A Question Of Character

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20140329

As a part of Radio 4's Character Invasion, Saturday Review heads to Salford to debate, in front of a live studio audience, whether we are living in a golden age in the invention of fictional characters - or if, on the other hand, the current crop falls short by comparison with former highpoints such as the Victorian novel or the Elizabethan stage. Can modern literature really offer anyone to match Anna Karenina, David Copperfield and so many other eponymous heroes? And if the really strong characters in the modern day come from TV and cinema - such as Walter White in Breaking Bad - or children's books like Harry Potter - does that make them any less significant? Tom Sutcliffe plays host to two teams tussling it out to discover who should have bragging rights - Raskalnikov or Tony Soprano, Elizabeth Bennett or Bridget Jones, Romulus or Rebus?