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BBC Radio
Posted on Sunday 1 September 2013 at 12:24 pm

Rachael's Week in BBC Radio Vol. 32

Classes started this week and I'm TAing this semester for a massive class with 1 main professor and 11 TAs. This means my week was welcome lunches, meetings, welcome back parties, paperwork, organizing office space, etc. and I never made it to the gym, never got in a good long run, and barely had a spare minute to breath. My BBC listening was hopefully understandably sparse and what I did manage was heavy on mindless panel shows for background listening while I did paperwork, filing, organizing, etc. but I'm very hopeful next week will already be settling into a groove and I'll get back to the gym and running when I do most of my more serious BBC Radio listening.

There's a lot of stuff airing this week that sounds vaguely interesting. The big thing is a huge slate of shows dealing with British New Wave Film from the late 1950s and early 1960s. Everything else is just random plays, dramatizations, and sitcoms (lot of stuff from the mid 90s). Oh, and one long-form fiction reading: Kafka's The Metamorphosis read by Benedict Cumberbatch.

Listened to 25 to 31 August:

I listened to the rest of series 1 this week after getting the first episode in last week. I very much enjoyed them. The final episode was the weakest as it resolved the minor on-going series plot point and setup questions for a future series but didn't do a ton on its own. There was some stuff, but not a lot. I'll almost certainly give the next series a go at some point, but I didn't love this enough to make it a high priority.

The Cherry Orchard - Anton Chekhov
The link doesn't go to the version of The Cherry Orchard to which I listened. I've got an older one, but couldn't find a link for it. Here's info on all the BBC ones. I think I've got the 1974 version. I wasn't all the impressed. It was a perfect nice production, I just didn't like the play too terribly much. I keep trying different Chekhov works because it is one of those things that I think I should like based on what I know about him and his work's place in literary history, but I just never get into it all that much.

Comedy Panel Shows
Just a Minute 67: 3
This was a silly episode good for returning fans. It was one of those where there were a couple of experienced players and a newbie so the vets kept doing everything they could to throw points to the beginner. This occasionally makes for major violations of the rule, but almost always makes for good laughs which is, of course, the whole point. Also, Sue Perkins was in this episode and I love her. :)

I've Never Seen Star Wars Series 3 Episodes 4, 5, and 6
There could not be a more different set of episodes of this show. The first, Ardal O'Hanlon, was kind of lame. They didn't give him much exciting stuff to do and it just wasn't tons of fun. The second, John Lloyd, was fascinating. There were hilarious parts but the whole last bit was about him going back to his old school and working through his trauma from the old public school stereotype of "Readin' and 'ritin' and 'rithmetic, taught to the tune of the hickory stick." It was amazing. The third, Kate Adie, was more of a regular Never Seen SW episode with fun things to try and some humor and some thoughtfulness mixed together.

Where Did It All Go Wrong? Episode 2: Blakey 'Blake' Blakeson
After listening to the Holmes episode last week, I was willing to give another go but I went into with some trepidation because I didn't know the person being spoofed this time. As I feared, I enjoyed this episode much less. I did enjoy some moments of it, but I think I'll only pop in on these in the future when it is a figure I know.

Downloading 1 to 7 September:


Alex Jones - River's Up
A modern apocalypse play: rising sea levels have flooded Britain and a couple in a boat are heading towards France in search of land.

Neil Brand - Righteous Brothers
Radio play about a medieval monastery and a young singer. The writer is better known as a composer than a playwright so this could be interesting.

Juliet Ace - Dead-Heading the Roses
I think this is a radio-original lay, but I'm not sure. I actually know very little about it except that it is a rare radio performance by Daniel Day-Lewis. He isn't one of my favorite actors,, but I'm intrigued enough by the idea of him trying radio to give it a shot.

For Services Rendered (Saturday Drama)
This is a Somerset Maugham play. The BBC seems to think that should mean something to me, but I'm not enough of a theater buff so I'm clueless. If anyone would care to educate me, that'd be great. Otherwise, the BBC tells me this is a between the wars story looking at the problems in England blamed on WWI and with something of an anti-war message that was not well received when the play premiered in 1932.

