Episode 5 The Arts Show


Episode 5

Actor James Nesbitt is in conversation about his life, career and role in Peter Jackson's latest epic, The Hobbit. And the origins of pantomime theatre are investigated.


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Transcript


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Hello welcome to The Arts Show. It is our last show of 2012. We're in

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a festive mood. James Nesbitt talks about his extremely successful

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stage and screen career and his role in Peter Jackson's cinematic

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epic, released today, The Hobbit. Northern Irish artist Debarah Brown,

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a leading figure in the art world since the 60s is a major at the

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retro sceptic at the F.E McWilliam Gallery. She talks to the art show.

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There's festive music from the teenager everyone is talking about

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- Londonderry's singing sensation - Soak. Pantomime theatre has been

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described as the Marmite of the stage - loved by the public,

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loathed by critics. The season is once again in full swing, so no

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better time than to seek a fresh perspective. Theatre historian Mark

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Phelan is a supporter of what he argues is a major mainstay of the

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theatrical calendar. Hello, boys It has been seen as crude and

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commercial. Alfred Tennyson described pantomime as "brainless."

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George Bernard Shaw found it vulgar. I couldn't disagree more, nor could

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the punters. Financially speaking, pantomime is no laughing matter.

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Its popularity means its worth �23 million a year in the UK a year.

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Without it, many children would not experience the pleasures of live

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theatre and many theatres themselves could go dark,

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permanently. They are on the streets..: The cast of Cinderella

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is performing for over 80 performances in the coming weeks.

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We are the glamour in town! The fact it is eight weeks of our

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programme it needs to be financially successful. It brings

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80,000 people to see it alone. That is 20% of our income and 20% of our

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audience. That is why it is so important to us. It is a great big

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driver in sales. We have just sold our �1 million worth of ticks this

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year. It is big business. -- tickets this year. It is not a

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musical. It is not a play. It is comedy. It is fun. Everyone is

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having a great night out. You are a radiator... Not that - you are

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radiating. You radiate, nap pi rash... Happyness. Oh, Cinderella,

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everyone I see you I get tied- tongue. I think you mean tongue-

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tide. It is as traditional asure ki. -- as Turkey. Pantomime has been

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around for centuries, from Greece to England. The long revolution has

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led us to a family show, where men in drag play dames in a musical

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tradition. From Shakespeare to the Roman stage.

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Where the principal boy is played by a pretty girl and men ogle the

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shapely legs and tight-fitting trousers, which shows the success

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of panto. It works on different What is going on here? It sounded

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like you were all having fun. at the Waterfront Hall, 25,000

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parents and children will see Sleeping Beauty. Theatre director,

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Lisa May, is tackling the challenges of this genre for the

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first time. We're going to go from page 17... I think the exciting

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thing about panto is finding that balance between the madness and the

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chaos that is integral to make it work. It is quick and I know it is

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a bit tricky... It is getting that balance. It is the actors

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constantly thinking on their feet. There's also where the audience

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become part of the cast. There's nothing like it for live theatre.

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It's a great experience! It is an echo of the tumultuous

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conditions of the 19th century playhouse, when the audience

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interrupted the actors on stage, hurling abuse and worse. Oh, yes I

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will... Oh, no you won. It got so bad that actors sometimes performed

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behind a net to protect them from The pleasure from pantomime was far

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beyond the special licence it grants us to misbehave in the

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theatre. Much of the rich pleasure comes from the form. It is as fixed

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a tradition as the festive season itself. So, here is to wicked

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villains, panto dames and principal boys, all in that riot of colour

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and clamour that comes but once a year!

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James Nesbitt has had an amazingly successful career, which has seen

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him work with Paul Greengrass, Michael Winterbottom and Oliver

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Hirschbiegel. He is constantly challenged himself by having

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complex and diverse roles from Adam in Cold Feet to Bloody Sunday. An

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undercover cop in Murphy's Law. Audiences can see him in cinemas

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today as Bofur the Dwarf in Peter Allow me to inintroduce deuce you...

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What has it been like as an experience? You are playing a dwarf.

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One of the dwarfs. I'm Bofur, who is kind of - I am delighted to say

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is Northern Irish. It is incredible. Nothing could prepare you for it.

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You asked me to find the 14th member. I have chosen Mr Baggins.

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got to work with an incredible cast. Ian, at 73 just was the best

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education I could have had at an important time for me. Just to see

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him so dedicated to his craft and he was a real inspiration. Many of

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them like that, Kate Blanchet. do you make of yourself being a

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Lego person? I was never really into Lego. I love the idea of this

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being lodged up to noses of kids all over the world. His father was

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principal of a primary school. It is the hard-working rural heartland

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of Northern Ireland but has a strong tradition of amateur theatre.

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James was on stage from the age of # Come on babe

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# Why don't we paint the town # And all that jazz #

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I see this gorgeous young boy, 15, 16 years of age, you can see that

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James Nesbitt sparkle in his eyes. You can see him loving the camera

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and the camera loving him back. don't know. It is not a bad song we

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were singing. We were learning a craft there. We were learning

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different skills, acquiring skills. That is really, I have tried to

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hold on to that, but you are learning stuff.

