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tv   Meet the Author  BBC News  October 22, 2017 7:45pm-8:00pm BST

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of rebels trying to impose their own arbitrariness onto the whole people of catalonia. the plan by the spanish government is unprecedented. it is the first time that madrid has moved to strip a region of its autonomy and it dramatically escalate this political crisis. yesterday almost half a million pro—independence supporters took to the streets of barcelona. with them was the catalan leader. the separatists are defiant. the catalan government stretched out its hand, and the spanish prime minister spat on it. that is not very proper or nice. we think that now the catalan government is legitimised to push ahead, if it considers it appropriate, and left that suspension and lift that suspension of the declaration of independence. the pro—independence leaders are now considering their next steps.
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the regional parliament could decide to vote on an unilateral declaration of independence. catalonia is in a state of uncertainty. bethany bell, bbc news, barcelona. a scottish man has been sentenced to three months injailfor touching a man's hip in a dubai bar. jamie harron, who's from stirling, was arrested injuly and charged with public indecency. he claimed he had simply been trying to avoid spilling his drink when he touched the man. the international trade secretary, liam fox, says the government won't decide how much money it will pay to the european union after brexit until it becomes clear what trade agreement the two sides will reach. dr fox says ministers are still trying to establish what the eu wants. i am saying that what we would decide is a number when we can see the final package.
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discussions we have had with ministers across the european union, we have been very clear on our position. when we said to them, would you simply give a number before you knew what the outcome was good to be, they say, absolutely not. in which case we say, why should we? but the shadow foreign secretary emily thornberry says she thinks the uk is heading for no deal. and despite talk of progress at the recent eu summit, the reality is that negotiations on the divorce remain deadlocked. intransigence is on theresa may's side, because she doesn't have the strength to control her backbenchers, let alone her cabinet, and i think we are heading for no deal, and i think that there is a serious threat to britain, and it is not in britain's interests for that to happen. we will stop it. that was emily thornberry. 0k, time for the headlines on bbc news. armed police have arrested a gunman who
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held up two members of staff, they we re held up two members of staff, they were held hostage at a bowling alley in nuneaton. the retail park was on lockdown for most of the afternoon. warwickshire police have confirmed nobody was injured during the incident. in other news, the zimbabwean president, robert mugabe, is removed as a goodwill ambassador for the double you a joke. —— for the world health organisation two days after his controversial appointment. now on bbc news it is time for meet the author. william shakespeare had a younger brother, richard. but we know even less about him than we do about the bard. the historical novelist bernard cornwell now brings him to life as the narrator of fools and mortals, his new book set in theatreland in london in the 15905, where the brothers are leading more or less separate lives. it is a tale of rivalry, jealousy, and a little blackmail. set during rehearsals for the first night of a midsummer night's dream. welcome.
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it's a change of scene for you, bernard, because you are best known as someone who writes in battle mode, really. people are found with muskets or waving swords in many of your books. what is it that fascinates you about the 15905, and theatre in london? well, it's just that it's the beginning of a whole new industry which has obviously prospered mightily ever since, but before the 1570s there were no permanent playhouses. no theatres, if you like. the first is built in 1574. 20 years later, they are in full flow. we have a whole new industry in london. it has to be london because london is the only city big enough to support it. and sha kespeare‘s company,
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the lord chamberlain‘s men, worked at a place called "the theatre". a name that has stuck. i mis—spent my summers on stage, and i have done for the last 11 years. that experience has absolutely fascinated me. i mean, what was it like in shakespeare's time, putting on a play? is it any different to today? and so, in a sense, it's an attempt to actually recreate the world of shakespeare's theatre. and you've done something rather cunning. you've brought in as the narrator of the story richard, one of shakespeare's brothers, a younger brother who is a real man. we know that he existed, but we know almost nothing about him. so you've got a wonderful blank sheet of paper! i love blank sheets of paper, and richard is the most blank of all of the sheets. shakespeare had three brothers — edmund, giles and richard. we know something about the first two. edmund became an actor and died much too young. he is buried in what is now southwark cathedral. but richard, we have his birth date, or at least the date of his christening. we have his death date.
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and we have one court mention in between where he is fined for not attending church. that is it. so he's a completely blank slate. i think it's most unlikely that he went to london and became an actor, but why not? it gives me a chance to tell the story... a chance to tell the story and explain that the brothers are estranged, more or less. at least, they have a very difficult relationship. which is partly due to professional rivalry. then you weave a story that involves a lost play, a lost manuscript. it is all set around the rehearsals for the first night of a midsummer night's dream, which is a play about putting on a play! putting on a play, yes! so we can see where you are going here? yes, it is a play that i love, i've twice played in a midsummer night's dream. and i think that was maybe the reason i chose it, because i know the play quite well. you know the plot. most people you ask if they can remember if they remember the plot to a midsummer night's dream, they would struggle. it's very convoluted. it has a lot of main characters. i'm a great believer that shakespeare knew
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what he was talking about when he said in romeo and juliet, "the two—hour traffic of our stage". usually, you cut a play down to about two hours, plus an interval. there's a lot going on in those two hours, there really is. and i suppose also it gives you an idea of the ferment of the playhouses of the time, you are giving the audience entertainment of every kind through the course of the evening. it's almost participatory, isn't it? yes, it's extraordinarily exciting. the playhouse was a whole new idea. up until then, if you were going to see a play you would go to an inn yard, probably, or maybe to a hall somewhere. and the play moved on, the cart moved on and you didn't see a play again for some weeks or months. but once you have a fixed playhouse in london, orjust outside of london, then the audience is the same, night after night. instead of needing three or four plays to keep going, you need about 30 plays a year. you need new material all the time, so the playwright is born. if there had not been
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a permanent theatre, if it wasn't for the bricks and mortar and the timber and the plaster, we wouldn't have shakespeare. he wouldn't have been needed. nobody would have paid him to write romeo and juliet or a midsummer night's dream. he might never have been. might never have been. and he was writing for money, of course. writing for money, and making a great deal of money. the way to make money was to be a shareholder, an owner in the company, and he is. it's quite natural that a story like this would bubble up. jealousy, professional rivalry. the theft of a text, because of course there was nothing to protect. no, there was no copyright. if you were an actor, you didn't get a copy of the play to learn your lines. you just got your part. so if you were playing duke theseus, you would have the line, you know, hippolyta's line, "i've never heard such such silly stuff, this is the silliest stuff that ever i heard." and then you would get your lines. and you would have to work out what else was going on! yes, it was like a jigsaw puzzle.
