New Front Row presenter Mary Beard: Hollywood films have been “tainted” by sexual harassment legacy

The classicist adds, however, that it’s “too simple” to dismiss artists’ work altogether because of their mistakes

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 10:30:01 on 20/12/2015 - Programme Name: Civilisations - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: *STRICTLY EMBARGOED FOR USE UNTIL 10.30 SUNDAY 20TH DEC 2016*
Simon Schama, Mary Beard and David Olusoga to present BBC TWO series, Civilisations.
The BBC today announced the commission of a major new ten part series, Civilisations, telling the story of art, from the dawn of human history to the present day, for the first time on a global scale. 
 Mary Beard - (C) BBC - Photographer: Andrew HAyes-Watkins

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Mary Beard has said that some Hollywood movies have been “tainted” by the sexual harassment scandal – but that it would be “too simple” to dismiss people’s work altogether.

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The classicist and co-presenter of Civilisations was speaking with Radio Times following her new role as the presenter of Front Row Late.

“Some Hollywood films are a bit tainted by what we’ve found out about what Hollywood is really like,” she said.

“I think we were a bit naïve, to not know what was happening, but you can’t avoid it now. I’m certainly not going to say I won’t see a Woody Allen movie again.

“But what you’ve got to do is get your head around the fact that there’s this guy who makes brilliant movies, and we don’t really like him very much.

“There’s a wider issue about how we think about the creators of the works of art – everything that goes from their human frailty, to put it mildly, to something close to nastiness. It’s too simple to say, ‘Oh, I just won’t look at his films anymore.’”

BBC Radio 4’s arts show Front Row launched its BBC2 spin-off series in autumn 2017, with Giles Coren among the presenters. However, Coren announced in February that he would be leaving the show ahead of the new series. He had admitted in an interview with Radio Times that he had “not been to the theatre much in the past six or seven years” and found the experience stressful.

The new series moves from 7:30pm on Saturdays to a live 11pm slot on Friday nights. The first two episodes are now available on BBC iPlayer.

“My generation think, I’ll watch it live when it’s transmitted’, but iPlayer means the actual moment of transmission isn’t important any longer,” Beard told Radio Times. It means you have the freedom to watch Front Row Late, whenever you like.”

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Read the full interview with Mary Beard in Radio Times magazine, available from Tuesday 17th April

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