What kind of TV event would get you out of bed early—a General Election, the Oscars, the Olympics? For me, many years ago, it was an opera. At 6am one Sunday morning in 1992 I was huddled before the TV in pyjamas and dressing gown to experience a live relay of the last act of Puccini’s ‘Tosca’. This was, however, no ordinary relay. The producer had had the bold idea of staging the opera in the three actual Roman locations in which it is set (all largely unchanged since 1800, the period of the opera), and, even more ambitiously, at the times of day at which the action was supposed to happen: noon, evening—and dawn.
Robert Livingston Blog
It’s been a funny old festive season. We’re culturally programmed to long for a white Christmas (that Irving Berlin has a lot to answer for!), but when it comes, chaos ensues. Among all the many other victims of this prolonged period of exceptionally bad weather, spare a thought for all the cultural venues that must be losing out at what, at least for theatres and cinemas, should be their busiest time. With most Scottish Arts Council funding at standstill, Local Authority funding often reducing, sponsorship deals crashing, and (of course) fuel bills rising, anything that then affects the box office income as well is just another among a positive rain of blows which the cultural sector is having to withstand.
Last month Sarah Jane Smith nearly got married. That might not sound like earth-shattering news, but for a dedicated Whovian, it would have been a deeply traumatic moment. For those not in the loop, Sarah Jane Smith is, for a multitude of fans, the finest of all the myriad companions of Dr Who, through his various manifestations in space and time over the last 46 years. In a comeback that must surely be unprecedented in the annals of TV drama, not only was the character of Sarah Jane reintroduced to interact with the current, reinvented Dr Who, but she was played by the same actress, Elizabeth Sladen, returning to a role she had first taken on over 30 years earlier.
North Berwick is the most beautiful town in Scotland. As of last month, that’s official. But I didn’t know that when, for the first time in my life, I headed there last week. Previously, for me it had been nothing more than a cluster of buildings glimpsed from the train. So I was glad to have the chance to see up close how fully justified that new title seems to be. I think a long weekend break may be in order soon…