Tag Archives: Alan Bennett

Love, Nina: Don’t ever give her socks

love ninaBritish comedies with a central female character usually fall into two camps. If she is young, she must be impossibly cute and winsome; the main premise being her woeful love life, her quest to get hitched, or her attempts to have a baby. If she is older, it’s possibly all of the former, but more likely her status within her family, her juggling of her exceedingly busy life, or her illicit affair with Roger from Number 36. What drew me to the five-parter ‘Love, Nina’ was that it was less about her traditional role as female and more about a young person coming of age in London in the early eighties, working as a nanny for an eccentric family.

Faye Marsay was the titular heroine, a fairly under the radar actress, who will no doubt pop up more in the future. Cute, but not impossibly so, she captured that sense of gangling awkwardness of the just turned twenty but still feeling like a little girl and not quite knowing how to be grown-up. Padding barefoot between the supermarket, her yoga class and her almost-boyfriend Nunney’s house while trying to fathom her place in the brave new world she found herself in was captivating. She often puts her bare foot in it, frequently embarrassing herself, or acting thoughtlessly, but still very endearing.  Continue reading

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Filed under Comedy, Drama

Desert Island Discs: Archive Addiction

Curse you, Radio 4! I’d just about got over my Twitter addiction, was taking it one day at a time, submitting to a higher power, remembering to brush my teeth, and then you go and launch the Desert Island Discs archive and that’s another lost weekend. Lost weekend in the John and Yoko sense meaning 18 months, and incidentally do you know that Yoko Ono is the only castaway ever to choose a Sean Lennon song? And that another of her choices, Lili Marlene, has been chosen by castaways as diverse as VS Naipul and Norman Mailer? Or that Mailer’s luxury was the finest marijuana, and that illicit drugs were also chosen by Haneif Kureshi and Sir Peregrine Worsthorne? Or that both Peregrine and David Mitchell chose books by Evelyn Waugh? You can see how you get a bit caught up in it.

It’s early days, so there are inevitably a few little teething troubles. The search engines don’t always work effectively, and there are surely a load more interesting facts and figures than the ten most chosen tracks (all classical. Beethoven’s 9th Symphony has been picked 97 times. Though the Beatles – all tracks collated – have been picked 247 times, list fans.).

And not all the people you want to hear are available. It’s an incredible archive – you can hear everyone from Sybille Bedford (who?) in July 1998, to the present day. But so many of the ones I remember most fondly were earlier than this. John Peel (1990), Alfred Wainwright (1988), Bruce Forsyth (1996, in which he completely wiped the floor with Sue Lawley) – these are some I’d love to hear again. And some of the older ones from before my time, the Roy Plomley years: Deborah Kerr and Ivor Novello in the 1940s; Alfred Hitchcock and Paul Robeson in the 1950s; just about everybody in the 1960s but especially Julie Andrews, Beryl Reid, Alan Bennett and Fanny Craddock.

The FAQ does have the throwaway line, ‘We aim to make more programmes available in the future.’ WHEN? WHEN?

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Lustbox: Dominic Cooper

Who’s a pretty boy then? Dominic Cooper is to be sure in Tamara Drewe, Stephen Frear’s recent film. Set in a remote Dorset village and based on a Posy Simmonds cartoon, Cooper, in kohl, black leather and banana yellow Porsche, plays Ben, bad boy drummer in indie band Swipe. After being interviewed by journalist Tamara (Gemma Arterton), he seduces her with a dextrous display of skilful drumming using cooking implements. Always a winner, until you get tinnitus. They embark on an affair watched by jealous teenage Swipe fan Jody, lurking in the disused bus stop (service discontinued) with her mate, snapping anyone in the village snogging with their mobile phones and hurling eggs at passing cars because they are so bored.

The story of Tamara Drewe, based loosely on Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd, is all played out very amusingly and includes excellent performances from Tamsin Greig and Roger Allam. But my favourite character by far is the badly behaved Ben, with his long-suffering boxer dog, floppy black hair and designer stubble. What impresses me about Dominic Cooper, other than the fact that he’s gorgeous and funny, is that he never seems to mind losing his dignity. His role as Dakin in The History Boys is probably my all-time favourite, but he was great in An Education too, and even managed to not look like a total knob as the bridegroom in the enjoyably preposterous Mamma Mia!

Posted by Inkface

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Lustbox: Nigel Slater

nigelOh Nigel. Such an unsexy name for an adorable man. I fell in love with you after reading Toast. With perfect pitch, it captured so much about the memories and meaning of food and emotion, and what it means to be well fed (or not) when you’re a kid. You seem a lovely, modest individual and the warmth of your Northern accent is like the middle of the perfect chocolate fondant (and we all know how difficult it is to get that right, Pauseliveaction). You could almost be the love child of Alan Bennett and Richard Wilson.

I know you’re bound to be in a long term relationship with another lovely man, and I realise my genitalia are entirely wrongly formed for your preferences, but maybe the Slater household could benefit from having a pet Inkface to tend to? I’d not to be too much trouble, I  just need a little warm corner of your house to live in, a bowl of gorgeous home grown vegetable soup from time to time, a few bones from those perfectly formed sticky chicken thighs you were cooking on the telly the other day, and some crumbs from the meringue of your (naturally more egalitarian) version of Eton Mess. I’d wash up, honest.

 

Posted by Inkface

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Filed under Cooking shows, Lustbox