On a cold spring morning earlier this year, I met Alan Yentob in the Eurostar departure lounge at St Pancras International station in London. It was about 6am and we were on our way to the “Jungle” refugee camp, just outside Calais. Yentob, who is 69 and has the physiognomy of a small mature bear, was perched on a bar stool, wearing a long coat, what looked like a pair of red checked pyjama bottoms and two scarves. The weather had been bitter and the camp was said to be muddy. Yentob had texted me the night before to remind me to wear sensible boots, but he had forgotten to bring any himself. Yentob was going to Calais to oversee a film that he was making there. In its way, the project was a perfectly Yentobian enterprise. Since he was forced to resign as the BBC’s creative director in December 2015, on account of the collapse of Kids Company, a charity that he chaired, Yentob has focused again on making programmes. And during last winter – before Brexit, before the camp closed – this particular camp became a hot thing among the cultural elite in London. The refugee crisis was… Read full this story
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