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BBC Radio
Posted on Sunday 10 August 2014 at 2:04 pm

Rachael's Week in BBC Radio 2014: 31-32

Listened To: Blocked pilot, Bleak Expectations 4, and Nebulous 2

Coming Up: Lots of dramatizations including Dark Tower (the Browning poem not the Stephen King series), a Dickens (Our Mutual Friend), a Virginia Woolf (Lighthouse), and the complete Pepys diary collection.
Lots of good radio plays or adaptation of stage plays by some of my favorite writers (e.g. David Pownall, Nick Warburton, Peter Tinniswood, Noel Coward, excerpt from Shakespeare's Henry V). Of that list, I'm probably most excited about Coward's Blithe Spirit with Roger Allam.
There are also a few good sounding random plays, especially Murder under Trust about a real incident in the late 1600s when Highland soldiers killed their hosts and an old comedy play with Bernard Cribbins about the Pied Piper of Hamelin.
As usual when I do two weeks at a time, this past week is listed first in each section and this upcoming week is second and marked with an asterisk.

EDIT: Don't know how I missed posting this the first time, but starting today there's the second run of The Stuarts on Sundays. They did a couple of series on the Plantagenets, then four Stuart plays last year getting through Charles I and the Civil War. This run is Charles II and James II, which means getting into my dissertation territory. If they really do the Glorious Revolution, that is my dissertation.

Listened to 27 July to 9 August:

Pilot for a possible new sitcom by Frankie Boyle starring David Mitchell as a one-time brilliant playwright running a small community theatre with his wife and daughter while trying to write another hit. I was a little disappointed in it. It felt like it was just setting up obvious laugh line after obvious laugh line without much else. Maybe that was just the problems of a pilot. If the series is picked up, I'll give more a shot, but I'm not sure it will become a favorite.

Bleak Expectations Series 4
Bleak Expectations is a sitcom poking fun at Dickens and similar things with a malevolent villain (played by Anthony Head) and clueless hero stumbling through adventures that are typically quite funny. I can only take so much of it at a time, though, so I go several months between series. I quite liked series 4, more than 3 which was a bit disappointing, I thought.

Nebulous Series 2
Nebulous is s future sci-fi sitcom about a science research institute on a shoe-string budget, which requires running a dry cleaning business on the side, constantly trying to save or accidentally almost destroying the universe. It stars Mark Gatiss as the eponymous Professor Nebulous. The second series was fun, but perhaps not quite as much as the first. There were a couple of really good episodes, though, and it is very episodic with no real running plot.

Comedy Panel Shows

Don't Make Me Laugh
I listened to most of the run of this new panel show, episodes two through four. I was on the fence based on the premise and pleasantly surprised by the first episode. The pleasantness continued. The show is hosted by David Baddiel and deals with comedians trying not to make people laugh. The concept is weird but the rules are worked out enough to really make it work. Of the four episode run, I felt the third episode was a bit flat, not really sure why it didn't click, but the rest were all entertaining in the typical panel show way.

I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue
Listened to episode 5 of the current run. It was pretty good. Andy Hamilton was the non-regular guest and he fit in well.

Unbelievable Truth
Randomly listened to a few old episodes, 2 through 4 of series 7. I love Unbelievable Truth and quite liked all these episodes. The fourth, with Alan Davies, Jack Dee, Marcus Brigstocke and Lucy Porter, was particularly lovely.

Downloading 3 to 16 Aug:


Close Call (Afternoon Drama)
Radio play set in the late 1960s told from the point of view of a family's first home telephone. The premise is just too weird to pass up.

Psalm (Afternoon Drama)
A Nick Warburton radio play. I generally like his stuff. This one is set in the Elizabethan period and deals with the idea that prisoners could get lighter sentences if they could read a passage from the Bible.

The Lamp (Afternoon Drama)
Radio play about the first public Scottish library.

Victory (Saturday Drama)
Play about Admiral Lord Nelson's relationship with a married woman, with her husband's knowledge and consent.

Peter Tinniswood - On the Whole It's Been Jolly Good
Comedy monologue from the point of view of a retiring MP.

John Pilkington - Apostle of Light
Play about the invention of Braille.

*The Good Listener (Afternoon Drama)
Topical play about GCHQ (similar to NSA for Americans unfamiliar with the initialism) and the balance between spying on citizens in violation of privacy rights and safety.

*Murder Under Trust: The Massacre at Glencoe (Saturday Drama)
Play set in 1692 Scotland, based on a real incident when Highland soldiers killed the people with whome they were billeted.

*The Dark Tower
Old drama (from 1950s with Richard Burton) based on Robert Browning's poem Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came, that also served as the inspiration for Stephen King's series.

*Shakespeare - Henry at Agincourt
The parts of Henry V at Agincourt with Richard Burton.

*Dave Sheasby - The Amazing Ratman Story
Comedy play about a man who claimed to know the real Pied Piper of Hamelin. Stars Bernard Cribbins. I love Bernard Cribbins.

*Virginia Woolf - To the Lighthouse Omnibus
Woolf's modernist novel about perception, memory, and psychology set in Scotland in the 1910s and 1920s.

*Noel Coward - Blithe Spirit
Comedy play about a seance that leaves a man stuck with the ghost of his first wife. With Roger Allam.

Daily Multi-Episode Programs Starting This Week

None last week

*Charles Dickens - Our Mutual Friend
Dramatization of Dickens's novel about a random couple who inherit a fortune.

Weekly Multi-Episode Programs Starting This Week

After Henry Series 2
Have series 1 but haven't listened to it yet. Older sitcom about a woman's life after her husband's death. Stars Prunella Scales.

*The Diary of Samuel Pepys Omnibus
Radio 4 has spent years dramatizing Samuel Pepys diary of his life in mid to late 1600s London. They just finished the last one and to celebrate are re-airing all of them on 4 Extra. I've been interested but didn't want to not have it all so I'm excited they're doing this.

*Bangers and Mash
Sitcom about a nun who quits to work as a caterer.

Comedy Panel Shows
Just a Minute is starting a new series.
Unbelievable Truth and It's Your Round are running repeats.
Don't Make Me Laugh just finished its first run and I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue finished its latest.

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

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