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tv   BBC News  BBC News  May 21, 2017 6:45pm-7:01pm BST

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miraculously, it appears nobody sustained any serious injuries and the race restarted 30 minutes later. fernando alonso will compete for pole position at the indianapolis 500 later. the mclaren formula 1 driver made it through the first qualifying day seventh fastest and goes into sunday's ‘fast nine‘ to fight it out for pole position for next sunday's race. the dangers of racing on high—speed american oval tracks were emphasised as former f1 driver sebastien bourdais crashed into the wall. he was conscious as he was rescued from the car but has suffered multiple fractures. the frenchman is in hospital following surgery to his pelvis and hip. that's all from sportsday. there'll be more sport on the bbc news channel throughout the evening. a great house with a great wall around it. we are in mid—17th century england
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at a time of religious strife when many lives are touched by danger and intrigue. then we are in the same house three centuries later in the grip of the cold war and living through the whole story of the berlin wall from start to finish. and witchwood, the house, a stage where some of the dramas of our own time are played out. peculiar ground is a fiercely ambitious novel by lucy hughes—hallett, stretching across centuries and telling the tale of tolerance and strife, imprisonment and the instinct to be free. welcome. the house, witchwood, is in a way the central character of this book. did it come first? did you have the idea of a place, an enclosed place,
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in which all this might happen? yes, absolutely. and, as you say, the house is, it's not perhaps the central character, but it's the character that holds all of the story together because although the berlin wall does play quite a large part in this novel, but very few of my characters are allowed to go to berlin and i found as i was writing sometimes they needed to go off to london and to germany and i had to keep bringing them back for the story. it had a technical purpose that was very useful. but it has also got a sort of moral purpose in a way because it is enclosed at the very beginning of the story. mr norris is laying out the landscape and the wall is being built and it is in a way a prison. yes. there is a moment in the book when mr norris, the landscape designer, is talking to his friend the architect and they ask each other, "is this a paradise we are making here
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or is it a prison?" and i wrote that rather sort of off—the—cuff as you do in a long book, it's just one line. it's the theme of the book. afterwards i thought, yes, that is what it's about. it's about inclusion and of course it's about all sorts of other things it's about enclosure and of course it's about all sorts of other things like falling in love and having children and dying and doing all the things that humans do, but in so far as there is a theme that can be summed up in the sentence it is a book in a sentence it is a book about walls and what happens when you try to wall yourself in and you may make a garden or you may find yourself trapped inside. it's also a story about how we are doomed to repeat the awful experiences of humanity again and again down the centuries. absolutely, yes. i mean, there was a moment when i was writing the first draft, of actually the last section of the book in which people are walking out of london in 1665 to escape from the plague and the roads out of london are crammed with refugees, migrants. and as i was writing that section
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the newspapers were full of pictures of roads crammed with migrants trying to walk their way into safety and a better life in europe. and i hadn't set out to write a book about the migration crisis but, as you say, history repeats itself. history repeats itself in all kinds of ways because at the time when we first encounter the house, the grounds are being laid out, it is just before the restoration in the 1660s and it's a time of darkness, of a lot of espionage, of a lot of betrayal and violence. it was a much more turbulent time for individuals. i think when you look back at history people tend to remember it as a dark time. absolutely, i think in the sort of popular imagination charles ii is the merry monarch and he comes back and the theatres reopen
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and they are tossing oranges around and everyone is having a lovely time, but one has to remember that all those people are living in the aftermath of a full generation of civil war. everyone has got something to hide, everyone is suspicious of everybody else. so in the first and last sections of my novel which i set in the 1660s i wanted not to explicitly, but just to suggest that tension, that feeling of things going on behind closed doors, and mysteries. you are dealing the whole time with what is unsaid, which is as important in the kinds of situations you are imagining here, as what is said and what is put on the table. yes. i did an awful lot of crossing out. the way i write is to write a draft and then go over and over and over it and each time it gets shorter.
