Tuesday, 22 April 2014

BBC Four - British Gardens in Time



Series which explores four iconic British gardens, from Christopher Lloyd's Arts and Craft Great Dixter to Georgian Stowe and from Victorian Biddulph Grange to the quintessentially English Nyman's.

Emma Townshend: British Gardens in Time - oh, BBC, what do you think you're doing?

I don't know whether the BBC was specifically trying to start a squabble, but last week it defo did so. Forget the very mild controversy over Benefit Street or that tiny bit of gossip you may have heard about Strictly's Susannah leaving her husband: this is the big one. Yep, if you want to get the nation really ranting, you know what you need to do? Kick off a row about the best gardens in Britain.

In particular, you need to commission a big series called British Gardens in Time, with nice presenters such as designer Chris Beardshaw and acclaimed garden historian Andrea Wulf; and then include only FOUR gardens. All of which are ENGLISH. And none of which is further north than junction 17 of the M6. (That's Crewe, for crying out loud.)

The series begins on BBC4 on Tuesday with Stowe, an elegant, huge and leg-knackering landscape very handily located for Silverstone race track. Stowe is also, once you start to look into the history, a singularly argumentative garden. Despite all the apparent Arcadian ease, Lord Cobham, the 18th-century landowner, created most of it during a period of political exile after falling out with Whig prime minister Robert Walpole.

Far from trying to distract himself from his worklife woes, Cobham went all out to make a garden that had a massive go at Walpole, with a "Temple of British Worthies" to hammer home the point about good and bad government. Seldom has a rolling landscape had so much bitter political venom put into it. And the result is superb.

If you like this kind of thing, you must get the series' accompanying book, written by distinguished garden historian Katie Campbell. Campbell treads a nice line between juicy facts and the aesthetic qualities of the gardens. I adore her description of Jane Austen-ish tourists turning up in carriages, buying guidebooks and filling up the local inns, while commendably tipping the head gardener.

The Beeb's most intriguing inclusion is Biddulph Grange, a Victorian garden near Stoke-on-Trent that sort of has to be seen to be believed. The garden's maker was James Bateman, son of a businessman father who'd been "unscrupulous but extremely successful", according to Campbell. Shadily accumulated cash funded an orchid habit that began before James had even finished university; and later, a properly crazy garden with a tomb-like Egyptian garden, scarlet Chinese bridge, and stupendously likeable, er, thing built entirely out of tree stumps (apparently they were all the rage in Victorian times).

The series winds up with two great English gardens. Nymans is in West Sussex, and I've never really fallen in love with it, though I understand it is technically possible to do so. Campbell calls it "the most exquisite Edwardian retreat of all", though here, my argumentative side starts to rear its head. Why not include Arts and Crafts Standen or tumbling-bordered Gravetye instead? (And that's just in Sussex.) If we are being completely obvious, where are Britain's most famous gardens internationally: Hidcote, Sissinghurst?

And if we're being more devolved in our thinking, where are the Edwardian gardens of Yorkshire, Derybshire or the Lake District? Bodnant, the Edwardian jewel of North Wales; Mount Stuart, on the Isle of Bute, just 90 minutes from Glasgow? I felt annoyed for all of these head gardeners, once more ignored.


But in the end, the series finishes exactly where I'd have picked myself: Great Dixter, for my money (£8.80 admission, if you were wondering) is the best garden on our island. Christopher Lloyd, its maker, and his admirable successor Fergus Garrett offer a changing spectacle of flowery loveliness in an underpinning structure of perfectly balanced weight. And for once, I'm brooking no argument.

British Gardens in Time Ep.1 Great Dixter - part 1

Great Dixter lays claim to being the most innovative, spectacular and provocative garden of the 20th century. Made famous by the much-loved eccentric plantsman and writer Christopher Lloyd, who used the garden as a living laboratory and documented his experiments in a weekly column in Country Life, Great Dixter began life as a Gertrude Jeykll-inspired Arts and Crafts garden surrounding a house designed by Edwin Lutyens.
The Lloyd family created Dixter just before the outbreak of the First World War with the intention of establishing a rural idyll for Christo and his five siblings. Dixter was to be both Christo's horticultural nursery and the setting for his rebellion in late middle age as he finally threw off the shackles of his intense bond with his mother to make the garden and his life his own.

