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BBC Radio
Posted on Sunday 12 May 2013 at 6:54 pm

Rachael's Week in BBC Radio Vol. 15 part B and Vol. 16


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Listened to this week includes Baldi, Rumpole, and a bit of a Sherlock Holmes parody.
Next week I'm most looking forward to adaptations of works by Gogol, Melville, Dickens, and James Fenimore Cooper.

Note: I was out of town this past week so this post is things I downloaded for the end of last week (Friday and Saturday) as well as what I will be downloading for next week and everything I listened to over two weeks, Sunday 28 April to yesterday.
I'll be out of town again around the first week of June so might have to adjust the usual posting schedule then, too.

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 28 April to 11 May (mostly in order of preference, best to worst):
Baldi Series 1
This was six 45-minute mysteries featuring a Franciscan Priest and Philosophy Professor turned amateur detective. I very much enjoyed them all, though some were a bit better than others. The detective, Paolo Baldi, is an Italian living in Ireland and on a year-long sabbatical as he questions his dedication to the priesthood. He is a lecturer at a college and always stumbles upon a murder, forcing him to work with a police officer on whom he might have a bit of a crush while dodging questions from his religious superior on the nature of his faith, his future plans, and his feelings for the woman. The mysteries are all interesting and Baldi's style is a bit different from the detective norm, based more on symbols and meanings than traditional "facts."
There are more Baldi mysteries and many are available from AudioGo so I might buy these or some others soon. One thing I did notice in skimming AudioGo is that a complete series of 6 episodes goes for $12 and a series of 4 episodes for as little as $4, making it around the typical one or two bucks for a 45-minute play, but single episodes are as high as $6, which is a ridiculous price for a 45-minute radio program, so definitely don't buy them one at a time!

Rumpole and the Family Pride and Rumpole and the Eternal Triangle
These are two one-shot Young Rumpole stories first aired in 2010. The shorter ones are almost never as good as the two-parters and Rumpole and the Family Pride is no exception to this rule. It just isn't all that interesting or well-developed of a story or mystery and doesn't add much to Rumpole's character. It's probably my least favorite of all the ones to which I've listened.

Rumpole and the Eternal Triangle, on the other hand, does break the one-shots as weaker rule and is a rather good story. The Eternal Triangle of the title is a love triangle and there are actually two at work here. First, a young woman seems to be interested in Young Rumpole and he is seriously considering cheating on his wife. Second, the same young woman's husband is accused of murdering a man suspected to be his wife's lover. The two possible triangles are played off of each other well for a satisfying mystery and interesting character development. I highly recommend this one for old fans and newcomers to Rumpole both, with the slight caveat that Cumberbatch seems to be trying harder in both these to sound like Timothy West as Older Rumpole than I noticed in his first go as Young Rumpole and it got a bit annoying.

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!

The Newly Discovered Casebook of Sherlock Holmes
The only thing I knew going into this is that it was a spoof / parody of Sherlock Holmes. There was some of what I was expecting based on that description, silly mysteries and amped up characterizations poking fun at the tropes of Holmes and detectives in general, but there was a lot more just random and often crude jokes loosely held together by something vaguely resembling a plot. It had more of a feel of a music hall kind of show, and a music hall is in fact the setting of the second episode, but is not a fantastic example of that. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't what I was in the mood for so I only listened to the first two of six episodes and then decided I might come back to the rest at some other point when I'm more in the mood for what it is.

Various Episodes of Panel Shows
The Unbelievable Truth 11:3: I loved this episode! All the fake lectures and interruptions were hilarious and great but the best is that the took a few digs at QI along the way. The most obvious was a fact in a lecture that QI asserted something as true that isn't but there were a few others. It was all in good fun, but as one who has occasionally hollered at the Stephen Fry on my screen "That's not right!" I appreciated the call out.

News Quiz 80:3: Fantastic episode, though it is now like three weeks old due to me being out of town. Oh, well. I was cracking up throughout, especially at the bits about Scotland, if that helps anyone else remember which episode I'm on. I can't wait to listen to the other two I've missed.

Just a Minute (TV): I'm going to cheat here on my BBC Radio post for a bit. There was a brief run of Just a Minute as a TV show in 2012 for the 45th anniversary of the radio program. It is currently being re-aired so I watched the first two episodes on the BBC iPlayer. Being on the TV didn't add anything to the show so I mostly just listened with the video player hidden behind other windows of stuff I was doing. The first episode was absolutely hilarious and I wouldn't mind just having the audio mixed in with the radio ones I've got. The second episode had Stephen Fry on it so you know that I loved that. I'll probably try to check in with a few other episodes while this is re-airing. I'll keep these posts to radio since it would get even more cumbersome if I was also going on about QI and Would I Lie To You and the like all the time in addition to all the radio stuff, but since this one is a radio show with, as far as I know, just the one TV series, I thought I'd mention that it is re-airing in case anyone else is interested in it.



