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BBC Radio
Posted on Sunday 28 July 2013 at 9:57 am

Rachael's Week in BBC Radio Vol. 27


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I listened to more ongoing series this week, including another Rumpole, a Cadfael, and series 2 of Double Income, No Kids Yet. On this upcoming week's schedule, there's a bunch of stuff that sounds sort of interesting that I'll grab but nothing is really grabbing me as potentially spectacular.

Listened to 21 to 27 July:

Rumpole and the Reign of Terror
If you are already onboard with the idea of Rumpole as a character and his decidedly liberal leanings, this is a fantastic two-parter. If you are new to Rumpole, you should probably start somewhere else (I'd say one of the three or four best one-parters then The Antisocial Behavior of Horace Rumpole for a two-parter). If a liberal political slant will annoy you or anger you, you should never go near this episode. That could kind of apply to most of Rumpole, but this one in particular as most of Rumpole's speeches with a political bent don't touch quite as explicitly on a modern hot button political issues as this one does. Rumpole and the Reign of Terror one is an attack on the idea of the War of Terror, on indefinite detention without trial and other violations of rights in the name of safety. There is an interesting and somewhat complicated case at the heart of this story and some fantastic interaction between Rumpole and his wife Hilda, a.k.a. She Who Must Be Obeyed, so this is an entertaining and well performed story, not just a political polemic or anything like that, but there are definitely a few Rumpole speeches that had me cheering but I suppose could anger others. I loved it and my only complaint is that I'm now out of new Rumpole two-parters and only have four one-parters left. Hooray for re-listening, I suppose.
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.

Deep Trouble Series 1
I listened to the first two of four episodes last week. I finished the series this week and I think it did get a little better as it went and I enjoyed it, but it will never be one of my favorites. I might still give series 2 a go in a few months.

Double Income, No Kids Yet Series 2
I listened to series 1 of this a while back and enjoyed it. There were some episodes of series 2 that were better than 1, they'd clearly found their stride. However, there were a couple of episodes (3 and 5) that just rubbed me the wrong way when they fell too much into basic relationship sitcom sex/gender stereotypes.
All of Double Income is available on AudioGo and I've bought it all.

Cadfael: Monk's Hood
I had listened to a prior Cadfael radio adaptation, One Corpse Too Many. This one is probably a better story / mystery, but not nearly as good an adaptation. There was a different actor for Cadfael and I didn't like him quite as much but, more importantly, this adaptation relied more on a narrator rather than the acting and I didn't like that. It was still a good story and I like Cadfael generally, I was just disappointed in comparison to my expectations based on the previous one.
Monk's Hood is available at AudioGo but I think I'll pass.

The Great Tennessee Monkey Trial
This is technically an LA Theater Works production, I think. The BBC has aired the same broadcast, though. I like the Scopes trial as something to talk about in my class on the idea of the culture divide in the US and establishing the idea that there are multiple worlds / cultures in this country that honestly cannot understand the other. This play, based on the court transcripts, did a great job of illustrating that and telling the basic story of the trial.

Comedy Panel Shows
The News Quiz 81:5: Of course they talked about the birth of the baby. How could they not? They did a good job with that and the other news of the week (including playing up the fact that there really was other stuff going on than the birth of one kid) and I really enjoyed this one.

I've Never Seen Star Wars Series 3:1: I've Never Seen Star Wars very much depends on the guest and tasks. This one featured Sanjeev Bhaskar trying things like reading Wodehouse (hooray Jeeves and Wooster!), viewing the crown jewels, and playing some sort of tabletop football / soccer. The guest was entertaining and game for everything but I found the tasks a little bland. Listening to someone try to describe their time viewing the crown jewels just isn't all that exciting.

I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue 59: 3 and 4: Two standard episodes of this panel show, which is one of my just plain silly favorites. I very much enjoyed both episodes but don't have anything specific to say about them.

In Search of Mornington Crescent: Two weeks ago, I listened to a half-hour version of this fake documentary and explained all the background on it so go here if you missed that and want to know what this is all about. I also mentioned that AudioGo has an extended two hour version that I was going to get. I listened to three-quarters of that last week, the one-hour version of the fake documentary and two of the four fake short stories about people playing Mornington Crescent. This week I listened to the final two stories. One, Game, was very dry society kind of parody and I didn't enjoy it too much. The other, Death on the Line, was a more enjoyable Agatha Christie's Poirot parody. It was more Poirot parody than anything to do with Mornington Crescent, though there is an element of that.

Downloading 28 July to 3 August:

One-Shots

The Gestapo Minutes (Aft Drama)
A Jewish man must decide whether or not to come to the defense of the Nazi officer with whom (under whom) he'd managed the Jewish ghetto in Mainz during the war.

Rhapsody (Aft Drama)
comedy about a choreographer trying to create a ballet in honor of the Queen Mother while his relationship is also a bit tumultuous.

Andrew Doyle - The Second Mr Bailey (Aft Drama)
Play about a young gay man in Edinburgh in 1967, when homosexuality was finally legalized in England and Wales but was still a crime in Scotland. Actual plot is about his landlady trying to turn him into a replacement for her husband.

Miss You Still (Aft Drama)
A play by and starring Lenny Henry. I don't know that I need any more information that that :)

Alan Ayckbourn - A Game of Golf
I mentioned last week that BBC is going to be running four or so Alan Ayckbourn plays in the next few weeks. After my initial post, I did a bit more research and made an edit to that but in case anyone missed it....
I did a bit more looking into this play and found the wikipedia article on Ayckbourn's Intimate Exchanges and now I'm way more interested in this. Turns out Intimate Exchanges is like a Choose Your Own Adventure version of a play. There is a starting scene then two options for a scene set 5 second later. From each of those, there are two options for a scene set 5 days later, then 5 weeks, and finally 5 years. This makes for 16 possible endings to the same beginning scene. Wikipedia claims that the plays are often thought of as eight versions based on the next-to-last scenes with each of the eight having two possible endings. Events on a Hotel Terrace is one of the eight and BBC is apparently airing four of the eight. Sounds like an interesting experiment in playwriting, something Ayckbourn does a lot.
So last week's Events on a Hotel Terrace and this one are part of that same deal. I'll grab the rest as they come up but I may not mention them in these posts.

One-Week Multi-Episode Programs

George Eliot - The Mill on the Floss
Dramatization of the classic novel.

Mrs Bradley - The Mystery of a Butcher's Shop
Mrs. Bradley is a fictional detective created by Gladys Mitchell. I read one or two of the Bradley novels ages ago but don't remember much about them except that they mixed in supernatural elements sometimes, making them rather unusual for mysteries written in the pre WWII period which is when the series began, and liked to poke fun at mystery genre conventions, some bordering on parodies of Agatha Christie and others.

Craddock and Co
Another ongoing detective series set in the Victorian era. I'm signing up for it because I usually enjoy Martin Jarvis who plays the titular sleuth.

Multi-Week Multi-Episode Programs Starting this Week

Byng Ballads: The Story of Douglas Byng
This is probably the only thing this week in which I'm truly interested. It is the story of a famous drag artist and camp singer from the 1910s into the 1970s or so, played here by Julian Clary.

Andrea Levy - Small Island Omnibus
Dramatization of a historical novel set in the immediate post World War II period, focusing on Jamaican immigrants to England.

Feminine Mystiques
In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of The Feminine Mystique, this is three stories about feminism and feminist writers today.

Comedy Panel Shows
This week, It's Not What You Know, I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, and The News Quiz are all somewhere in the middle of their latest runs. I've Never Seen Star Wars Series 3 is doing a repeat run.

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

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