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tv   Meet the Author  BBC News  September 14, 2017 8:45pm-9:01pm BST

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in their natural animals out in their natural habitat. and on that front, talk to us habitat. and on that front, talk to us about the level of protection thatis us about the level of protection that is needed 7 us about the level of protection that is needed? we are now hearing they have been declassified as being invaded. is that something that you're concerned about? -- being in danger. yes, it's great news in some ways, but you don't want it to be misleading. you know, snow leopards are still on the decline in the world, there are threats in every single country, probably around 12-13 single country, probably around 12—13 countries that they live in throughout the whole of the himalaya region. there are different threats in every country. urging, habitat loss, cumin — animal conflict, it is a real, major worry for them. loss, cumin — animal conflict, it is a real, majorworry forthem. even though numbers are better than we thought, they are still declining, just not at probably the rate that we first imagined. clearly breeding programmes like yours help. but in terms of the animals in their natural habitats, given the threats they face, how much is being done around the world to try and deal with those issues? well, we havili support two different charities. the snow leopard trust, a major charity,
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we have been supporting them for several years we have been supporting them for several yea rs now. we have been supporting them for several years now. and they feed us back some of the best information on the problems each year, whether it be poaching, habitat loss, animal conflict. they give us the best information that we can give to our visitors at the park and hopefully try and raise as much education and awareness about these animals as possible, to make sure that they do stay protected in the world. ian jones from paradise wildlife park, great to have your view and to see those amazing pictures of the snow leopards. i hope you will come back when you have a new cup to show as potentially next year. thanks very much. beautiful creatures. the headlines on bbc news: a public inquiry into the grenfell tower fire opens with a minute's silence to remember the victims. interest rates or on hold for now, but a rise may not be that far off if the economy continues to grow. a
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man who's spent eleven years in prison, despite only being sentenced to ten months, is set to be released. an update on the market numbers for you. here's how london and frankfurt ended the day. both down a little. and in the the united states, this is how the dow and the nasdaq are getting on. now it's time for meet the author. munich. a word that in britain was turned from the simple name of a city, into a political label for the appeasement of hitler, perhaps for political weakness in the face of aggression. well, it is the title of robert harris‘s new novel. a thriller set in that anxious prelude to the second world war, and a story of betrayal and loyalty. welcome. you face an interesting
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problem as an author here. because you're trying to create tension, and a marvellous human story, against a backdrop where we know the outcome. you know, oddly enough, that's not a problem. one of the best thrillers of recent times, the day of the jackal, we know de gaulle was not assassinated, but it's still a thrilling book. we know there was a deal at munich, that's not really the issue. it's how we get there, what went on behind the scenes. who was trying to do what, in order to get to a point that the other. person didn't know. what you have to do with this book, far from the essential human drama, which we will come to, for those who will not read it, is work out how hitler, for example, behaved in a room.
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how he looked at ribbentrop, chamberlain. what he was like. well, yes, i must say, my biggest worry about writing the novel, i realised i had to have hitler quite close—up, you can't really write a novel about the munich agreement without that. i did have one great piece of good fortune. oddly enough, there is a 12—minute recording of adolf hitler speaking normally, it was recorded in finland in 1943. nobody was aware of and it, it turned up in the finnish archives. you hear him speak — this remorseless, grinding, and yet at the same time quite lively, voice. that was a great help to me. you don't have any other leader in the second world war where we hear what they sound like over the dinner table. talking about leaders. you managed to evoke a certain amount of sympathy for what chamberlain was trying to do, and how he went about it. and his fundamental decency, really.
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although he was duped. yes, no, i have a great sympathy for chamberlain. i'm often drawn in life to unpopularfigures. and chamberlain was unlike the modern caricature of a weak leader that we have. he was a terrifically strong leader. if i had to think of a recent prime minister he reminds me of, it's margaret thatcher. the same remorseless domination of his colleagues by his mastery of detail. he was as passionate for peace as hitler was passionate for war. and in a way, munich describes a kind of dual between these two men. oddly enough, chamberlain wins the duel. i don't think there's any doubt about that. hitler felt he had been cheated. and was furious with chamberlain. we remember it completely differently. it's very hard to realise, but that is how it looked to hitler.
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the drama that unfolded in the book, and i don't want to go to too much detail of the plot. a spoilerfor readers about to pick it up. there is human drama involving two people on different sides, as it were. who knew each other before the war. what we see is the classic fight between loyalty to country and loyalty to one's own beliefs. that occurs again and again in your story. it's always going to fascinate you. yes, i like the great historical event, and then the individual conscience caught up in it. i'd wanted to write a novel about munich for 30 years. i'd always had the idea of a civil servant who travelled with chamberlain on his plane to see hitler. but i could not see where else it went. a man having problems in his private life, his wife having an affair. at which point do you stop appeasing in the private life, as well as the international stage? that was my original conceit. last year, i thought if he was at oxford around 1930, and there was german scholar, and they were great
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friends, and this german travelled on adolf hitler's train overnight to munich, as my other protagonist travelled from london on chamberlain‘s plane. and they met. that would take me into the conference. and there's a wonderful sense of fun, on the author's part. serious fun of course, but fun nonetheless. trying to recreate the atmosphere in the room. it has to come out of your imagination. we know the historical fa ct afterwards. and we can work out the various strategies. but what it was like, what the smell was like, what the feel was like. the atmosphere, the light in the room, that is in your head. great fun to make it up. i had three great visits writing this book, one was around downing street after six o'clock i was allowed in, and shown chamberlain‘s private study. the geography of downing street. then in munich, the building where the munich conference took place. it is hardly changed.
