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BBC Radio
Posted on Sunday 9 March 2014 at 9:40 am

Rachael's Week in BBC Radio 2014:10

I'm on schedule!

Listened To: A couple of pretty good random radio plays, one an alternate history about the failed moon landing and the other a historical fiction based on a real 1500s witch trial and an adaptation of a suffragette stage play from the early 1900s.

Coming Up: There's not a ton for me this week, but I'm excited about a reading of Wilde's Ballad of Reading Goal and a dramatization of C. Bronte's novel Shirley.

Listened to 2 to 8 March:

Votes for Women
I listened to this adaptation of an early 1900s stage play while reading the script and really enjoyed it. The play was written as a political message piece to advocate for women's suffrage and there is a great deal of presenting the justice of the case and defending the then just increasingly radical and violent methods of the suffragettes. There is, however, also a plot and a few engaging characters at the center that makes the play work as a play and as a polemic. The performances here were all fine, though nothing too extraordinary. There were a few cuts made to the play's text and they mostly didn't hurt it at all, just reduced the political messaging aspect, but there was a bit cut at the end that I think mattered and made the ending miss an important beat. Oh well.

Forever Mankind
A short "What if?" radio play starting with the idea that the first two men on the moon died there. It early on includes bits of the speech that had been written for Nixon to read if that had actually happened, then spins off into a possible scenario for the next few years of development in the Space Race Side of the Cold War. They kept playing with the paranoia and secrecy angles, and I enjoyed it overall, but I felt the end never quite delivered on the promise. They kept saying there were wheels within wheels and hidden agendas but never revealed anything major. In some ways the lack of revelation was the point, I suppose, but it didn't quite work for me.

Ursula and Boy
I listened to this one on 8 March for Women's Day. The radio play is based on a real incident in the 1500s in which a woman was hung as a witch after her 8-year-old son testified against her. The play was brilliantly written to show the ways this kind of thing could have so easily happened and is very realistic. The characters, their relationships, etc. are all well developed for a 45-minute play. The acting is also pretty strong and there is some well done atmospheric sound effects. I really enjoyed this one.

Comedy Panel Shows

Dilemma 3:5
A really great and fun episode of Dilemma. I didn't really know any of the guests, but they all entertained me a great deal.

Just a Minute 68: 3
An OK episode. Nothing special but perfectly enjoyable background noise.

News Quiz 83: 4
A pretty good episode of the News Quiz. They were having some fun with Putin this week, of course, which was good. There was also a but where one of the panelists just kind of got going on his own stand up routine kind of stuff, which was entertaining in its own way but not what I really like from these kinds of panel shows so I got a bit annoyed with that.

The Good, the Bad and the Unexpected
This was a pilot for a new panel show. When the full show broadcasts, I might grab it but I'm not sure as I wasn't all that impressed. The premise here is basically comedians taking turns telling stories in which something good, bad, or unexpected happened. It was a bit rough, not unusual and completely forgivable in a pilot, but even once the kinks are worked though the format means it will be mostly people taking turns spouting bits of their standup, which, as I said above, isn't really what I want from a panel show.

Downloading 9 to 15 March:


Oscar Wilde - The Ballad of Reading Gaol
A reading / performance of WIlde's poem about the jail in which he was incarcerated for "gross indecency," recorded live back in 1994. There are multiple readers, including Ian McKellen and Stephen Fry.

Doing Time: The Last Ballad of Reading Gaol (Afternoon Drama)
A play about Reading Goal to go along with the Wilde reading. The focus here is the stories of other people incarcerated there over the years, including an abortionist, a serial killer, and children locked away for minor crimes committed to keep from starving to death.

Daily Multi-Episode Programs Starting This Week

Well, this is unusual. I don't think there are any.

Weekly Multi-Episode Programs Starting This Week

Charlotte Bronte - Shirley Omnibus
I'm very interested in this dramatization as I've long wanted to read the book but never gotten around to it. I understand that it is in some way a typical novel of the mid 1800s, gentry scandals and the like similar to Wives and Daughters below, but this one is more political with the Industrial Revolution, Luddite responses, economic depression, strikes, etc. all in the background. This is also available as a 15 Minute Drama this week.

Elizabeth Gaskell - Wives and Daughters Omnibus (Also 15-Minute Drama)
Dramatization of the novel about an early 1800s town and the gentry families in it, focusing on a man's new marriage and his daughter's relationship with her step-mother and step-sister, especially the love rivalry between the two girls. Wives and Daughters is also available as a 15 Minute Drama this week.

The Architects
A new sitcom. I got the pilot of this a while back but never got around to listening to it. It's about the employees of a slowly dying architectural firm.

Colin Sharpe - Dalek, I Love You
A couple of radio plays (the sequel also broadcasting this week is listed here) about Doctor Who geeks finding love at a convention.

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?


bowl_of_glow at 3:05 pm on 09 March 2014 (UTC) (Link)
John Finnemore talking on Private Passions today - I still have to listen to this, but I'm looking forward to it!

bratty_jedi at 1:39 pm on 13 March 2014 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for the heads up! I'd never have caught that. I'm torn. I love Finnemore but I don't really have a passion for classical music.
bowl_of_glow at 2:06 am on 15 March 2014 (UTC) (Link)
Ok, so I had no idea what Private Passions was to be honest, but I happen to like classical music and musicals, so! (though I would have listened to it regardless.) I listened to the podcast today and I wished it could've been twice as long. I seem to have this huge crush on John Finnemore, so... definitely worth listening to imo. (I don't know, he always has interesting things to say and he's funny and humble and adorable and nice. Aww.)
He talks a bit about writing and comedy (obviously) but I found the more 'private' stuff just as interesting, though as I said I might be a bit biased.
bratty_jedi at 11:24 am on 15 March 2014 (UTC) (Link)
I'll download it and give it a go, then, since it sounds like Finnemore is lovely enough, unsurprisingly, even if I'm not all that into classical music.

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