BBC has started a series of three programs on Tatler magazine: Posh People: Inside Tatler. In the first episode (Monday, 24 November) Matthew Bell, newly appointed Commissioning Editor, is among those interviewed. He was formerly the society diarist for the Independent on Sunday newspaper but describes himself as from a solidly middle class family. The editor, Kate Reardon, explains that the magazine is as interested in the well-behaved newly rich as it is in the debauched aristocracy. In pursuit of the latter, Bell is dispatched to Oxford to investigate the Bullingdon Club, and specifically to find out how they have managed to suppress the club photograph that included David Cameron in his days as a member. Bell is filmed outside Hertford College (40:27), which he explains was where Evelyn Waugh lived as an undergraduate. He cites Waugh as having satirized the Bullingdon in Decline & Fall where he described it as “the sound of English county families baying for broken glass.” He might have mentioned that Waugh renamed it the Bollinger. Bell attributes his own interest in the upper class life to his having read Waugh’s novels from the age of 12. As depicted by Waugh, the upper classes appealed to Bell as seeming to have “such a fun time, in a romantic world.” The series continues on BBC 2 next Monday and can be viewed on the internet via BBC iPlayer for the next four weeks. A proxy server connection is needed from outside the UK.
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