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BBC Radio
Posted on Sunday 2 March 2014 at 8:59 am

Rachael's Week in BBC Radio 2014:8 and 9

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Never got around to posting last week so I'm doing it and this week together. Sorry.

News: Rumpole!! I'm fairly certain there will be two new episodes of Rumpole to air in about three weeks and OMG! So Excited! I love Rumpole! The BBC Media Centre has posted that two episodes will air Thursday and Friday 20 and 21 March. I'm only fairly certain they're new episodes because new episodes are usually marked as "New" and this post isn't. But I don't recognize the episode description given and I've listened to all the Timothy West and Benedict Cumberbatch Rumpoles so either I'm being crazy forgetful or these have to be new. There's no individual episode name given so I can't easily check for sure. Also, I'm intrigued that these only mention Cumberbatch as Rumpole. I'm sure all the Medi Cantre posts for recent past episodes have highlighted both Cumberbatch and Timothy West. I hope they haven't dropped the framing device of having West as elder Rumpole providing running commentary on the adventures of his younger self. I really enjoyed that aspect of it and would be a bit sad to see it go, but I'm sure I'll love new Rumpole with or without it.
Cabin Pressure recorded its last episode last Sunday. I'm still hoping, along with Finnemore, that the rumored Christmas Eve air date is wrong and it will be sooner. Finnemore posted a cast pic from the recording and a few thoughts on his blog. The best bit is his caption on the pic.

Listened To Both Weeks: The second half of Undone Series 2, dramatization of My House in Umbria, a short radio play on The Last Piano Player, and a weird sci-fi serial.

"Coming Up" Last Week: Most of the stuff I would want I already have (e.g. repeats of Cabin Pressure Series 3 and Copenhagen). There's a handful of single plays and the like I'm grabbing, but nothing that has me super excited.

Coming Up This Week: A slightly better run of stuff that interests me, but still a little light. Highlights are a Zola dramatization, reairing of at least the first episode of Whose Line Is It Anyway?, which I've been wanting but don't have, and more of Chilton's Journey Into Space. They must be on a classic sci-fi kick as they're also reairing the original Hitchhiker's Guide, but I've got that.

Listened to 16 February to 1 March:

The second half of series 2 was better than the first half but it still isn't quite as good as I'd hoped. The plot picked up in this second half, which was good, but it was kind of predictable. The fourth episode of six was told from the point of view of a different character than all the rest and I enjoyed it. It was such a breath of fresh air that I'm now 100% certain my main niggle with this series is that I just don't like the main character. She's so indecisive and whiny and they just use that to keep the plot going far longer than it should.

William Trevor - My House in Umbria
This is a dramatization of a novella known best for the movie, I think. I've never read the novella or seen the movie, but I've heard the radio version is closer to the book while the movie changed the ending. Anyway, the premise here is a female writer is on a train when a bomb goes off. She invites three other survivors, all of whom lost a loved one in the blast, to stay at her house to recuperate. Prunella Scales plays the main character here and she's wonderful as the slightly off and definitely unreliable narrator. I really enjoyed this one.

Eric Pringle - The Last Piano Player
This is a short radio play about a slightly future world where virtual reality dominates everything and techno music has taken over to the point where no one remembers real musical instruments. The play took forever to set up the world and premise and I didn't think the plot or, more importantly for this story, character development would get going. When it finally did, it was OK. It was predictable, but not intolerably so. Slightly more annoyingly to me, it was so over the top in predicting how much people will turn from the old to the new and basically heaped too much praise on tradition and too much hatred on technology. The acting was pretty good with Bernard Cribbins and the eponymous piano player as the highlight, but the script just wasn't that great.

Robert Easby - Oneira
This is a weird little sci-fi serial. It is about a young woman working as a museum guide who is suddenly thrown into a world of aliens, robots, time travel, and inter-dimensional travel, by a chance meeting with a 400 year old alchemist who needs her help finding a book that proves that old alchemical methods are linked to modern String Theory. Yeah. It really is just crazy. This was kind of like Undone: the premise entertains me far more than the actual execution did.

