The Last Days of Troy
Dramatizing ‘a mystery that has come to us in echoes and whispers from over three thousand years ago’, Armitage’s play follows on from the account of the Greeks’ wooden horse in Homer’s Odyssey to tell the story of the Trojan War to its bitter end. Set in present-day Hisarlik, the site of ancient Troy, with a cast of gods and mortals, the play explores an ancient conflict that rages to this day.
Radio Times from the Archive
Classic Photographs from the Picture Library
With a profile of Don Smith, the Radio Times staff photographer; chapters on comedians, actresses, musicians, actors, presenters and sports personalities; and a final section of writers, artists and politicians, this book has mined the magazine's picture archive to present almost 300 pages of portraits. It presents the work of Don Smith and many other distinguished photographers, and their subjects form a veritable who's who of British entertainment over the last 40 years.
First World War Plays
From Night Watches by Allan Monkhouse, published in 1916, to Abigail Docherty's Sea and Land and Sky (2010), this collection of seven plays shows how the war has been represented through the 'traditions, forms and economies of the theatre' over the last century. The other works are Alice Dunbar-Nelson's Mine Eyes Have Seen (1918); Tunnel Trench (1924) by Hubert Griffith; Noël Coward's Post Mortem (1930); Oh What a Lovely War! (1963) by Theatre Workshop; and The Accrington Pals (1981) by Peter Whelan.
The Publication of Plays in London
1660–1800, Playwrights, Publishers, and Market
Based on the Panizzi Lectures given by the authors at the British Library, this groundbreaking study concerns approximately 1,530 published plays that were professionally performed in London between 1660 and 1800. The book covers a host of ‘nitty-gritty issues’ within the realms of playwrights, publishers and readers, including costs and prices, formats, playwrights’ remuneration, editions, collections and reprints, and illustrations in play books.
Exit, pursued by a bear
An A–Z Guide to Shakespeare's Plays, Poems and Stagecraft
In a simple A–Z format, this guide to the plays, poems and the world of Shakespeare explains all the terms used in Shakespearean study, from GCSE to degree level. It describes the role of every character, from non-speaking cameos to Hamlet, and gives half-page synopses of each play. Other entries cover Shakespeare's sources, literary terms, critics and editors, contemporary playwrights and actors; and there is a 'filmography' of film and TV productions.
A Family Epic
For more than a century, the Redgraves have defined theatre and film. Drawing on personal knowledge and many interviews, this biography charts the private and professional lives of the dynasty, from the brilliant, troubled Michael Redgrave and his wife Rachel Kempson, through their offspring Lynn, Vanessa and Corin, to the triumphs and tragedies of the latest generation. The result is an epic study of a talented, volatile, passionate and controversial family.
Nine Decades of Radio Voices
Published to mark the 90th anniversary of the BBC's first ever broadcast and the beginning of the British love affair with radio, this book presents a radio history, from the first tentative programmes in 1922, up to the present. Above all, it celebrates the famous voices of radio, including the pioneering radio gardener, Marion Cran; Churchill during wartime; the Goons and Kenneth Horne in the 1950s; the pirates of Radio Caroline; and the stars of BBC radio today.
Classic Hollywood Style
Iconic costumes from the golden era of Hollywood are indelibly associated with particular stars and films. With over 150 photographs, and featuring screen stars such as Greta Garbo and Marilyn Monroe, this book explores how cinema's most glamorous costumes were created and how you can get the look today. Focusing on 34 classic films, including Casablanca, Breakfast at Tiffany's and Bonnie and Clyde, the book also tells the stories of the designers, including some who became stars themselves.
This Charming Man
The Life of Ian Carmichael
When Ian Carmichael died in 2010, a golden age of British film comedy came to an end. One of a unique generation of actors who fought in the Second World War, he flourished alongside stars such as Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan. This delightful biography charts the life and career of the self-deprecating Yorkshireman who, with his innate good manners and sense of fair play, was born to play Bertie Wooster and Lord Peter Wimsey.