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you'd have to go, "who's next?" and you would have to do that in rehearsal. if you had too many copies of the play, someone‘s going to steal it, and if they steal it, then their company is going to put it on, and you have no redress at all. so if you've got a great play like romeo and juliet or midsummer, you certainly don't want the admiral‘s men across the river putting that on because you are losing half your audience. and that is the main spring of this plot? yes, i would like to think that the main spring of the plot is, can we possibly make a success of this ridiculous play with fairies in it? but who knows? and in writing this story, which has elements of a romp about it, what does come through is your affection for the whole business, the fun of it and the stagecraft, and the smell of the greasepaint, as it were? yes, it is a huge affection. i like to think it is a tribute to everyone who works in the theatre, for all the pleasure they give us. when you'd finished constructing the story, in terms of plot, and then given richard the characteristics which you were able to make up, because we know nothing about him,
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did you find at the end that you got to know his brother at all better, or not? yes, i got to understand what william shakespeare was doing in the sense of being a sharer in a theatre company and the pressures on him to produce plays. there is this huge pressure to have new material all the time. and much of it is dross. but nevertheless, benjohnson was writing for the admiral‘s men, shakespeare's writing for his own company. there is pressure producing. "come on, will — we need plays." a remarkable writer like you has had such worldwide success with a whole string of novels, pretty much all set in the past but not entirely, but most of them. you must find yourself coming back to the core subjects that engross people and keep them interested, and the rivalry between two brothers is one of the classics, isn't it? yes, rivalry or conflict.
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somebody once said that every good novel begins by asking a question that the reader did not know that they wanted answered. it's got a very good opening line, this one. can you remember it off the top of your head? "i died just after the clock in the passageway struck nine," i think it is! well, it's not a bad beginning, and beginnings matter, don't they? beginnings matter, very much so. it was kurt vonnegut who said a novel begins by asking a question the reader did not know they wanted answered. and that actually, in a sense, is what you do. i mean, harry falls in love with anne, but harry is already married to catherine. you're off, because you want to know how it will end. bernard cornwell, author of fools and mortals, thank you very much. thank you. this weekend we have taken a battering courtesy of brian,
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this was the scene on the cornish coast. by now, just an innocent area of low pressure in the north sea, a little ridge of high pressure overnight, but this area of low pressure in the atlantic will keep us busy in the week ahead, with its attendant weather fronts sweeping across the british isles. bit of a breather for the next few hours, showers clearing, chilly for a time in the east, but coming into the west our first signs of that weather front by the time we get into monday morning, quite a wet start for many, temperature starting to rise again as the cloud and rain pile in. mild first thing on monday, but a miserable looking start, northern ireland will brighten, and that will push its way in from the west as the day goes on. eastern coasts, particularly down towards the channel, struggling with thicker cloud and murk through the day. the biggest change will be that it will feel milder,
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temperatures in the mid teens. monday into tuesday, this low sweeping towards the west, mixed fare on tuesday. england and wales cloudy, heavy rain across the hills of wales, northern ireland and scotland brighter but breezy, heavier showers from time to time. but look at the mild air in the south, 18 degrees in london, and that mild air to the south of the front will try to nudge further north as we go through the middle part of the week. this will continue to snake across the british isles, a lot of uncertainty, like a seesaw, as to where it is going to sit, and exactly where we will get the warmest air and wettest conditions. on wednesday, it looks like cloudy and wet weather across england and wales, warmer air to the south. further north, a fresher feel, breezy as well, but the best of the sunshine here. the gloomy conditions but milder air pushing further north on thursday, some uncertainty about the exact position, but northern scotland looks brightest,
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southern england looks warmest. for the end of the week, a similar story, but come next weekend, it could be cooler air once again, so make the most of the warmer conditions on offer in the week ahead. hostages this is bbc news. the headlines: after a four hour armed siege, police storm a bowling alley in nuneaton and free two hostages. warwickshire police say a man has been arrested and is in police custody. the leisure park was on lockdown for most of the afternoon. the ambulance service confirms nobody was injured during the incident. i had ihada i had a gun over his head like this and he's shouting "game over game over get out." everyone is panicking, screaming. you heard crying from kids. also in the next hour: the zimbabwean president, robert mugabe, is removed as a goodwill ambassador for the world health organisation — two days after his controversial appointment. and coming up: a weather world
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special — looking back at the most active atlantic hurricane season in a decade.

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