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BBC Radio
Posted on Sunday 3 March 2013 at 8:25 am

Rachael's Week in BBC Radio Vol. 6

Listened to this week includes more Rumpole and Professor Challenger (Arthur Conan Doyle's distant second most famous creation).
Next week I'm most looking forward to more DiscWorld, Robin Hood, Don Quixote, alien invasions, and David Mitchell's History of British Comedy.

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 24 February to 2 March (mostly in order of preference, best to worst):
I listened to two more Rumpole adventures this week: Scales of Justice and Vanishing Juror. I enjoyed both of them much more than last week's Primrose Path. Rumpole and the various background or guest characters were all fantastic personalities as expected, but the mystery cases were also more interesting. One of them was almost as obvious as last week's, but it was still better told. The other was a little harder to guess. These two adventures are part of the only collection of the Timothy West adaptations that I've found for sale and I bought them from AudioGo.

The Lost World
I've no idea when this last aired on BBC Radio and can't find the official BBC page for it. It is originally from the 1970s and I bought it from AudioGo. Sherlock Holmes is undeniably Arthur Conan Doyle's most famous creation. I suppose John Watson would be the second most famous, but the second most famous Doyle creation from a separate universe is almost certainly Professor Challenger. Challenger is a scientist rather than detective and his "science" often reflects Conan Doyle's own gullibility rather than anything truly scientific. Nevertheless, as a character he is just as intelligent and condescending as Holmes can be but where Holmes is aloof he is abrasive and belligerent. Conan Doyle only wrote three Challenger novels and a couple of short stories. I listened to adaptations of the two short stories a couple of weeks ago. The novel behind this dramatization, The Lost World, is the best known of all the Challenger adventures. The story of a land trapped in time deep in South America where dinosaurs still live has been made into countless movies, radio plays, and miniseries. This particular adaptation is pretty faithful to the novel, sometimes too faithful given the underlying imperialism and racism Conan Doyle sometimes displays, and was overall a fun listen. I haven't read any of the other Challenger novels but I probably will soon and then there are some Holmesian pastiches with the two characters meeting that I'd like to investigate.

Ben Macintyre - Agent Zigzag
This was a reading of the story of a real-life World War II spy. It was a fun little romp with a nice emphasis on the immorality of the man who could still act the hero during time of war because often the skills needed by warriors don't make for good civilians.

The Party, Party
I listened to the first half of this six-part sitcom and wrote about it in more detail last week. The second half was much like the first: OK with real potential but ultimately not quite able to deliver.

Various Episodes of Panel Shows
I think I'm all caught up on the main Panel Shows backlog I had from Christmas, but I won't swear to it.

Dilemma: This is series 2 of a panel game but new to me as I missed panel 1. Sue Perkins is the host and she presents the guests with various moral dilemmas then she, the audience, and the other guests judge the panelists' ethical standards or try to sway them to change their minds. I very much enjoyed the first episode and am looking forward to more.

The Now Show: I love The News Quiz but it is currently on break. failte_aoife suggested The Now Show as a stand in for a topical panel show until News Quiz is back. I listened to the current series's first episode, which is now a couple of weeks old, and it was OK. I'll probably give it another go whenever News Quiz is off air and I really want some news comedy, but I just very much prefer the spontaneous and improv feel of the News Quiz over the far more rehearsed and scripted feel of The Now Show. Sketch comedy just isn't my thing and this felt like sketch.

Downloading 3 to 9 March:
Radio 2's History of British Comedy
This is a non-fiction show so slightly outside the norm for me but it is four episodes of David Mitchell hosting a tour through, as the title would suggest, the history of British Comedy in the last 100 years. Works for me.

Terry Pratchett - Eric
A DiscWorld dramatization! I think this one is new.

Terry Pratchett - Guards! Guards!
Another DiscWorld dramatization! This one is a repeat from a few years ago, but it is new for me.

Miguel de Cervantes - Don Quixote
An adaptation of the novel. It is only two parts so it is going to have to be majorly condensed, but that's OK. It's got Bernard Cribbins in it and I love him.

John Fletcher - The Legend of Robin Hood
An adaptation of the Robin Hood ballads. I love me some Robin Hood.

Welcome to Our Village, Please Invade Carefully
I'm really looking forward to this one. It sounds great. It is a sitcom about an alien invasion in a small village. I've heard clips from the pilot that aired last summer, I think.

Wilkie Collins - No Name
Repeat of a classic dramatization. Victorian England romances get old after a while, but this novel is one of the best of the genre so hopefully the dramatization will be good.

Miss Marple - Nemesis
Agatha Christie. Miss Marple. Dramatization. That's all that needs saying, right?

Dave Sheasby - Incident at Boulonvilliers
A story set in 1982 dealing with questions of memory and heroism from World War II. The play is from 2009 and stars Geoffrey Whitehead, Michael Mears, and David Hargreaves.

Iain Heggie - The Tobacco Merchant's Lawyer
Another bit of historical fiction, this one with Ian McDiarmid. The story is set in Glasgow 1780. I can't find a whole lot more information than that.

A Taxi Ride around the City of Culture
Play about a Northern Ireland city becoming the UK City of Culture for 2013 as a tourism scheme.

Martyn Wade - A Home of Their Own
Martyn Wade is a prolific writer for BBC Radio. I've enjoyed many of his plays so I'll give this one a shot.

Thinking of Leaving Your Husband?
A four-part dramedy about middle-age, breakups, and internet dating.

Barbed Wire Ballads
Another nonfiction, thus unusual, choice. This one is a mini documentary about recordings made in POW camps in Germany during WWI. The recordings were made at the Kaiser's order and were an attempt to create a linguistic and perhaps even cultural regions map of Europe.

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, 15-Minute Drama, Classic Serial, and The Wire. This week I'm most looking foward to The Wire play Proud about political protest (magic words for me) and reactionaries during times of turmoil and the Saturday Drama adaptation of the play Hedda Gabler.

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.

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


failte_aoife at 4:02 pm on 03 March 2013 (UTC) (Link)
History of British Comedy sounds good. I guess I will check that out, too.

I've listen to the adaption of Dorothy Sayers' Clouds of Whitnesses this week. It was really good but I only read the book last year and watched the TV-adaption recently and both the radioplay and the series kept very close to the book, which is great but so I ended up being a bit bored.

Currently I'm also listening to 'Churchill's other lives' about Churchill's life outside of politics...I admit that I'm not that fascinated by it but the episodes are short and don't require my full attention so it's nice to listen to in the background (plus: Rogar Allam reads the Churchill-quotes and letters).

I've downloaded Mark Billingham's Rule Book of Crime. Billingham is a crime-writer and he's talking about his favourite fictional detectives (among them Holmes and Miss Marple). I've never read anything by Billingham but it sounds interesting.
I also downloades JB Pristley's Postscripts. Essays he wrote during the Second World War, read by Patrick Stewart. It's not usually my thing but this semester I did a seminar on Pristley and am now writing a term-paper on one of his play so perhaps it helps me getting in the right spirit ^^
bratty_jedi at 9:52 pm on 03 March 2013 (UTC) (Link)
I debated the Billingham thing but I saw a writeup of what he picked for his top 5 and decided I'd just rather listen to those, or all of them I can get, than listen to him tell me why I should listen to those things.

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