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tv   Witness  BBC News  September 23, 2017 2:30pm-3:01pm BST

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was in my very, very first production. i was playing an entirely forgettable character called sir walter blount, so i decided i would get the audience's attention sooner, it's called pulling focus, so one night i prepared myself, i threw open this steel door, ran on, and as i ran on, i slammed the door behind me, so everyone in the audience would know that patrick stewart as sir walter blount had entered. the great my cloak, unfortunately, caught in the door, caught in th the great e door, so as i moved towards the king, i was brought to a sudden halt. well, apart from distressing me, what it mostly did was amuse tony and ian, who both began laughing. you can imagine what that did to the audience, because they could see what had happened. it was a horrendous moment for me in my first role
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in my first play with the rsc, but when i came in the next day, there was someone from the wardrobe waiting for me, and they said, "we heard about what happened last night and we're very sorry, but we understand why you did it, and we have taken your cloak and made it much shorter so it won't happen again." that's the kind of people you work with in the wardrobe department of the royal shakespeare company. if, around the world, fans of the rsc knew this was happening, they would flock here just to take a little piece of history away with them. and my wife has yet found more garments to wear. what am i going to do? put my hand in my pocket, i suppose.
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prices start atjust £1, so pretty affordable to make all the world your stage. hannah bayman, bbc news. time for the weather now. it feels summary. time for the weather now. it feels summary. it has been a pretty dismal septembers so far. we have a southerly and it's going to improve as we go into the weekend. we have a weather front arriving tonight. that will bring clouds, outbreaks of rain and bad visibility. further east, a lovely day. lots of dry weather, sunshine coming through and temperatures will respond very nicely for this time of year. it is going to take its time in doing so, but by the end of the afternoon we might see some heavy bursts developing into the south—west. with the south—easterly breeze, higher temperatures. this weather front
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almost grinds to a halt as it moves into the spine of the country overnight on sunday night. it's worth pointing out that central and southern areas could see heavy spells of rain free time on sunday night. behind it, as the rain clears, pretty damp. that could lead to some dense patches of fault in northern ireland. i will update you on half an hour's time. hello. this is bbc news. the headlines at iliz30pm: the french president, emmanuel macron, says the uk must provide more clarity about its negotiating position on brexit. over half a million people have signed a petition calling for transport for london to reverse its decision to stop the taxi app uber from operating in the capital. iran says it has successfully tested a new ballistic missile, in defiance of us president donald trump. now on bbc news, it's
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time for witness. hello and welcome to a special edition of witness, with me, rebecca jones. i'm here at the british library to guide you through five moments in chinese history that helped shape the country. we'll meet an archaeologist who's worked on the terracotta army site for decades. a man who took part in the student protests at tiananmen square, and a former red guard.
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but our first witness is sidney rittenberg. he visited china as a gi during world war ii and stayed on. he joined the communist party. and during china's civil war, he got to know the revolutionary leader, chairman mao. he was so idolised. and it was so impossible to criticise him. he finally convinced himself that china needed an emperor figure. i think mao before coming to power and after coming to power were two quite different personalities. but he was enormously courteous. he was disarming. he could make you forget that you were in the presence of someone from history. he was a large man and he had great personal dignity and was very easy to talk to. yunnan was the nerve centre
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of the entire communist movement. it was so rare in those days to have an american that spoke chinese. i was fascinated by the work they were doing. and i decided to stay and act as an english—language person for their radio programme. it was an atmosphere... of great determination. i would say even of great pride and joy to be there, to be part of that movement, which people felt was building a new china. there was one american movie every week. i used to go interpret. and mao's favourite films by far where laurel and hardy, but they loved that. he laughs when mao laughed, he laughed
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like a baby laughs. like every muscle in his face was laughing. from brow to chin. i would go to the party headquarters and play chinese gin rummy cards. they would all tease each other and cuff each other around and be very warm, but not with mao. he would sit there and nobody would tease him or cuff him around. i never felt that he was a friend. maybe i felt that because i could argue with him on occasion. chairman mao always had a ruthless streak. i think chairman mao never intended that people should die in the great famine in the great leap forward.