Downloading 10 to 18 May:
Nikolai Gogol - Three Ivans, Two Aunts and an Overcoat
This is a series of dramatizations based on Gogol stories. This is perfect timing for me as I'm planning to mostly read shorts and plays in May and June and Gogol is one of the short story writers I'm most looking forward to reading so having some of the dramatizations will be a nice addition.

Herman Melville - Bartleby the Scrivener
I love this story about an employee who'd just rather not do much of his job and am very much looking forward to listening to this adaptation.

James Fenimore Cooper - The Last of the Mohicans
Last of the Mohicans is one of those novels I should have read long ago but never have. he stumbling block here is I remember by sister having to read it for school and ranting about how terrible it was. She loves to read as much as me and I can't remember her ever ranting about a book like she did this one so that always puts me off even thought I can't remember why she hated it. A nice dramatization might be a good way for me to find out if I should trust my sister's youthful judgment or give the novel a chance.

David Pownall at 75
I don't know much about this writer, but the BBC is celebrating him with lots of radio adaptations of his plays, stories, etc. and some non-fic pieces on his life. The synopses of some of the plays sound fantastic, many of them historical fiction, so I'll give him a shot.

Ethel Line White - The Lady Vanishes
The story dramatized here was a 1936 novel (titled The Wheel Spins) and a has been few different movies (all titled The Lady Vanishes, the first directed by Hitchcock ad the most recent a BBC TV one from March of this year). I've not read nor seen any of it but it sounds like a good story.

From Fact to Fiction
I've seen this series before and debated it but never tried it. The premise is that someone takes an event from that week's news and quickly writes something, generally a story but perhaps a poem or something else, based on it. I finally decided to give it a shot because Sandi Toksvig is the writer for this upcoming week and I really like her work.

Hordes of the Things
A spoof of Lord of the Rings from 1980. Someone on the flist was reccing this to me recently so I'm excited to see it re-airing. failte_aoife was it you who recced it?

Vent
Dark sitcom inside a man's head while he lies in a coma .

Baroness Orczy - The Teahouse Detective
Yet another detective series. Sounds like fun, but they all do!

Short Stories by Oscar Wilde
Readings of Wilde shorts. I Love Oscar Wilde too much to pass this up even with it just being readings rather than the dramatizations that I prefer.

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 a bunch of stuff on the Afternoon Drama including the start of a dramatization of Dickens's Tale of Two Cities, a drama riffing off the recent papal resignation with a story of a former Pope still being alive two years after stepping down and the schism that is creating, and a look at 1970s India from the point of view of a tiger. The two Saturday Dramas up next week could also be good, an adaptation of Fitzgerald's The Last Tycoon and a detective mystery.

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 7:20 am on 13 May 2013 (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, Hoardes of the Things was me. I enjoyed it more than Sofa of Time (though nothing beats Elvenquest). It's from the 80s and some jokes show that but still good fun.

I think I'll up Baldi and the Newly discovered Casebook a bit on my list. I downloaded both but Baldi just got lost in all the crime-series I download (there are so many...and then I end up listening to more Agatha Christie...) and I worried that the Holmes would be just silly and didn't really feel like listening to it.

I'm not listening to that much radio-wise. On my way to/from uni I'm currently working my way through the Clash of Kings-audiobook (though I think I'll take a break, soon) so what I'm listening is when I'm at the laptop and need some background-noise, meaning I'm up-to-date with all the panel-shows (and some podcasts). News-Quiz was brilliant, I'm really enjoying the current series of The Unbelievable Truth and have also grown quite fond of It's Your Round and Act Your Age.

I did listen to Waverly and while it was nice (and David Tennant was great as expected) it felt a bit rushed. I've got the book and it's a 500-pages doorstopper and the play was about an hour which I think was simply too short for a book of that length. (Still plan to listen to the other Scott-adaptions, soon because David Tennant...)

I'm looking forward to the Teahouse detective, too. I've read The Scarlet Pimpernell by Orczy and really enjoyed it. Had planned to read one of her detective-stories anyway, so I guess I'll listen to that quite soon.
Rachael
bratty_jedi at 11:59 am on 13 May 2013 (UTC) (Link)
I thought Hordes was you but wasn't positive. I'll put it higher up on the To Listen list and bump Sofa of Time further down.

