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BBC Radio
Posted on Sunday 16 March 2014 at 8:46 am

Rachael's Week in BBC Radio 2014:11


Tags:
Listened To: On the Beach, which I loved so very much, the Arkangel Coriolanus which was disappointing, and Desmond Olivier Dingle's Compleat Life and Works of William Shakespeare, which sucked so much I didn't finish it.

Coming Up: Rumpole, Rumpole, Rumpole!! OK, actually only two Rumpoles, but close enough. There's also quite a few dramatizations, including two Agatha Christie's, a sci-fi one, and a political historical one with Ian McKellen.

Listened to 9 to 15 March:

On the Beach
This tore me up in so many wonderful ways. It is a dramatization of a sci-fi novel from the 1960s about nuclear holocaust. I've always wanted to read the book but haven't yet so I can't compare the two but the dramatization is wonderful. It begins after the nuclear war has ended and follows a few people in Australia waiting for the inevitable death they know is coming when the fallout reaches the island. An American sub that had been under deep submersion during the fighting places itself under Australian command as there is no US left and adds a few more characters and adventures to the mix. It is a really well done look at a possible end of humanity. The acting was really good, even the American accents weren't terrible as sometimes happens with BBC radio stuff though I do wonder how an Australian might feel about some of those as they sounded a bit off even to me, and the sound effects and the like were OK for adding atmosphere.

Coriolanus
Not actually BBC but the Arkangel Coriolanus. This was basically just that I wanted to read the play after having seen the recent broadcast of the Hiddleston stage version (my thoughts on that) and I like to listen to a full-cast audio version while reading. That sort of worked and sort of didn't work this time. Highly unusually for the Arkangel Shakespeare series, I just didn't really like this audio version. The acting was off a bit and the characters never came alive. I thought maybe I was just comparing it too much to the Hiddleston one so different but legit interpretive choices were coming across as wrong. To test this and get the taste of the audio one out of my mouth, I watched the film version from a couple of years back with Ralph Fiennes in the title role and directing. They went for a modern setting and changed little things here and there (dividing up and reconsolidating some parts slightly for example) but mostly stuck to the original script and it was brilliant. They made so many different choices from the Hiddleston one, especially in the way Menenius was played, and I still loved it so I'm putting the Arkangel one down as unfortunately weak and not just a problem with me.

Desmond Olivier Dingle's Compleat Life and Works of William Shakespeare
This sucked. I thought it was supposed to be a silly half-sketch sort of thing riffing off Shakespeare and his plays. It sort of is that, but it is really about a bad troupe of actors making a radio program about riffing off Shakespeare so most of the time it is cheap jokes about their incompetence on the radio, not anything meta or intelligently funny about Shakespearian stuff. I guess I was just expecting too much from it. I made it through the first two episodes but when I was half-way through the third and there hadn't yet been a single joke about Shakespeare or his work and nothing really even funny about the radio program, just some tromping through the halls of BBC because half the cast went to the wrong recording studio, I gave up on it.

Comedy Panel Shows

Dilemma 3:6
Loved this episode! It was the last one of the current series, which is sad, but they went out with a bang.

Just a Minute 68: 5
Just a Minute has been a bit off for me this run, or maybe it's me, I don't know. Whatever the case, this episode was much better than the others and I really enjoyed it. Maybe it was Gyles Brandreth and his rules lawyering? That always amuses me.

News Quiz 83: 5
OK News Quiz episode. Some Russia, of course, some Scotland, of course, and some slightly less predictable stuff.

Downloading 16 to 22 March:

One-Shots

John Wyndham - The Kraken Wakes
Wyndham wrote a bunch of scifi novels in the 1950s and the like and this is one of the many BBC radio dramatizations of them. I don't know much about this one, but I like Wyndham and all the other adaptations they've done.

Jeremy Front - The Pitch
Not sure much on this, either. It seems to be an old program about a sitcom writer who has lost the feel for modern audiences, trying to reclaim his former glory.

David Pownall - Kitty Wilkinson
I like Pownall's stuff for the most part. This one is a historic fic based on the real story of a poor Irish woman who fought for clean water in her slum neighborhood during a cholera epidemic.

Daily Multi-Episode Programs Starting This Week

Rumpole (Afternoon Drama)
So I've mentioned once or twice already that I'm looking forward to the two new Rumpole episodes this week. That's not even getting into all the times in the past I've mentioned how very much I love Rumpole. Expect next week's "Listened to" to be more about how wonderful Rumpole is :)

Kidnapping (Afternoon Drama)
The other new Afternoon Dramas this week. Two English teachers working abroad plot to kidnap one of their students for ransom.

Howard Spring - Fame Is the Spur
A dramatization of a historical novel, starring Ian McKellen. The novel is about a poor boy who rises to fame and power as a politician by fighting against crony networks and the ruthlessness of the elite but who slowly becomes what he fought against.

Poirot - Death on the Nile
A Poirot dramatization. Someday I will have them all.

Weekly Multi-Episode Programs Starting This Week

Ordeal by Innocence
Another Agatha Christie dramatization. This one is one of her most famous and different novels. It is about what happens to the living victims of all kinds when a man previously convicted of murder is declared innocent and released.

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

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

Comments:

Shezan
shezan at 1:37 am on 17 March 2014 (UTC) (Link)
Wasn't the Fiennes Coriolanus SUPERB? Redgrave! Menenius, changed from a buffoon to a tragic old-style statesman! SERBIA!

Would LOVE the Ian McKellen political play, it sounds sublime.
Rachael
bratty_jedi at 12:04 pm on 17 March 2014 (UTC) (Link)
Love the Fiennes Coriolanus! They played every beat of it right for updating to the modern setting. The use of news reports and talking head TV debates was especially wonderfully done, I thought. Menenius as the tragic elder statesman being left behind was such a different spin but so perfect!

Will do on the McKellen. It is a longer adaptation, 8 parts, so it won't be finished until next week.


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