Sarah Waters on 'The South Bank Show'

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Melvyn Bragg chats amiably with Sarah Waters about her sexuality, happy childhood in rural Pembrokeshire and fascination with Victorian pornography

  • Sarah Waters on 'The South Bank Show'

    Sarah Waters

  • Sarah Waters has the endearingly modest habit of discussing her books as if they were written by other people – possibly because her novel-writing career was an offshoot of her PhD research into lesbian and gay historical fiction. But if sophisticated bonkbusters like ‘Tipping the Velvet’ and ‘Fingersmith’ are rooted in pastiche, it’s Waters’ extraordinary storytelling gifts which lie behind her ascension to best-seller status and numerous award nominations.

    Melv chats amiably with Waters about her sexuality, happy childhood in rural Pembrokeshire and fascination with Victorian pornography. There’s a nagging sense of ‘why now?’ (Waters is still at work on the follow-up to 2006’s ‘The Night Watch’ and ITV has mothballed Andrew Davies’ adaptation of second novel ‘Affinity’ for the time being) and a hilariously naff, oh-go-on-it’ll-add-colour bit where, apropos ‘Affinity’, Waters is whisked off to see a medium. But on the whole this is a pleasingly like-arts-TV-used-to-be ‘South Bank Show’ which succeeds in conveying what’s special about its subject without excessive dumbing down.

    Sarah Waters: The South Bank Show, Sunday June 8, 10.45-11.45pm, ITV1

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