Posts Tagged ‘drama’

A Greek Drama (a BBC Radio Play) – My 10 factual corrections

December 19, 2015

Thank you Yanis for your corrections.

It is a pity the BBC did not properly research the facts.

We await with interest your detailed account of the first six months, and what led to those six months.

Yanis Varoufakis

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As I am a central character in this dramatisation of the five month-long standoff between our government and the Eurogroup/Troika, I am loath to offer a critical review. However, it may be useful to listeners (but also to the BBC’s production team) to correct some factual errors.

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Paul Temple and the Gregory Affair

March 28, 2015
Paul Temple and the Gregory Affair

Paul Temple and the Gregory Affair

Between 1938 and 1968 BBC broadcast on the radio classic Paul Temple series.

About half the original recordings are now lost, but the scripts remain.

BBC Radio 4 has been recreating the series, using vintage microphones and sound recordings from the period, to make as authentic as possible.

Paul Temple and the Gregory Affair was originally broadcast in 1946. It is being re-broadcast as a ten-part series.

Broadcasts are now held on-line for 30 days, which is an improvement upon 7 days, but there is absolutely no reason they cannot be held on-line indefinitely.

Two girls go missing, their bodies are found, both girls strangled, one body caught in a fisherman’s net off Whitstable, the other in Paul Temple’s garage.

The only clue: With the compliments of a Mr Gregory.

Who is Mr Gregory?

Paul Temple series was also broadcast in Germany, where they were known as street cleaners, Straßenfeger, as they cleaned everyone up from the streets as people stayed home glued to the radio.

Paul Temple and the Gregory Affair, not only had the original recording disappeared but also the scripts of Episodes 1, 2 and 6. This new production is made possible by the recent discovery by a colleague in Norwegian radio of a complete set of scripts in an old store cupboard in Oslo.

Radio Echoes has a number of Paul Temple classics available for download.


June 18, 2014

Iz is set in the dystopian future of 2091. British citizens under 24-hour curfew, are confined in solitary hosuing units, their only communication with others is in a virtual world.

Students Lee and Iz have been dating each other virtually for three years, but when Lee fails an important exam, he is suddenly cut off from Iz and everything he knows. He sets out on a journey across a deserted England, determined to find the real Iz.

Dramatisation of Iz by BBC Radio 4 is part of the Dangerous Visions series which includes works by Ray Bradbury and Philip K Dick.

Modesty Blaise

June 17, 2014
Modesty Blaise

Modesty Blaise

A cartoon strip and book dating from the 1960s.

No one knows where she came from, other than she was in a displaced persons camp.

She worked for a criminal, eventually taking over and expanding into an international network, known as The Network.

She and her trusted sidekick Willie Garvin take up retirement, leaving The Network to break up into national crime gangs run by mangers. The manager in France is known as Paco.

Retirement suits neither Modesty nor Willie. Sir Gerald Tarrant, head of MI6, arrives at an opportune moment, he has a proposition for her.

The dramatisation by BBC Radio 4, has Modesty Blaise as a James Bond type character.

BBC once again, shoot themselves in the foot, only on-line fir seven days.


April 19, 2014
Dante and Beatrice speak to Piccarda and Constance

Dante and Beatrice speak to Piccarda and Constance

Dante and Beatrice speak to the teachers of wisdom

Dante and Beatrice speak to the teachers of wisdom

Led by Virgil through Inferno and Purgatorio. Virgil was born before Christ and can go no further. Dante is led through Paradiso by the beautiful Lady Beatrice.

Souls who made Holy Vows but failed to keep them.

Souls who sought Glory, but forgot the end does not justify the means.

Souls who enjoyed the sexual pleasures, but also remembered spiritual love.

Can we question the Will of God? If not, then we lack Free Will.

Finally, Dante is led into the presence of God, but before, he is questioned by Peter, James and John.

A very beautiful and moving dramatisation by the BBC of Paradiso, the third part of The Divine Comedy. All the more the pity only on-line for seven days.

Theatre of Dionysus

March 22, 2013
Theatre of Dionysus

Theatre of Dionysus

The slopes of the Acropolis are important for its many springs and have been inhabited since prehistoric times. There are many archaeological remains, one of the most important the Theatre of Dionysus on the southern slope, entrance almost opposite the Acropolis Museum.