British Gardens in Time Ep.1 Great Dixter - part 2

Monday, 21 April 2014

Sherlock Holmes returns in new Anthony Horowitz book, Moriarty. Sherlock Holmes: the many identities of the world's favourite detective – in pictures

Anthony Horowitz's Moriarty, a new Sherlock Holmes novel, is out 23 October Photograph: Andy Paradise/Rex Features

Sherlock Holmes returns in new Anthony Horowitz book, Moriarty
'Does anyone believe what happened at the Reichenbach Falls?' reads the opening of novel sanctioned by Conan Doyle estate
Alison Flood


Anthony Horowitz, who was first sanctioned by the Conan Doyle estate to tell a new Sherlock Holmes story three years ago, is plotting a return to the world of the super sleuth in a novel set days after Holmes and his nemesis Moriarty apparently plunged to their deaths over the Reichenbach Falls.

Horowitz found a good reception for The House of Silk, in which an elderly Watson recounted the tale of one of Holmes's early adventures. "Can [Horowitz] astonish us? Can he thrill us? Are there 'the rapid deductions, as swift as intuitions, and yet always founded on a logical basis' that we yearn for?" asked Ian Sansom in a Guardian review at the time. "Emphatically, yes. The characters are, as Conan Doyle himself would have them, as close to cliche as good writing allows."

Now the author, best known for his Alex Rider series of young adult novels about a teenage spy, has announced that Moriarty, a new novel set in the world of Holmes, will be published on 23 October.

"Does anyone believe what happened at the Reichenbach Falls?" it will open, referring to Holmes and Moriarty's infamous plunge over the Swiss waterfall. Conan Doyle wrote of the battle in 1893 that "any attempt at recovering the bodies was absolutely hopeless, and there, deep down in that dreadful cauldron of swirling water and seething foam, will lie for all time the most dangerous criminal and the foremost champion of the law of their generation".

Conan Doyle had hoped to kill off Holmes, tired of the character who had made him famous and keen to focus on more serious writing, but the public outcry at the much-loved detective's death meant he was forced to resurrect the famous inhabitant of 221b Baker Street. "I've written a good deal more about him than I ever intended to do," he said in 1927, 40 years after the first Holmes story was published, "but my hand has been rather forced by kind friends who continually wanted to know more." 

Horowitz's tale will take place shortly after the events in Switzerland described by Conan Doyle, as Pinkerton agent Frederick Chase arrives in Europe from New York. "The death of Moriarty has created a poisonous vacuum, which has been swiftly filled by a fiendish new criminal mastermind who has risen to take his place," revealed publisher Orion. "Ably assisted by inspector Athelney Jones of Scotland Yard, a devoted student of Holmes' methods of investigation and deduction, Frederick Chase must forge a path through the darkest corners of the capital to shine light on this shadowy figure, a man much feared but seldom seen, a man determined to engulf London in a tide of murder and menace."

The publisher said that Moriarty would be "very different in nature to Horowitz's previous bestseller; but fans will be delighted to see a few surprise guests from the Conan Doyle's canon making appearances in the new book".

Horowitz himself revealed on Twitter that "Sherlock Holmes does not appear (until the very end)", that "a vicious murder is investigated by Inspector Athelney Jones (from The Sign of Four)" and that "nearly all the policemen Holmes ever worked with, including Lestrade, appear in my new book".

"Look out for the appearance of the 'dreadful' Abernetties. One of the most famous untold Holmes stories," he said, adding that the book would take place in Camberwell, Mayfair, the London Docks, Highgate and Smithfield.


Horowitz is also a screenwriter, creating television series such as Midsomer Murders and Foyle's War. Orion made the disputable claim in its announcement about the forthcoming Moriarty that he "may have committed more (fictional) murders than any other living author".




Anthony Horowitz was born in Copley, into a wealthy Jewish family, and in his early years lived an upper-class lifestyle. As an overweight and unhappy child, Horowitz enjoyed reading books from his father's library. At the age of eight, Horowitz was sent to the boarding school Orley Farm in Harrow, Middlesex. There, he entertained his peers by telling them the stories he had read. Horowitz described his time in the school as "a brutal experience", recalling that he was often beaten by the headmaster. At age 13 he went on to Rugby School and discovered a love for writing.

Horowitz adored his mother, who introduced him to Frankenstein and Dracula. She also gave him a human skull for his 13th birthday. Horowitz said in an interview that it reminds him to get to the end of each story since he will soon look like the skull. From the age of eight, Horowitz knew he wanted to be a writer, realising "the only time when I'm totally happy is when I'm writing". He graduated from the University of York with a BA in English literature in 1977.

In at least one interview, Horowitz claims to believe that H. P. Lovecraft based his fictional Necronomicon on a real text, and to have read some of that text.

