Articles by Des Brown



Niall Ferguson on Brexit, Russia, and the Age of Unpredictability

Scottish-born U.S. resident Niall Ferguson is an illustrious and compelling historian for the media age. Currently Professor of History at Harvard University, he will soon decamp to the Hoover Institution think tank at Stanford University in California.

Andrew Davies' New 'War and Peace' Takes the Small Screen by Storm

British screenwriter Andrew Davies is television's best English literature lecturer. He introduced homicidal British Prime Minister Francis Urquhart to BBC viewers in the "House of Cards" trilogy between 1990 and 1995.

When Margaret Thatcher and Mikhail Gorbachev Changed the World

Just published in Britain is Charles Moore's second volume of his three-part authorized biography of Margaret Thatcher subtitled "Everything She Wants."

Michael Palin on Russia, A Place Where the Rules Don't Apply

Today Michael Palin may be known first of all as one of the comic group Monty Python, but he may go down in history for his writing. He is now touring Britain with his one-man show called "The 30 Years Tour."

Marber and Turgenev Take London Stage by Storm

It has been 20 years since British writer Patrick Marber's first play, "Dealer's Choice," was staged at London's Royal National Theatre. 1995 was also the year he was famously "shot dead live" on a BBC comedy show.

Rifkind Tells Story of Gorbachev's First Meeting With Margaret Thatcher

Just over 30 years ago, Mikhail Gorbachev became general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. The next day, The Times of London ran an editorial entitled "Mr Gorbachov's Hour" — the British media had yet to learn to spell his name — saying that he could prove to be a man with whom Western leaders could feel at home with more than Lenin's heirs.

Lebedev Discusses Gorbachev, Russia-West Ties

Evgeny Lebedev, owner of London's Evening Standard and national paper The Independent, is the most accessible of Britain's media owners and the most unusual.

Sanctions Haven't Killed Russians' Love for London

Britain has been one of the most aggressive lobbyists for sanctions against Moscow over its actions in Ukraine. But as that crisis has unwound into tit-for-tat trade barriers between Russia and the West, what has happened to London's position as the capital of Russian money abroad?

Hollywood Hopefuls To Debut in Moscow

Fall is the time when Hollywood starts to release its big guns, the films they hope will eventually do well in the awards season.

Paxman on Russia, World War I and 'Hot Money'

A scourge of obfuscating politicians, Mr. Paxman is renowned for his refusal to accept waffling or platitudes from lawmakers is how The New York Times described British television news presenter Jeremy Paxman in June as he left the BBCs flagship current affairs program Newsnight after a quarter of a century.

Snowden Book and Upcoming Film Chronicle Exile

To me, Edward Snowden is a hero, Oliver Stone said last July. U.S. Vice President John Kerry recently described him as a coward and a traitor.

James Bond Comes To Moscow's MAMM

The names Bond, James Bond are the most exciting words in the movies and were first spoken on-screen by Sean Connery on the evening of Friday Oct. 5, 1962 at the world premiere of Dr. No in London.

New Revelations on KGB Spy Philby Recall Cold War Tensions

On April 25, Trinity College, Cambridge University, held a symposium at which the only known recording of Harold 'Kim' Philby addressing the KGB was played for the first time. Recovered from a Moscow intelligence archive, it was recorded in 1977 and is mostly about whether agents should ever confess.

Scotland's First Minister in Controversy Over Vladimir Putin Remarks

As Scotland manages this year's Homecoming celebration and prepares for upcoming sporting events like the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup, Scottish politicians may well be looking to Russia's successful Sochi Olympic Games.

Battle of Words Over Russian Money in London

"London is Russia's tawdry b-[expletive]," tweeted Simon Schama, a professor at Columbia University and BBC documentary film maker, on March 8.

Unusual Coverage of Crimea in British Media

For much of last week, the events in Crimea and Ukraine were at the foreground of the British media. However, amongst the acres of newsprint and online newspaper blogs which were devoted to reporting and analysing the subject, elements of satire reared their head.

Tourism Boom Brings Russians to Britain

Before the collapse of communism, Russian tourism to Britain usually meant Communist Party officials making a pilgrimage to the tomb of Karl Marx in Highgate Cemetery.

Russian Remake of 'Luther' Planned

The BBC series "Luther," written and created by Neil Cross, consists of just 14 episodes that aired in Britain between 2010 and 2013. It featured the English actor Idris Elba as Metropolitan Police Inspector John Luther.

Cockney Russians on English-Language TV Shows

Nowadays, Russian characters in British and American drama often fall into stereotype images of classical literary characters, Cold War warriors, revolutionaries and dissidents. Viewers will soon witness a new attempt by a foreign actor to portray a Russian on screen, as Britain's most popular drama series, "Downton Abbey" is to feature its first Russian character.

Separatist Games for U.K. and Russia

The Economist's Feb. 1 issue led with President Putin and the Winter Olympics as its cover story, saying that "the message of the Games is simple: Russia is back."

Jack Ryan Thriller Recreates Russia in the U.K.

"Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit," an espionage thriller by Paramount Pictures is currently sitting on top of the Russian box office with an opening weekend gross of $2.2 million, showing on more than 1,000 screens.

Centenary of WWI Largely Ignored in Russia

British historian and journalist Sir Max Hastings has penned volumes chronicling World War II, the Korean War and the Falklands War.  His latest work, "Catastrophe 1914: Europe Goes to War," recounts the events of the first year of World War I and was published in September 2013, in time for this year's centennial anniversary of the start of the war.

Britain Remembers Kim Philby

That quintessential Cold War year of 1963 has been featuring prominently in the Britain recently. Andrew Lloyd Webber's new musical "Stephen Ward" revisits the Profumo affair.

Program Announced for Russia-U.K. Year of Culture

Currently running on the BBC is a three-part documentary, "Strange Days: Cold War Britain" in which historian Dominic Sandbrook evokes the social and cultural history of Britain during the dark days of conflict between East and West.

Moscow Olympics Relived in New British Film

The Sebastian Coe-Steve Ovett clash at the Moscow Olympic Games was one of those quintessentially British sporting stories that are legendary at home but not so well known overseas. A new British film, "Gold," announced last week, throws the spotlight on those Cold War Games of July and August 1980.

New Book Chronicles the Heart of Russia's History

Recently published in Britain is "Red Fortress: The Secret Heart of Russia's History" by historian Catherine Merridale of Queen Mary's University in London. Told over 528 pages, it is nothing less than a history of the Russian seat of power, the Kremlin.

Russia's Soccer Relationship With England

Hard as it is to believe, on a Wednesday evening in November a soccer stadium in northwest England will literally be the centre of the world for tens of millions of soccer fans across Russia.

Wealthy Russians Hear London Calling and Answer

"Meet the Russians," a reality entertainment show produced by Fox TV, will start broadcasting in Britain on Sept. 25. It estimates there are 300,000 Russians now resident in London, and it intends to look at a cross section of the most flamboyant ones.

Special Relationship Tested

British leaders are often criticized for being too closely tied to the United States, but the relationship is an essential one.

Russians Flocking to Britain's Boarding Schools

Come September, more than 2000 schoolchildren across Russia will be packing their luggage and decamping to the houses of the most traditional of British institutions the boarding school entering a world of prep and pastoral care, a world of Mr. Chips, the Eton Boating Song and Harry Potter.