Noel Coward - Private Lives (Saturday Drama)
A Noel Coward play starring Helena Bonham Carter and Bill Nighy. If you need to know more than that to grab your interest, I don't know what to tell you 'cause really those three names should just about cover it.

Daily Multi-Episode Programs

Franz Kafka - Metamorphosis
This one is a fiction reading and I prefer dramatizations so only rarely grab these. But, it's Kafka and I love Kafka. Though Metamorphosis is far from my favorite Kafka. But the reader is Benedict Cumberbatch. Two pluses, one minus, and one sort of minus still adds up to a positive.

Christine de Pizan - The Book of the City of Ladies
Christine de Pizan was a famous court writer in her own time (late 1300s / early 1400s) and now largely forgotten. I've read some of her poems ages ago and always meant to get to her longer works, but haven't managed it yet. This is probably her best known and certainly the piece I most want. It is an allegory to show the role women can play in society and have played in the past. It is one of those things that know might seem sexist if you don't pay attention but for its time it was highly progressive and feminist and explicitly designed to argue against misogynistic views of her time. I'm really excited about this one.

Edith Wharton - The Custom of the Country
Dramatization of a Wharton classic. I like Wharton and want this, but it will probably be awhile before I listen to it as I'm a bit burned out on late19th / early 20th century upper class romantic lives type fic.

Emile Zola - The Ladies' Delight
Another classic dramatization. I'll put this one somewhere between the previous two in level of interest. Zola is one of those writers about whom I know a lot but I've never actually read anything. I don't know much about it beyond it deals with the then (1880s) new idea of department stores and the people who work and shop in them.

British New Wave
This is one of BBC's "seasons" where they'll put together a variety of things (documentaries, interviews, plays, dramatizations, etc.) on a theme or topic. This one is about the New Wave of gritty and political British films of the late 1950s and early 1960s. It seems like there's documentaries, radio play adaptations of some of the films of the school, plays about the people who were part of the New Wave, etc. There's tons of stuff and I'm just going to grab it all and sort through it once I've got it and can organize on my terms.

Weekly Multi-Episode Programs Starting this Week

The Iguanodon
I know little about this beyond the fact that Bernard Cribbins is in it. If you want more than that, it's supposedly a comedy about a boat getting stuck in becalmed waters and the adventures of the passengers and crew as they try to get home.

Hut 33 Series 2
I've downloaded series 1 of this but haven't listened to it yet. I figure might as well grab 2 in case I really like 1. The premise of this sitcom is a silly take on the code breakers at Bletchley Park in WWII.

Are You From the Bugle?
Repeat of an older stcom (mid 90s, I think) about a small-time reporter. It's got Mark Gatiss in in.

It Is Rocket Science
This claims to be a comedic look at the history of space travel that is accurate and funny. I like history and funny :) It also has Peter Serafinowicz in it, and I like him and his frequently dry / deadpan delivery.

Shelagh Stephenson - Baby Blue
A political drama about a woman running for parliament with some skeletons in her closet causing her problems.

Pamela Brown - Swish of the Curtain
Series about school kids trying to start a theater group. Sounds cute.

Detective Sergeant Nick Mohammed Series 2
This is another of those where I've got series 1 so might as well grab 2. I've heard good things about this comedy set in a police station, but it is supposedly half sit-com and half sketch and sketch comedy is never really my thing. There are some exceptions, are character / sitcom blends are more likely to get me than pure sketch so I should eventually give this a go.

Comedy Panel Shows
Just a Minute and Come the Revolution are somewhere in the middle of their latest runs.

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


Unsentimental Fool
unsentimentalf at 8:28 pm on 02 September 2013 (UTC) (Link)
I really enjoyed the first part of Metamorphosis- I must have been a teenager last time I read it and I couldn't remember anything past the first couple of lines!
bratty_jedi at 9:01 pm on 02 September 2013 (UTC) (Link)
It has probably been 4 or 5 years since I last read Metamorphosis so I don't remember it in detail, but I think I remember most of it. I've done a lot more with Kafka more broadly (read other works by him and perhaps more importantly other works about his life or the place of his works in lit history) since the last time I read it, though, so I suspect next time I read it or, more likely, listen to this reading of it, I'll get more out of it.

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