Horowitz's father was associated with some of the politicians in the "circle" of prime minister Harold Wilson, including Eric Miller.Facing bankruptcy, he moved his assets into Swiss numbered bank accounts. He died from cancer when his son Anthony was 22, and the family was never able to track down the missing money despite years of trying.

Horowitz now lives in Central London with his wife Jill Green, whom he married in Hong Kong on 15 April 1988. Green produces Foyle's War, the series Horowitz writes for ITV. They have two sons, Nicholas Mark Horowitz (born 1989) and Cassian James Horowitz (born 1991). He credits his family with much of his success in writing, as he says they help him with ideas and research. He is a patron of child protection charity Kidscape.

Anthony Horowitz's first book, The Sinister Secret of Frederick K Bower, was a humorous adventure for children, published in 1979[10] and later reissued as Enter Frederick K Bower. In 1981 his second novel, Misha, the Magician and the Mysterious Amulet was published and he moved to Paris to write his third book. In 1983 the first of the Pentagram series, The Devil's Door-Bell, was released. This story saw Martin Hopkins battling an ancient evil that threatened the whole world. Only three of four remaining stories in the series were ever written: The Night of the Scorpion (1984), The Silver Citadel (1986) and Day of the Dragon (1986). In 1985 he released Myths and Legends, a collection of retold tales from around the world.

In between writing these novels, Horowitz turned his attention to legendary characters, working with Richard Carpenter on the Robin of Sherwood television series, writing five episodes of the third season. He also novelised three of Carpenter's episodes as a children's book under the title Robin Sherwood: The Hooded Man (1986). In addition, he created Crossbow (1987), a half-hour action adventure series loosely based on William Tell.

In 1988, Groosham Grange was published. This book went on to win the 1989 Lancashire Children's Book of the Year Award. It was partially based on the years Horowitz spent at boarding school. Its central character is a thirteen-year-old "witch", David Eliot, gifted as the seventh son of a seventh son. Like Horowitz's, Eliot's childhood is unhappy. The Groosham Grange books are aimed at a slightly younger audience than Horowitz's previous books.

This era in Horowitz's career also saw Adventurer (1987) and Starting Out (1990) published. However, the most major release of Horowitz's early career was The Falcon's Malteser (1986). This book was the first in the successful Diamond Brothers series, and was filmed for television in 1989 as Just Ask for Diamond, with an all star cast that included Bill Paterson, Jimmy Nail, Roy Kinnear, Susannah York, Michael Robbins and Patricia Hodge, and featured Colin Dale and Dursley McLinden as Nick and Tim Diamond. It was followed in 1987 with Public Enemy Number Two, and by South by South East in 1991 followed by The French Confection, I Know What You Did Last Wednesday, The Blurred Man and most recently The Greek Who Stole Christmas.


Horowitz wrote many stand alone novels in the 1990s. 1994's Granny, a comedy thriller about an evil grandmother, was Horowitz's first book in three years, and it was the first of three books for an audience similar to that of Groosham Grange. The second of these was The Switch, a body swap story, first published in 1996. The third was 1997's The Devil and His Boy, which is set in the Elizabethan era and explores the rumour of Elizabeth I's secret son. In 1999, The Unholy Grail was published as a sequel to Groosham Grange. The Unholy Grail was renamed as Return to Groosham Grange in 2003, possibly to help readers understand the connection between the books. Horowitz Horror (1999) and More Horowitz Horror (2000) saw Horowitz exploring a darker side of his writing. Each book contains several short horror stories. Many of these stories were repackaged in twos or threes as the Pocket Horowitz series.


Horowitz began his most famous and successful series in the new millennium with the Alex Rider novels. These books are about a 14-year-old boy becoming a spy, a member of the British Secret Service branch MI6. Currently, there are nine Alex Rider books and the tenth is connected to the Alex Rider series (although it is not a part of it) : Stormbreaker (2000), Point Blanc (2001), Skeleton Key (2002), Eagle Strike (2003), Scorpia (2004) Ark Angel (2005), Snakehead (2007), Crocodile Tears (2009), Scorpia Rising (2011), and Russian Roulette(2013). The seventh Alex Rider novel, Snakehead, was released on 31 October 2007,[13] and the eighth, Crocodile Tears, was released in the UK on 12 November 2009. The ninth Alex Rider book, Scorpia Rising, was released on 31 March 2011. Horowitz stated that Scorpia Rising was the last book in the Alex Rider series. He has, however, written another novel about the life of Yassen Gregorovich entitled Russian Roulette, which was released on 12 September 2013 in the United Kingdom and 3 October 2013 in the United States of America. It will not be a part of the Alex Rider series.

