Arts Arts > Watching their Ps and Qs

14 January 2016 | by D.J. Taylor

Watching their Ps and Qs Premium

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Ground-down, pernickety, ever irritable, the comic actor David Mitchell was an ideal candidate to present this series on contemporary etiquette (4–7 January). “This is a programme about manners,” he wearily began, prompting the listener to surmise that here was a man for whom neurosis and civility were closely intertwined, who relished the idea of “standards” but feared their eclipse and would doubtless hurl a cup of tea over a texting dinner guest.Were “manners” in decline? Were we simply unshackling ourselves from unreasonable personal and collective constraints? What did it mean to be “civilised” in 2016? All these questions were aired in the four half-hour episodes that followed. There was even a stab at first principles, or a defi




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