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BBC Radio
Posted on Sunday 15 June 2014 at 9:17 am

Rachael's Week in BBC Radio 2014:23-24

Listened To: Biggest Secret, a play about various British people on the day before D-Day (with Benedict Cumberbatch), and the first series of the sitcom Clayton Grange which is about a group of somewhat inept scientists (with Anthony Head). Also, lots of comedy panel show episodes: two most recent episodes of News Quiz, the pilot for a new one called Listomania, and the three most recent episodes of Just a Minute. Somewhat surprisingly for me, Just a Minute was the favorite this week.

Coming Up: Two weeks, last week and this upcoming week, again. Asterisks are on the ones airing this upcoming week because there's only a few of those. Most are from last week. There aren't many individual entries overall because they're starting a new series of Dangerous Visions, dramatizations of dystopic stories that I'm super excited about, and that's filling most of the time for things like the afternoon drama. There are a few other random plays, dramatizations, and comedy panel shows repeats, pilots, and new series, etc. airing, but the Dangerous Visions run is definitely the winner for me.

Listened to 1 to 14 June:

Biggest Secret
This radio play was made 10 years ago for the D-Day 60th anniversary then re-aired this year for the 70th. It follows the adventures of various British people ont he day before D-day. It is one of those plays with lots of different characters doing their things and all the stories intersect once or twice but don't really add up to a whole beyond the theme or the feel. I think it worked OK as a slice of life of life in an odd moment kind of thing. There's a companion German play, The Long Wait, that I wanted to listen to during D-Day week as well, but I didn't have time. I should get to it this week.

Clayton Grange
This is a sitcom about a science lab trying to solve all the world's problems, but they're a bit incompetent and generally muddled messes. The premise is good for a sitcom, but I always wanted a bit more. I don't know, It was like the jokes were sort of smirk worthy but never laugh worthy I guess. The best bit was a running gag that had Anthony Head yelling "What about the prawn!?" in an increasingly frustrated way every episode. A new second series just starting airing and I'll give it a shot, I guess.

Comedy Panel Shows

Just a Minute 69: 2-4
I've been a bit burnt out on Just a Minute lately, but these three episodes were all pretty good and kind of got me back into it. This is definitely a panel game that is at its best when not actually playing the game and this episodes really worked with that. For the Cumberbatch fans on the flist, there's a bit in episode 3 where they randomly start making fun of his name (you know, Cumberbitch, Cucumberpatch, etc.). Whether that is a plus or minus, I leave up to you to decide.

The News Quiz 84: 1 & 2
I usually love News Quiz and am ever so excited when it comes back, but these two episodes were just kind of there. They were entertaining and interesting, but just averagely so. Oh wel. Not every episode can be a standout.

Listomania: Pilot
This new panel show is hosted by Susan Calman. She's been growing on me lately and I think she did well as the host. She spoke rather fast, which sometimes worked and sometimes made it a bit difficult to understand. The premise of this panel show is just rounds about lists: which of two lists do items belong on (e.g. sexiest bald men or most powerful bald men), what should be on a reverse bucket list of things to never do again in your life, items for a random topic (e.g. quirk for a new TV detective), etc. As with most pilots, it was alittle rough, but I think this could work and be another enjoyable background noise panel show.

Downloading 8 to 21 June:


Deadheading - Omnibus
I don't know much about this, just that it is a comedy detective play with Miriam Margolyes. I don't need to know more than that, though. This is the omnibus but it is also a daily 15 Minute Drama.

The Seagull (Drama on 3)
Adaptation of an Anton Chekhov play about dissatisfied and unhappy people.

To Hull and Back
Pilot for a new sitcom about a woman and her mom who run a car boot sale business, except mom never wants to part with anything.

*Bretton Woods
A play about a meeting of economists, including John Maynard Keynes, in 1944 to discuss what the world economy will look like once WWII ends. Could be dreadfully boring or terribly interesting, but I'm definitely the type who will find it interesting if it gives me the least chance.

*Modesty Blaise Series 2
Modesty Blaise was originally a daily newspaper comic strip that serialized the adventures of a young woman agent / spy / adventurer/ whatever (James Bond-ish). There's been one previous radio adaptation that I've listened to. It was OK but not amazing. The action just didn't translate quite right. The first run at some is often rough around the edges so I'm hoping the second will be a bit better. This is the omnibus version, but it is also available as the daily 15 Minute Drama.

*Laurie Lee - I Call Me Adam
A play based on the story of what happened to the infamous crew of the ship Bounty after their mutiny. This is on next Saturday and is the start of a week's worth of stuff by Laurie Lee. I'll figur out what I want from the rest later since it's over a week out right now and not on the main schedule yet, but you can see a rundown of everything here.

Daily Multi-Episode Programs Starting This Week

Dangerous Visions
I'm super excited about this! It is a whole bunch of adaptation of dystopic scifi novels and short stories or new plays riffing off those ideas. Radio 4 did the same thing last summer and they were really good (at least, the ones I've listened to were). I'm most excited about two Ray Bradbury adaptations this time (Illustrated Man and Martian Chronicles with Derek Jacobi).

LP Hartley - The Hireling (Classic Serial)
Dramatization of a mystery / thriller about a chauffeur and the widow with whom he falls in love but she does not return his affections. Hooray midcentury British class system!

*Charles Dickens - The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Dramatization of Dickens' unfinished final novel.

*Monsieur Pamplemousse Investigates
Dramatization of one of a series of silly mystery novels about a detective and his talking dog.

Weekly Multi-Episode Programs Starting This Week

JM Barrie - Peter Pan
Dramatization of the children's fantasy novel.

This is a repeat sitcom that I swear I've downloaded before but I can't find it so I guess not. Anyway, it is about a group of young people disillusioned with government and seeking to form a new political party to change things, but they're not quite sure what they mean by that. Series 2 is airing as soon as Series 1 ends.

Clayton Grange
As mentioned above, I just listened to series 1 this week and thought it was only OK. I'm willing to give series 2 a try but if the first episode doesn't grab me a bit more, I might give up on it.

Comedy Panel Shows
There was a new panel show pilot on Radio 3 called Listomania. Susan Calman is the host and the theme is lists of stuffs (go figure).
The Loser's World Cup is a brief panel show featuring comedians from nations that didn't qualify for the World Cup this year.
The News Quiz and Just a Minute are in the middle of new series. Museum of Curiosity, Heresy, and Act Your Age are running repeats.

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

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