Roger Lewis

Relish — and cultivate — your grievances

15 December 2018 9:00 am

Grudges make the world go around, according to Sophie Hannah. They are ‘an important and fascinating part of human experience’,…

Saul Bellow (centre): ‘He said he felt like Valjean, pursued by Inspector Javert through the sewers of Paris,’ says James Atlas. Above and left: Graham Greene and Anthony Powell were both better biographers than biographees

Biography is a thoroughly reprehensible genre

3 March 2018 9:00 am

I saw a biopic about Morecambe and Wise recently. The actors impersonating the comedians were not a patch on the…

Cross-dressing in the Met. Policemen don women’s clothes to catch the Whitechapel murderer. Charles West (far right) leads the search in Jack the Ripper, 1974

Broken dreams

21 October 2017 9:00 am

In the expensive realm of musical comedy, it’s impossible to predict what will take off and what will crash and…

They sought paradise in a Scottish field — and found hunger, boredom and mosquitoes

14 February 2015 9:00 am

Dylan Evans, the author of this book, was one of those oddballs who rather looked forward to the apocalypse, because…

A Stratford Stalin: the nasty, aggressive and stupid world of Joan Littlewood

8 November 2014 9:00 am

If Stalin had been a theatre director he’d have resembled Joan Littlewood. What an outstandingly unpleasant woman she was —…

Paul Merton’s is the most boastful autobiography in years

27 September 2014 8:00 am

Has there ever been a nun or a priest who wasn’t a bent sadist? Because here we go again. At…

Leading with the chin: Dusty Springfield in the mid 1960s

The mad, bad and sad life of Dusty Springfield

2 August 2014 9:00 am

Call me a crazy old physiognomist, but my theory is that you can always spot a lesbian by her big…

‘Less political satire than back-handed homage:Charlie Chaplin in a scene from The Great Dictator

Charlie Chaplin, monster

12 April 2014 9:00 am

No actual birth certificate for Charles Spencer Chaplin has ever been found. The actor himself drew a blank when he…

The harrowing, inspiring life of Andrew Sachs

15 March 2014 9:00 am

Comedians always like to claim that they started making jokes after childhoods made harsh by poverty; that at a formative…

The abstract art full of 'breasts and bottoms'

9 November 2013 9:00 am

Is there any such thing as abstract art? Narratives and coherent harmonies seem to me always to emerge from the…

As Luck Would Have It, by Derek Jacobi - review

28 September 2013 9:00 am

Alan Bennett once overheard an old lady say, ‘I think a knighthood was wasted on Derek Jacobi,’ and I know…

A Rogues’ Gallery, by Peter Lewis - review

24 August 2013 9:00 am

Like Mel Brooks’s character the Two Thousand-Year-Old Man, Peter Lewis has met everyone of consequence. Though he doesn’t mention being…