Poetry for Beginners. Comedy drama by Kathryn Simmonds. During a residential writing course deep in the Shropshire countryside, poetry gives rise to lustful urges, ruthless artistic ambition and simmering rivalries.
A Question of Royalty. By Andrew Lynch. A comedy inspired by real events. Two bungling self-employed plasterers, ignorant of the constitutional crisis their actions could precipitate, steal The Queen’s wedding certificate while working on the refurbishment of the Public Records Office.
A Passage to India. By E. M. Forster set against the backdrop of the British Raj and the Indian independence movement in the 1920s. The story revolves around four characters: Dr. Aziz, his British friend Cyril Fielding, Mrs. Moore, and Adela Quested. During a trip to the Marabar Caves, Adela accuses Aziz of attempting to rape her. Aziz’s trial, and its run-up and aftermath, bring out all the racial tensions and prejudices between indigenous Indians and the British colonists who rule India. In A Passage to India, Forster employs his first-hand knowledge of India.It was selected as one of the 100 great works of English literature by the Modern Library and won the 1924 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction. Time magazine included the novel in its “TIME 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005”
The Turn of the Screw. By Henry James. Drama studying the interactions between the living and the dead. A young governess, Ann, is sent to a country house to take care of two orphans, Miles and Flora. Soon after her arrival, Miles is expelled from boarding school. Although charmed by her young charge, she secretly fears there are ominous reasons behind his expulsion. With Miles back at home, the governess starts noticing ethereal figures roaming the estate’s grounds. Desperate to learn more about these sinister sightings she discovers that the suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of her predecessor hold grim implications for herself. As she becomes increasingly fearful that malevolent forces are stalking the children the governess is determined to save them, risking herself and her sanity in the process.
Jude the Obscure is the last of Thomas Hardy’s novels, begun as a magazine serial and first published in book form in 1895. The book was burned publicly by William Walsham How, Bishop of Wakefield, in that same year. Its hero, Jude Fawley, is a working-class young man who dreams of becoming a scholar. The two other main characters are his earthy wife, Arabella, and his cousin, Sue. Themes include class, scholarship, religion, marriage, and the modernisation of thought and society. There are strong autobiographical references to Hardy’s own life in Jude the Obscure. Like Jude, Hardy did not go to university; like Sue, Hardy’s first wife, Emma Gifford, also became more and more religious as years passed.
The Color Purple. By Alice Walker. Celie is a poor uneducated young black woman in 1930s Georgia who, aged only fourteen, is raped and impregnated twice by the man she calls Pa. Her children both disappear; Celie assumes their father has murdered them, until she meets a small girl in town to whom she bears a strong resemblance. Celie is forced into a marriage against her will to a man who originally approaches her father to ask permission to marry her younger sister, Nettie. Shortly after moving into her new home, she is joined by Nettie, who is also seeking to escape the unpleasant conditions at home. After Celie’s husband tries to seduce her and fails he forces Nettie to leave and, following Celie’s advice, she goes to the home of a local pastor, promising to write to Celie. As time passes, no letters arrive and so Celie assumes that Nettie is dead. Taking place mostly in rural Georgia, the story focuses on female black life during the 1930s in the Southern United States, addressing the numerous issues including their exceedingly low position in American social culture.
Girl from Mars. By Lucy Caldwell. Eleanor’s sister Amy disappeared five years ago.Since then, her family have been waiting and wondering what happened to her and where she is.Can they find a way to rebuild their lives and face the future?
Bearing the Cross. By Ken Blakeson. The defence of Rorke’s Drift against the Zulus is one of those seminal events in British military history which demonstrates why the country enjoyed such power during the colonial era. Immortalized in the 1964 film Zulu, it was one of those occasions where a small group of soldiers battled valiantly against impossible odds to defend a particular piece of territory.
Arthur the King is based on the familiar legends of King Arthur and his mystical kingdom of Camelot. The first episode introduces us to perhaps the most well known figure in the court: Merlin. Young low-born Merlin possesses magical talent, which must be kept secret since such powers are treasonous in the court of King Uther. In order to allow Merlin to secretly improve his talents, Merlin’s loving mother sends him to live with the court physician Gaius, who is one of the few trusted individuals aware of Merlin’s growing magical abilities. Once at court, Merlin becomes the trusted friend of the young heir to the throne, Prince Arthur. A further six episodes focus on the other favorite characters; Tristram, Gareth, Lancelot, Galahad, Guenever and finally Arthur.
Black Hearts in Battersea. Dramatisation by Lin Coghlan of Joan Aiken’s classic children’s adventure.Young Simon comes to 18th-century London to study painting and finds himself caught up in wicked Hanoverian plots to overthrow the King.
Investigating Mr Thomas. Based on a true story, Rob Gittins’s play draws on archive material. When Time magazine printed a warts-and-all article about Dylan Thomas in 1953, the poet sued them for libel. Needing to gather more evidence, the magazine hired a private detective to shadow Thomas in New York.
Paradise Lost. (R/D). By John Milton. Anton Lesser reads from the unabridged version of John Milton’s epic poem. The dramatised version is available along side this version.The poem operates on so many levels, all of them subtly ambiguous. Milton deftly plays with the classical epic form to produce a Christian epic depicting the Fall of Man that demonstrates his profound erudition. He combines the best of Christian philosophy with his own controversial religious views in order to “justify the ways of God to men” in a comprehensive spiritual worldview. However, religion is not the only subject here. Paradise Lost is also a skilful satire on the politics of the Revolution and Milton’s experience of defeat. There is even a history of the future in which the Archangel Michael describes to Adam the fate of his descendants, how the first tyrant, Nimrod, arose, and how Christ will deliver salvation. It also displays the Renaissance man’s understanding of the cumulative knowledge of society, for example, the poem subscribes to neither the classical natural philosophy of the Ptolemaic system or the new rational scientific understanding of Copernicus. He even suggests the possibility that aliens exist! It is also extremely incisive in terms of psychology: “The mind is its own place, and in itself / Can make a Heav’n of Hell, a Hell of Heav’n”.
There are two versions available; a dramatization in 41 parts and reading in 12 parts.
Paradise Regained. (R) by John Milton. When God pronounces that Christ is his son, Satan plots against him. This is a brief epic that was loosely based on chapter four of Luke’s gospel in the Christian New Testament.
Cattle Market. By Shane Connaughton. Deep in rural Northern Ireland, cows are two a penny; sadly, for one farming community, finding love and the perfect partner is proving more elusive. If only these eligible farmers could find a way to advertise themselves.
On The Waterfront. By Budd Schulberg. It’s fifty years since the cameras first rolled on this classic story of love, corruption and courage on the New York waterfront. An outstanding American cast stars in this anniversary production, specially recorded in Hollywood in the presence of the Academy Award winning author. Mob-connected union boss Johnny Friendly gloats about his iron fisted control of the waterfront. The police and the Waterfront Crime Commission know that Friendly is behind a number of murders, but witnesses play deaf and dumb (“D&D”), submitting to their oppressed position rather than risk the danger and shame of informing. Simple-minded dockworker Terry Malloy attempts to set things right.