Drama Page 28

Two on a TowerTwo On a Tower. Dramatisation by Jon Sen of Thomas Hardy’s tragic tale of star-crossed lovers in the West Country.When Lady Viviette Constantine discovers the handsome young astronomer Swithin St Cleeve on the lonely tower on her estate, a story of passion and sacrifice begins.

The Handmaids TaleThe Handmaid’s Tale. (R) Margaret Atwood’s chilling vision of 21st-century America. Birth rates are plummeting as a result of chemical pollution, nuclear accidents and toxic spillages. This is the diary of a young woman recruited for reproductive purposes by a totalitarian regime that uses religion as a tool of state repression. Read by Buffy Davis.

The Diary of Samuel PepysThe Diary of Samuel Pepys. On 1 January 1660, Pepys began to keep a diary. He recorded his daily life for almost ten years. The women he pursued, his friends, his dealings, are all laid out. His diary reveals his jealousies, insecurities, trivial concerns, and his fractious relationship with his wife. It is an important account of London in the 1660s. The juxtaposition of his commentary on politics and national events, alongside the very personal, can be seen from the beginning. As well as providing a first-hand account of the Restoration, Pepys’s diary is notable for its detailed and unique accounts of several other major events of the 1660s. In particular it is an invaluable source for the study of the Second Anglo-Dutch War of 1665-7, of the Great Plague of 1665 and of the Great Fire of London in 1666.

There are two versions available:
Version 1 from 1995 dramatised by Neville Smith in 6 episodes. Oliver Parker as Samuel Pepys and Charlotte Attenborough as his wife Elizabeth.
Version 2 from 2011-2014 dramatised by Hattie Naylor in 10 episodes. Kris Marshall plays Samuel Pepys and Katherine Jakeways his wife Elizabeth. Pepys’ telling of the ‘Great Fire of London’ was broadcast as a separate play (below) but with the same cast. This will follow the events portrayed in the episode ‘The Diary of Samuel Pepys 1666′ and is included in the folder holding this version of The Diary of Samuel Pepys.

Pepys Fire of London-1-1Pepys Fire of London. London in 1666 was a health and safety nightmare. It was illegal to build with wood and thatch but people did it anyway. Foundries were forbidden in the city but that didn’t stop them operating. Charles II had banned dangerous overhanging windows but this was ignored by local government who carried on building them regardless. Many homes still contained muskets and gunpowder left over from Cromwell’s time. Six hundred tons of highly potent gunpowder were stored in the Tower of London itself. Riverfront warehouses were full of oil and tallow. There was no fire service.
In Pudding Lane, on 2 September, after a day of slaving over a hot oven, Thomas Farrinor, baker to King Charles II, went to bed unaware that his oven was still alight. The smouldering embers ignited some nearby firewood and by 1 o’clock in the morning his house was ablaze. A strong wind on that September morning ensured that sparks flew everywhere…Samuel Pepys’ diary of the following days, dramatised by Hattie Naylor, reveals the unfolding drama.

pepys-after-the-fire-2Pepys: After The Fire. When the Great Fire of 1666 was finally extinguished, all that remained of the city of London were smouldering ruins. Samuel Pepys, the famous diarist, witnessed first hand the impact it had on the city and its people, and he would be haunted by what he had seen for the rest of his life. 13,000 homes, 88 churches, and many key buildings had been destroyed or damaged including markets, jails, the Guildhall and St Paul’s Cathedral. Now aged 70, in poor health, and living with his servant Will Hewer in Clapham, Sam remembers the devastation, and how thousands of those made homeless by the fire were camped out on the fields of Islington and Moorfields.

it had to be murderIt Had To Be Murder. (R) By Cornell Woolrich. The chilling and riveting story of a man immobilised in his apartment, observing the minutiae of life – and death – through his rear window. Most of Hal Jeffries’s daily observations run to the mundane, until he plays back certain events in his mind and realises that they point to a murder. Written by Cornell Woolrich and read by Stuart Milligan, this story was the basis for Alfred Hitchcock’s unforgettable film, Rear Window.

The wonderful wizard of OzThe Wizard of Oz. By L Frank Baum. Adapted for radio by Marcy Kahan. Dorothy is a young orphaned girl raised by her Uncle Henry and Aunt Em in the bleak landscape of a Kansas farm. She has a little black dog Toto, who is her sole source of happiness on the dry, grey prairies. One day the farmhouse, with Dorothy and Toto inside, is caught up in a cyclone and deposited in a field in Munchkin Country, the eastern quadrant of the Land of Oz. It is here that Dorothy’s adventures begin.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. By L Frank Baum. The story made famous by the iconic 1939 musical film is given a distinctly different treatment in this dramatization by Linda Marshall Griffiths which reinstates some of the events and characters of L Frank Baum’s classic book.

