Sunday 30 March 2014

Deighton on TV redux - "The Lively Arts"

Len Deighton, The Lively Arts
If readers haven't discovered it yet on the BBC's archives, I'd encourage you to watch the 1977 interview of Len Deighton by broadcaster Melvyn Bragg, as part of the BBC's Lively Arts programme.

I've been doing a little web surfing this afternoon and came across it and watched it again. You can find the video on the BBC's website here.

Very interesting interview - one of the few Len's given at length to the BBC, the other being five years ago for BBC 4, marking his 80th birthday.

Filmed around the publication of Bomber, it's interesting to hear Len explain how he came to writing and how his lack of being a professional writer in his thirties shaped his approach to his first books. So, when he talks about writing The Ipcress File as a story, he had no idea what it would become and treated it just as a bit of fun. It was left in a draw, indicating to him that he had no ambition to be a writer until a chance meeting with an agent.

Fascinating to hear Len talking about the English class system, which "everyone seems to enjoy!", and how he got into cooking through his mother, who indulged her son in the kitchen.

If you've not watched it, certainly worth checking out.


  1. Fortunately, I got to watch this once. Now it's unavailable to us Yanks...

  2. I watched it when it was broadcast in 1977. It was a memorable year for me for a number of reasons. It was in that Summer, I Ieft America after a decade of studies and work there, missed the eulogies paid to Elvis in American media in August when he died. I was getting familiar with British accent again, and Bragg provided the quintessential Cumbrian twist in his Live Arts presentations! It was also a memorable December for personal reasons. It was rumoured then that Bragg would be involved with the LWT's SouthBank Show, which later proved to be so watchable for me.

  3. Sadly I'm overseas again and can't access the BBC archive, would love to see this interview and the 80th birthday if anyone knows an alternate source or copy?

  4. I'm sure a YouTube search might uncover it!

  5. Hi Cameron, you can probably use a VPN tool such as Tunnelbear. This will make the server at the Beeb think you have a UK IP address and allow you to watch from the States. It works for me here in Germany.

  6. Found, thanks Terry, that worked out well. Excellent interview, hope to see new televised interviews with Len- maybe you could pitch for an exclusive Rob?

  7. Terry-thanks for the VPN info. I had been meaning to get one of these and you jogged my memory.