A lot of the novels that I've really enjoyed in my life, whether it's Tolstoy's 'Cossacks,' or 'Sons and Lovers' or 'Jude the Obscure' or 'David Copperfield' or 'Herzog,' have an autobiographical spine.

It's amazing that Sky is the only place that has two dedicated arts channels. The BBC is doing very well... but why don't they do more?

I actually admire some of the books by a lot of the writers who write magic realism very much, but it's not for me. It's not what I can do, but even if I could, I don't really want to try.

I don't feel like I'm slowing down.

I'm not a fan of the working class being mocked, including by some of our famous writers - even those who came from it.

As the 20th century unspooled, a cultural warming melted down many frozen class characteristics.

Love of place is one of the characteristics I enjoy most about novelists.

I am 74 now. Looking back, I have a sense of not really being in control of my career. I just went where it took me.

I'm going to try and make you take the Beatles and Eric Clapton as seriously as the Berlin Philharmonic and Simon Rattle.

Few places on earth have been as affectionately alchemised into literature as the Lake District.

The success of the arts has come through a mix of public subsidy, substantial private support, and good box-office receipts, but central to Labour's post-1997 programme has been a determination to increase access as much as excellence.

It is very difficult for middle-aged, institutionalised males who have done so well out of subsidy - and, fair play, given much back - to realise that there is a time to be a well-heeled revolutionary.

That's why writing is important to me. Time goes past, and you've been somewhere and come back that hasn't hurt you, and you've been somebody else.

I'd been writing fiction for 50 years, since I was 19. And when you write fiction, it becomes a way of thinking: there's always a novel around. The strange thing was that after 'Remember Me,' there wasn't.

A lot of the novels I admire are 'admirably provincial.'

Magna Carta has become totemic. It is in the comedy of Tony Hancock, in the poetry of Kipling, never far from the front pages in a constitutional crisis.

There is some brilliant pop music and some very poor classical music. And why shouldn't comedy be treated as seriously as drama?

Work is a great blotter up. It stops you thinking, which is useful. No, it stops you feeling.

I enjoy what was called 'swotting' in my day.

We were working class, and you don't lose that. Later on, I bolted on media middle class... and now people like me are in the House of Lords.

I'm addicted to 'Game Of Thrones.'

The arts stimulate imagination. They provoke thought. And then, having done that, all sorts of other things happen.

There are two big beasts in the arts: the BBC and Sky Arts - challenging, leading the way.

We start out as sand and soot out there in the universe, and who knows, in 40 trillion years' time we might come back. But if we come back without memory, it doesn't really interest me.

Connery made Bond real through his physicality. He did most of his own stunts and fights, and the audience knew it was him.

I just got fed up with the Protestantism that I'd been brought up with being rubbed out, disregarded. There's an awful lot of frailty and doubt about it, which I understand and share, but there are certain things you just have to acknowledge.

The class barricades have been stormed by the forces of a broad culture, which is made up of clusters of individuals who have decided for themselves what they will be in society.

Sometimes, you're just moved by people's journeys.

There's a lot of hours in the week if you use them properly.

My memory seems to be holding on quite well. There is no reason why it shouldn't if you keep training it.

In a sense, Bond ousted the cowboy as the screen hero, and Ken Adams replaced the horse with technology.

I'm a Labour party supporter, but I'm also a democrat.

I do think the BBC could do more, but I've always thought the BBC could do more - I think there should be more arts programmes full stop.

A structure is a bit like a story. People will go along with you - they see where you're going.

It is in our culture that we don't want to admit that our culture is good.

I have written favourably in support of subsidy for the arts since the 1960s, and I continue to believe absolutely in subsidy, as I do in the BBC licence fee.

The driving force behind 'In Our Time' is that I want an education. I want to know more about science, say, and if I want to know, then other people probably do, too.

There is an army of the informed wanting to be more informed.

Once, the arts were opera, ballet, classical music, and everything else deemed highbrow.

Britain is undoubtedly becoming more cultural. No question of it. People who say it is dumbing down simply don't look around enough. They don't know enough.

Well, I don't think I'm good-looking... I know people who are good-looking, and I'm not good-looking.

I was brought up in a strong working-class community by working-class parents and relations until I was 18, and that's what I really am. Now all sorts of things have been added, but that's what I am.

The theatre always seems to be in trouble but always thriving. It's deeply comical to me that we agonize about our crap football teams and indifferent Test sides when in front of our noses is a great world success story that no one's interested in apart from those who work in it.

In the 40 or so years I've known David Puttnam, not only has he pursued an outstanding career in films and now politics, but he has been the keeper of the flame of the British film industry.

Control, like curiosity, can be an exterminator.

I'm a class mongrel.

I've been writing since I was 19.

I wanted 'The South Bank Show' to reflect my own life and that of the team around me; to stretch the accepted boundaries and challenge the accepted hierarchies of the arts; to include pop music as well as classical music, television drama as well as theatre drama, and high-definition performers in comedy.

Magna Carta has 63 clauses in abbreviated Latin. Two of them that are still on the statute book, numbers 39 and 40, could be said to have changed the way in which the free world has grown.