Ambushed by TimeAmbushed By Time. By Kaite O’Reilly. Each morning when Katrin confronts the mirror she finds herself aged 20 years overnight, while Sarah’s husband Joe stands at his front door not knowing whether he’s on his way out or coming home. The damage to their memories is acute, but it is only the first stage of the devastation that’s to follow.

Only a Matter of TimeOnly a Matter Of Time. By Alan Plater. When time telling was standardised in the 19th century, not everyone was convinced of the benefits created by this stride in human progress.

Time Added On For Injuries. Following on from (Only A Matter Of Time), descendants of Fanshawe and Meredith meet on a train, and discover the story that linked their families 150 years earlier.

The Carlingford ChroniclesThe Carlingford Chronicles: Miss Marjoribanks by Margaret Oliphant. From the moment of her mother’s death, Lucilla Marjoriebanks knows her vocation – a conviction based on the influence of morally uplifting novels and the ‘sublime confidence in herself is the first necessity to a woman on a mission’. The usurping of Dr. Marjoriebanks as master of his own table and the assuaging of Nancy, his formidable housekeeper, are but small steps in Lucilla’s scheme, for she intends nothing less than the transformation of Carlingford society. Lucilla’s ‘evenings’ become the talk fo this quiet country town: not only are they an essential source of gossip and entertainment for old friends and neighbours of Grange Lane, but they are also the setting for some of Lucilla’s most startling accomplishments. For it is on these occasions, under the watchful eye and guidance of this magnificent young woman, that reputations are made and lost and romances are pursued and undone …

The Pilgrims ProgressThe Pilgrim’s Progress. By John Bunyan. A new dramatisation of John Bunyan’s enduring 17th century classic about the adventures of Christian, a pilgrim who embarks on a perilous journey to the Celestial City.

The GibsonThe Gibson. By Bruce Bedford. Saul, an aspiring poet from Bath, gets drawn into a web of dark and mysterious forces.

PlantagenetPlantagenet. A series of plays by Mike Walker, inspired by Holinshed’s Chronicles, chronicling the early years of the Plantagenet dynasty.

Series 1
What is a Man? The first of the House of Anjou to be king of England, Henry II’s long reign was finally beset by conflict with his sons.
Lionheart. King Henry II refuses to acknowledge Prince Richard as heir apparent, so he turns to the Crusades.
John, By the Grace Of God. The fourth son of Henry II never expected to succeed to the English throne. When he does, he reveals a talent for making enemies.

Series 2
Edward I: Old Soldiers. Edward Longshanks – the Hammer of the Scots – was grief-stricken after the death of his first wife. But he finds new love with Margaret, sister of the French King. And heartache with his son Ned.
Edward II: The Greatest Traitor. While Edward’s power is prey to his passions, his queen, Isabella, and his most powerful ally, Roger Mortimer, find a passion of their own.
Richard II: And All Our Dreams Will End In Death. Richard II, having proved his mettle in quelling the Peasants’ Revolt, disappoints his courtiers as he pursues peace and culture as an alternative to fighting and swiving.

Series 3
Henry V: True Believers. Young prince Hal will inherit an unstable throne, and a kingdom riven with heresy and rebellion. Victory over the rebel Hotspur, and then the French, will bring peace to England and glory to the king – but at what cost to the man?
Henry VII: A Simple Man. The once-great England of Henry V is bankrupt and losing territory in France. The times call for a strong man who can unite the kingdom. Not the weak, idealistic Henry VI, pleading for peace and incapacitated by bouts of insanity. As the House of York grows in power, Queen Margaret is forced to take up arms to protect her royal line.
Richard III: The Three Brothers. Despite his rebellious brother Clarence, and the formidable dowager Queen Margaret, Edward IV manages to bring a modicum of stability to the kingdom of England. But discontent at the power of his wife and her family erupt into civil war after his death, and his brother Richard is forced to take increasingly drastic steps to uphold Plantagenet power.