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untouched by allied bombing. a lot of the decoration is still there. the study where the conference took place, you can see. hitler's apartment. there i was very fortunate to get into that, because it is a police headquarters, closed off. that was staggering. do you think you know what it felt like to walk into that room, when chamberlain and hitler met in person? i think i do. i read all the accounts i could. history, to me, is a very live thing. i don't necessarily believe in ghosts, but i believe in picking up, as it were, the tremors of the past. i feel that quite strongly. when i go to these places... always in my books i have a strong place in place, i need that physicality. to go there, yes, i did feel i could imagine what it was like. the room was filled with uniforms, ss uniforms, goring, himmler, hess.
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various types. the italians in their smart fascist uniforms. then these rather dowdy civilians from london and paris turn up. then the crowds outside. the swastikas. i didn't realise the munich conference took place in the absolute heart of nazism. there were all eternal flames. the grand reviewing area and so on. this was like a pagan city within a city. to bring all of that alive, for me, that is a great pleasure of writing. we are up both of the post—war generation. where the shadow of these events was so strong over us. and the interpretation was so vivid, by our parents‘ generation. that we are now almost creeping out of that shadow, beginning to be able to look at it as independent human beings.
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we have this churchillian view of history. he was such a brilliant storyteller. a creative writer in a way, as well as prime minister. he has conditioned this whole island story of our. of course neville chamberlain was given a very poor part. i don't think without 38, without munich, there wouldn't have been the glorious victories of 1940. or the survival of 1940. poor old chamberlain died early on in the war. unable to give his version of events afterwards. he has many faults. in the end, appeasement failed. in the end, he got it wrong. i'm not sure that any prime minister would have done anything different, to what he did. and i think he was aware, at least there was a pretty strong chance the agreement would not hold. and the british by 1939, under chamberlain, were spending 50% of government revenue on rearmament. imagine if we were to do that now. so part of the idea
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of the book is we all have plenty of representations in fiction and on film of winston churchill, but i thought it would be interesting to try and represent chamberlain, what he was like. robert harris, author of munich, thank you very much. hello. we are maintaining a flow of airfrom the north, unstable air at that, in no way of saying it's chilly. sunshine and showers. many of the showers are fading away. not all of them overnight. some will continue into northern ireland, some coastal areas. this batch working out of scotland and northern england, wales, reaching into the south—west as well as the night goes on. elsewhere, clearing skies, temperatures dropping away. well down into single figures. of us. larger towns and cities enters may
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hold double figures, but not many. rural spots under clear skies, all figures. a chill in the air as we start friday —— all single figures. some sunshine, but even from the word go in south—west england, wales, the midlands, there are showers around. although we are teased with some early sunshine in east anglia, all of this has to go there, there is a change coming as there, there is a change coming as the day goes on and the showers work through. behind the showers, much of the morning is looking fine in northern england with some sunshine into southern scotland. a scattering of showers for northern ireland, showers in scotland in the north, a brisk and cold wind. there could be prolonged downpours here into the north and north—east. a few developing the eastern parts of scotland, the south—west around glasgow staying mainly dry. a scattering of showers in northern ireland. east anglia— south—east england, a scattering of showers. you may see a passing shower in other places. they are passing, they
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go through quite quickly on the chilly breeze, you may have won that lasts a couple of minutes, and the rest of the day is dry. out of the breeze in the sunshine, fairly pleasant. friday evening, expect showers to continue for a time. many will fade away as we go deeper into friday night. the overall weather pattern with high pressure to the west of us, the higher pressure between the low pressure, coming down from the north. as we go on through saturday, the breeze is a bit. still sunshine and showers, with lighter winds, the sunnier moments feel even more pleasant. with lighter winds, saturday night feels even colder. more of us get all the way down to freezing. on sunday, the winds are right at still, and there are fewer showers around as well. so, more of us feeling of a bit less cold and staying dry on sunday can paired with saturday. that's how it's looking. of course, there's always the forecast where you while for the week and available online. —— where
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you for the weekend available online. hello, this is outside source. a warning that another 300,000 refugees may flee myanmar. these are people making makeshift homes for themselves, a lot of people. donald trump visits hurricane ravaged florida, as he denies the new deal with democrats to protect young undocumented migrants. it could be close. we have a good relationship with a lot of people. a lot of people want this to happen, expects it to happen. a public enquiry in london to the fire at grenfell tower injune london to the fire at grenfell tower in june that london to the fire at grenfell tower injune that killed at least 80 people. if you want to get
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