I definitely recommend Baldi. The Undiscovered Casebook jumps back-and-forth between random jokes and sort of a plot so I'd say definitely try it when in the mood for something a bit light and silly.

I haven't listened to any of the Walter Scott ones, yet. I figured I'd start with Rob Roy but I'm concerned they'll all feel rushed and choppy because I think all three are typically around 500-page novels.

News Quiz and Unbelievable are both definitely on top form at the moment. I've got a few episodes of Act Your Age that will probably be background listening late this week or early next. I'd looked into It's Your Round before but haven't ever caught it and I missed that it had started re-airing. I've added it to the Radio Downloader so it looks like I'll get episodes 5 and 6 of the season currently airing which will let me give it a try and see if I want to keep a look out for it more often.

I've never read Scarlet Pimpernell, but my sister was a huge fan when she was in college and I think read all the books multiple times. If she'd got into it a bit earlier, I probably would have read them, too, but she didn't really get going until I was away at college myself so I couldn't just borrow her books as easily and I've never gotten around to getting them from a library.
aoife
failte_aoife at 6:08 pm on 13 May 2013 (UTC) (Link)
It's your round is fun. Though through the format (every guest bringing the rules for their own game) how good the single episodes are depends even more on the guests than most other but so far there weren't any major disappointments for me and it's always nice to hear some different voices as they have lots of pannelist that aren't on the shows I usually watch/listen to.
Unsentimental Fool
unsentimentalf at 8:05 am on 13 May 2013 (UTC) (Link)
I caught Stephen Mangan in Incredibly Guilty, which was fun, and I'm slowly working through the reading of Brave New World, a book I haven't read for decades. Haven't had much time for listening recently but hoping to get back to some.
Rachael
bratty_jedi at 11:46 am on 13 May 2013 (UTC) (Link)
I haven't read Brave New World in ages either, but it's never been one of my favorite dystopic novels. I'm not sure why, but its just never grabbed me the way say 1984 and Fahrenheit 451 did.
Unsentimental Fool
unsentimentalf at 2:24 pm on 13 May 2013 (UTC) (Link)
It doesn't have the gut impact that 1984 has, certainly. Maybe because it's much harder to empathise with the happily brainwashed than with the recognisably human but oppressed? Winston Smith is something like who we think we'd be under a totalitarian state, whereas we can't really imagine ourselves in Huxley's world.

Also maybe because we are half way through and Huxley's only just introduced the main character! It's not well paced at all.

If you'd asked me in the early 1980s when I read both of them which was more relevant I'd have said 1984, without question. Now consumerism has surged forward and the totalitarian state (of that kind) has fallen by the wayside, I'd probably plump for Brave New World.

space_oddity_75
space_oddity_75 at 8:26 am on 13 May 2013 (UTC) (Link)
Hey there! If you're interested, "How Does That Make You Feel?" with Roger Allam is back on BBC Radio 4, starting today (if my memory doesn't fail me).
Rachael
bratty_jedi at 11:23 am on 13 May 2013 (UTC) (Link)
I always grab the 15 Minute Dramas so I'll have that. I debated adding its omnibus as that's a bit easier to listen but I'm not sure if I should listen to this since it is series 4 and I don't have any of the previous ones. Series 3 is available at AudioGo but not 1 and 2. Do you think I'd be OK jumping in at 3 or 4 without 1 and 2?
space_oddity_75
space_oddity_75 at 12:52 pm on 13 May 2013 (UTC) (Link)
To be honest, I've only ever listened to Roger Allam's episodes, which are available on YouTube.

Check out http://www.all-allam.com/news.html?panel=2#TabbedPanels1 for more info.
Rachael
bratty_jedi at 11:12 am on 14 May 2013 (UTC) (Link)
Sounds good. Thanks for the link!
aoife
failte_aoife at 9:49 am on 14 May 2013 (UTC) (Link)
I just listened to it and had no trouble. There were a few references to past happenings but I'm not sure if those were mentioned in the previous series or just a type of 'LOL Allam's character is really unlucky'-joke.
Anyway I just found somebody on youtube who uploaded all Allam-episodes: http://www.youtube.com/user/Andreawashere2/videos?flow=grid&view=0 if you want to listen in order.
Rachael
bratty_jedi at 11:18 am on 14 May 2013 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for the link and the assurance that out of order worked. I'll give at least some of it a listen at some point.


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