In 2003, Horowitz also wrote three novels featuring the Diamond Brothers: The Blurred Man, The French Confection and I Know What You Did Last Wednesday, which were republished together as Three of Diamonds in 2004. The author information page in early editions of Scorpia and the introduction to Three of Diamonds claimed that Horowitz had travelled to Australia to research a new Diamond Brothers book, entitled Radius of the Lost Shark. However, this book has not been mentioned since, so it is doubtful it is still planned. A new Diamond Brothers "short" book entitled The Greek who Stole Christmas! was later released. It is hinted at the end of The Greek who Stole Christmas that Radius of the Lost Shark may turn out to be the eighth book in the series.

In 2004, Horowitz branched out to an adult audience with The Killing Joke, a comedy about a man who tries to track a joke to its source with disastrous consequences. Horowitz's second adult novel, The Magpie Murders, was due out on 18 October 2006. However, that date passed with no further news on the book; all that is known about it is that it will be about "a whodunit writer who is murdered while he's writing his latest whodunit" and "it has an ending which I hope will come as a very nasty surprise". As the initial release date was not met, it is not currently known if or when The Magpie Murders will be released.

In August 2005, Horowitz released a book called Raven's Gate which began another series entitled The Power of Five (The Gatekeepers in the United States). He describes it as "Alex Rider with witches and devils". The second book in the series, Evil Star, was released in April 2006. The third in the series is called Nightrise, and was released on 2 April 2007. The fourth book Necropolis was released in October 2008. The fifth and last book was released in October 2012 and is named 'Oblivion.'

The Power of Five is a rewritten, modern version of the Pentagram series from the 1980s.[citation needed] Although Pentagram required five books for story development, Horowitz completed only four: The Devil's Door-bell (Raven's Gate), The Night of the Scorpion (Evil Star), The Silver Citadel (Nightrise) and Day of the Dragon (Necropolis). Horowitz was clearly aiming for the same audience that read the Alex Rider novels with these rewrites, and The Power of Five has gained more public recognition than his earlier works, earning number 1 in the top 10 book chart.

In October 2008, Anthony Horowitz's play Mindgame opened Off Broadway at the Soho Playhouse in New York City. Mindgame starred Keith Carradine, Lee Godart, and Kathleen McNenny. The production was the New York stage directorial debut for Ken Russell. Recently he got into a joke dispute with Darren Shan over the author using a character that had a similar name and a description that fitted his. Although Horowitz considered suing, he decided not to.

In March 2009 he was a guest on Private Passions, the biographical music discussion programme on BBC Radio 3.

On 19 January 2011, the estate of Arthur Conan Doyle announced that Horowitz was to be the writer of a new Sherlock Holmes novel, the first such effort to receive an official endorsement from them and to be entitled The House of Silk. It was both published in November 2011 and broadcast on BBC Radio 4.

Horowitz was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2014 New Year Honours for services to literature.

Horowitz began writing for television in the 1980s, contributing to the children's anthology series Dramarama, and also writing for the popular fantasy series Robin of Sherwood. His association with murder mysteries began with the adaptation of several Hercule Poirot stories for ITV's popular Agatha Christie's Poirot series during the 1990s.

Often his work has a comic edge, such as with the comic murder anthology Murder Most Horrid (BBC Two, 1991) and the comedy-drama The Last Englishman (1995), starring Jim Broadbent. From 1997, he wrote the majority of the episodes in the early series of Midsomer Murders. In 2001, he created a drama anthology series of his own for the BBC, Murder in Mind, an occasional series which deals with a different set of characters and a different murder every one-hour episode.

He is also less-favourably known for the creation of two short-lived and sometimes derided science-fiction shows, Crime Traveller (1997) for BBC One and The Vanishing Man (pilot 1996, series 1998) for ITV. While Crime Traveller received favourable viewing figures it was not renewed for a second season, which Horowitz accounts to temporary personnel transitioning within the BBC. It has, however, attracted somewhat of a cult following.[citation needed] The successful 2002 launch of the detective series Foyle's War, set during the Second World War, helped to restore his reputation as one of Britain's foremost writers of popular drama.

He devised the 2009 ITV crime drama Collision and co-wrote the screenplay with Michael A. Walker.

Horowitz is the writer of a feature film screenplay, The Gathering, which was released in 2003 and starred Christina Ricci. He wrote the screenplay for Alex Rider's first major motion picture, Stormbreaker.


