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Last Updated: Friday, 23 June 2006, 12:30 GMT 13:30 UK
Harold Pinter on Newsnight Review
Kirsty Wark introduces her interview with Harold Pinter, which aired on Newsnight Review, Friday 23 June, at 11pm on BBC TWO.


When Harold Pinter won the Nobel Prize for Literature last year it was a momentous event.

Harold Pinter
But the fact is that now he is almost as well known for his forthright, sometimes splenetic, opposition to the Bush administration - and by attachment Tony Blair - over the war in Iraq, as he is for his plays and poems.

When his distaste of post WW2 US foreign policy encompassed NATO's actions against Milosevic, and the Serbian dictator's trial, many critics thought he had made a major misjudgement and he came in for a lot of flak.

So most recently the focus has been on his political activism. He has not talked at length about his plays and poems and where he is in his life - the brilliant two part Arena on Pinter, in 2002, relied on friends and family, his writings, tape recordings and some wonderful archive.

For that reason, Tanya Hudson, the editor of Newsnight Review, and I were very keen to interview him for a special edition of the show, especially as he is about to go back on stage. We'll be revealing more about this on the programme.

More pictures of Harold Pinter in conversation with Kirsty Wark

The BBC is not in his best books just now because of what he regards as scant interest on his Nobel speech, though on the day his award was announced I'd interviewed him for Newsnight - nevertheless he agreed to come into the studio.

What followed was an unexpectedly frank and heartfelt interview in which he talked about what his plays and poems mean to him, and his debt to Beckett - he also told a very funny story about his relationship with Beckett.

He talked about what "Pinteresque might be" and also spoke movingly about his illness and the effect on him of facing death twice.

He also laughed a lot! And then he performed a new piece of Pinter in the studio with the actor Rupert Graves.

  • HAROLD PINTER WILL BE PERFORMING IN KRAPP'S LAST TAPE FOR A LIMITED NUMBER OF PERFORMANCES FROM 12 - 21 OCTOBER, 2006 AT THEATRE UPSTAIRS, ROYAL COURT THEATRE, LONDON
  • DIRECTED BY IAN RICKSON
  • TICKET BOOKINGS WILL OPEN ON 4 SEPTEMBER
  • VISIT WWW.ROYALCOURTTHEATRE.COM FOR MORE INFORMATION

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