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Bette Midler, Neil MacGregor, Christmas ghost stories

December 19th, 2015

Episode 1067 of 1336 episodes

Bette Midler discusses her new album of love songs, her concerts with Barry Manilow in the gay bath houses of New York, and cuts up rough when he describes her film Beaches as a 'weepie'. As Neil MacGregor bows out from his role as Director of the British Museum today after more than 13 years, in his final interview he discusses the Museum's last acquisition under his directorship. The Lampedusa Cross was made from the wreckage of a boat that sank off the coast of the small Italian island on 3rd October, 2013, while carrying refugees from Eritrea and Somalia with the loss of 350 lives. Neil MacGregor explains the importance of the artefact and reflects on his tenure at Britain's most-visited attraction. It's Christmas so it's time to tell ghost stories - this year on television Neil Spring's novel Harry Price: Ghost Hunter has been adapted for ITV, while the BBC's Dickensian draws on A Christmas Carol. Even Sherlock on New Year's Day will see him and Watson transported into their original Victorian setting for a ghoulish adventure. The writer Roger Clarke, author of A Natural History of Ghosts, has been contemplating where our fascination with ghosts comes from - as the winter equinox draws near. Today the last deep coal mine in Britain, Kellingley Colliery, in Yorkshire closed. The last tonne of coal cut from the seam will not be going to a power station but to the National Coal Mining Museum in Wakefield, where it will be displayed next to portraits of the pit's last miners by the photographer Anton Want. Andy Smith, mine manager and acting director at the museum, reflects on how the industrial revolution is ending in an art installation. Presenter John Wilson Producer Julian May.

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