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BBC Radio
Posted on Thursday 11 April 2013 at 7:08 pm

Rachael's Week in BBC Radio Vol. 12 Part A

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Listened to this week will be posted later (see note).
Next week I'm most looking forward to dramatizations of some Walter Scott novels (with David Tennant) and of Dostoevsky's The Idiot (with Roger Allam) and a play about the standardization of time in the nineteenth century. I'm on the fence about a dramatization of Laurie King's Holmes pastiche novel The Beekeeper's Apprentice.

Quick note: I'm out of town this weekend, leaving tomorrow morning, so I can't do my usual lazy Sunday morning of browsing the week's schedule and doing all my little write-ups over several mugs of tea. I don't want to miss anything upcoming so I've gone through the schedule as far as it is up for now (into but not all of next Friday) and done my write-ups on that here. I'll look at the rest of next Friday and Saturday after I get back and post that plus everything I've listened to this past week probably sometime Monday evening.

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.

Downloading 14 to 20 April:
Fyodor Dostoevsky - The Idiot
A dramatization of the novel. I'm get it for that, but check out the cast: Paul Rhys, Roger Allam, Alex Jennings, Lia Williams, David Swift, Stephen Moore, Gerard McDermott, Paul Jacobs, Tracy-Ann Oberman, Carl Prekopp, Jemma Churchill, Martin Hyder and Jonathan Keeble

Alan Plater - Only a Matter of Time
I'm fascinated by the way people have conceptualized and understood time throughout history. I've been playing around with a college course syllabus on Time in American History for ages, off-and-on. This play is about the reaction to the standardization of time in the nineteenth century, a move largely driven by railroads and industry which might not be a topic that would grab most people's attention but sounds fantastic to me.

Alan Plater - Time Added on for Injuries
All I know is the Beeb's description: Passengers on a train uncover the story that linked their families 150 years ago. Stars James Bolam and Alan David.

Poirot - Murder on the Links
Agatha Christie. Poirot. Yeah.

Sherlock Holmes - The Beekeeper's Apprentice
This is a dramatization of the first book in a sort of Holmes pastiche series that I've always avoided. It isn't really even supposed to be a pastiche series as it is more about an OC than any of the Conan Doyle canon characters and is meant to be that way. It just seems to me that the writer wanted to do an original mystery series and decided to just latch on to Holmes as a way of getting a pre-made audience but without actually doing anything of interest with Holmes, which feels like cheating. Plus, my understanding is the main character here starts as a 15 year old who looks up to a retired Holmes as a mentor and father figure and then eventually marries him which is just kind of creepy. I've never actually read any of the books or anything so perhaps my assumptions are incorrect. I'll definitely download the adaptation and get around to listening to it within the next few months, probably, and decide from there if I want to give the actual book series a shot.

Flying the Flag
I first noticed this show when series 4 aired a few months ago. I'm glad they're re-airing series 1 as it sounded interesting but I didn't want to jump in that late. The sitcom setup here is a British embassy in an Eastern bloc country during the Cold War. The show itself is originally from the 1980s.

Bram Stoker - Midnight Tales
Readings of a handful of Stoker shorts. I've read Dracula, of which I'm not a huge fan, but nothing else by him. Worth giving it a shot, I suppose.

Graeme Fife - A Misfortune at Seaham
An historical play one-shot. Just something random that sounded mildly interesting.

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 the Classic Serial for the next little while, which is doing adaptations of three of Walter Scott's novels. First is The Fair Maid of Perth and second will be Rob Roy. I can't find any information on the third one. David Tennant should be playing Walter Scott or the narrator in all three, though. Lower down on the priority scale, a couple of Afternoon Dramas sound interesting: Second Son, a thriller about stolen identity, and The Flea, based on the life and sometimes erotic poems of the sixteenth and seventeenth-century poet John Donne. Also, Afternoon Drama appears to be repeating two of the Two-Pipe Problem episodes I already have but others may want to check out.

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.

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


failte_aoife at 1:42 pm on 12 April 2013 (UTC) (Link)
I listened to Dunsinane, the latest Drama on 3, a sequel to MacBeth. It was...odd. It was a sequel in the sense that it would have been quite hard to understand if you never heard of Macbeth but at the same time I had the feeling that they only wrote it as sequel because it saved them to include an explanation for the 'how did we get there' at the beginning of the play. I felt no real connection to Macbeth. And even ignoring all that at the end I just sat there and wondered 'what was the point of all that? Telling me that war is bloody and sometimes desicions you make are hard because there's no realy right or wrong? Thanks but I knew that before.'

Bravo Figaro however was brilliant. It's hard to make jokes about serious subjects that are funny but don't ignore the seriousness and Mark Thomas did it really well.
It's the first time I heard anything by him but it won't be the last (though his other stuff seems to go in a very different direction). His Manifesto-series is currently on and I'm downloading it but haven't listened to it yet. I think it just got a bit higher up on my priority-list.

I did not know Roger Allam would be in in The Idiot. I subscribed it anyway but I admit that might give me a bit more incentive to listen to it, soon :D

And UGH on The Beekeeper's apprentice...I gave the book up when Watson told Mary that in the few weeks Holmes hat known her he had completely given up on cocaine and was generally living much healthier. It just screams Mary Sue...however I've got a few friends who love the series (as well as the original Holmes) so perhaps I judged to hastily. Might give it another try.
bratty_jedi at 9:37 pm on 16 April 2013 (UTC) (Link)
I'd planned to listen to Dunsinane soonish. I'm actually not that big a fan of MacBeth, but the idea sounded interesting. Your reaction may cause me to bump it down my To Listen list a bit.

I did not know Roger Allam would be in in The Idiot. I subscribed it anyway but I admit that might give me a bit more incentive to listen to it, soon :D
My thought process almost exactly.

Glad I'm not the only one who isn't too keen on those Beekeeper's Apprentice books! I wonder what the fanbase of that is really like. Are there many people who were Holmes enthusiasts before reading it who like it or is it something more liked by people who either don't know the Holmes canon all that well or who came to the only Holmes canon only after this? To each their own and all of that so maybe there isn't any general conclusion that can be reached there at all but I do wonder about it.
failte_aoife at 9:02 am on 17 April 2013 (UTC) (Link)
I wonder what the fanbase of that is really like.

That is a good question. I just have the rather un-representative insight that I know two people who always loved the original Holmes and are also quite fond of Mary Russell. And, as said, because of them I wonder if I might have judged a bit hastily.
But it's not only Mary Russel as character. I had also some issues I have with many other modern Holmes-pastiches when the authors try to set things 'right'. Of course the female characters in Holmes-stories are portrayed in a not very positive light and he certainly said things that would be questionable if said today but if an author simply goes the way of 'oh, well you missunderstood him there and he actually didn't mean it that way' it's kind of...lame. I recently read another Holmes-pastiche where Watson went on and on about how he always disapproved of Holmes' comments on women (and other subjects) and he often discussed it with Holmes but didn't include it in his accounts because it wasn't relevent or something along those lines and that's kind of the easy way out of this.

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