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  • Ciarán Hinds, Nightmare Alley and The Gilded Age reviewed, the latest Serpentine exhibition on the gaming platform Fortnite
    Belfast-born actor Ciarán Hinds tells Tom Sutcliffe about playing Kenneth Branagh’s grandfather in the director’s semi-autobiographical film Belfast, set in the early years of The Troubles in Northern Ireland. Historian Hallie Rubenhold and critic Hannah McGill discuss Guillermo Del Toro’s Nightmare Alley and Julian Fellowes’s US answer to Downton Abbey, The Gilded Age. The latest exhibition at Serpentine North in London stretches beyond the gallery’s confines. There are three ways to view it: at the gallery, in augmented reality on the Acute Art app, and on the gaming platform Fortnite, potentially opening it up to hundreds of millions of people. How radical an idea is this, what does it mean for the future of viewing art and how well does it work? Creator and producer of digital exhibitions Marie Foulston takes a look.
  • Munich: The Edge of War, Australia, Jo Browning Wroe on her novel, A Terrible Kindness
    Munich: The Edge of War is new film set in 1938 at the time of the Munich Agreement when the British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain was making a last ditch attempt to avoid war with Hitler’s Germany. Starring Jeremy Irons as Chamberlain it concerns the efforts of a young civil servant, played by George MacKay, who is sent to Munich to secure a document which would change the course of history. The German director Christian Schwochow talks about making a fictional thriller set against a background of historical fact. And as a director of episodes of The Crown he reveals what it’s like to be a German making drama out of the British royal family. A postcard from Australia in its multitudes. In the midst of a two year UK-Australia Cultural Exchange, the ABC’s C Benedict looks at what the UK means to Australia now. First Nations Australian creatives – Yorta Yorta composer Deborah Cheetham and Dharug artist Janelle Evans – talk about cultural custodianship and bringing Indigenous voices to the world, and sound artist Sia Ahmad finds surprising resonances between her experimental punk ethos and the Cornish independent film Bait. Jo Browning Wroe grew up in a crematorium in Birmingham. She talks to Tom about her debut novel, A Terrible Kindness, about a newly qualified embalmer, William, called in to attend to the dead after the Aberfan disaster in 1966 and the impact it has on his life.
  • Tilda Swinton, secrecy in screen casting, proposed cuts at Stoke museums
    Tilda Swinton talks to Samira about her new film Memoria, in which she plays a Scottish woman who, after hearing a loud 'bang' at daybreak, begins experiencing a mysterious sensory syndrome while traversing the jungles of Colombia. We investigate the widespread use of NDAs in acting auditions, hearing from actors who are often being asked to sign these non disclosure agreements without even being told what the film is about or what part they are auditioning for. We also hear from agents who say they’re increasingly excluded from the process. Why are NDA’s necessary in the film and TV industry and are actors being treated fairly? Samira explores the issues with Agent Bill Petrie, Producer/Director Simon Tate and Casting Director Debbie McWilliams. Major changes have been proposed to two pottery museums in Stoke-on-Trent, which will see the loss of curators and reduced opening hours. Alasdair Brooks of Re-Form Heritage explains why the plans are of global significance. The city council however says its new budget must save £10m. Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Jodie Keane
  • Adrian Lester on Trigger Point; Heal and Harrow perform live; northern writing prizes
    Actor Adrian Lester joins Samira to discuss his varied career on stage, in film and now back on UK television in the gripping new ITV police drama, Trigger Point. Scottish musicians Rachel Newton and Lauren MacColl AKA Heal and Harrow perform live ahead of Glasgow's Celtic Connections festival. Their music is a response to the 16th and 17th century Scottish Witch Trials and the women falsely accused. What do two Northern literary prizes reveal about writing from the North of England? Samira is joined by journalist Gary Younge, chair of judges for the Portico Prize, awarded to a book that evokes the spirit of the North of England, and Alison Hindell, chair of the Alfred Bradley Bursary Award, which is for radio drama writers from North. Paul Jones is the winner of the Alfred Bradley Bursary Award 2021. He discusses his radio play, Patterdale and what the term “Northern Writer” means to him. Patterdale will be broadcast on Radio 4 on 14 February. Presenter: Samira Ahmed Producer: Tim Prosser Photo: Adrian Lester Credit: BBC
  • Boiling Point and Hanya Yanagihara's To Paradise reviewed, Costa Children's Award winner Manjeet Mann
    Writers Okechukwu Nzelu and Stephanie Merritt join Tom Sutcliffe to review Hanya Yanagihara’s novel To Paradise, eagerly awaited by fans of her Booker-shortlisted A Little Life. Over three distinct time settings it tells a vast story about the United States, Hawaii, love and responsibility, taking in climate change and pandemics along the way. And we’ll be looking ahead to a few of the book titles our critics are looking forward to this year. Tracey MacLeod, one-time restaurant reviewer and critic on Masterchef, joins us to review Boiling Point, the one-take, fast-paced film set in a professional kitchen, starring Stephen Graham Following the attack on the sculpture of Prospero and Ariel outside BBC Broadcasting House, art historian Dr Chris Stephens, Director of the Holburne Museum, gives us an insight into Eric Gill and the problem of bad people making good art. Manjeet Mann joins us to discuss her Costa Children's Award winning novel The Crossing. Written in verse, it tells the story of Natalie and Sammy, two teenagers from opposite worlds, who are both overcoming their own grief.

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