It was here that classical Greek drama was born and flourished.

Nearby the Sanctuary of Dionysus and bronze foundries. Further along the slope Odeon of Herodes Atticus, used for music.

To Catch a Thief

December 14, 2012
To Catch a Thief

To Catch a Thief

American John Robie is living quietly in the South of France, trying to put his career as a notorious jewel thief behind him. However, when a series of huge jewel thefts begins on the Riviera, targetting rich Americans, the police immediately suspect he’s returned to his old ways. To prove his innocence, and trap the real thief, Robie must resort to subterfuge. But his plans go awry when the daughter of one of the rich American tourists takes rather too close an interest in him – and his past.

John Robie was a cat burglar, who worked for the French Resistance. The French Police are prepared to turn a blind eye to his past activities, so long as he does not return to them.

When a copy-cat cat burglar carries out a series of daring jewel robberies, the French Police naturally think he has turned to his old ways, and he once again becomes a wanted man.

He turns to his old friends in the French Resistance for a fake passport in order that he may leave France. They though have other ideas. The French Police are turning up the heat on their own criminal activities. Yes, they will help, but only if he first helps to catch the jewel thief.

To Catch a Thief by David Dodge (1910-1974), once a Hitchcock thriller, now dramatised for BBC Radio 4.

Although writing crime fiction, David Dodge considered himself a travel writer.

A strange mix of Raymond Chandler and his detective Philip Marlowe and Dorothy L Sayers and amateur detective Lord Peter Wimsey (with a bit of Bertie Wooster thrown in for good measure).

BBC once again shoot themselves in the foot, only held on-line for seven days.

Paulo Coelho set The Winner Stands Alone in the same location in the south of France.

The Count of Monte Cristo

December 7, 2012
seaman Edmond Dantès

seaman Edmond Dantès

The effect of the serials, which held vast audiences enthralled … is unlike any experience of reading we are likely to have known ourselves, maybe something like that of a particularly gripping television series. Day after day, at breakfast or at work or on the street, people talked of little else. — Carlos Javier Villafane Mercado

At the age of nineteen, seaman Edmond Dantès has a charmed life – about to be promoted to Captain, and engaged to the beautiful Mercédès. But Marseilles in 1815 is a dangerous place, and three of Dantes’ acquaintances set in train a chain of events that will lead Edmond to fourteen years of solitary confinement in the notorious Chateau D’If.

Our story starts at Chateau D’If, with a body being tipped into the sea. Edmond Dantès has managed to escape by exchanging places with a dead man.

Just at the moment his escape is discovered, a bloated body of a dead Maltese seaman floats by. Dantès quickly exchanges his prison garb with that of the seaman. From now on, he will be known as Maltese.

The reason for his escape, revenge, revenge on those who betrayed him and caused him to be cast into prison.

Lucky for Dantès, a passing ship rescues him, thinking he is a survivor from the Maltese ship wrecked on the rocks. The passing ship are smugglers.

Fourteen years earlier, Dantès has brought a ship home as First mate after the Captain died. The dying wish of the Captain, was to divert to Elba and deliver a package to Napoleon. It is this act that leads to his betrayal, this is France, with a restored king post-revolution.

Brilliant 4-part dramatisation of The Count of Monte Cristo by BBC Radio 4.

Alexandre Dumas was born in 1802. His father, the illegitimate son of a marquis, was a general in the revolutionary armies, but died when Alexandre was four years old. His most successful novels were The Count of Monte Cristo (serialised between 1844-1846) and the Three Musketeers (1844).

The Count of Monte Cristo (French: Le Comte de Monte-Cristo) was originally published in the Journal des Débats in eighteen parts. Publication ran from 28 August 1844 to 15 January 1846.

Dumas wrote that the idea of revenge in The Count of Monte Cristo came from a story in a book compiled by Jacques Peuchet, a French police archivist, published in 1838 after the death of the author. Dumas included this essay in one of the editions from 1846. Peuchet told of a shoemaker, Pierre Picaud, living in Nîmes in 1807, who was engaged to marry a rich woman when three jealous friends falsely accused him of being a spy for England. Picaud was placed under a form of house arrest, in the Fenestrelle Fort where he served as a servant to a rich Italian cleric. When the man died, he left his fortune to Picaud whom he had begun to treat as a son. Picaud then spent years plotting his revenge on the three men who were responsible for his misfortune. He stabbed the first with a dagger on which were printed the words, “Number One”, and then he poisoned the second. The third man’s son he lured into crime and his daughter into prostitution, finally stabbing the man himself. This third man, named Loupian, had married Picaud’s fiancée while Picaud was under arrest.

