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BBC Radio
Posted on Tuesday 29 April 2014 at 11:41 am

Rachael's Week in BBC Radio 2014:16 and 17

Never found time to finish typing it up last week so two weeks at one go, again. I didn't break things up by week as neither was that full. I did put the shows from last week which might no longer be on iPlayer first in each section and marked them with an asterisk at the front. Let me know if you want anything. Moving forward, I returned final papers to students yesterday and their final exam is Wednesday so once I grade those I'm done with teaching for the semester and should be more on top of things over the summer.

Listened To: The best were an Agatha Christie dramatization (Ordeal by Innocence) and a silly romp through some Shakespeare speeches (Shakespeare a la Carte)

Coming Up: Nothing especially OMG! Must have! but several OK sounding dramatizations and adaptations of stage places.

Listened to 13 to 26 April:

Ordeal by Innocence
An Agatha Christie dramatization. This story was supposedly one of Christie's favorites of her own work. It focuses on the family of a man convicted of murdering their mother then proven innocent after his death. The machinations within the family to discover who really did do it were pretty fascinating. I've not read the novel, but I really enjoyed the dramatization.

Shakespeare a la Carte
A silly little sketch play more than anything. It is supposedly a performance of Shakespeare snippets by major actors. Except the actors get lost on the way and stuck in traffic so the waiters of te venue, a pizza parlor, have to fill in. It is random silliness interspersed with some decent performances of major Shakespeare scenes and speeches. I listened to it while driving and I think that was the right call fo r me. If I'd tried to listen to it while running / hiking like I usually do, I would have paid more attention to it and I don't think it could have held my focus. Driving I'm a bit more distracted from the listening and this was right for that.

Only You Can Save Mankind
Dramatization of a Terry Pratchett young adult sci fi story about a young man playing a video game that starts turning up in his dreams in rather weird ways (save the aliens rather than killing them). It was OK. I had a few problems with the underlying social / political themes, but in a way that makes sense for the characters not in a way that seems like the author's beliefs.

The Interplanetary Notes of Ambassador B
This was a bit of a letdown. It is a radio play about an ambassador of a galaxy-wide government visiting a planet that wants to join, a planet a previous ambassador has also visited and then vanished. My bit problem was that by about 20 or 25 minutes into the hour-and-15-minute program, I was certain the story was going to go one of three ways and it ended up being a blend of two of them. It wasn't completely predictable, but it was a bit too much so for me.

This kind of sucked. It was advertised as a radio play about a dystopic government that has banned music and sounds recordings and a resistance movement using sound to push back. That is the basic plot, but the details end up as a blend of decent sci-fi story-telling and New Age-y "Be in harmony with the universe" spiritualist nonsense. I don't like that kind of thing and I especially don't like it when it tries to pretend to be scientific. For someone who does buy into that, this could be pretty enjoyable, but it just rubs me the wrong way.

Comedy Panel Shows

The Unbelievable Truth 13: 2 & 3
Episode 2 was a bit slow but I loved episode 3. Finnemore was on again and he also apparently loved this episodes as he posted the original text of the speech he wrote, some of which is different in the broadcast, and images to go along with one of his facts.

Whose Line is it Anyway?
Listened to episode 1 of this old one-off radio version of the TV classic. They were a bit rough on the format, but it's still fun background listening and good for several laughs.

Downloading 20 April to 3 May:


*Antony and Cleopatra (Drama on 3)
Production of the Shakespeare play with Kenneth Branagh (blah) and Alex Kingston (yay).

*Stanley Houghton - The Hindle Wakes
Adaptation of a stage play about a young woman in the 1910s trying to make her own way and refusing to live by society's sexist norms. Works for me.

*Eric Pringle - Meeting Bea
Radio play about Beatrix Potter's later life. I'm mostly just interested in it because it has Stephanie Cole and I'm not sure I have any of her radio work beyond Cabin Pressure.

*Shelagh Delaney - Out of the Pirate's Playhouse
Radio play about a group of young kids confronting the reality of becoming older kids / preteens / young teens and what their place is in society now.

On Her Majesty's Secret Service (Saturday Drama)
Dramatization of the James Bond novel.

Elizabeth Gaskell - Mr Harrison's Confession
Dramatzation of a Gaskell novella. I don't know much about this one, but I generally like Gaskell and the BBC radio adaptations of her works in particular. According to wikipedia, this is a prequel to the novel Cranford.

Two Coconut Shells, a Blow Lamp and a Raspberry
A non-fiction program, so a bit unusual for me. It is a mini documentary about comedy sounds effects in radio.

Daily Multi-Episode Programs Starting This Week

*Poirot - The Mysterious Affair at Styles
A Poirot dramatization.

*Dick Francis - Whip Hand
Dick Francis's novels are basically all comedies and/or mystery / thrillers in the world of horse racing and the BBC radio adaptations of them are usually good for a bit of light fun. I don't know this story in particular, but I'm assuming it will be similar to all the rest.

*Shelagh Delaney - Sweetly Sings the Donkey and sequels
A trilogy of radio plays about four women who met at a hospital in Blackpool and periodically reunite throughout their lives. The sequels are listed separately but all aired last week: Tell Me a Film and Baloney Said Salome.

Higher (Afternoon Drama)
This is the second series of a comedy about higher education. I don't have series 1 but would love to get it if anyone knows a way.

Thomas Hardy - Tess of the D'Urbervilles
Dramatization of the novel. There are far too many "classic" novels about young women being ruined by rakes, either written as warnings to the woman or as condemnations of the sexual mores and double standards of the era. This is one of the latter type and one of my personal favorite of the novels of the type so I'll run with it.

Julian Fox: On a Lonely Planet
Spoof travel documentary. A man hired to create a BBC travel series does so without ever leaving his home.

Weekly Multi-Episode Programs Starting This Week

*Ring for Jeeves (Classic Serial)
New adaptation of a Wodehouse Jeeves novel. I love Jeeves.

*Steven Appleby's Normal Life
Absurdist comedy about life, what's normal and what isn't, from the early 200s.

EM Forster - Where Angels Fear to Tread Omnibus
Dramatization of the novel about an English widow who marries an Italian man and her family's, her dead husband's families, etc. reactions to her and the child born to her second marriage.

Comedy Panel Shows
Unbelievable Truth is in the middle of a new series. Act Your Age is starting a new series.

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


Unsentimental Fool
unsentimentalf at 8:50 pm on 30 April 2014 (UTC) (Link)
I seem to recall Whip Hand being one of the better Dick Francis's, so I might try the dramatisation. And Anthony and Cleopatra- I like Branagh!
bratty_jedi at 3:43 pm on 02 May 2014 (UTC) (Link)
Branagh when someone else is directing him can be OK. Branagh when he's doing his own thing always bugs me. I'm not sure what it is, but I just don't like his style. His Hamlet annoys me to no end. I know lots of people love it, but I hate it so much.

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