The BBC's mid-Nineties revival of the classic FACE TO FACE format was a bold experiment - a return to the gladiatorial days of early television, when the interviewer was not seen, and the camera focused solely on the subject's face as they answered a series of often penetrating questions. First broadcast in THE LATE SHOW strand in 1994, this interview with Maya Angelou focuses on her early struggles; her rape at seven years old, her life in a god-fearing household in the American South; her relationship with her religious grandmother; her having her first child at seventeen years old; and her struggles to survive (at some point she became a prostitute). What emerges most tangibly from this program is Angelou's strength of character; her early-life experiences helped to formulate her literary sensibility, as well as giving her the strength of character to survive. She remained a fundamentally optimistic person, void of bitterness, who understood how writing about her own life in book form could serve as a guide for her readers (many of whom share her experiences). She remained firmly committed to becoming a Christian - even though, at the time this interview was recorded, she believed she had not achieved her aim. A compelling piece of social history as well as a unique insight into a literary great.
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