Many thanks to Phil W for contributions to this page.
Therese Raquin. Emile Zola’s powerful novel, set in 19th-century Paris, is dramatised by Melissa Murray. The heroine is forced to marry her sickly cousin and, as a consequence, embarks with her new lover on a journey of passion, lust, murder and revenge.
Mugsborough. Dramatisation by Andrew Lynch featuring the characters of Robert Tressell’s novel The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, picking up the story 10 years on.The residents of Mugsborough hold wildly differing views of the Great War. The politically aware favour peaceful solutions, others are determined to avoid being sent to the Western Front. One returns from Flanders terribly injured and cannot find work and one child is still unaware of the tragic circumstances of her parentage.
Lucky Jim. Martin Jarvis reads Lucky Jim an academic satire written by Kingsley Amis, first published in 1954 by Victor Gollancz. It was Amis’s first published novel, and won the Somerset Maugham Award for fiction. Set sometime around 1950, Lucky Jim follows the exploits of the eponymous James (Jim) Dixon, a reluctant Medieval history lecturer at an unnamed provincial English university.
I Wish to Apologise for My Part in the Apocalypse. Duncan Macmillan’s romantic comedy about the end of the world, a woman who falls in love with the moon, and her husband who falls back in love with her.
Hudson and Pepperdine Save the Planet. Comedy about climate change and how to combat it. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has set up a working party from within the broadcasting industries to brainstorm solutions to the current crisis. Hudson and Pepperdine are on the Comedy sub-list, above the Chuckle Brothers, but below Jimmy Carr. Can Hudson and Pepperdine save the planet? Can they even get to the first meeting? More importantly, will they be back in time for the school run?
More Hudson and Pepperdine on the Comedy Pages.
Fair Stood the Wind for France. John Franklin, the pilot of a Wellington Bomber badly injures his arm when he brings his plane down in Occupied France at the height of the Second world War. He and his crew make their way to an isolated farmhouse and are taken in by the family of a French farmer. Plans are made to smuggle the them back to Britain via Vichy controlled Marseilles but Franklin’s conditions worsens and he remains at the farm during the hot summer weeks that follow and falls in love with the farmer’s daughter Françoise. Eventually they make the hazardous journey together by rowing boat and bicycle…
Elizabeth’s Women. Emma Fielding reads from Tracy Borman’s biography of Elizabeth I, which explores the relationships she had with the women in her life. These women brought out the best and the worst of Elizabeth, who could be loyal and kind but also cruel and vindictive. They all influenced Elizabeth’s carefully-cultivated image as Gloriana, The Virgin Queen.
More Peter Tinniswood on the Peter Tinniswood Page.
The Little World of Dom Camillo. By Giovanni Guareschi. Set n the post-war years, Don Camillo Tarocci is the hot-headed priest of a small village in the Po valley in northern Italy. Don Camillo is a big man, tall and strong with hard fists. Don Camillo is constantly at odds with the communist mayor, Giuseppe Botazzi, better known as Peppone (meaning, roughly, Big Joe) and is also on very close terms with the crucifix in his village church. Through the crucifix he hears the voice of Christ. What Peppone and Camillo have in common is an interest in the well-being of the village. They were partisan fighters during the war; and while Peppone will make public speeches about how “the reactionaries” ought to be shot, and Don Camillo will preach fire and brimstone against “godless Communists”, they actually grudgingly admire each other. Therefore they sometimes end up working together in peculiar circumstances, though keeping up their squabbling. Thus, although he publicly opposes the Church as a Party duty, Peppone takes his gang to the church and baptizes his children there, which makes him part of Don Camillo’s flock. If Peppone can be a Communist and a Catholic at the same time, Don Camillo, on the other side, gets labeled by local rich landowners and traditionalists as a “Bolshevik priest” because he’s not afraid to decry the avarice of rich people. The Christ in the crucifix often has far greater understanding than Don Camillo of the troubles of the people, and has to constantly but gently reprimand the priest for his impatience.Through this plot device, conservative institutions in Italy are chided. Christ more often has to restrain the priest Camillo loses his temper on occasion, to the extreme of getting involved in fistfights, and even on occasion using a bench as a club.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. By Douglas Adams. Arthur Dent, mild-mannered, out-to-lunch earth-ling, is plucked from his planet by his friend Ford Prefect just seconds before it was demolished to make way for a hyper-space bypass. Ford, posing as an out-of-work actor, is a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Together the gruesome twosome begin their now-famous inter-galactic journey through time and space.
And Another Thing… By Eoin Colfer. “Douglas Adams is reborn in Eoin Colfer’s masterful prose” An Englishman’s continuing search through space and time for a decent cup of tea . . . Arthur Dent’s accidental association with that wholly remarkable book The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has not been entirely without incident. Arthur has travelled the length, breadth and depth of known, and unknown, space. He has stumbled forwards and backwards through time. He has been blown up, reassembled, cruelly imprisoned, horribly released and colourfully insulted more than is strictly necessary. And, of course, he has comprehensively failed to grasp the meaning of life, the universe and everything. Arthur has, though, finally made it home to Earth. But that does not mean he has escaped his fate. For Arthur’s chances of getting his hands on a decent cuppa are evaporating along with the world’s oceans. Because no sooner has he arrived than he finds out that Earth is about to be blown up . . . again. And Another Thing . by Eoin Colfer is the rather unexpected, but very welcome, sixth instalment of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy trilogy. It features a pantheon of unemployed gods, everyone’s favourite renegade Galactic President, a lovestruck green alien, an irritating computer and at least one very large slab of cheese.
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. By Douglas Adams. Dirk Gently has an unshakable belief in the interconnectedness of all things but his Holistic Detective Agency’s only success seems to be tracking down missing cats for old ladies. Then Dirk stumbles upon an old friend behaving bizarrely, and he is drawn into a four-billion year old mystery that must be solved if the human race is to avoid immediate extinction.
The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul. By Douglas Adams. Harry Enfield exuberantly returns as Dirk Gently, who, fallen on hard times and dressed as a gypsy woman, is using his irritatingly accurate clairvoyant powers to read palms.He is saved when a frantic client turns up with a ludicrous story about being stalked by a goblin waving a contract accompanied by a hairy, green-eyed, scythe-wielding monster. When Detective Superintendent Gilks decides a headless body found in a sealed room is the result of a particularly irritating suicide, Dirk is plunged into a mystery where the interconnectedness of all things is tested to the limit.
The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time is a posthumous collection of previously published and unpublished material by Douglas Adams. It consists largely of essays about technology and life experiences, but its major selling point is the inclusion of the incomplete novel on which Adams was working at the time of his death, The Salmon of Doubt, from which the collection gets its title and is a reference to the Irish myth of the Salmon of Knowledge.
Cobwebs. Psychological drama by David Hodgson. Greg Drake is just getting his life back together after the death of his wife. But then his house is broken into when he is asleep. Nothing is taken, but his peace of mind is destroyed.
There is a single 2 hour episode version and five 21 minute episodes.
A King’s Speech. By Mark Burgess. It is 1937, the day of the Coronation, and the newly-crowned George VI must broadcast to the nation and the empire – a terrifying prospect for perhaps the most notable Briton to have suffered from a stammer. This play focuses on the close working relationship between the King and his speech therapist.