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BBC Radio
Posted on Sunday 9 June 2013 at 7:19 pm

Rachael's Week in BBC Radio Vol. 19 Part B and 20


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Listened to this week highlights include very little as it was a very busy couple of weeks. All I got to was two plays and three short stories, really.
Next week I'm most looking forward to lots of dramatizations, historical fiction, and dystopian works.

I use a program called Radio Downloader to download hours of stuff every day (I can't recommend RD enough) and will possibly never listen to a great deal of it. I often listen to things for the first time months after they air. Because of that, I do two things in these BBC Radio posts.

(1) Listened - I'll discuss all the shows I listened to this past week. Some of these may be newly aired things but many may have aired months ago or, if they're things I sought out to buy, might not have aired for years. I will include links to the BBC website for everything and to AudioGo for anything available for purchase. AudioGo is the official site for BBC Radio and is almost always cheaper than iTunes, Amazon download, etc. If you don't already have an account there and want to enter my email (brattyjedi at gmail dot com) as the recommender the first time you buy something, I can get points good towards free downloads :) If something isn't available for purchase, you don't have it downloaded, and based on my comments on it you'd really like to listen to it, let me know and I might be able to help.

(2) Downloading - This will be kind of a look ahead to what I've set up to be downloaded in the upcoming week with thoughts on why I selected it.

Listened to 26 May to 8 June (mostly in order of preference, best to worst):
Philip Palmer - The King's Coiner
This was an enjoyable historical play about Isaac Newton running the royal mint and his personal feud with one counterfeiter. I enjoyed it quite a bit but probably not enough to track it down for buying.

Brian Aldiss Presents
Brian Aldiss is a major British Science Fiction writer. Here he introduces five of his favorite sci-fi short stories that are then read by various narrators. Something apparently screwed up with my download and the last two weren't right so I was only able to listen to the first three. One was familiar to me, the Phillip K Dick story "Impostor." I enjoy this story, though I've always thought it a bit predictable. The other two were unfamiliar. "Prott" by Margaret St Clair was an OK tale of first contact with an alien specie. It was different than most such stories and I liked it but didn't love it. I loved the third story: "Anomalies" by Gregory Benford. This one plays with ideas of astrophysics and philosophy in all kinds of interesting ways.

Don Taylor - Underworld
I hated this. I didn't even finish listening to all of it, which is incredibly rare for me. I will almost always force my way through, but not this time. The premise here is basically a modern Dante's Inferno / Virgil's Aeneid. It started with an out-of-work ad man being harried by his wife and friend and generally going about his life. The dialogue was incredibly stilted in this section and none of the characters seemed at all realistic or reasonable. I was willing to ride that out because I figured the style would work once we got to the descent into the underworld portion. It sort of did, but then it was just boring. I was hoping for interesting commentary on the sins of modern times and philosophical debate kind of stuff presented in a light manner but still there. Instead everything was just flat, superficial, and stupid. Every time there was a possibility of something intelligent, it was sidestepped. Once, the guide, the poet Milton here, even asked the main character if he wanted to have a philosophical debate and the antagonist just said "Not really" and they moved on. It not only wan't at all smart, it wasn't funny, interesting, or in any way anything other than boring and stupid. Bah!

Various Episodes of Panel Shows
Just a Minute: I listened to Series 66 Episodes 1 and 2. They were both pretty good. I also "watched" another couple episodes of the repeats of the TV show and enjoyed them more, though.
Previous Episodes of Just a Minute at AudioGo


Downloading 9 to 15 June:
George Bernard Shaw - Mrs Warren's Profession
Radio version of the classic play about a "madame" and her daughter.

DH Lawrence - Daughters of the Vicar
Dramatization of the classic novella about a miserable vicar, his equally miserable wife, a daughter who follows their example into her own loveless and miserable marriage and a daughter who decides to try something different.

Sheridan Le Fanu - Carmilla
Dramatization of an old vampire novel from one of the greats at horror / ghost stories. I know about this book as a story of a female vampire published before Stoker's Dracula and have been interested in it but just haven't gotten around to it yet.

William Golding - Lord of the Flies
Dramatization of the classic dystopic novel. Lord of the Flies isn't one of my favorite, but I enjoy dystopian fiction generally so I'll take it.

Dangerous Visions
Series of dramas in dystopic universes, including one based on a J.G. Ballard novel.

Archive on 4 - Very British Dystopias
Bit of a departure for me: a non-fiction. Archive on Four is a regular series, but I'm just interested in the current dystopic one , which seems to be the theme for the week.

Nineteen Ninety-Four
Sitcom spoofing on Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Robert Holmes - Aliens in the Mind
This is a cheat. I'm not actually downloading it as I bought it from AudioGo a while back, but it is good so I figured I'd give everyone else a heads up. It is a classic spooky science fiction thriller drama with Vincent Price and Peter Cushing.

The Sarah Jane Adventures
Reading of a story from the Doctor Who spinoff. I might or might not listen to it, but I think I'm in a "download everything!" mood out of fear that I'll soon enough not be able to download anything.

