Best of 2010

Theatre: Shakespeare

1. Romeo and Juliet (RSC).

2. King Lear (RSC).

3. As You Like It (West Yorkshire Playhouse).

4. Measure for Measure (Almeida).

5. The Winter’s Tale (RSC/Roundhouse).

6. Henry IV part 2 (Globe).

7. Macbeth (Globe).

8. Antony and Cleopatra (RSC).

9. Antony and Cleopatra (Liverpool Playhouse).

10. Hamlet (The Crucible, Sheffield).

11. King Lear (Donmar).

12. Henry VIII (The Globe).

13. The Tempest (Old Vic).

14. As You Like It (Old Vic)

15. Macbeth (Belt Up/York Theatre Royal).

Theatre: Not Shakespeare

1. Jerusalem (Apollo).

2. After the Dance (National).

3. An Enemy of the People (Sheffield Crucible).

4. Women Beware Women (National).

5. London Assurance (National).

6. Enron (Theatre Royal, Newcastle)

7. The Habit of Art (National Theatre).

8. Corrie! (Lowry, Salford)

9. The Real Thing (Old Vic).

10. Canterbury Tales (West Yorkshire Playhouse/Northern Broadsides).

11. La Bete (Comedy Theatre).

12. Death of a Salesman (West Yorkshire Playhouse).

13. Three Sisters (Lyric, Hammersmith).

14. The Misanthrope (Comedy Theatre)

15. Beating Berlusconi. (York Theatre Royal).



1. Gauguin (Tate Modern).

2. Van Gogh (Royal Academy).

3. Renaissance drawings (The British Museum).

4. The Book of the Dead (British Museum).

5. Venice. Canaletto and his rivals. (The National Gallery).

6. Sargent and the Sea (Royal Academy).

7. Rude Britannia (Tate Britain).

8. Summer Show (Royal Academy).

9. Beatles to Bowie (National Portrait Gallery).

10. Chris Ofili (Tate Britain).



1. Andrea Levy The Long Song.

2. Hilary Mantel – Wolf Hall.

3. AS Byatt – The Children’s Book.

4. Rose Tremain – Trespass.

5. Colm Toibin Brooklyn.

6. Ian McEwan  Solar.

7. Paul Magrs Diary of a Doctor Who Addict.

8. Tony Blair The Journey.

9. Kate Atkinson Started Early, Took My Dog.

10. Alexander McCall Smith The Double Comfort Safari Club.


1. Coronation Street –  especially for Jack’s Death and the Live episode (ITV).

3. Ashes to Ashes (BBC1).

4. Doctor Who – The End of Time part 2 (BBC1).

5. Doctor Who – especially for the eleventh hour (BBC1).

6. Downton Abbey (ITV1)

7. I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here (ITV1).

8. Macbeth (BBC 4).

9. Luther (BBC1).

10. Silent Witness (BBC 1).

and my guilty pleasure of the year

Peter Kay at the Studio, Lowry (and again at the Manchester Evening News Arena).

The Writer's Tale

I have just been reading Russell Davies’ The Writer’s Tale. The book is about the conception and filming of Series 4 of Doctor Who. So a very heavy hardback, with lots of delicious photographs of the programme and behind the scenes stuff, as well as snippets of scripts. Written in an epistolatory style, it uses emails and texts instead of letters and is a correspondence between Russell T Davies and a journalist, Ben Cook. As I read I felt like I was following a private conversation, but I am sure nothing was disclosed that I wasn’t meant to know.

Reading the book, made me realise that the marketing strategy for the programme relied so much on withholding and cliff hangers. This technique isn’t just in the episodes themselves but in narrative constructed around the programme, such as the personal narrative working on the programme. Is David Tennant doing another series or not. I found it enormously enjoyable, both for the writing and the beautiful images. Reading and viewing was strangely and satisfyingly voyeuristic.

It was attracted to the fragmented style of the book. I moved from email to text, looked at images which weren’t directly always related to what was written on the page. It made me think that writing and reading is a changing experience with new technology. I was also thinking, that at home, I hardly use Word anymore, because there are so many other ways to write – this blog for example.

As I write, I’m watching a repeat of episode 1 of series 4 on Sky + and I can now read the programme in different ways because I have read Davies’s book. I know, for example, why the reporter is called Penny and where the title, Partners in Crime’ came from. Sarah Lancashire is great, overacting beautifully as the nanny from outer space and Catherine Tate’s Donna is just spot on, as the Doctor’s companion who isn’t going to fall in love with him in episode 2.

Davies, Russell T. (2008) The Writer’s Tale London: BBC Books
Doctor Who Series 4.1