To coincide with the broadcast of The Count of Monte Cristo, the Book of the Week on BBC Radio 4 Tom Reiss’s account of the life of Alexandre Dumas’s father – General Alex Dumas, The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo.

The Man on the Balcony

December 2, 2012

Someone is assaulting and killing young girls in the parks of Stockholm. With only a brutal mugger and a three year-old boy for witnesses, the investigation is stalling. It’s only a tiny detail surfacing in Beck’s mind that puts the murder squad on the trail of the killer, but will they get him before he strikes again?

The Man on the Balcony is the third in the Martin Beck series by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo, dramatised by BBC Radio 4.

The Martin Beck series, written over a period of ten years 1965-1975, gives an interesting insight into Sweden of the mid-1960s. It was to later influence writers like Stieg Larsson and Jo Nesbo.

In an ambitious project, BBC Radio 4 are dramatizing the entire Martin Beck series.

The next book in the series, The Laughing Policeman, Martin Beck (now a Detective Superintendant) and the murder squad investigate a mass shooting on a bus in a suburb that ends with nine dead, including one of Martin Beck’s team.

Unusual for the BBC these dramatisations are being kept on-line for a year, not seven days. Though does beg the question why not keep indefinitely?

In parallel BBC Radio 4 has a series Foreign Bodies looking at European Detective Fiction, only they could not have chosen a worst presenter than the ghastly Mark Lawson if they had tried. True to form, this series is only being kept on-line for seven days.

Prime Suspect

November 5, 2012

Somewhat dated, written by Lynda La Plante for Granada TV and starring Helen Mirren, first broadcast in 1991, Prime Suspect is an interesting social commentary of the time.

It was an accident it came to be written. Lynda La Plante was in conversation with Granada TV. We are looking for a police drama. Yes, working on one. We are looking for a police drama with a senior female detective. Just what I am working on.

On this basis, Lynda La Plante got the contract. The police drama she was working on was a fiction. There was no police drama.

She then contacted Scotland Yard, what senior female police officers could they offer her? She was hoping for a Detective Chief Inspector. She got a Detective Chief Inspector. They chatted on the phone. The Detective Chief Inspector offered to come over for a chat. To her surprise, the police officer who turned up was a biker clad in black leathers. It was she who filled her in on the culture at the Met, especially the attitude towards women.

The DCI who came to see Lynda La Plante in her biker’s leathers was Jackie Malton. She is now ex-Met, works as a script consultant, but also works with ex-armed robber Graham Godden with young offenders and children to stop them embarking on a career of crime.

Prime Suspect starts with what appears to be the brutal killing of a prostitute. 24 hours into the investigation, the detective leading the investigations dies of a heart attack. Into his shoes steps DCI Jane Tennison (played by Helen Mirren), a move that proves highly unpopular with his team.

Apart from being interesting social commentary, also an excellent drama, that at the end leaves one feeling chilled to the core.

Prime Suspect ran from 1991 to 2006.

Sherlock Holmes has influenced crime fiction up to the present day. In Scandinavia writers have been influenced by the Martin Beck series.

According to Ian Rankin, Prime Suspect has influenced all that has followed.

What is maybe even more surprising, Prime Suspect has been used by the Met for training.

Four years on from the first broadcast, the first female chief constable was appointed. There are over 50 police forces in England and Wales. In 2012 there were half a dozen women chief constables.

A decade on from the first broadcast of Prime Suspect, following the killing of Stephen Lawrence, the Met was accused of being Institutionally Racist.

The series explored racism (Prime Suspect 2), sex trade (Prime Suspect 3). By the end of the series, Jane Tennison, now promoted, was one of the lads, a burnt out cynical alcoholic.

Foreign Bodies, investigates European crime fiction, but BBC true to form, keeps this excellent series on-line for only 7 days.

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