Wimsey - The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club
I've heard good things about Dorothy L. Sayers's detective Wimsey and I keep downloading the radio programs but have yet to listen to one or read one of the books. I'll get there someday, I swear. In the meantime, I just collect and hoard them.

DI Cromwell - Jagged Prayer
Yet another detective series. This one isn't ringing any bells, but it is described as a "comedy drama," which is different so I decided to give it a try.

Mark Tavener - High Table, Lower Orders
A comedy mystery series set in the world of academia.

Plantagenet Series 2
Series 1 of these mini dramas about the eponymous monarchs. Hooray history!

Don Taylor - The Jacobean Box
Repeat of a radio play from 1993. I don't know anything beyond the Beeb's description: Shakespearean academic Brian Blake learns a large item awaits collection at a remote northern station. Of course, this is by the same guy as the one I hated above so maybe I should be leery...

Desmond Olivier Dingle's Compleat Life and Works of William Shakespeare
A silly look at Shakespeake from the mid '90s. It's got good guests like Richard E. Grant, John Barrowman, and Brian Cox in it.

Living with Mother Series 2
Stand-alone stories about adult sons living with their mothers. Only thing I really know is that the first episode of series two has Mark Gatiss in it.

Little Monster
Pilot for a sticom about a mother dealing with her son turning into a monster, literally.

Running Dramas
BBC Radio has several weekly or daily programs that do various original radio plays or dramatizations. The main ones are Afternoon Drama, Friday Drama, Saturday Drama, Drama on 3, BBC Cymru Wales Drama, BBC World Drama, 15-Minute Drama, Classic Serial, and The Wire. This week I'm most looking forward to several Afternoon Dramas: Monday's "Ursula and Boy" about a woman in the 1500s whose little boy accused her of witchcraft, Wednesday's Edward Alleyn's Devil about a Jacobean actor who sees the Devil, and Thursday's Troll about a modern woman with a Troll under the kitchen sink.

Standing Panel Show Subscriptions
Whatever episodes of the following panel shows happen to air in any given week are always on my download list: Act Your Age, Heresy, I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, I've Never Seen Star Wars, Just a Minute, The Museum of Curiosity, The News Quiz, The Unbelievable Truth, Dilemma,Wordaholics, and The Guessing Game .

Anything good y'all listened to recently or looking forward to next week?

Comments:

aoife
failte_aoife at 12:34 pm on 10 June 2013 (UTC) (Link)
I had a Crime-week and first went to part of my Agatha Christie-collection (Miss Marple: Nemesis & They do it with mirrors and Poirot: Lord Edgwhere Dies) which I all enjoyed very much. (I already knew a TV-adaption of Lord Edgewhere so I knew who it was anyway but I think even without that the killer would have been suspicious quite early but perhaps I'm just kidding myself).

Then I continued with the two Holmes-parodies you mentioned. I really enjoyed The Newly Discovered Casebook but wasn't that overwhelmed with Second Holmes. With the Casbook it was simply silly and knew that it was. Second Holmes felt like it couldn't quite decide if it wanted to be a parody or a serious modern update. In the end I didn't find the jokes that funny and the cases not that intriguing.

For next week I'm also looking forward to Carmille (I read the book at uni and found it quite interesting), the Peter Wimsey (surprisingly) and the GB Shaw.
Besides: A Short History of Timewasting will also be on. Not sure if that's your thing but I love it. It's a charming sitcom about -well- timewasting. It's a bit hard to explain but basically the main character tries to do perfectly ordinary things like go shopping and then gets caught up in hillarious ways. (Perhaps I'm simply a bit biased because it's written by Linda Smith and often has Jeremy Hardy and Mark Steel in guest-roles and I love all three of them but I simply adore this series).
Rachael
bratty_jedi at 9:59 pm on 22 June 2013 (UTC) (Link)
Crime is good. I think I'm going to do ongoing series for my July reading and listening theme so I'll probably mix up running detective stuff with random sitcoms.

It's interesting that we have such opposite reactions to those two Holmes spoofs. I really liked Second Holmes's walking the line between serious and spoof and thought Newly Discovered was just over-the-top ridiculous. I really do think if I try Newly Discovered when I'm in a sillier starting mood I'll like it more. I only made it through the first two episodes so I'll definitely give the others a try at some point.

Thanks for the heads up about Short History of Time Wasting. It does sound good and I've added it. I sometimes skip things if I see they're on series 2, 3, etc. and I don't have access to series 1 but your rec makes it sound like I don't need to worry about that here.
Unsentimental Fool
unsentimentalf at 10:38 am on 13 June 2013 (UTC) (Link)
Didn't find time to listen to much, just the first 3 episodes of the Man in Black series, which were pretty good.
Rachael
bratty_jedi at 9:54 pm on 22 June 2013 (UTC) (Link)
I've thought about getting the Man in Black stuff but I always decide not to. Not sure why, though.


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