The Friday Arts Diary

Our cultural picks for the week ahead.


Kings Place Gallery, London, N1 - Sculptor’s Drawings, 31 August – 12 October

The largest ever exhibition of its kind with over 200 works on display, this collection will span the entire public space at Kings Place over three levels and focus on the unique way in which sculptors approach drawing. Works on show include both preparatory drawings that demonstrate the functionality of drawing in the design process of sculpture as well as drawings and collages that have a sculptural quality themselves. Artists represented range from the established to the emerging and include names such as Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Pablo Picasso, Sarah Lucas and Damien Hirst.


Richmond Theatre, London, TW9 - Great Expectations, 12-15 September

The Charles Dickens 200th anniversary celebrations continue, with this new adaptation of one of his best-loved books at Richmond Theatre. In this production, the 59-chapter-long 1860 novel has been transplanted to the English Raj, using colonial India as a backdrop for Dickens’s epic tale of love, faith and the class divide. As a consequence, a level of race and even caste is applied to the already complex plot. Expect a very fresh and different adaptation of a story you thought you already knew.


West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds – Ondine, 8-15 September

The Northern Ballet brings the UK premiere of Ondine to the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds. Described as a "beautifully tragic adult fairytale" and featuring the original music by Hans Werner Henze, it is a must-see for all fans of ballet.


ITV1 - The Scapegoat, 9 September, 9pm

This new television adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s 1957 novel promises to retain the harsh edges, dark humour and unexpected twists of the original book, and judging by early previews, it seems to succeed. When lonely academic John Standing meets his doppelganger, a mysterious French aristocrat named Jean de Gué, he is forced to change places and finds himself caught up in the intrigues and passions of his double’s family. This is one period drama that may be worth watching.


London Jewish Cultural Centre, NW11 – Hampstead & Highgate Literary Festival, 0-11 September

The fourth year of the Hampstead & Highgate Literary Festival offers up a remarkable roster of journalists, authors, politicians and writers including Howard Jacobson, Rose Tremain, David Lammy MP, Alison Weir and Michael Palin. There is also an opportunity for would-be writers to hone their own skills at one of three creative writing workshops.

Dame Barbara Hepworth with some of her work, 1967. Hepworth is one sculptor to have her drawings included in a new exhibition. Photo: Getty Images.
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Commons Confidential: Money for old Gove

Backstabbing Boris, a doctored doctorate, and when private schools come to Parliament.

Treachery is proving profitable for Michael Gove since his backstabbing of Boris Johnson led to the victim being named Foreign Sec and the knifeman carved out of Theresa May’s cabinet. The former injustice secretary was overheard giving it the big “I am” in the Lords café bar by my snout and boasting that he’ll trouser £300,000 on the political sidelines. I note a £150,000 Times column and £17,500 HarperCollins book deal have been duly registered. Speaking engagements, he confided to the Tory peer Simone Finn, will be equally lucrative.

Gove is polite (always says hello and smiles at me despite what I write) but it was insensitive to talk money when his companion was moaning. Finn, a Cameron crony, whined that she had been sacked as a spad and so is out of pocket. Perhaps he could lend her a tenner. And I do hope Mickey isn’t passing himself off as an “expert” to coin it.

While Nigel Farage’s successor-but-one Paul “Dr Nutty” Nuttall protests that he never doctored a CV with an invented university PhD, Ukip’s ritzy nonpareil continues to enjoy the high life. My informant spied Farage, the self-appointed people’s chief revolter, relaxing in first class on a British Airways flight from New York to Blighty. Drinking three types of champagne doesn’t come cheap at £8,000 one-way, so either the Brexit elitist is earning big bucks or he has found a sugar daddy. Nowt’s too good for the Quitters, eh?

Labour’s youngest MP, Lou Haigh, was popular in a Justice for Colombia delegation to monitor the Northern Ireland-inspired peace process there. At Normandia prison in Chiquinquira, after a five-hour drive to see Farc guerrillas cleared for release, inmates pushed past the British male trade unionists to greet the 29-year-old Sheffield Heeley tribune. What a change from parliament, where it is women who are treated as if they’re wearing Harry Potter-style invisibility cloaks.

The kowtowing is catching up with Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, the SNP party animal and onetime-Tory-turned-Labour. Better late than never, I hear, she delivered a masterclass in toadying to the Chinese at a Ditchley Park conflab. Ahmed-Grovel MP avoided discussion of human rights abuses and made much instead of the joys of Scotch whisky to Beijing, and Scotland as a gateway to the UK. I trust she kept her sycophancy secret from SNP colleagues jostling in parliament a short while back for photographs with Lobsang Sangay, head of the Tibetan government-in-exile.

John Bercow is concerned that private schools dominate visits to parliament. So a bit like the Commons chamber, where 32 per cent of MPs (48 per cent of Tories) come from establishments that teach 7 per cent of pupils in the UK. 

Kevin Maguire is Associate Editor (Politics) on the Daily Mirror and author of our Commons Confidential column on the high politics and low life in Westminster. An award-winning journalist, he is in frequent demand on television and radio and co-authored a book on great parliamentary scandals. He was formerly Chief Reporter on the Guardian and Labour Correspondent on the Daily Telegraph.

This article first appeared in the 08 December 2016 issue of the New Statesman, Brexit to Trump