Comedy Panel Shows

Dilemma 3:3 and 4
Two fantastic episodes of Dilemma! This is becoming one of my favorite background listening panel shows. I don't know why, but I've been enjoying this series more than previous ones.

Just a Minute 68: 1 and 2
The first episode was a pretty good typical Just a Minute. The second one bored me a bit and I'm not really sure why it seemed lacking. Oh well.

News Quiz 83: 1, 2, and 3
News Quiz! I always love News Quiz. None of these three stand out as a classic, amazing episode, but they are all the usual top notch fun. I'm very interested to see what they do with Ukraine in the upcoming week.

Downloading 23 February to 1 March:


Pixie Juice (Afternoon Drama)
Modern take on a fairy tale, always a good premise for a short radio play. This one is a fairy helping a woman running a tattoo parlor, a fairy with a good lawyer.

Simon Brett - Cleopatra's Nose
This is one where I swear I've downloaded it and maybe even listened to it before but I can't find it on my computer. Odd. Anyway, it is the story of a man obsessed with the Cleopatra of legend and this prevents him from forming a relationship with any living women.

Dave Sheasby - Keeping Anne-Marie
A lawyer's (played by Geoffrey Whitehead) take on a case of a surrogate mother who isn't so sure about givin up the child she's carried.

Daily Multi-Episode Programs Starting This Week

RD Blackmore - Lorna Doone
This is one of those stories that I've heard about vaguely in dozens of places but I don't honestly know much about it and have certainly never read / seen / listened to any version of it. Historical romance? Scotland/ Maybe feuding families or status issues? I'm really not sure. Figured I'd add it to the download list in case I decide to find out what all the fuss is about it for myself at some point.

The Complete Ripley
I've never read any of the Ripley books. I've seen the movie The Talented Mr. Ripley and I enjoyed its psych thriller. I'm not sure I enjoyed it enough to sit and read the books, but these dramatizations of five Ripley novels could be fun.

Weekly Multi-Episode Programs Starting This Week

PD James - The Skull Beneath the Skin
A James mystery/thriller dramatization. I generally like the BBC radio adaptations of her novels, though I'm not certain I've ever read one of the novels. Surely I have... Anyway, this adaptation has John Moffatt and Greta Scacchi, both of whom I've enjoyed in other audio performances.

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

Downloading 2 to 8 March:


Day Release (Afternoon Drama)
Radio play about a man soon to be released from prison for good out on a day pass to start re-acclimating to society.

Martin Sorrell - The Cuban Heel
I swear I've grabbed this one before, but I can't find it on my computer. Maybe I debated it and decided against it? Oh well. It is the story of the people stuck on a hot tour bus. I think I mostly want it because the title is a bad pun and I do so love bad puns. :-)

Daily Multi-Episode Programs Starting This Week

Emile Zola - Germinal (Classic Serial)
Adaptation of the classic French story of a coal town and mines' strike in the 1860s based on one of the novels from Zola's 20-novel epic.

Charles Chilton - Journey into Space - The Red Planet
Chilton's Journey Into Space serials are classic radio sci-fi at its best and I'm super excited to be getting them.

Jimmie Chinn - Looks Like Rain
This is three connected programs all listed separately as one-shots on the BBC site. The other two are Looks Like Rain Again and Rain on the Just. They are all about family secrets and relationship changes following a death. I'm mostly in it for Bernard Cribbins.

Sian Evans - Seeing Is Believing
Serial about a man seeing a UFO. I don't know much beyond that, but I like sci-fi.

Weekly Multi-Episode Programs Starting This Week

Whose Line Is It Anyway?
A radio version of the improv show best known for the TV versions. Clive Anderson was the chair and Stephen Fry was a regular guest. I think this only went for one run of six episodes and BBC will periodically reair them just for giggles, I guess. I have episodes 3 and 6 from a previous random replaying of those two. So far, they've got episode 1 listed as playing this week and I've no idea if they're just going to do that one or rerun the entire series.

Lorca's Rural Trilogy (Drama on 3)
Adaptation of a series of three interconnected plays from one of Spain's best know playwrights.

Comedy Panel Shows
Same as above.

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

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