In the RedIn the Red. By Mark Taverner. A blackly humorous murder mystery. The story revolves around a series of bizarre London murders – all the victims are bank managers and all are murdered through ingenious uses.
In the Balance. By Mark Taverner. England is hosting the Football World Cup at the Wembley Stadium, a major summit of EU leaders and a general election is imminent. When a body is found in a ball bag it is the chance for disgraced old hack, George Cragge, to get back into the BBC newsroom.
In the Chair. Mark Tavener’s comic thriller with Michael Williams. Maverick BBC reporter George Cragge’s retirement is suddenly cut short.
In the End. An apparent stomach complaint strikes a number of fans on the way to the World Cup and Prince Charles is nearly stabbed.

Far from the Madding CrowdFar From the Madding Crowd. By Thomas Hardy. A man struggling to make a future for himself, Gabriel Oak works hard and passionately as a sheep herder. He takes out a loan on good faith only to have his prospects run over a cliff. The catalyst to this need to succeed starts at the sight of Bathsheba Everdene, a head-strong young woman visiting relatives in the country. At first sight he is in awe but she is indifferent. After a series of events, let-downs and deaths, the two find themselves face-to-face again after an embarrassing confrontation months earlier.

There are two versions available:
Version 1 from 1990 dramatised by Nick McCarty in 6 episodes.
Version 2 from 2012 dramatised by Graham White in 3 episodes.

Filthy RichFilthy Rich. Black comedy by Michael Butt. Max is set to inherit a small fortune when he turns 25, but standing between him and the money is his sister Katrin.And then there’s the grandmother. It’s dog-eat-dog on the mean streets of Weston-Super-Mare.

More Michael Butt on the Michael Butt Page.

Dropping BombsDropping Bombs. A bittersweet generational comedy by Paul Cotter.Sixty five years after a bungled bombing raid, a former RAF pilot, with wife and son in tow, makes the long drive to Germany to deliver an apology. The trip turns out to be explosive for all concerned.

Desperate MeasuresDesperate Measures. By David Ian Neville.In an old warehouse by the River Clyde, Paul and Mhairi Blaze have built a successful design company.But as the economic downturn bites, they need more than grand designs to save their business and their relationship.

ColdCold. Comedy by Tony Bagley, set in 1959 at the Common Cold Unit.Medical researchers are certain that a cure for the cold is just around the corner.But they haven’t foreseen a revolution within their own walls.

Black BeautyBlack Beauty. By Anna Sewell. The 1877 classic which attempted to change careless attitudes towards horses in Nineteenth Century England. The story of a well-bred horse with a white star on his forehead who starts out in a good stable with friends Ginger and Merrylegs, but gradually comes down in the world, his health failing due to over-work and his spirit almost broken. This version of the story is interestingly told by the horse.

Bel AmiBel Ami. By Guy de Maupassant. The story chronicles Georges Duroy’s corrupt rise to power from a poor ex-NCO to one of the most successful men in Paris, most of which he achieves by manipulating a series of powerful, intelligent, and wealthy mistresses.

ArmadaleArmadale. Dramatisation by Robin Brooks of the 1866 mystery novel by Wilkie Collins. The machinations of the flame-haired temptress Lydia Gwilt are derailed by the workings of fate and her own lusts and longings.By unexpectedly inheriting a substantial estate in Norfolk, callow Allan Armadale comes to the attention of the beautiful and dangerous fortune hunter Lydia Gwilt. She plans to seduce and marry him, but there are obstacles in her way in the shape of Allan’s pretty young neighbour and his mysterious friend Midwinter.

Alan and Jeans Incredible JourneyAlan and Jeans Incredible Journey. Poignant comedy drama by Ian Kershaw. Alan and Jean Warburton are on vacation, but this is no ordinary holiday. They are spending it in their bedroom.

Adulteries of a Provincial WifeAdulteries of a Provincial Wife. By Gustave Flaubert. When Madame Bovary was finally published in April 1857, Gustave Flaubert was charged with insulting the public morality and offending decent manners. In fact, the novel went on trial. It caused such a debate that the trial is considered “a milestone in the history of freedom of expression”. Madame Bovary’s lewd character, sexual innuendoes, and glorification of adultery were considered voluptuous and lascivious. Flaubert was criticized for portraying French women as scandalous and immoral. There are certain examples throughout the novel that exemplify Flaubert’s style as ludicrous and scandalous. He ventures deeper into certain sexual relations that occur between Emma, Madame Bovary, and her lovers. More importantly, he seems to glorify adultery and disgrace marriage.

A Soldier's DebtA Soldiers Debt. By Nick Warburton. A missing recording of Macbeth creates a unique tie between three people in war torn West Africa. Why is ‘Ben’ obsessed with the old vinyl record? What – or who – is Safia waiting for?

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