The Chronicles of Downton Abbey
This official companion to the hugely successful period drama delves deeply into the lives of all the main characters, exploring the intrigue, rivalry and romance both above and below stairs. There are chapters on the Earl and Countess of Grantham and their servants, lovers, friends and guests, with photographs of the characters in the opulent surroundings of the Downton estate and illustrations of contemporary artefacts and publications. Plus a final 'behind the scenes' chapter on the making of the programmes. Slightly off-mint.
Matinee Idol to Movie Star
A matinee idol in his twenties, John Gielgud went on to become the greatest classical actor of the 20th century. This entertaining but critical biography charts the ups and downs of his life, his stage roles, his rivalry with Olivier, his personal relationships – and the arrest that nearly wrecked his career. Drawing on Gielgud's own frank correspondence and on interviews with colleagues and friends, Croall draws an intimate, often startling portrait of this great and much-loved actor. Slightly off-mint.
George Cole: My Autobiography
The World Was My Lobster
George Cole was adopted as a baby by a South London couple, and then again at 15 when the comic actor Alastair Sim took him in as an evacuee. This autobiography reflects on Cole's childhood and relationships as well as the long career during which he worked with many legends of the stage and screen and created such memorable characters as Flash Harry in the St Trinian's films and Arthur Daley in Minder.
The BBC and National Identity in Britain
The BBC has been at the centre of our national life for almost a century, and founder John Reith's mission to 'inform, educate and entertain' has shaped our public culture. This original history examines the way the corporation's early radio broadcasts championed monarchy and empire as causes around which the nation could unite, while fostering the distinctive national identities of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland within an overarching Britishness.
Widely regarded as the most elegantly structured of Lyly's plays, Love's Metamorphosis is based on the story of Erisichthon's felling of a grove sacred to Ceres from Ovid's Metamorphoses, but here it is love that exhibits the ability to change. The play was written for Paul's Boys and first performed in the 1580s.
Stand Up Straight and Sing!
Jessye Norman is one of the finest classical singers of our age, the possessor of a glorious voice of unique range and power. In this frank, engaging and insightful memoir, she tells of her journey from small-town America to the opera houses of London, Paris, Berlin and New York. She reflects on the dedication required to master her art, on racism and her political education in the Civil Rights movement, offering a rare insight into the woman behind the voice.
One Leg Too Few
The Adventures of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore
Beginning with their Behind the Fringe programme notes on each other, this dual biography not only tells the story of one of the most celebrated and complicated partnerships in British comedy, but also brings together 36 short memoirs by friends and colleagues, and was written with the full co-operation of both comedians' estates. The result is a thorough exploration of how their 'doomed romance' brought laughter to so many.
Tales of a Tiller Girl
My True Story of Dancing in Wartime London
In the early 1950s, after growing up in Battersea, dancing with the Italia Conti school on the West End stages of wartime London and performing through summer seasons in Blackpool and winter seasons in pantomime, Irene Holland won a coveted place in the Tiller Girls troupe at the London Palladium. Her very engaging memoir describes her passion for dancing and the thrill of achieving her ambition.
Harry H Corbett
The Front Legs of the Cow
Best known as one half of the TV sitcom duo Steptoe and Son, Harry H Corbett was a gifted classical actor who fought as a Royal Marine in the Second World War before his local theatre company offered him a role as the front legs of a cow. In this affectionate yet frank biography, his actress daughter charts his career, from Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop to the popular fame that sat uneasily on the shoulders of this shy, unassuming socialist.
Ronnie Corbett (1930-2016) was one of Britain's best-loved entertainers. Here he discusses his life and work with characteristic self-deprecating wit, including his Edinburgh childhood before the war; early ventures on the stage and screen; encounters with stars such as John Cleese, Noel Coward, Tony Hancock and Spike Milligan; plus his solo sitcom Sorry! and - of course - his long-running partnership with Ronnie Barker.
Jack Duckworth and Me
Bill Tarmey (1941–2012) played the lovable rogue Jack Duckworth in Coronation Street for 31 years until his character was killed off during the show's 50th anniversary in 2010. His story of growing up in post-war Manchester, singing in working men's clubs, and then finding his niche playing a rascal whose life uncannily mirrored his own will be cherished by all fans of Britain's longest-running soap.
