The Humber Mouth
Hull Literature
Festival 2003

{ Hull Literature Festival 2003 6th - 16th November 2003
 the humber mouth }

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Festival Critic

{ Festival Critic: Steven Hall }

Renegade Soundwave

Writers Day

Ibsen vs. Strindberg

Jeremy Hardy vs the Israeli Army

An Audience with Joan Bakewell

Woza Albert!


Pooh Bear Reading Workshop

Readers Day

Theatre Test Tube

An Audience with Joan Bakewell

Joan Bakewell is a wonderful speaker. That should come as no surprise really, she is one of the great pioneers of TV journalism and in her time she has interviewed everyone - from Margaret Thatcher all the way to Marcel Duchamp. But knowing that someone is a great speaker and actually hearing them speak are two different things. Bakewell�s tone, delivery, her pauses and her pitch were all perfectly perfect. It was great just to listen to her voice.

Bakewell spoke about events in her life and illustrated these with readings from her autobiography. She spoke about the sexism women experienced at university in the 50�s and of the powerful male bias which existed within the BBC (and in society generally) at that time. She spoke about the huge changes the 60�s brought, and how many of our present-day ideas of social fairness and equality came about within such a short space of time. She talked about Late Night Line Up and her belief that the 60�s were the golden age of intelligent television, making the suggestion that the dumbing down debate really began over forty years ago. She also shared her thoughts on the problems with modern television and the processes involved in commissioning it: Bakewell believes that the ongoing strategy of intensive focus groups which ask people what they would like to see on television naturally produces unoriginal programming � people can only voice their preferences based on programmes which already exist, and this inevitably leads to more of the same types of programmes being commissioned. Bakewell suggested that the focus group system could never have produced the completely innovative Monty Python�s Flying Circus, for example.

Bakewell spoke about her life chronologically, taking questions from the audience when her story reached the present day. Although this was very interesting and she was wonderful to listen to, I couldn�t help but feel we were being treated to a polished performance, and the real Joan Bakewell was never truly accessible. Bakewell is a wonderful speaker and without any doubt a remarkable person, but I still left the theatre feeling that I hadn�t really met her.

Monday 10th November
An Audience with Joan Bakewell
Hull Truck theatre.

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