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so a lot of what might have been explicit in the first draft has vanished from the finished book. and i think that in a way that is the rest of the iceberg so you are left with a visible tip. but it's important to the finished product, i think, that at some point i did know what was being said. and i cut it out. you excised it. and that is what produces tension, it is what produces fear, it is what produces i suppose alarm and a feeling of threat. yes and in the 17th century there is quite a lot of magic. i don't believe in the supernatural at all, everything has a rational explanation, but the supernatural of one era is simply the unexplained so that there are things going on which seem particularly alarming because we don't understand. that might be because science has
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yet progressed far enough not yet progressed far enough to explain, or it might be because indeed someone is deliberately keeping a secret. 0r because in part we have an affection for the unknown and the need for the unknown, not simply giving a name to the inexplicable, but there is something attractive about the feeling that things are going on in a way that we can't quite understand. yes, i think one of the great things about fiction whether as a reader or a writer, it allows you to live a life that is slightly larger and more interesting than your own. i am struck by the title. peculiar is a very interesting word to use about this house, a solid, a wonderful place to live with wonderful grounds as we see them being laid out at the beginning of the book, and of course the confining wall.
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why "peculiar"? well, it's a phrase from a hymn. "we are a garden wall around a sacred place, peculiar ground." and the word "peculiar" has changed its meaning over the three centuries covered in this story and it has always meant set apart, different. it has now become to mean odd and a bit weird, but in its original meaning is simply means reserved, enclosed, set apart from the rest of the world. so the house is peculiar, but it also contained in it everything about humanity that we recognise. yes. the thing that holds us altogether. great country houses are very useful as a novelist or for film—makers or whatever for the same reason that pubs are. everyone has to go to the pub an inordinate amount because if you can get your characters together under one roof then things can start to happen between them. and a great country house
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is of course a place for parties, a place in which a rich and glamorous life can be led, but it's also a business, it's a place where a of people can work. far too many novels are just about who is going to bed with whom, a very interesting question, but we do actually spend our lives, most of us, most of the time, working and i like to show the gamekeepers gamekeeping and the foresters looking after the trees. we get to know the life of witchwood very well indeed in peculiar ground. lucy hughes—hallett, thank you very much. thank you. ina in a weekend of two halves. many of us in a weekend of two halves. many of us all some heavy downpours at
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times, but on saturday it has been turning warmer and drier. he is the view in dorset. through the week ahead the scheme continues. things are going to be feeling quite warm at times, and looking largely dry with high pressure in charge. low pressure is not too far away. across sunday night and into monday, that approaches the north—west. that will bring a few showers across parts of northern ireland and into the early hours of monday. elsewhere, it is dry almost across the board. a frost free morning with temperatures in the towns and cities in double fingers, just a touch cooler in the countryside. monday morning. during rush hour, we will see some rain heading into the far west of scotland. scotland starting dry am fine, if you shower is making their way west to east across northern ireland. temperatures about 12 degrees or so. as we move south across england and wales, not much variation in whether, it is looking dry and bright, some patchy cloud
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around. fairly light winds, temperatures up to the mid—teens by the morning. through the day, england and wales are dry throughout. some patchy cloud, not wall—to—wall sunshine but driest and brightest in the south east. : further north—west, where we have a few splashes of rain from northern ireland and scotland too. 2a degrees oi’ ireland and scotland too. 2a degrees orso, a ireland and scotland too. 2a degrees or $0, a warm ireland and scotland too. 2a degrees or so, a warm day ireland and scotland too. 2a degrees oi’ so, a warm day on ireland and scotland too. 2a degrees or so, a warm day on monday. we will see that when pushing west to east across parts of scotland, that's courtesy of this weather front. behind it, i pressure building from the south. settling things down. a westerly breeze on tuesday. not quite as warm on tuesday, as monday. more cloud around hills and coasts in the west where we could also see a bit of light, drizzly rain. anywhere across central and eastern parts of the country is fine and dry. the best of the sunshine towards the east with temperatures up towards the east with temperatures up to around 22 degrees at best on tuesday. similar on wednesday. high pressure dominates. across the
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board, looking dry with patchy cloud. light winds and there's temperatures again doing well, up to around 2a degrees. warming up even more toward the end of the week. could see 26 by friday. this is bbc news. the headlines at 7pm. donald trump has told the leaders of more than a0 muslim nations that the middle east cannot wait for american power to crush the enemy. drive them out of your communities, drive them out of your holy land, and drive them out of this earth. and we're live in edinburgh, where the scottish party leaders are preparing for their big campaign debate. we'll be asking voters in the scottish borders, for their views, on the calls for a second referendum on independence. and we'll have the latest reaction to conservative plans for reforming
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social care and winter fuel benefit for pensioners. six scottish political party leaders are preparing for the televised election debate here in edinburgh, with the issue of independence expected to dominate.
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