Neil Clark

The genius of Flanders and Swann

War has had its apologians ever since history began,From the times of the Greeks and Trojans when they sang of Arms and the Man,(But if you ask me to name the best, sir, I’ll tell you the one I mean,Head and shoulders above the rest, sir, was the War of 14-18) If you’ve never heard

The forgotten genius of Dennis Price

This month marks the 50th anniversary of the sad death of the actor Dennis Price, star of the classic 1949 black comedy Kind Hearts and Coronets, regarded by many to be the greatest British film of all time. Price was only 58 when he died from cirrhosis of the liver and complications following a broken

James Heale, Lisa Haseldine and Neil Clark

19 min listen

This week: James Heale reads his politics column on why the Tories should fear the Greens (00:56), Lisa Haseldine outlines some of the changes to Russia’s school curriculum (06:04) and Neil Clark extols the joys of non-league football (13:02).   Produced and presented by Oscar Edmondson. 

Real football fans watch non-League football

Oxford City vs Rochdale at Court Place Farm doesn’t have quite the same ring as Chelsea vs Liverpool at Stamford Bridge, but last Saturday’s match was important all the same. At this level, you feel part of the match, which never happens in an executive box at the Emirates ‘The Hoops’, Oxford’s oldest football club,

What Britain can learn from Romania

Romania gets a bad rap here, associated as it often is with organised crime. In recent years around half a million Romanians have settled in the UK, making them the fourth largest group of foreign-born residents. But the irony is that as Romanians head to Britain in search of a higher standard of living, we

How will it end?

42 min listen

On the podcast this week: How will the war on Ukraine end? This is the question that Russia correspondent Owen Matthews asks in his cover piece for The Spectator. He is joined by Rose Gottemoeller, former deputy secretary general of Nato, to discuss whether the end is in sight (01:02). Also this week: Matthew Parris interviews

In praise of greyhound racing

I feel strangely and disproportionately elated when Number 2 dog, Ballyblack Bess, powers home strongly to win the 20.03 race. It’s a Monday evening in January in the greyhound stadium in Blackbird Leys, Oxford. I only won £9 but I’m pleased I came because an evening at the dogs is still great old-fashioned fun. The

The enduring appeal of ’Allo ’Allo!

If you think your life is stressful it’s good to reflect on what poor René Artois went through each week in ’Allo ’Allo!, the 1980s BBC sitcom set during the German occupation of France. RAF pilots hidden in his mother-in-law’s cupboard upstairs, German officers in the café downstairs, Herr Otto Flick of the Gestapo likely

Katy Balls, Rachel Johnson and Neil Clark

21 min listen

On this week’s episode: Katy Balls has written about what foreign policy would look like under a Liz Truss government (0:34). Rachel Johnson young boys and men can learn from the Lioness’s victory (06:50) and Neil Clark writes about Jim Corbett’s tiger hunting stories (12.34). Presented and produced by Natasha Feroze.

What we can all learn from Jim Corbett’s tiger tales

‘The word “Terror” is so generally and universally used in connection with everyday trivial matters that it is apt to fail to convey, when intended to do so, its real meaning.’ Thus begins the third chapter of The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag (1947), part of the Man-Eater series by the great Anglo-Indian hunter and naturalist

The danger and glory of the Isle of Man TT

It’s around 8.10 on a lovely warm summer’s evening on the Isle of Man and the sidecar practice session in the 2022 TT – Tourist Trophy – is about to begin. The announcer at the grandstand asks the sidecar riders to get ready to race in ten minutes. There is the sound of engines revving

Nothing brings people together like a coach holiday

Amid all the Covid-19 coverage, it’s hardly surprising that the collapse of a coach-tour operator last week didn’t make too many headlines. But the end of Shearings, the largest such operator in Europe, could mean the end of coach holidays in the UK, and if that happens, something very special will have been lost. Coach

Václav Klaus: The lies Europe tells about Russia

Václav Klaus has made a habit of saying things others shy away from saying, but it doesn’t seem to have done him much harm in the popularity stakes. Quite the opposite: the 73-year-old ardently Eurosceptic free-marketeer has legitimate claims to be regarded as the most successful ‘true blue’ conservative politician in Europe over the past

On safari in Gloucestershire

The heat was still sweltering as we headed off at dusk towards the hide to watch wildlife with our enthusiastic guide, Leonie. My wife and I were on our first ever safari — or rather ‘stayfari’. No, we weren’t in deepest Africa, but in deepest Gloucestershire. And we weren’t on the look out for lions

A perfect haven of peace in north Devon

It was late September. My wife and I were feeling overworked and overstressed — our mental states not helped by the fact that we hadn’t managed to get away for a proper summer holiday. We couldn’t face the prospect of middle-of-the-night flights or airport queues, so we looked for somewhere in the UK where we

Castro’s Cuba was no place for a socialist like me

It’s a country where the vast majority live in poverty, while a tiny, corrupt elite live in luxury. It’s a place where, 14 years after South Africa abolished apartheid, a form of it still operates. And it’s a country where you can be threatened with prison not just for criticising the country’s leadership, but also

Where did all the sweet people go?

To say someone was ‘sweet’ used to be quite common in Britain. We didn’t just use the word to describe our mothers and grandmothers, but a wide range of people, including public figures. But not any more. Public acts of sweetness, such as gently warning people that their shoelaces were untied, are now rare. Sweetness

An actor from the age of elegance

I don’t think I have ever been so nervous before a telephone call. I had written to Ian Carmichael, via his agent, to ask if I could interview him for an article I was writing on the late Dennis Price, who had played Jeeves to Carmichael’s Bertie Wooster in the 1960s BBC series The World

The face of a muffin

What was it about post-war British cinema? Our films were lit up by a collection of wonderfully idiosyncratic performers. Think Alistair Sim, Terry-Thomas and Robert Morley. Perhaps the most idiosyncratic of them all was Margaret Rutherford. The drama critic, J. C. Trewin once remarked, ‘When you have seen any performance by Margaret Rutherford you are

On home ground

Neil Clark on Cyril Hare’s Tragedy at Law, first published in 1942. ‘The best detective story that has appeared for some time and at the end of the year will tundoubtedly stand as one of the class leaders in the English school’ was how The Spectator described Cyril Hare’s Tragedy at Law, when it first