28. By Dawn King. Nathan, a schoolteacher tainted by connection with a terrorist, is detained for 28 days and then released without charge. In the 28 days following his release he tries to recover his former life with his family, his girlfriend, his job and his social life.
Y T and the Soprano. Film maker Penny Woolcock makes her radio writing and directing debut in this romantic comedy set in the contrasting back stage worlds of grime rap and opera. She brings international hip hop artist Sway (playing Y.T) together with rising young soprano Claire Watkins (playing Gabrielle). Sent to collect a debt from a conductor at the opera house Y.YT he hears Gabrielle sing the beautiful aria ‘Signore, ascolta’ from Puccini’s Turandot and falls in love. But she’s fixated on the conductor and is appalled when Y.T. pursues her down the street, rapping to beats on his phone. Desperate, he steals a recording of her aria and mixes a club tune that becomes a huge underground hit. Clubbers demand more opera! He persuades her to sing on his radio show, and as their music collides, Puccini never sounds quite the same again. But gangster brother Honey Monster casts a long shadow over the young lovers. He wants his money back, and he’s not choosy about his methods.
Hey Mr Salinger. For a year in 1996, Joanna Smith Rakoff was in charge of answering JD Salinger’s fanmail. Salinger was famously reclusive, wanting nothing to do with his fans and Rakoff was supposed to send out a standard letter. But as she read the letters she found herself pulled into their lives, and secretly, surreptitiously she started answering them. In this confessional documentary Joanna rediscovers the letters she answered and meets the people who wrote them. She introduces us to the teenager struggling at school, told by her teacher she would get an A for English if she received a reply from Salinger. We hear about the Japanese girl who wrote two letters, one in Japanese and one in English because she thought that Salinger was so smart he would probably know Japanese. Joanna remembers the woman whose daughter loved the short story ‘A Perfect Day For Bananafish’. When her daughter died young, her mother wanted to set up a literary magazine and asked if she could call it ‘Bananafish’. As Joanna says “if at first I found [them] weird, after a few months I found [them] – well, still weird, but also many other things: sad, sweet, stupid, hopeful, obsessive.” Until she worked at Ober, Rakoff was not a fan of Salinger’s, but through reading his correspondence she saw what an incredible connection he made with his readers. She found herself reading Catcher in the Rye and Franny and Zooey with new eyes, seeing it as not the cutesy fiction she remembered, but as something more honest and troubled. It helped her move from being an uptight critic to becoming a writer. And once, during one of his rare visits to New York, she even met the great man himself. We hear how tempted she was to give him one of the most touching and personal letters she ever received and why she decided not to.
The Wooden Overcoat. By Pamela Branch. Adapted by Mark Gatiss. A comic murder mystery set in London in 1951. Much to his surprise, Benji Cann has got away with murder. He gravitates to the Asterisk Club, a place of refuge for those who have strayed beyond the pale and not paid the ultimate price. But then Benji turns up dead. Who killed him and how will they be able to get rid of the body without the neighbours noticing?
Madame Bovary. By Gustave Flaubert. Emma Bovary is beautiful and bored, trapped in her marriage to a mediocre doctor and stifled by the banality of provincial life. An ardent reader of sentimental novels, she longs for passion and seeks escape in fantasies of high romance, in voracious spending and, eventually, in adultery. But even her affairs bring her disappointment and the consequences are devastating. Flaubert’s erotically charged and psychologically acute portrayal of Emma Bovary caused a moral outcry on its publication in 1857. It was deemed so lifelike that many women claimed they were the model for his heroine; but Flaubert insisted: ‘Madame Bovary, c’est moi’.
My Blue Heaven. Written and Directed by Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran. Graham’s life is not going the way he wants it to and he really starts to worry when he realizes he’s being interviewed for a job by his imaginary friend from childhood all grown up.
