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BBC Radio
Posted on Tuesday 16 April 2013 at 8:30 am

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

Listened to this week includes more Rumpole, a Cadfael, and a few other random mysteries and thrillers.

Quick note: I was out of town this weekend. I posted everything I'm looking forward to for Sunday through part of Friday before I left. Now that I'm back, this is everything I'm looking forward to for the rest of Friday and Saturday and everything I've listened to this past week.

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 7 to 13 April (mostly in order of preference, best to worst):
John Mortimer - The Antisocial Behaviour of Horace Rumpole
If you've never tried Rumpole in any his myriad forms, this two-part series is the place to start and if you're already a fan, you'll love these episodes. They are pretty close to a perfect encapsulation of everything that makes Rumpole so much fun generally speaking and in the Timothy West adaptations specifically. The characters and the plotlines involving Rumpole's personal life are superb as always with these stories but there are also multiple mystery cases going on and they are pretty fantastic, too. Rumpole has a couple of excellent speeches that serve as introduction on what to expect from him generally for new-comers (standing up for what he sees as truth, justice, liberty, and the Rights of Englishmen of all ages and genders/sexes) and were just a sheer delight for me as a returning fan.
The only Timothy West Rumpole adaptations for sale are the first four stories in Rumpole and the Primrose Path at AudioGo. I have bought them and wish I could buy more, including this one, but it just isn't available. I have most of West's Rumpoles from downloading, but I don't have R. and the Teenage Werewolf and R. and the Right to Privacy (sometimes jointly called Rumpole's Return) nor do I have Truth Makes All Things Plain and The Past Catches up with Us All (sometimes jointly called R. and the Reign of Terror). If anyone knows how I can get those four, I'd be grateful!

Anthony Horowitz - Blackfriars Bridge
This was a silly little short story, maybe 10 or 15 minutes long, and I loved it. It is a man recounting his planning of the perfect murder and all the ways in which he completely fouled it up. I highly recommend it if you just want a bit of a lark.

Cadfael - One Corpse Too Many
I've read a Cadfael book a while back, can't even remember which one now but I remember I liked it and always meant to go back for more. I very much enjoyed this dramatization and will most likely listen to another Cadfael before the end of the month. I was a bit put off by the start of this one because it is mostly two characters talking about current events that they both know in a way that real people would never do. I know that is to provide background information to the audience. but I prefer when that kind of information is provided more organically within the story rather than the clunky style here. Once that was accomplished, though, the story moved along quite nicely with a good mystery, interesting characters and setting, etc.

The Reluctant Spy (Afternoon Drama)
This was a three-part story originally aired as the Afternoon Drama. It is available for purchase at AudioGo but I can't recommend you spend the $4 on it. It is a sort of mystery thriller but would be better titled The Stupid Spy or The Idiotic Spy than The Reluctant Spy. No one could be as oblivious and stupid as the plot requires the main character to be for the first part of this. Then you find out he actually has some experience as a spy and really shouldn't have been that stupid. Then the entire last episode was just pointless and didn't really reveal anything new or exciting. It is an odd thriller where the final installment is the most boring. Add to that the fact that one of the female leads had an annoying way of talking and I was unimpressed.

Charles Dickens - The Signalman
This was a bit of a mystery/ghost story. It wasn't that good. It was only like 15 minutes long, but my mind kept wondering. I just wasn't interested in it.

Various Episodes of Panel Shows
Just a Minute Series 65 Episode 7: This was an absolutely brilliant episode of Just a Minute. The jokes were hilarious, there was a great deal of calling a supposed British National Treasure a Bitch (she started it), and there was a great deal of Marcus Brigstoke passive-aggressively arguing with Nicholas Parsons which is a mainstay of modern Just a Minute and one of my favorite things about it. I loved it so very much.

Dilemma Series 2 Episode 6: Perfectly fine episode from a regularly solid show, Not much special to say but it was fun.

The Museum of Curiosity Series 4 Episode 5: This one was a repeat but new for me. It was pretty good. This one even more than most depends on the guests, I think at least in part because they bring on people not from the entertainment industry rather than the regular comedians always on the other shows. This week featured penis jokes and word play, which I always love, among other things. It was not the best episode ever, but certainly fun.

Downloading 14 to 20 April:
For the first part of the week, go here.
The following is Friday and Saturday only.

Philip Palmer - The King's Coiner
A play about Isaac Newton trying to stop a counterfeiter. Sounds like fun.

Alan Bennett - A Visit From Miss Prothero
Alan Bennett play. I'm generally a fan of his work so expect to enjoy this.

Dave Sheasby - Donkeys Led By Lions
Historical play about a conscientious objector in World War I. Definitely my kind of thing.

Edgar Allen Poe - The Gold Bug
A play based on the short story. Not one of my favorite Poe stories, but a decent enough one that it's worth giving the adaptation a shot. Oddly, everything I'm listing now except the next one still isn't up in the Upcoming list on Radio Downloader and I'm having to find it all in All Programmes (which only works because they're repeats). This was only a problem here as there are two listings for Poe's Gold Bug and I don't know which one is the correct so I just subscribed to them both and hopefully it will work out.

Henry James - The Turn of the Screw
I don't like this book. I found it kind of boring. Sometimes with books that are admired for various reasons that I just don't get, an adaptation by someone who does get it will make me appreciate it and see things I missed when reading it myself. Sometimes not. I'll download this and hope maybe I'll get something more out of it than I did out of the book when I listen to it. The problem is that with so many things out there about which I'm more excited, I might not ever make the time to listen to this.

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 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 is 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?


x_los at 12:51 am on 17 April 2013 (UTC) (Link)
Good tip re: the Bennett, shall certainly check that out!

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