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BBC Radio
Posted on Sunday 22 September 2013 at 9:23 am

Rachael's Week in BBC Radio Vol. 35

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Neverwhere is finally available to buy from the US version of AudioGo. It came out on the UK site a couple of weeks ago. The purchase version comes with 30 minutes of bloopers, outtakes, extended scenes and the like, to which I listened this week. I also listened to lots of historical fiction and a couple more episodes of Welcome to Night Vale.
Next week, there's a few good things on the schedule, mostly various dramatizations, a few sitcoms I like, and a Hugh Laurie Blues program. One quick note for those who like fiction readings more than me, there's a Roger Allam one airing.

Listened to 15 to 21 September:

Christine de Pizan - The Book of the City of Ladies
Christine de Pizan was a court writer in France in the early 1400s. As a response to the general sexism and misogyny she faced, she wrote The Book of the City of Ladies. The book builds an allegorical city of examples of famous women from history as an example of what women can accomplish and a beacon to future women. The dramatization does a nice job of showing de Pizan as a character with three virtues coming to her in a dream and walking her through building the city. The whole thing is just a few stories of famous women organized by things like strength, courage, family, etc. It was an enjoyable hour or so to listen but I don't feel a need to read the book. It is one of those where knowing it exists and the basics of it is more important than actually reading it.

AG Macdonell - England, Their England
This was fun but also clearly went over my head for a large chunk of it. The idea here is that a Scottish WWI soldier goes to England after the war where he works as a journalist and then writes a foreigners guide to the English. This dramatization was very good and I enjoyed some of the looks at the English from an outsider point of view (especially the trip to the League of Nations). My problem was that there is a huge scene set at a cricket match. I don't know how to play cricket so I couldn't follow it all that well. I got some of the joke, but I missed a lot as well.

The Aeneid (Classic Serial)
This two-part adaptation was OK but not brilliant. I've never read The Aeneid, but I know the basics of the story. The first half of this adaptation was kind of slow but the second half was a bit better and more fun. I guess that's just because the first half dealt mostly with the love story while the second was the trip to the Underworld and some battles that were much better.

Neverwhere Extras
As I mentioned in the intro, this is 30 minutes of bloopers, outtakes, etc. that you get if you buy Neverwhere. There are three main things here: various actors stumbling over their lines, which is OK but not great; various actors changing their lines, delivery, etc. on purpose to crack up their colleagues, which is FANTASTIC; and extended versions of scenes in the aired versions or brief scenes cut completely from the aired version, which were good and included the climactic scene with the missing line that drove me crazy when it wasn't in the aired version (see here for details).

Not BBC: Welcome to Night Vale Episodes 4, 5, & 6
Rather than listening to this while working out or similar, I played it as background noise while piddling on my computer. That worked much better for me as I'd pick up great individual lines here and there without worrying about getting everything. I'm sure there were lots of things I missed, but the other way there's just not enough there to hold my attention.

Comedy Panel Shows
I listened to Night Vale and the Neverwhere outtakes when I'd usually listen to Panel Shows so none of those this week.

Downloading 22 to 28 September:


The Million Pound Bank Note (Saturday Drama)
Dramatization of a Mark Twain short story. Hooray for comedic silliness!

Writing the Century 21: Takes Two to Tandem Omnibus
In Writing the Century 21, the BBC basically does dramatizations from diaries, letters, and other sources of stories of listeners and their families at key moments in the 21st century. It isn't supposed to be famous stories, just normal people. I've listened to one or two and they are usually OK. This one is based on a 1930s milliner's diaries and in addition to the omnibus will be the 15-minute drama this week.

Bruce Bedford - Mire Farm
A radio play (I think) about a diplomat dealing with a troublesome family.

Daily Multi-Episode Programs

Amber Lone - The Ramayana (Classic Serial)
Dramatizaion of a classic Indian epic myth.

PG Wodehouse - Summer Lightning (Classic Serial)
I love Wodehouse's Jeeves stories, but I haven't read any of his other stuff. This is a dramatization of a Blandings story. The only thing I know about the Blandings storylines is that there is an Earl who is obsessed with his pig, Empress.

Agatha Christie - Crooked House
A adaptation of an Agatha Christie novel.

Elizabeth Gaskell - Curious, If True
Adaptations of a handful of stories by Gaskell.

Weekly Multi-Episode Programs Starting this Week

Hugh Laurie's Blues Changes
A rare, for me, non-fiction / documentary kind of program. This one is Hugh Laurie (in case you didn't figure that out from the title) going through the history of Blues music. I love Blues. I love Hugh Laurie. Hooray!

Jules Verne - Around the World in Eighty Days
Dramatization of the adventure novel.

Wimsey - Unnatural Death
Dramatization of the Dorothy Sayers detective novel. I have several Wimsey radio dramatizations, but I'm pretty sure I've not yet listened to any of them. I've heard good things and really should get around to listening to them.

Flying the Flag Series 3
This is an old 1980s sitcom about a British embassy in an unnamed Soviet satellite country. I've got all the other series and have listened to series 1 and really enjoyed it. There are also several other sitcoms that I enjoy starting repeat airings this week such as Revolting People Series 3 and In the End but I have them all.

Comedy Panel Shows
Just a Minute is on the last episode of its latest run and Genius is airing some repeats.

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


failte_aoife at 9:41 am on 25 September 2013 (UTC) (Link)
I started with the last Inspector Morse-dramatication: The Wench is Dead...but while I love the story it just doesn't make a good radio-play. Morse is alone a lot of the time, so in the play he's talking to himself a lot (and at one point talking to a ghost which is just weird)...there's also too much random Wagner-background music for my taste...

Apart from that I listened to some News Quiz-ish Panel shows: Bremners One Question Quiz and Armando Ianucci's Charm offensive (the latter is a repeat from a few years back, Bremner's show seems to be a new one) and both were...OK. I like Rory Bremner in general but the show just jumped back and forth between being a Comedy show and trying to discuss the topics more seriously. Sometimes that went well, sometimes it's just a bit meh...and Charm Offensive is like most panel-shows rising and falling depending on the guests

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