Sunday, August 31, 2008


"Love is the prime force in the creation of art; and love is not a work." - Stanley Spencer

Faith In The Frame is a new 10 part series for ITV1, and sees Melvyn Bragg chair lively 30 minute discussions on the themes and relevance of ten of the world’s most fascinating religious pictures. The works chosen are, rightly, far from easy or comforting. In programme one, tonight, the panel discussed The Resurrection, Cookham by Stanley Spencer: This is a highly individual vision of 'heaven on earth', painted between 1924-27, and set in Spencer’s local Cookham churchyard where he had played when young, ostensibly the perfect English idyll. The panelists were Howard Jacobson, novelist; Tim Marlow, art writer and broadcaster; and Richard Harries, former Anglican bishop of Oxford. [Picture courtesy]

Friday, August 01, 2008


I was very pleased to hear that Barry George has finally been cleared of the awful Jill Dando street murder eight years ago. Right from the outset a number of us had argued that the original 'guilty' verdict, resting on discredited forensic claims, was a travesty of the evidence presented. It required us to believe that a severely disturbed man who found it difficult to think straight in the simplest of circumstances could have carried out a 'hit' requiring great sophistication and split second timing. The police have said they are "disappointed" at the exoneration. Why, for goodness' sake? Would they prefer an innocent man to be locked up? It is tragic for Ms Dando's relatives that her killer is still at large, but they have not been served well by celebrity allies like Nick Ross who constantly objected to a re-trial, even though the case for it was overwhelming. When 'closure' means a miscarriage of justice it does no-one any good.