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BBC Radio
Posted on Sunday 25 August 2013 at 10:27 am

Rachael's Week in BBC Radio Vol. 31

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I didn't listen to too much this week aside from a bunch of Cabin Pressure repeats on a mini road trip with a friend who'd never heard it. What I did get to is still fantasy and sci-fi themed and was generally pretty good.

There's a bit less than normal on the downloading list for me this week, but everything that is there is fantastic stuff about which I'm rather excited. There's a new Tom Stoppard play, a Robert Louis Stevenson riff, stuff with Bill Nighy, with Mitchell and Webb, with Hugh Laurie, with Stephen Fry, etc. Oh, related to that last one: new QI on TV this weekend!

Listened to 18 to 24 August:

Welcome to Our Village, Please Invade Carefully
This is a silly little sitcom about an alien invasion of one village for the purpose of learning about humanity in preparation of a full-scale invasion of Earth. The characters are all fun and the plots used well for gags and fun, though they aren't complex or anything. Not to give too much away for either, when I saw The World's End this weekend, there are definitely some similarities in the big idea there and here but the purposes, executions, and details are all very different. I listened to all of series 1 (currently the only one) this past week and coincidentally it is starting to re-air this next week so anyone interested can grab it now.

I only listened to the first of the four episodes of series 1 of this fantasy show this week. The basic premise is that the worlds of fairies and magic are real and one man, due to a cursed placed on him in the 11th century is both immortal and able to cross between the two realms. He rather reluctantly has to play the hero while just seeking for a way to be able to die. It isn't the most original concept, but it plays out well. The first episode worked well as a pilot, setting up the situation and characters while still having a plot of its own and I'm looking forward to more.

Aberystwyth Noir - It Ain't Over till the Bearded Lady Sings
I've heard good things about the Aberystwyth Noir / Louie Knight novels. They are a sort of parody of crime noir / detective fiction set in a slightly alternate universe town in Wales in which the main organized crime ring are Druids, for example. This story, I think a radio play original set in the same universe as the novels rather than a dramatization of one of the novels, has potential but never quite goes anywhere. Trying to setup the characters and the alternate universe while having an engaging mystery story all in 45-minutes was just too much. There was enough here that I still might check out the novels at some point and maybe I can get more out of a radio play version once I know the universe better, but as a standalone this just was a little disappointing.

Comedy Panel Shows
Just a Minute 67: 1 & 2
A couple of fantastic episodes of one of my favorite panel shows.

Where Did It All Go Wrong: 1. The True Confessions of Sherlock Holmes
This isn't actually a panel show, but whatever. This is sort of character standup in which Simon Munnery speaks as an iconic figure revealing the truth about himself. I only listened to the first episode on Sherlock Holmes and it was fine. There's nothing too exciting or original here, just Holmes saying it was all a mistake at first then luck and fraud, but it has its amusing moments and at only about 15 minutes is a quick and light little listen.

Downloading 25 to 31 August:


Hercule Poirot - After the Funeral
Christie. Poirot. Dramatization. What more do you need to know?

This is a new Tom Stoppard radio play based on Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon and incorporating music from the album. I'm not really into Pink Floyd, but I love Stoppard and this has Bill Nighy in it!

Daydream Believers
A 30-minute story by David Mitchell ad Robert Webb, starring the two of them, about an alien invasion. Yes, please!

His Father's Wife (Afternoon Drama)
This has an intriguing back story, I think. It is an outline Robert Louis Stevenson wrote for a story but then never actually turned into a story. Someone else (Mike Harris) has now created a radio play from the outline. I don't know much about the plot, but the pedigree is enough to make me try it.

Martyn Wade - Gondal
Don't know much about this one other than it is sort of about Emily Bronte and the creation of Wuthering Heights. I hate Wuthering Heights but I think that is because I read it in high school with a terrible teacher and I keep thinking I should give it a new try with an open mind, but I never feel like I can be fair to it because my hatred is still too strong despite my memories of the actual book being rather vague. Maybe getting something like this in my head can help drive out the lingering bad taste.

The True Story of Bonnie Parker
Historical play about Bonnie of Bonnie & Clyde fame. This is airing as the 15-minute drama as well, but I prefer the omnibuses.

Nick Fisher - Where a Wall Once Stood
I know nothing beyond the BBC's description which sounds intriguing: "A missing husband, a severed hand with a wedding ring, and extreme political activists in post-Wall Berlin. What kind of ominous mystery connects them? "

Daily Multi-Episode Programs

John Buchan - Greenmantle and John Buchan - Mr Standfast
Dramatizations of two novels from the 1910s. Both are about Richard Hannay, a British secret agent of the Boer Wars and are sequels to last week's The Thirty-Nine Steps.

Weekly Multi-Episode Programs Starting this Week

Fry's English Delight Series 6
Stephen Fry blathering on about the English Language. Hooray!! I've got all the previous series of this and have listened to some but not all of them. I'll get there someday.

Nineteen Ninety-Eight
A 1980s sitcom playing around with an Orwellian dystopia starring David Threlfall and Hugh Laurie. There's about six words in that previous sentence that have me over the moon for this. Also, I think it is technically a sequel to Nineteen Ninety-Four, which I have but haven't listened to.

Comedy Panel Shows
Just a Minute and Come the Revolution are 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?


failte_aoife at 1:04 pm on 27 August 2013 (UTC) (Link)
Yay! Stephen Fry...I only listened to a few episodes of English Delight but found it very enjoyable.

I listened to more Agatha Christie (Three Act Tragedy...good but I must have watched an adaption of that ages ago because I remembered the big twist...not who did it or why, just how which made it slightly frustrating) and 'Rob Roy' from the David Tennant as Walter Scott-adaptions which was...odd. I already had issues with Waverly because I found the story simply too long for 60 Minute-adaptions and in Rob Roy they also randomly changed the time and the play was now set in the 1920s-ish because...reasons. I really felt it made absolutely no sense to change this...
bratty_jedi at 10:55 pm on 01 September 2013 (UTC) (Link)
Rob Roy in the 1920s? What? I don't understand that, especially for a radio version. It isn't even like stage or film where backgrounds and costumes are changed to fit the new era. Weird.
failte_aoife at 8:05 am on 02 September 2013 (UTC) (Link)
Yeah...I haven't read the original book so I don't know how much they changed but apart from the fact that one character talked about her father fighting with Patrick Pearse in the Irish Easter Rising in 1916 there wasn't really much that seemed to have been changed to turn it into something from the 1920s...

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