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John Major in conversation with Dominic West

John Major and Dominic West, actor and star of The Wire, may seem an unlikely pairing but the former prime minister has a family background in show business: his father was a performer in music hall. Major and West share an enthusiasm for this art form which was one of the glories of Victorian England. Sentimental, vulgar, class-conscious, but always patriotic and on the side of the underdog, music hall held a mirror to the audiences’ hopes and fears, and sometimes the general absurdity of life. Vast, smoke-filled auditoriums were packed night after night in nearly every town and city in Britain. This was the world that John Major’s father Tom entered at the age of 21 as a comedian and singer.

Here, Major and West discuss the colourful story of the British music hall, and the resonance between politics and show business in contemporary life.

If you only watch one pleasingly random interview today…

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