Today’s lesson (which I reflect upon across the jump) comes in the shape of a substantial quote from a Times interview by Libby Purves (£) last week with the director of the National Theatre Nick Hytner.
Talking of the BBC, I wonder what he feels about its arts coverage: does it do all it should? ‘Plainly it doesn’t. I’ll be surprised if that doesn’t change under Tony [Hall, incoming Director-General]. To the extent that a DG can involve himself in nuts and bolts, he’ll surely look at it.’ I was referring to the sidelining of the Review Show from BBC Two to BBC Four, but he brushes that aside. ‘That’s just journalism! I’m interested in performance.’
‘I don’t see why there couldn’t be a close relationship between the BBC and this vast performance network — us, the Crucible, the Royal Exchange, Opera North, Broadsides, Live Theatre, the Royal Ballet, everyone! Fifty-two weeks, more than 52 companies offering something. It’s low-hanging fruit, there for the taking. NT Live is for the big screen, but there are ways to bring terrific performances to television. Look what marvellous work Greg Doran did with Julius Caesar. The conventional wisdom is that the two worlds are separate, and that needs challenging… Look, they’ve really got to detach themselves from this Downton ratings mentality.’
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