo Rs for brand new ones while staff were being laid off. They still bought the new models but they specified identical-looking cars