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BBC Radio
Posted on Thursday 13 February 2014 at 6:11 pm

Rachael's Week in BBC Radio 2014:6

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Sorry this is so late and all the Coming Up write ups are rather terse. Life's been crazy.

News: I'm assuming everyone caught the update on Cabin Pressure's final episode recording? RadioTimes posted on article about how requests for tickets to it broke the BBC Radio audience record. More important is the last sentence of the article: "transmission is currently planned for Christmas Eve." They can't make me wait 10 months!! I'm trying to hold out hope because Finnemore tweeted that this is not something he'd been told and he's hoping for broadcast sooner than that, but RadioTimes is typically accurate.

Listened To: I finished the Pillow Book that I started last week and listened to some other random things. The best was the first couple of episodes of Two Pipe Problems.

Coming Up: News Quiz is back! Just a Minute is coming back, too, which I also enjoy, but... News Quiz! There's a broadcast of Trevor Noah's standup act as well. He's a South African comedian who has interested me since he appeared on QI a few months back and the bits of his standup that I've seen have been fantastic, both hilarious and profoundly thought provoking. There's also a few good things in the usual dramatization, sitcom, etc. categories like an adaptation of Joyce's Ulysses, ditto for Dickens's Hard Times, and a play about prison laborers reading Dostoyevsky.

Listened to 2 to 8 February:

The Pillow Book Series 2
I finished series 2 this week that I'd mentioned having started last week. The second half was better than the first, moving more quickly, but I still think I like series 1 better than series 2.

Two Pipe Problems
Two Pipe Problems are short plays about two old actors living at a home strictly for retired performers. The real draw is that the two actors once played Holmes and Watson opposite each other, had a falling out and sort of hate each other, and now they have to work together to solve mysteries at the home. I've listened to several later episodes but am going back to the start for the first time. The pilot was clearly a pilot, but an enjoyable story. Everything after the pilot is done as two-episode runs. I listened to the first episode of the first two-episode series. It was an OK episode, certainly not the worst of the Two Pipe Problems that I've heard, but also not the best. It The link goes to the episodes from the first two episode series rather than the pilot.

Byng Ballads
Julian Clary sort of reading / performing from the memoirs of Douglas Byng, a camp actor / singer who started his career shortly before World War I and continued into the 1980s. I enjoyed Clary's performance and mostly enjoyed the stories, though they occasionally lost my interest.

When Comedy and Politics Collide
This was a little documentary on political satire and the like. Some of the historical discussion of program like That Was the Week That Was and Yes Minister was good, but the presenter annoyed me over all. The BBC description says "Matthew Flinders explores how comedy and politics have affected each other - for better and for worse - in the modern broadcasting age," but really it was just him getting on a soapbox to lecture about why he thinks political satire is bad. It was annoying.

Comedy Panel Shows

The Unbelievable Truth
I listened to the last new episode of the current series (12:6) this week. It was a good episode with a good mix of guests (Henning Wehn, Graeme Garden, Jeremy Hardy and Victoria Coren Mitchell), but the first episode this run with the same guests (3) was better.

Start of a new series of Dilemma. This is the third round and it seems much better put together than the first two, like they got a budget increase. I enjoyed the episode quite a bit and liked the more put-together feel of it.

I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue
I listened to a back series this week, 52 from 2009. There were some really good episodes in this mix, including a couple with David Mitchell who isn't a regular on this show, and one with Jo Brand, which was her first episode and they had quite a bit of fun with that.

Downloading 9 to 15 February:


Head Hunters (Drama on 3)
Radio play about the beginnings of Anthropology as an academic field. I'm sure that sounds boring to most people, but I think it's fantastic.

Rock of Eye (Afternoon Drama)
Radio play about tailors making a magic coat. Sounds like something that could be good for light background listening when I'm in a silly mood.

Dostoevsky and the Chickens (The Wire)
This one sounds pretty interesting. It is a play about people in a prison work camp / chicken plant reading Crime and Punishment and dreaming about changing the world or just their worlds.

Trevor Noah: The Racist
Like I said at the top, this is a recording of the standup routine of a south African comedian. He deals with being biracial in apartheid South Africa, Europe, and America and manages to be profound and funny at the same time.

The Good, the Bad and the Unexpected
This is a pilot for a new comedy panel shows. The basis is comedians telling good, bad, and unexpected stories. I suspect this will be one that is just everyone delivering snippets of their stand up routines and that's my least favorite type of panel show. We'll see.

Daily Multi-Episode Programs Starting This Week

Wimsey - Murder Must Advertise
Another Wimsey adaptation.

Hard Times
A Charles Dickens dramtization. Hard Times isn't one of his best stories, but is one that had huge social reform impact when it was released.

Weekly Multi-Episode Programs Starting This Week

Classic Chandler (Saturday Drama)
This is going to be a run of several adaptations of Chandler's noir novels. First up is The Big Sleep which is probably the only one I've read.

James Joyce's Ulysses
Dramatization of the classic. It's got Andrew Scott in it so that's a plus.

Making the Best of It
Don't know much about this. It appears that it will be a short series of comedy plays with nothing in common in terms of plots but all developed by a group of performers.

Up the Garden Path
Comedy series based on a novel from the 1980s. I'm mostly giving it a shot because it stars Imelda Staunton.

Comedy Panel Shows
News Quiz, Just a Minute, and Dilemma are all running new episodes.

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

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