October Weekend 2021 Saturday 02 October - Sunday 03 October | Tickets now on sale

Arena at Jewish Book Week: Featuring I Thought I Was Taller: A short history of Mel Brooks

Sally Angel, Anthony Wall, Alan Yentob

Chair: Mark Lawson

03/10/2021 5:30 pm
Kings Place, Hall 1 & virtual event

Ticket Price : £12.50 or £18.50

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In-hall tickets are priced at £18.50

At-home streaming tickets can be booked for £12.50 by following this link

The ground-breaking BBC documentary series Arena is one of the most influential programmes of all time. Of the nearly 600 episodes produced, a considerable number focused on Jewish subjects, from Arthur Miller interviewing Nelson Mandela, to shining the spotlight on Amy Winehouse, Art Spiegelman, Peter Sellers, Isaac Bashevis Singer and Linda McCartney. Jewish Book Week and Arena present a series of six events, beginning with a panel discussion with Mark Lawson, producer Sally Angel and editors Anthony Wall Alan Yentob to discuss these landmark films. This first event includes an exclusive video interview with legendary filmmaker Mel Brooks, subject of one of the most beloved Arena films.

Included in the ticket price is access to the Arena film, I Thought I Was Taller: A short history of Mel Brooks. This film will be available to view online for seven days from 3 October.

Image credit: BBC Arena, Mel Brooks I Thought I Was Taller, 1981

Mark Lawson


Mark Lawson is an English journalist, broadcaster and author. Specialising in culture and the arts, he is best known for presenting the flagship BBC Radio 4 arts programme Front Row between 1998 and 2014. He is also a Guardian columnist, and presents Mark Lawson Talks To… on BBC Four.

Sally Angel


Sally Angel is Creative Director of Angelica Films, an All3Media company. She has produced Emmy, BAFTA, RTS and Peabody award-winning programmes for UK and US broadcasters. As a producer/director at the BBC, she worked on all the leading arts strands including Arena. Her recent credits include Arena’s Nothing Like a Dame and Uncle Vanya for the BBC which won a Southbank Sky Arts Award. She is also a psychotherapist.

Anthony Wall


Anthony Wall was one of the core directors on Arena from 1979-1985 under the editorship of Alan Yentob. He and Nigel Finch took over as Series Editors in 1985. After Finch’s death in 1995, Wall remained sole editor until 2018. During those years, Arena won nine BAFTA awards and over a hundred awards from all over the world. Voted by leading television executives as one of the fifty most influential programmes of all time, Arena was described by Werner Herzog at the Telluride Film Festival as “the oasis in the sea of insanity that is television”.

Alan Yentob


Alan Yentob has held almost all of the most prestigious posts in BBC television. He was Editor of Arena from 1978 to 1985 and is one of the country’s major figures in arts television, both as a creator and champion. He currently edits and presents the award-winning BBC1 arts series Imagine.  His Arena director credits include I Thought I Was Taller. A short history of Mel Brooks.