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but he didn't really make it stop. i think the official estimates run around 13 million. it was a disaster. —— 30 million. iwas suddenly arrested and held in solitary confinement for six years. in prison. the first year in total darkness. when i heard in the prison that chairman mao had died, across this was the most terrible blow that the world revolution could suffer. but i didn't shed a single here. you know, i think chairman mao was an extremely difficult character to analyse. he could do and did do good things for china that nobody else could have done. he also did
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terrible things for china that nobody else could have done. sydney stayed in china until 1980 when he returned to the us. in the 1960s, chairman mao wanted to root out opposition to his leadership and read the country of any semblance of old chinese culture and history. at the forefront of the so—called cultural revolution where the ted mack red guards, fanatical supporters. this man was a member of the red guards. i was in middle school when a cultural revolution started. the biggest nation on earth, china, is in turmoil. is china's ageing leader lost control? has he gone mad driven to megalomania by the hysterical
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adoration of the teenage red guard? of course ijoined, it is glorious tojoin. chairman mao had decided to mobilise young people as the driving force of the vast campaign to cure lies the colonies. there was to be a revolution in people's thinking. inspired by mao, the red guards went
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wild in to keep the revolution alive. they worshipped him as a reader and followed his instruction without question. they consider along here and western—style clothes communist. after reports of ratings, beating up and even murder, the red guard seem to have gone too far. their leaders have told them to cool off. a man who has forged a new life himself and his family in the us. for decades, communist china's relationship with the us was difficult, to put it mildly. but things started to change in 1972 with president rick certain extent‘s visit to meet chairman mao. the former diplomat winston lord was pa rt former diplomat winston lord was part of the delegation that travelled to china. today president nixon is visiting china. the great american statesman to have set foot
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on chinese soil since chairman mao came to power. many of us were a little those appointed in the arrival arrangements. this was a huge political event and we naively thought there would be big crowds. in fact, there were just a few people, but then we recognised again that this was in keeping with the realistic fact that we had been enemies for 22 years and you couldn't turn the page immediately. and so these two great countries, the most powerful knees and on earth, visit the most populous nation on earth. i was special assistant to henry kissinger the national security adviser and i was in charge of orchestrating and putting together the briefing books for the president for his trip to china. my first impressions of beijing was that it was very bleak and depressing. it was early drought. everyone is dressed the same. very few cars, most the bicycles. we arrived at the
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guesthouse and two hours the prize, the announced that chairman mao would like to see president nixon right away. this was mao acting like a traditional chinese emperor, not given you any warning when you were going to be summoned to his presence. i have worked for many presidents. including several close up. president nixon was by far the most well versed and strategic in international relations. he was extraordinary. whatever his bars, one has to grant him back. as you person, you was quite shy. he was always somewhat ill at ease in engaging in banteror always somewhat ill at ease in engaging in banter or smalltalk. both sides had clear reasons for trying to reopen communications after 22 years of mutual enmity and indeed fighting each other in korea. when you meet someone of historic significance, you have to figure out whether you are impressed with the personality because you know he's important whether you would be
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impressed if you didn't know who he was. kissinger and i impressed if you didn't know who he was. kissingerand i agreed impressed if you didn't know who he was. kissinger and i agreed that evenif was. kissinger and i agreed that even if we went to a cocktail party and mao was there and we didn't know him, he would have exuded some power and attraction. this was not to glorify him. he was a monster in many ways. the meeting itself puzzled us at first. it was only about one hour with translation. we immediately recognise the significance of this. the chairman was declaring visit a success from the very beginning. at the conclusion of the meeting, the chinese came in with photographs of all of us at the meeting. nixon and kissinger looted each other and then told mao that mr lord is never at this meeting, please cut him out of all the photos, because i was sitting next to kissinger. it was already humility ten for the secretary of state not to be at the meeting will be national security adviser was. but to have in addition to that some idiot in his early 30s
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also sitting in a meeting... it's worth coming 16,000 miles tossed to stand here and see it. the well. join me in reading glasses to chairman mao and to the friendship of the chinese and american people. we we re of the chinese and american people. we were in the middle are the geopolitical earthquake. it was a combination of nerves of steel working on this, but also the sense that we were frankly in the midst of making history. winston lord, remembering a key moment in us chinese relations. remember, you can watch witness every month on the bbc news channel, or you can catch up on oi’ news channel, or you can catch up on 01’ our news channel, or you can catch up on or our films news channel, or you can catch up on or ourfilms along with news channel, or you can catch up on or our films along with more than 1000 radio programmes in our online
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archives. just go to our website. note one of the greatest finds of the 20th century. in the spring of 1974, localfarmers in china accidentally uncovered the site of the vast terracotta army. 0ur accidentally uncovered the site of the vast terracotta army. our next witness is an archaeologist who has dedicated her career to the mark noble lives of these figures. dedicated her career to the mark noble lives of these figuresm dedicated her career to the mark noble lives of these figures. it is a vast pottery army slowly being unearthed from the tomb where it has lainfor unearthed from the tomb where it has lain for more than 2000 years. at one time... i've worked at the site for many years. she still works at the side of the