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James started a degree in French, but gave this up to study acting in

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London. His first small role came within weeks of graduating. It took

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more than ten years until he achieved household name status in

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Cold Feet. This was a major one when I was 16. It was so

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fascinating to watch you playing somebody from Northern Ireland, who

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had no political baggage. That was my point. I was getting tired

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myself of the Northern Irish accent and the Northern Irish person. It

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was only connected to conflict. The families didn't approve. It was a

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Romeo and Juliet kind of thing. Forbidden love. You cannot fight

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that. Because you were Protestant and she was Catholic. No, she was

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my geography teacher. It was written for an English person. I

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said I have to play this as an Northern Irish person. Did that

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define you then? I think so. I think so. But you know, that's

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why, in a way, I went on to different things.

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With the momentum of Cold Feet behind him, James was able to pick

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a role that was very different - Protestant civil rights leader Ivan

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Cooper in Bloody Sunday. A typical question - did that make

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you feel better able to take on the part because he was Protestant?

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I just remember, thinking, I've got to do this. I was scared of people

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from my background feeling I was in some way betraying them. I was also

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some way betraying them. I was also very scared that national ists in

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Derry and the families would not -- nationalists in Derry would not

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appreciate it. When we were filming, I was so immersed in it. Paul was

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talking in my ear constantly and giving me incredible back-up, but

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being firm with me. I lost any fears about what people's reactions

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would be. It was a game-changing performance,

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underpinned by an important aspect of James's work - research with

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real people N this case, the real Ivan Cooper. He had not done the

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march since the day. We did it. We went around, just the two of us. It

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was brilliant. It was an incredible help to me. It was very helpful of

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him. He presented me with just the most enormous amount of literature.

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I had to read everything, all the literature from the past. I had to

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literature from the past. I had to be completely immersed in it.

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D five minutes ago I was at the bar. Him here, no way back in. Murphy's

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Law had been fuelled by James's success in Cold Feet.

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But, by series three, he insisted on changes to his character. You

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showed a man capable of extreme violence. That was a shocking thing

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for people who thought they knew you and the roles you had

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previously embraced. Was it a liberation? That's a good question.

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Did I consciously want to beat someone up on camera? Probably not

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I went hand in hand with the part. Yes, it felt like - you are right -

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It felt - of course this is what I do. I am an actor. I am supposed to

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do something different here. Minutes of Heaven won a string of

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awards and saw him appear alongside Liam Neeson. It is a fiction, but

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one inspired by real events. It imagines an encounter between

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Gabrielle Giffords and the UVF man who killed his brother. For James

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meeting -- Mr Griffins and the UVF man who killed his brother.

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don't we take a few moments ago. have been up and down the stairs. I

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will meet him. I want to meet him. I taped him for five hours. I would

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speak to him a lot. What are you looking at then? You are not going

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to do an imitation of him. What he's thinking when he is quiet?

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Then he's off again. You know? He did that a lot. Also just, you are

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looking at a lot of the pain in his It's not your typical Hollywood

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fight scene. It is messy and awkward... Liam Neeson said it

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should be messy, I have lent, hard to watch. That's his Fve Minutes of

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Heaven. He doesn't even get that. It feels to me that you've had a

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very long journey in becoming an actor. 25 years of being an

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overnight success. Why were you never satisfied with one particular

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part? Because it is my job. That does hark back to, you know, my

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work ethic. Right from the moment I get a script, or from the moment of

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an idea, I am consumed with, you know the construction of a part,

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the construction of that character's identity, his

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background, how they move, how they sound, the way they listen. It is

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absolutely what I hope will define me and continue to define me.

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there ever a sense that because you did not follow your dad down the

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road of education and become that French teacher there has been a

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guilt over the years? That is probably very true, because the

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notion of anything of money and fame and all that comes with that,

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I think there's certainly been a lot of guilt. I probably spent 25

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years of... Playing Bofur the Dwarf in The Hobbit has only been the

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latest sharp corner turn James has made. Part of a relentless series

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of challenges he's taken on. wrote for travel mags... They are

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doing the work. And loving what they do. The Way took James to a

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Hollywood audience. He brought something of county Antrim. You are

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walking along with the stick. You swing that stick quite well. As I

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say, I grew up and there was not much else to do. They thought, hey

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a marching band. They were like, "I love that!" I am blessed with what

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I do. I hope it continues. That seems a fitting end. Thank you very

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And you can see James Nesbitt's full interview in an art show in

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conversation special on 28th February.

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Now, sculptor and artist Debarah Brown is counted among Northern

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Ireland's leading art figures. Trained in Dublin as a painter she

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returned to Belfast for most of her career, where her work evolved into

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three-dimensional form. Famous for exploring glass fibre, she has

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achieved extensive international fame. Now in her 80s and creating,

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she is the subject of a majorette introduce speckive which has just

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opened at the F.E McWilliam Gallery. The art show met up with her.

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I'm constantly looking for forms and shapes and lines.

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Almost like a composure, striking notes on the piano.

