Pythonesque. By Roy Smiles.The story of Graham Chapman’s history with the Monty Python team; how he met and started writing with John Cleese, his rise through the ranks writing The Frost Report, the glory years with the Pythons and his struggle to overcome his considerable drinking demons. And how the collective kindness of Messrs Cleese, Jones, Idle, Palin and Gilliam saved him from oblivion and gave him the lead in the two funniest British films of all time: Monty Python And The Holy Grail and Monty Python’s Life Of Brian.Told in a Pythonesque style, apparently Chapman was recruited into the RAF at birth and flew bombing missions over Germany in a pram; Cleese got into the Footlights by doing a rather peculiar walk; Chapman had to take a test to become an alcoholic; Cleese returned to a pet shop to sing the praises of a recently purchased budgie and Chapman discovered on his last day on earth that Death likes Spam and drives a Ford Anglia.
Written by Roy Smiles, whose previous work for Radio 4 includes Ying Tong – A Walk With The Goons and Good Evening (about Beyond The Fringe), Pythonesque is an affectionate tribute to a troubled, brilliant, kind man who was part of the funniest comedy team ever.
Ashes to Antarctica. By Jim Eldridge. Widow Jill Foster is determined to scatter her husband’s ashes on the wastes of Antarctica to commemorate the work he did there years ago. She sets off with her sister on a tourist cruise, only to find that attitudes have changed radically, and it will be more difficult than she thinks to fulfil her task.
Alexander. Alexander follows the life of Alexander the Great, the macedonian king that united all ancient greek tribes and led them against the vast Persian Empire. Alexander conquered most of the then known world and created a greek empire that spanned all the way from the Balkans to India.
Chocolate Frigates. By Juliet Ace. While Jack prepares a triumphant leaving dinner for his Captain – a magnificent fleet of 12 chocolate frigates – his son is in the thick of action in Iraq. When your son is away at war how can your life just carry on as normal? Jack thinks it can and must, but his wife and son aren’t so sure.
The Mystery of a Hansom Cab. By Fergus Hume. Melbourne, Australia, 1886: a dead body is found in curious circumstances. Fergus Hume’s crime novel and some think the prequel to the Sherlock Holmes stories.
Rosie’s Beauty. By Anna Maria Murphy. Rosie Craze runs a small beauty parlour in her West Cornwall village. Most of her clients come to her to talk and she’s troubled by the dark secrets and small intimacies that make up the community in which she lives.
Ulysses. By James Joyce. Ulysses has been labeled dirty, blasphemous and unreadable. In a famous 1933 court decision, Judge John M. Woolsey declared it an emetic book–although he found it not quite obscene enough to disallow its importation into the United States–and Virginia Woolf was moved to decry James Joyce’s “cloacal obsession”. None of these descriptions, however, do the slightest justice to the novel. To this day it remains the modernist masterpiece, in which the author takes both Celtic lyricism and vulgarity to splendid extremes. It is funny, sorrowful, and even (in its own way) suspenseful.