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BBC Radio
Posted on Sunday 6 October 2013 at 9:00 am

Rachael's Week in BBC Radio Vol. 37

I've decided that for October I'm mostly going to listen to ongoing series and I started with Rumpole, Rumpole, and more Rumpole this week. I am now out of Rumpole and this makes me sad. Dear BBC: Make more Rumpole!! Pretty please!

For the upcoming week there are a few things that fit my tastes, including a G B Shaw play starring Ian McKellen, a few sci fi / fantasy plays, and a couple of dramatizations, but not a whole lot; I suspect this is partly because, looking at my recording list, we're in the middle of a lot of sitcoms and the like so there's not much new starting and for the one-shots or daily programs, there's a lot of horror stuff coming up (and presumably will be for all of October), and that's not something towards which I generally gravitate.

Listened to 29 September to 5 October:

I am, of course, a huge fan of Rumpole, the cantankerous lawyer defending the criminally accused and the Rights of Englishmen. I had four un-listened to episodes left of the Timothy West adaptations and I was determined to make them last since I've no idea when or if there will be more. I thought this would be easy as they were four one-parters and the one-parters have never been as good as the two-parters. So I listened to the first one this week, and it was brilliant. It was easily one of, if not the single, best Rumpole one-parter. After that I just couldn't stop. They were all absolutely fantastic. If you've never tried Rumpole, you can definitely start with these four. They, like all the newer ones, have West as the elder Rumpole thinking back over and commenting on cases from his younger days with the younger Rumpole played by Benedict Cumberbatch. I really like that vibe of older Rumpole watching himself grow and develop.
R. and the Man of God: I might love this one so much just for one line. Rumpole's client here is a minister charged with theft. In discussing their case, Rumpole likens juries to God as they "work in mysterious ways and have wonders to perform." Fantastic!
R. and the Explosive Evidence: This one and the final one of the four are somewhat counter-parts. In this one, everyone else thinks Rumpole is wrong and he comes close to hitting rock bottom, but he's determined he's right and comes out on top.
R. and the Gentle Art of Blackmail: This one's probably my favorite of the four. It was a great case dealing with the still criminal nature of gay relationships in the early 1960s but it also has one of the rare moments from the young Rumpole cases when Rumpole's wife gets her own back and you see his underlying love and respect for her despite the way he usually acts.
R. and the Expert Witness: As I said, this one is in some ways the opposite of The Explosive Evidence. Here, everyone thinks Rumpole has been brilliant like usual and he realizes it's all going wrong. This one was probably my least favorite of these four, but it was still really good.

Comedy Panel Shows
I listened to some old back episodes I'd never gotten around. I think it was the last three from series 5 so maybe 4 or 5 years old. They were all fun but I really loved Series 5 Episode 6 as the panel kind of self-analyzed Radio 4 and David Mitchell went on a rant (I always love his rantings) on why TV and Radio shouldn't mention the internet.

Downloading 6 to 12 October:


Widowers' Houses (Drama on 3)
A George Bernard Shaw play with Ian McKellen in the lead. I don't know the play, but I don't know I need more information than Shaw and McKellen.

Gary Brown - Prospero, Ariel, Reith and Gill (Afternoon Drama)
This radio play is about a statue carved on Broadcasting House, specifically the conflict between the artist creating the statue and the director of the BBC with Anton Lesser and Tim McInnerny as the leads.

James Follett - The Light of a Thousand Suns
Follett has written many science fiction themed radio plays. This one is about a nuclear submarine arriving at the conclusion that they are supposed to launch their weapons.

Daily Multi-Episode Programs

Henry James - The Wings of the Dove (Classic Serial)
Adaptation of the famous, classic novel. I've never read it.

Pandemic (Afternoon Drama)
A three-part science fiction story dealing with an outbreak of a deadly new disease spreading quickly across the surface of the globe.

Paul Temple and the Spencer Affair
Paul Temple was a classic BBC Radio detective show. Many of the originals were lost / destroyed and BBC has been remaking them. I think this one is one of the originals not one of the remakes.

William Boyd - Restless
Adaptation of a recent spy novel, moving back and forth between a Russian woman recruited by the British as a spy in WWII and her daughter in the 1970s.

Weekly Multi-Episode Programs Starting this Week

Married Series 3
I've got series 1 and 2 of this but haven't listened to them yet. Here's hoping I like them, I suppose. The premise is a bachelor wakes up in an alternate universe where he is married with kids.

Comedy Panel Shows
Unbelievable Truth is running some repeats starting this week. Marcus Brigstocke tweeted the other day about recording a great episode with John Finnemore as a fellow guest so hopefully there will be new ones soon.
The Museum of Curiosity is in the midst of a new series.

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

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