A film and a play were reviewed on the Newsnight Review (regular arts programme on BBC2 on Fridays at 23:00) this week. The film looked to be a sensitive portrait of child abuse and children's homes, with a good child actor, Molly Windsor. The film director Samantha Morton, herself a victim of abuse and care homes, was interviewed for several minutes. All the names were there.
But when it came to the play Monsters, the Brits turned narcissistic. It was a safely British story, so suitable for viewing by monoglots. The subject was the James Bulger murder. This play has already been tackled on this blog by Harry here but it is tonight's reception I want to focus on.
Presenter Kirsty Wark may have briefly mentioned the name of the playwright Niklas Rådström at the start of the programme, but during the whole item and discussion of the Rådström play, the author was quietly left unmentioned, except by the valiant Kate Mosse, the Orange lady, who mumbled Rådström's surname at one point, saying he was revered or similar in his native Sweden. But no interview with this foreigner or his translator.
The programme went on to mention a book by Anne Michaels, whose name was dropped several times. And once they'd got onto Dan Brown, they were chattering away as if Niklas Rådström had never existed.
I reckon they were scared of having to pronounce a name with an "å" and an "ö". Too much for the average British brain, although most Brits can manage "nickel arse road strum".
And the translator of this play? Not a mention. The Guardian usually links up with the Newsnight Review. So things appearing in the Guardian Review, also appear in the Newsnight Review. I hope the Guardian is feeling European this month and we get the names of more foreigners who can write splashed across the pages of the Guardian Review. Such discoveries will inevitably seep through to the Newsnight Review.