One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich. By Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. In 1962 One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich was a literary earthquake with profound political implications. At the height of the Cold War, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn exposed to the Soviet Union, and the world, the suffering which Stalin had imposed on his own people. Revealing the bitter conditions and arbitrary cruelties of the Soviet prison camps which became known as the Gulag Archipelago, the lies at the heart of Soviet history became impossible to hide. The book is taut, engrossing and sympathetic, showing neither more nor less than one day in one man’s life in the camps. Ivan Denisovich is a resilient individual, and if he wrote to his family telling them to send him nothing, it spares him certain hopes and illusions. His survival is dependent on himself. When Solzhenitsyn’s shattering picture of Stalin’s prison camps became an international bestseller in 1962, it seemed to signal a thaw in the Cold War. But Solzhenitsyn was a prophet about to be dishonoured in his own land, and the uncensored version of the novel did not appear until 1991 – the year after Solzhenitsyn’s citizenship was restored in Russia.
Posters Of Montmartre. By John Peacock. Four different tales about the residents of Montmartre, inspired by the posters of Toulouse Lautrec.
May Belfort. The first in a series of stories from Toulouse-Lautrec’s Paris. May Belfort, singer turned prostitute.
Footitt and Chocolat. A circus double-act is in jeopardy.
Casque D’or. A tale of revolutionary Paris where passion and ideals become fatally intertwined.
Aristide Bruant. The fiercely socialist Bruant sees his friends of old. Is he getting old or are they all compromised?
Scramble. By Martin Kiszko. This science fiction drama depicts a totalitarian world in which music is so subversive that all composers have been culled. The heroine Mel has always supported the State, but when she uncovers some uncomfortable facts she begins questioning her work as a government scientist.
Steinbeck In Avalon. Dramatised by Ray Brown from the writings of John Steinbeck. As a child John Steinbeck was enthralled by Malory’s account of the life of King Arthur. In 1959 he went to live for a while in Somerset in order to write what he hoped would be the crowning glory of his distinguished career; his personal holy grail, a 20th century restatement of the Arthurian legend.
My Name Is Red. Ayeesha Menon’s dramatisation of Orhan Pamuk’s murder mystery set in Istanbul in 1590. The Sultan brings together the most acclaimed artists in his kingdom to create a secret book of miniatures celebrating the glories of his realm. But when two of the miniaturists are murdered, panic erupts.
The Governor’s Consort. In Peter Tinniswood’s play, written specially for Mary Wimbush, Lady Edith is sailing with her husband to a South Atlantic island of which he is about to become Governor. Her fellow passengers, not to mention the crew and the exuberant band on board, produce an invigorating and far-reaching effect on her Ladyship.
More Peter Tinniswood on the Peter Tinniswood Page.
The Devil’s Disciple. George Bernard Shaw’s play is set during the American War of Independence, in 1777. Richard is the self-confessed Devil’s Disciple, the rebellious rascal of a highly religious family who want nothing to do with him. However, as the British take charge of Richard’s town and events unfold, Richards shows that he has more integrity than he gives himself credit for. The cast includes Tony Church, James Laurenson, Lucy Fleming and Tenniel Evans and was directed by Brian Miller. This dramatisation was first heard in 1976 to mark the 200th anniversary of the American Declaration of Independence.
Doctor Syn. By Russel Thorndike. Doctor Syn is one of the most interesting and unusual figures of the 18th Century. A tall, slender, charismatic man with a commanding presence, Dr. Syn was a man who would have succeeded in any career. Syn was a brilliant scholar and rousing preacher as well as being one of the finest swordsmen, riders, and seamen in all of England. Unfortunately, Christopher’s promising career was cut short when he was betrayed in love and left his calling to pursue a quest for vengeance across the world. Years later Syn would return to the little town of Dymchurch-Under-the-Wall, seeking to resume the quiet life of a country parson, but his past would not let him go. Learning that many of his parishioners were involved in smuggling, Syn resolved to protect them from the agents of the King’s Revenue. Assuming the masked identity of the Scarecrow, Syn led the smugglers in a series of adventures that rival those of Robin Hood, D’Artagnian and his companions, or El Zorro in their daring and their success.
The Further Adventures Of Doctor Syn. By Russel Thorndike. Dr Syn reveals his plan to his associates, Mr Mipps the sexton and Jimmie Bone the highwayman, for the Scarecrow’s daring escape.
The Last of Doctor Syn. By Russel Thorndike. Captain Collyer, a Royal Navy officer is assigned to smash the local smuggling ring with the help from the tongueless mulatto marooned by Captain Clegg and rescued by Collyer years before.