In an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live on 6 April 2011, Horowitz announced that he was writing the sequel to Steven Spielberg's Secret of the Unicorn. The sequel is rumoured to be based on The Adventures of Tintin comic Prisoners of the Sun and directed by Peter Jackson, who produced the first film.


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Sherlock Holmes: the many identities of the world's favourite detective – in pictures
According to our readers, Sherlock Holmes is the perfect way to get back into the reading habit. But how does his appearance on the page compare to his screen incarnations? And if you've never investigated the world's most famous detective, then where should you begin?
Guardian readers and Marta Bausells


 "I started with The Valley of Fear a while back and then went back to the start, with A Study in Scarlet, and have now finished The Sign of Four. Great entertainment and so of their time. It always seems to me, with his attention to clothing, contemporary events, references to real places, attention to nuances of dialect, etc, that Conan Doyle must have felt very sharp and contemporary to read at the time. The Sign of Four is especially notable as the one where Sherlock is happily shooting up cocaine because he gets bored easily..." said SnowyJohn in last week's Tips, Links and Suggestions. Photograph: Penguin


 The Hound of the Baskervilles
"So which one would be the best one to read first? The Hound of the Baskervilles is the most famous but is it best?" asked fat_hamster. This front cover of the 1901 novel was illustrated by EA Abbey. Photograph: Mary Evans Picture Library


A Study in Scarlet
Several readers agreed that a chronological approach is the simplest and best way to start reading Sherlock Holmes' stories. "I'd just start at the start. A Study in Scarlet is the first one and is a good read", continued SnowyJohn. Here, a poster for the stage production of the book from the Southwark Playhouse. Photograph: Southwark Playhouse


 A Study in Scarlet, Peter Cushing
The recent TV series has put Sherlock Holmes back in the spotlight. But which screen adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's detective is the best? Peter Cushing was one of the first actors to embody Holmes for the small screen. Here, he appears in the episode A Study in Scarlet for the 1960s BBC series. Photograph: BBC

The Hound of the Baskervilles. Cumberbatch and Freeman
Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch offer a modern Sherlock that has little to do with Conan Doyle's originals, according to Sara Richards: "Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch is not Sherlock Holmes. He is a 21st-century adaptation and comes suitably equipped with digital aids plus a phenomenal memory … The two are therefore totally different and should be viewed as such." Even though most plots in the series aren't based on the books, this frame is from the web-age The Hounds of Baskerville. Photograph: Colin Hutton/BBC


Jeremy Brett
Most readers agreed that Jeremy Brett is the one and only TV Holmes. "Brett was the definitive Sherlock Holmes, and his dramatisations were the truest to the originals. Personally, I can no longer visualise Holmes (or Watson) differently. I guess I'd also say 'read them in order', but my favourite has always been The Sign of Four," said ItsAnOutrage2. Photograph: ITV/Rex Features


Vasily Livanov
"Where I live, in Moscow, most people would prefer Vasily Livanov [pictured] in the 1980s Soviet TV series and tell me, as if this is some kind of proof, that Livanov was given an MBE by our sovereign for his portrayal. Check him out on YouTube. But no, I can't stand that Soviet series, for me (language issues aside) it suffers from [Basil] Rathbone syndrome – Holmes looks and sounds the part but is surrounded by fools, Watson and Lestrade are portrayed as bumbling ignoramuses in order to show up the great man's talent. It's all wrong," said frustratedartist. Photograph: Alamy


 The Hound of the Baskervilles. Basil Rathbone
Speaking of Rathbone, here he is in the 1939 film of The Hound of the Baskervilles, directed by Sydney Lanfield. Photograph: Allstar/Cinetext


The Valley of Fear

For some, the Brett series is actually so enduring that they can't separate the actor from the character: "I think the only ones I've actually read are The Valley of Fear and The Blue Carbuncle, both of which are excellent. Though (...) I can't help reading them with the voices of Brett and either of the two who played Watson ringing in my head", said judgeDAmNation Photograph: Guardian

British Pathé, the newsreel maker which documented all walks of life on video during the 20th Century, has uploaded its entire collection of moving images to YouTube.( Vídeo Bellow )

British Pathé, the newsreel maker which documented all walks of life on video during the 20th Century, has uploaded its entire collection of moving images to YouTube.
The archive of 3,500 hours of footage was digitised in 2002 thanks in part to a grant from the National Lottery, and is now freely accessible to anyone around the world for free.

Vogue London in 1946 - The Making of Vogue Magazine [HD] (+afspeellijst)

1950s Fashions in Paris - Real Vintage Fashion Footage (+afspeellijst)