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Put some shapes down and then work from that, make a whole piece. Form

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is not there - to my mind it will not be interesting. You want to

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recreate the thing into sculptural terms. Form is not there just to be

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a copy, but there's still the problem of becoming a work of art

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or not. I like that because I think the

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more you struggle with it, the D I started as a painter and

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trained as a painter. Gradually eI started to build up from the

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surface and build up with paper match they. -- papier mache. It was

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not permanent - you could not put it outside easily. I decided to

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cast one or two bits in bronze. Once you cast in bronze, it's very

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hard to go back to any other medium, because it's a nice, very nice

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result. At least you hope it's nice. The way it reflects light - you can

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buff it up, tone it down. I just like doing big things. They give

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you scope to sort of let light hit them and get different sort of

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tones into bronze and so on. It was the image of those sheep

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coming along the road and the man taller than they were - making him

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upright and that shape coming towards me.

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It does not do to put it on too thick at first. I've always loved

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animals. I used to go and help the farmer. I

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used to feed the pigs. I liked the pigs. They are nice animals. They

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are very friendly and nice. Even when I was a painter I always had

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to paint what I knew - the landscape I knew. It's just the

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same with sculpture. There's no use in doing that with something you

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don't know. I'm 85-year-old now. I suppose I

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have - should have - some experience behind me.

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I've learnt from the faults and successes I've had over the years.

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I think the exhibition in Banbridge will probably be my last one-man

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show. I can't see myself doing another one. You say that sort of

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thing and then you do it. I don't suppose I'll ever give up

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until physically I have to give up. It's just something you love to do

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and there it is, you know - I have to make it.

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I haven't decided yet what the next thing will be, but there will be

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something. Of course the pig isn't finished yet.

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What an amazing lady and that exhibition runs until 2nd March at

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the F.E McWilliam Gallery in Banbridge. Now, with his tips on

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what's not to miss in the music world over the holiday season

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here's Ralph. This is the story of the

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Proclaimers, released in 1997. They continue to play with Celtic

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passion. Trust me, you have not lived until you have had a sing-

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along with the band. It is quite an experience. You can sample it for

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yoursz at the Limelight in Belfast on Saturday night. Saturday sees

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the return of Mumford and Sons to these shores.

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2012 has been a great day for them. If you have not been lucky enough

:23:28.:23:33.

to get a ticket, well I am afraid, you are out of luck. It is sold out

:23:33.:23:37.

if you are going down to the gig, get there early for a great

:23:37.:23:40.

seasonal treat. If you wonder why I am always going

:23:41.:23:47.

on about what amazing young musicalal lapbt we have in this

:23:47.:23:51.

country, -- musical al lapbt we have in this country, it is because

:23:51.:23:58.

it is true. Fresh, poppy and with more shiny

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hooks than at a fisherman's convention this is one gig not to

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miss. As former front-man of the Frames

:24:08.:24:18.

and one half of the Oscar-winning - Glenn has han an amaze career. Do

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yourself a favour and go and see him on Sunday night.

:24:24.:24:29.

Ricky Warwick has been in the revived Thin Lizzie. Now that

:24:29.:24:35.

project has been put to bed, he's out on the solo road. I have seen

:24:35.:24:40.

him sing a few times. His voice pins you to the back wall n the

:24:40.:24:44.

nicest possible way. Finally, looking ahead into the New

:24:44.:24:54.
:24:54.:24:57.

Year, there's a chance to celebrate Derry's City of Culture status -

:24:57.:25:04.

they will kick-start an incredible year, with a gig on the 11st

:25:04.:25:08.

January. Go along and support local musical if you can. Thank you. That

:25:08.:25:13.

is almost it for tonight. The art show will be back on 24th January,

:25:13.:25:19.

when we will be in Derry, Londonderry, as it begins its

:25:19.:25:24.

inaugural Year of the City of Culture. You can keep up-to-date on

:25:24.:25:34.
:25:34.:25:36.

BBC Radio Ulster Arts Extra. We leave with some music. At 16 Soak

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is the name on everyone's lips. Having first picked up a guitar

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only a few years ago, she has released two EPs Trains and Sea

:25:46.:25:50.

Creatures, which have attracted huge industry attention and Radio

:25:50.:25:58.

One air-play. She plays support to Snow Patrol in the Waterfront Hall

:25:58.:26:04.

and will play on 20th January. Joined my her father and younger

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brother, she gives the art show an exclusive, festive performance.

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# We're walking in the air # We're floating in the moon-lit

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# The people far below # I'm holding very tight

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# I'm riding in the midnight moon # I'm finding I can fly

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# So high # The villages go by

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# The rivers and the hills # The forests and the streams

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# Children gaze open-mouthed # Taken by surprise

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# Nobody down below # Believes their eyes

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# We're surfing in the air # We're swimming in the frozen sky

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# We're drifting over ice and mountains floating by

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# Suddenly swooping low # On an ocean deep

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Actor James Nesbitt is in conversation about his life, career and role in Peter Jackson's latest epic, The Hobbit. The origins of pantomime theatre are investigated and there is a feature on the life's work of local sculptor Deborah Brown, who is still creating in her 80s. Music comes from Derry's teenage singing sensation, Soak.


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