Thunderbirds: The Comic Collection
Soon after Thunderbirds blasted onto British television screens in 1965, fans could read the adventures of International Rescue in TV Century 21, a weekly comic devoted to science fiction television series. This compilation presents around 30 strips and 'Technical Data' cutaways from the 1960s and 1970s, with the original Thunderbirds and Lady Penelope artwork created by leading British comic artists including Frank Bellamy, John Cooper and Graham Bleathman.
Thunderbirds: The Comic Collection
This second volume of Thunderbirds adventures contains the first twelve comic strips from the 1960s, beginning with Blazing Danger, which introduced Lady Penelope and Parker to International Rescue, and including the great classics, Talons of the Eagle and Atlantic Tunnel. All the strips in this volume were illustrated by the legendary Frank Bellamy. (Please note two pages are duplicated in the book due to an editorial error.)
Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies
In collaboration with the novelist, Mike Poulton reimagined Hilary Mantel's Man Booker Prize-winning novels for the stage. In this incarnation, Wolf Hall takes the story of Thomas Cromwell up to the coronation of Anne Boleyn, and Bring Up the Bodies ends with her execution. The scripts of the plays are accompanied by Poulton's introduction and Mantel's notes on the characters.
There's no one quite like Brian Blessed: actor, storyteller, mountaineer and coffin-maker. In this frank, riotous memoir he recalls his childhood in a Yorkshire mining town, his breakthrough on Z Cars, falling for Katharine Hepburn, raising hell with Peter O'Toole, meeting the love of his life, the actress Hildegard Neil – and punching Harold Pinter down a flight of stairs. ‘No long dramatic pauses this time, Harold; he got one right on the side of the jaw. Wham!’
The Metropolitan Opera Presents: Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte:
The Complete Libretto
One of three ‘jocular dramas’ which Mozart created with librettist Da Ponte, Cosí fan tutte used to be considered implausible and scandalous, since two sisters marry strangers who are really their disguised fiancés – but its unsettling paradoxes now make it feel a very modern comedy.
The Metropolitan Opera Presents: Puccini's La Bohème: The Complete Libretto
The Met has staged Puccini’s passionate tale of tenderness and tragedy more than any other opera. The short essays complementing this libretto explain why it is so loved, why its Parisian setting is important and how it reveals the emotional significance of everyday things.è
Unearthing secrets in Budapest, getting arrested in Thailand, exalting in the art of Venice or facing down airline staff... life is anything but dull with Sheila Hancock. Following on from The Two of Us, this book describes life on her own, after the death of her husband John Thaw. Having heeded a piece of Quaker advice - 'live adventurously' - she faced the future with characteristic wit, gusto and curiosity.
Shakespeare's Lost Kingdom
The True History of Shakespeare and Elizabeth
Hamlet, King Lear and the sonnets are among the most enduring and resonant works of English literature, yet their creator remains strangely unknowable. If this engaging, learned and controversial book is to be believed, that is no accident but the result of a systematic effort to conceal the author's identity. With forensic precision, it unearths a series of clues that point to a figure close to Queen Elizabeth herself, and reveals the tragic love story behind this grandest of literary deceptions. Slightly off-mint.
Some Sunny Day
Born in 1917, Dame Vera Lynn was 92 when she realized that her great age gave a better perspective (she wrote her first autobiography in her fifties) and she had to 'get everything down on paper in a final account'. Here then is the life of 'an ordinary girl from an ordinary family with a voice that you could recognize' – but also an embodiment of British spirit during the Second World War.
A Woman at War
Marlene Dietrich Remembered
An icon of Hollywood's golden era, Marlene Dietrich first made her name in the Deutsches Theater in Berlin in the 1920s. The most famous German performer of the 1930s, Dietrich was a vocal critic of the Nazi regime, bravely denouncing it and later working to promote the American war effort. Recalling the great star during this turbulent period, this book is a collection of interviews with a range of people who knew her, from GIs to well-known fellow entertainers.