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BBC Radio
Posted on Sunday 25 May 2014 at 12:13 pm

Rachael's Week in BBC Radio 2014:20 and 21

Listened To: A sci-fi sitcom (My First Planet), an older radio play - also with a scifi theme - (Time Slip), and an LA Theatre Works production of Brecht's play Galileo. On the panel show front, the last of the newest series of Unbelievable Truth and the first of the new run of Just a Minute.

Coming Up: As before when I've done two weeks' worth for Coming Up, an asterisk in front of something means last week so is either on iPlayer now or already gone while non-asterisk means the upcoming week so likely not available yet. If you want anything no longer on iPlayer (or don't know how to get stuff off iPlayer), just let me know.

General Notes: There seemed to be some interest in the adaptation of Jane Austen's Mansfield Park with David Tennant and Benedict Cumberbatch as the main brothers. If you want it, let me know. It is available as either 10 x 15-minute episodes or 2 omnibus episodes of an hour and 15 minutes each.

Once every two weeks seems to be working a bit better for me at the moment than every week so I might stick to that. I'm out of town from 31 May to 8 June so that's two Sundays, my typical posting day, and I'll be running ragged that whole time so I'm not sure when I'll do the next post or what timeline it will cover.

Listened to 11 to 24 May:

LATW: Life of Galileo
I really enjoy Brecht's plays. For those unfamiliar with him, he was a German who had to flee when Hitler took power, ended in the US, then had to flee back to Germany in the 1950s. In both cases, it was the political activism of his plays, specifically their Communist tendencies, that forced his exile. In his Galileo play he goes beyond the typical religion versus science to show how the church used religion to maintain power and maintain a hierarchical system based on the economic exploitation of the masses. It's fairly basic Marxism stuff that doesn't supplant the idea of reason versus received wisdom that is the standard narrative of Galileo but rather runs parallel to it. The LATW production was a newer English translation than the one I'm used to and I really enjoyed it. It seemed a bit more streamlined and worked really well for this audio production. If the topic / theme at all interest you, I'd definitely say it is worth a listen.

My First Planet Series 1
It follows all the basic sitcom tropes - episodic, ridiculous and implausible scenarios, larger-than-life but still somehow real and relatable characters - but is one that somehow manages to shine within the format. I enjoyed it far more than I expected, though I'm not sure what made it so funny. It isn't on the level of Cabin Pressure (honestly, what is?), but I'd definitely recommend it and the I'm looking forward to the second series which was recorded back in the fall but I've no idea when it will air. I'm somewhat expecting it this summer, but that's just a guess.

Time Slip
This was disappointing. It is a light little radio play in which two men were playing with a supposed matter copier that they thought didn't work. They arrive home at the end of the workday and then they arrive home again because apparently the copier had worked but had also introduced a slight time distortion. The problem is that no one knows which are the copies and which are the originals, but the copies will self-destruct within a few hours. It mostly just goes through the motions of the two version of each man being jealous of each other, etc. then tries to introduce some weightier elements thanks to the know limited lifespan of the copies, but it never really delivers all that well.

Comedy Panel Shows

The Unbelievable Truth 13: 6
Last episode of the current run. Bummer. This was a great episode, mostly because Susan Calman accused David Mitchell of playing favorites with Phil Jupitus and everyone ran with that. The more I hear of Calman as a comedian on these panel shows, the more I like her. Which could be good because she's going to be chairing a new one soon.

Just a Minute 69:1
A pretty good first episode this run. Julian Clary was a guest and I quite like him on here as he has a lot of fun with the rules fighting that is for me the main delight of this program. There was a first timer, Vanessa Feltz, which can be really hit or miss on this program in particular, but everyone cut her the right amount of slack to let her get going but not to make it ridiculous so it worked really well.

Downloading 18 to 31 May:


*Miss Marple - Sleeping Murder
An Agatha Christie Marple dramatization. Someday I'll have them all.

*Alick Rowe - Odysseus on an Iceberg
A follow up to last week's comedic take on the Trojan War. As the title should suggest, this one is a silly look at the Odyssey.

*Stephen Wakelam - A Dose of Fame (Afternoon Drama)
Radio play about E. M. Forester writing Howards End while dealing with his own struggles such as his sexuality. Stars Stephen Campbell Moore, who I quite like.

*Men About the House
Pilot for a new sitcom in an alternate world were women dominate society in the way men do now. The focus is on the men in the House of Parliament. This is one of those things I expect I will either love or despise with no middle ground.

GB Shaw - Arms and the Man
Production of Shaw's play about war and hypocrisy. I don't know this play, but it is supposed to be a pretty good and funny Shaw from what I've heard.

Shelagh Stephenson - Darling Peidi
Play based on the real case of a woman executed for the murder of her husband in 1922.

Daily Multi-Episode Programs Starting This Week

*Nikolai Gogol - The Government Inspector
Gogol dramatization. I don't know this particular one but the plot sounds like something that fits my interests and Gogol's style: corrupt officials waiting for a higher-up inspector to come investigate them.

*Wimsey - Busman's Honeymoon
A Wimsey dramatization - another one of those mystery series where someday I might have them all.

All the Dark Corners (Afternoon Drama)
Series of radio plays with a dark and mysterious theme.

Stefan Zweig - Beware of Pity (Classic Serial)
Dramatization of a 1930s novel of a man who pities a crippled young woman, privately promises to marry her, but denies her in public.

Weekly Multi-Episode Programs Starting This Week

Barnaby Rudge (Classic Serial)
Charles Dickens dramatization. I generally really love Dickens and BBC radio does a good job with hit stuff. I've never read Barnaby Rudge, but I'm looking forward to the adaptation.

Comedy Panel Shows

Just a Minute is starting a new series. Heresy is running repeats. Act Your Age is listed as running a new series, series 4, but it is actually a mislabeled rerun of series 3. Unbelievable Truth just finished a new series.

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

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