Pot and Kettle.


TV  What a fucking episode.  I can't believe something with an ending that nihilistic went out in prime time on BBC One.  It's Midnight on steroids.  It's Blink with a malevolent protagonist.  It's pissed off precisely the people in needs to, and wiped the smugness off the rest of our faces.

Three remarkable things.  One, in crafting that protagonist and through Callie Cooke's performance, Lindy is presented as someone who's not completely likeable but has the potential to go through some kind of redemption arc.  We're rooting for her to be better and then we're reminded people aren't really like that.

Two.  Ncuti's performance at the climax is completely stellar and rightly receiving plaudits, but watch Millie in those moments, tearfully waiting for the correct time to approach him, stepping forward and away,  then having signalled it's time to go with a touch walks back to the TARDIS.

Three.  Ricky September:  RTD writes him like the Doctor and Tom Rhys Harries plays him as such so he's immediately heroic which makes his end all the more gut-wrenching. Then you realise he's still *there* living in this place with these people and ultimately as bad as the rest of them.

[If this looks a bit short, it's because I've just posted it to the newer socials and wanted to add it here for posterity (and to correct some of the English).  It's not a review though.  It's too short for one thing and doesn't mention the episode title or indeed which series I'm referring to.]

The Shakespeare Centre: Royal Shakespeare Company (39)

Books   Cleopatra and Me: In Search of a Lost Queen is a half hour presenter-led documentary from BBC Four in 2019 in which Shakespeare scholar Dr Islam Issa investigates how the resolute leader he grew up with as part of his Egyptian cultural heritage has become weakened and sexualised over the years, a process which he thinks may have started with Shakespeare.  He speaks to other scholars and actors and comes to the conclusion that it's possible to embrace all of the different versions of Cleopatra because it only goes to show how multifaceted the historic figure was.

An exploration of historic sources necessitates a visit to The Shakespeare Centre in Stratford Upon Avon, during which he meets Rev Dr Paul Edmonson, Head of Learning and Research at The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, who demonstrates how passages from Plutarch's Life of Julius Caesar were all but transcribed into verse by Shakespeare, Enibarbus's the description of Cleopatra's barge floating along the Nile ("The barge she sat in, like a burnish'd throne" that sort of thing).  

During this demonstration we see what looks like an early edition of Plutarch and a First Folio.  The Shakespeare Centre has three copies of the Folio which narrows things down considerably in terms of identification but there are only two shots of it:


Fortunately this was more than enough.  The binding matches the images of the Royal Shakespeare Company edition which was scanned for the First Folio's project which can be seen here and neither of the books photographed for the Shakespeare Trust website.

This is the volume I thought was on display in the exhibition at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre which I wrote about here.  This is the one which in 1964, three members of the RSC took to Rome to be blessed by the Pope after they gave a recital of Shakespeare's plays at the Palazzo Pio in front of the pontiff and a couple of thousand guests.  Unfortunately something was lost in translation, the Pope wasn't adequately briefed and he assumed it was a gift and accepted it as such.  After some diplomatic shenanigans, the folio was eventually returned.

How did it end up in the possession of the RSC?  Rasmussen and West's catalogue The Shakespeare First Folios has an incomplete provenance.  The first known owner is Samuel Molyneux Madden, author of one of the earliest science fiction novels, Memoirs of the Twentieth Century.  After disappearing from view for a hundred years, it was acquired by Shakespeare scholar James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps in 1865 before being sold on in a sale, following his death, to the brewer Charles Edward Flower, co-founder of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.  He donated the volume to the theatre's library.


As you can see from this image of the inside pages, even in 1889, the First Folio wasn't thought to be a sacred enough document that Flower thought it was fine to put his name in the front.  On the opposite page there's a typed note from John Goodwin, Publicity Manager of the RSC outlining the aforementioned Vatican incident along with a remark from Halliwell-Phillipps about variations in printing around Henry VI Part One.