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The Culture Show

2008/2009

Episode 23

Duration: 30 minutes

First broadcast: on BBC Two EnglandLatest broadcast: on BBC Two Northern Ireland

The show includes a rare TV interview with one of the greatest pianists of our age Alfred Brendel. Now 78 years old, Brendel retired from public performance in December. In this programme he reveals a passion for the later films of Luis Bunuel and explains why this Spanish surrealist director has been as much an inspiration to him as any of the great composers.

Greg Dyke turns reporter and sets out to uncover the secret of HBO, the company behind such hits as Sex and the City, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Wire, The Sopranos and Six Feet Under. In Los Angeles, Greg meets HBO's top writers, producers and actors who are gathered for the Golden Globes. HBO programmes are nominated for a remarkable 22 out of 55 awards. As British TV enters uncertain times, Greg argues that our own TV companies should embrace risk and great writing, as HBO have done. Having been a leading figure at ITV, Channel 5 and the BBC, Greg is well placed to draw the lessons.

Also in the programme, as Oscar fever increases, Mark Kermode reviews the week's film releases including The Soloist, Woody Allen's Vicky Cristina Barcelona, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, starring Brad Pitt.

There's a celebration of the 200th anniversary of the birth, on February 3rd 1809, of Felix Mendelssohn with a special performance. As one critic said, in the 19th century Mendelssohn was considered the equal of Beethoven; in the 20th century, as popular as the Beatles; today he is often overlooked. Show less

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