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terracotta army in xian. finally in 1949, chinese authorities crashed a popular movement in beijing. among those protesting was 18—year—old student. tiananmen square is a square design to fit at least a couple of million people and that square couple of million people and that square was couple of million people and that square was bumper—to—bumper full. you could feel at that time that something was going on. you could see millions of ordinary citizens of beijing blocking army lorries from coming in. 10,000 chinese troops have tried to seize control of the ce ntre have tried to seize control of the centre of peking tonight. but their attempt to sweep away the student demonstrators that have been camped in tiananmen square appeals to have failed. their demands for democracy, a free press and an end to. it was the last year of my high school studies. classmate of mine and me and five others we said," forget it,
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we're going". that was onjimmy ford. the central television started to broadcast this ominous message repeatedly for quite a few hours. " 0h, citizens, please return to your homes, the army and the security forces are coming in to clear the city centre. if you disobey this order, you will be responsible for all the consequences". most decided to stay where they were. and then things started to unravel. you just heard banging. you start your those sounds. and then you start to see people leading, being carried to various hospitals around you. people crying and shouting. i felt numb. it
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was beyond anybody‘s comprehension. you focus your mind, you are trying to get a place of safety. maybe it's home, maybe someone else. for a moment, it could bejust behind a dumpster, behind a rubbish bin or somewhere. you just wanted to go. i eventually got home. of course my mum was worried sick and she locked the doors and my brother and i wear it still pumps and we said we should find a kitchen knife or something and go out and do something. she said "you guys, don't be stupid. you cannot affect any change at this time. nothing". nemane road east of the square at 1023 this morning, there was a sudden and deadly volley from the troops. our members sitting
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on the sofa in the living room is hearing all this chaos going on around you. the second day, well you still hear sporadic firing and nobody dared to venture too far away, users have pulled your head out. first alleyway and then on to the secondary roads and then trying to see what ever is going on. the first site was littered slippers, print out army trucks and i even saw two armoured personnel carriers burnt out from the inside. tangled bicycles definitely driven over by heavy vehicles. i felt and utter sense of desperation and utter despair. i didn't feel there was a future. i felt i just despair. i didn't feel there was a future. i felt ijust need to go. my father at that time was in canada. he was able to apply for a family reunion visa for my mother, my
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brother and i. iwas reunion visa for my mother, my brother and i. i was one of the few fortu nate brother and i. i was one of the few fortunate ones. at that very moment. that's all from the special edition of witness to any british library. don't forget that we will be back at the end of the month for another five extraordinary moment in history. for now, for me and the rest of the witness team, goodbye. hello there. it's the final full weekend of september and it not shaping up to be a bad one. mostly dry. rain in the rest light west
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tomorrow. accompanied by warmth from the centring in the east. it looks as though sterling is going to see this cloud. thick and offer the odd spot or two of sherry rain free time. blue sky and sunshine in kent. temperatures is claiming clouds to 20 celsius. that is the story for the rest of the afternoon. this weather front pushing in. the rest of the afternoon. this weatherfront pushing in. a very wea k weatherfront pushing in. a very weak affair. a bit more of the breeze in the south—west. that breeze in the south—west. that breeze dying away as the rain pushes them. cloud, coastal mist and held fog forming along the west facing cold. rain light and patchy. i'll swear, keeping clear skies. cold. rain light and patchy. i'll swear, keeping clearskies. not cold. rain light and patchy. i'll swear, keeping clear skies. not too cold. tomorrow morning, a west and east divide to start sunday. central and eastern areas, lovely spells of sunshine, that's how it will save the rest of the day. that weather front gradually drifting its way inland, but takes it time doing so.
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by inland, but takes it time doing so. by the end of the afternoon, heavier pulses into the south—west. the rain starting to feel quite heavily across the south—west of england and wales. we will need to watch that overnight. rain for the afternoon across north—west england, western scotla nd across north—west england, western scotland and northern ireland. fairly light and patchy. a beautiful day today in the far north of scotland. you're more quiet and not quite as warm. the potential for heavy bursts overnight across central and southern areas free time. the front grinding to a halt through the spine of the country. behind it, foggy conditions developing. dense fog possible first thing on monday morning in northern ireland. that weather front doesn't move ireland. that weather front doesn't m ove very ireland. that weather front doesn't move very far at all. in fact, if anything, with a stiffening easterly breeze, it will be pushed back to the west coast. by then, just eight band of cloud and nuisance rain. the
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quiet theme set to continue as we move out of monday into tuesday with high pressure in europe still in the driving seat preventing these weather fronts from making too much ofan weather fronts from making too much of an impression. the early part of week, despite the file, we will see some decent, dry weather. more from me in half an hour. this is bbc news, i'm lukwesa burak, the headlines at three. the french president, emmanuel macron, says the uk must provide more clarity about its negotiating position on brexit. sadiq khan defends the tfl decision not to renew the licence for taxi at uber, as over 500,000 people sign a petition calling for it to be reversed. iran says it has successfully tested a new ballistic missile, in defiance of us president donald trump. jeremy corbyn arrives in brighton at the start of the labour party conference. this whole section of rail is nothing but tuxedos.
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thousands of costumes from the royal shakespeare company go on sale. sir patrick stewart goes through the wardrobe to share some
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