The Core. By Mike Bartlett. Carly is a bright thirteen year old who goes to the Coalforth School in Berkshire. The school has not being doing well, but it has just recruited Sarah Parkinson, a new head with energy and vision. Exploring the hot topic of education The Core is about the impact of current policies on those going through the system. We follow Carly and Sarah into the future and it’s not what we, or they, expect.
The Crowded Street. By Winifred Holtby. Muriel unwittingly disgraces herself at her first party and then has to face the harsh reality of boarding school. Life brightens, however, when she befriends the exotic and beautiful Clare Duquesne.
The Elephant Keeper. By Christopher Nicholson. Tom’s life is suddenly changed when his master buys two elephants at Bristol docks. In this adaptation of Christopher Nicolson’s vivid and dramatic novel, the central story is about the relationship between a boy and an elephant. But this is no whimsical love story – it’s about power, and how power and violence distort relationships. It’s about how the rich abuse the poor, and how humans abuse animals. And yet, this is also a simple moving drama, told by a young man, about the defining love of his life. Tom is 16 when the story opens, a simple West Country boy, the son of a groom on a country estate in the 18th century. When his master acquires a pair of elephants, the job of keeper falls to him. Overcoming his fears, Tom begins a relationship with the elephants which will change the course of his life.
The Events. By David Greig. Radio adaptation of David Greig’s powerful play which garnered five-star reviews at Edinburgh 2013 and a Fringe First. The Events centres on Claire, a priest, and her desperate, compulsive and all-encompassing search for understanding after surviving a mass shooting event in which many members of her multicultural community choir were killed. Challenging and thoughtful and at times surprisingly funny, this play touches on some of the most fraught areas of contemporary politics – immigration, tribalism, religion and ideas of isolated, demoralised and dangerous youth.
The Harpole Report. By JL Carr. Idealistic young teacher, George Harpole, decides to shake things up when he becomes acting head of Tampling St Nicholas Primary School – but he encounters stiff resistance from all quarters.
The Heat of the Day. By Elizabeth Bowen. Elizabeth Bowen’s wartime novel of betrayal adapted from a screenplay by Harold Pinter. Part love story, part spy thriller, in which the beautiful Stella’s allegiances are tested. Stella discovers that her lover, Robert, who works for British Intelligence, is suspected of selling classified information to the enemy. Harrison, the man who has tracked Robert down, wants Stella herself as the price for his silence. Caught between these two men, not sure whom to believe, Stella finds her world crumbling as she learns how little we can truly know of those around us. First published in 1949, The Heat of the Day was Bowen’s most successful novel. In it she draws heavily on her affair with Charles Ritchie, a Canadian diplomat, to whom the book is dedicated. The tortuous nature of their affair is reflected in the doubts and uncertainties of Stella’s relationship with Robert. Robert and Stella share the same ages (and age difference) as Bowen and Ritchie. Bowen’s preoccupation with the cracks below the surface and the psychology of hurt and betrayal is echoed in Harold Pinter’s work. Pinter’s style and Bowen’s dialogue find a perfect marriage in this adaptation.
The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum. By Heinrich Boll. Katharina Blum has been taken in by the police for questioning. A brilliant exploration of the corrosive impact of tabloid journalism on one young woman. The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum is dissects the power of the press and it’s impact on individual freedom. Told in the form of an unofficial report, this intelligent and pacy story from the 1970s tackles issues of press freedom, responsibility and police tactics. It’s based on a real incident in the author’s own life, when he was publicly accused of being a terrorist sympathiser and hounded by the German press. The subtitle of the book is “how violence develops and where it can lead.”
The Man Who Knows. By Mark Lawson. Fleet Street, 1968: A gossip columnist has been invading some major celebrities’ privacy. It’s London in the late 1960s and Dominic Bold of The Morning News is Britain’s most successful gossip columnist, celebrated for his uncannily intimate knowledge of what goes on in the lives of entertainment stars, politicians, members of the Royal Family and the aristocracy. But when Bold gets hold of a story involving actress Alice Morney, which she believes she has told only to those closest to her, she becomes determined to uncover his source in her entourage.
The Rector’s Daughter. (R) By F.M. Mayor. Dedmayne Rectory is quietly decaying, its striped chintz and darkened rooms are a bastion of outmoded Victorian values. Here Mary has spent thirty-five years, devoting herself to her sister, now dead, and to her father, Canon Jocelyn. Although she is pitied by her neighbours for this muted existence, Mary is content. But when she meets Robert Herbert, Mary’s ease is destroyed and years of suppressed emotion surface through her desire for him. First published in 1924 this novel is an impressive exploration of Mary’s relationship with her father, of her need for Robert and the way in which, through each, she comes to a clearer understanding of love.
The Resistance of Mrs Brown. By Ed Harris.
Mrs Brown is given a task.
She will have one week to complete it.
One week to decide.
One week to prepare.
One week to live.
Amanda Root stars in a stirring British thriller with a difference. It’s 1944, and after the British defeat at Dunkirk and the Americans’ decision to stay out of the war, we find ourselves at home in bomb-strewn suburbia with Mrs Brown. She is very ordinary, her husband died in the invasion, and now she pushes a tea trolley for the Nazi Military Administration in Whitehall. Mrs Brown wants nothing more than to be a nobody. Determined above all to survive, and to protect her daughter, she never misses an opportunity to go unnoticed. But when she’s contacted by the Resistance, will she keep her resolution?
The Righteous Sisters. Jane Purcell tells the remarkable true story of English sisters Louise and Ida Cook (better known as romantic novelist Mary Burchell), whose love of opera led them into a life of danger, rescuing Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany.
For more of the dramatic but true go to the …of interest pages.
The White Man’s Burden. By Paul Theroux. A radio adaptation of Paul Theroux’s stage play about the young Rudyard Kipling’s humiliating final months as an American resident. The great English writer plans to settle in Vermont with his American wife, but a clash with his brother-in-law results in death threats, a court case and public scandal. Will Kipling manage to keep his head when all about are losing theirs?
Tom Jones. By Henry Fielding. Wealthy Squire Allworthy is surprised to find an infant wrapped in his bed sheets. First published on 28 February 1749 in London, Tom Jones is among the earliest English prose works describable as a novel, and is the earliest novel mentioned by W. Somerset Maugham in his 1948 book “Great Novelists and Their Novels” among the ten best novels of the world. It was received with enthusiasm by the general public of the time; some critics including Samuel Johnson took exception to Fielding’s “robust distinctions between right and wrong”. Tom Jones is generally regarded as Fielding’s greatest book. and as a very influential English novel.
Vanity Fair. By William Makepeace Thackeray. Stephen Fry narrates one of the greatest comic novels of the Victorian period. Thackeray’s upper-class Regency world is a noisy and jostling commercial fairground, predominantly driven by acquisitive greed and soulless materialism, in which the narrator himself plays a brilliantly versatile role as a serio-comic observer. Although subtitled A Novel without a Hero, Vanity Fair follows the fortunes of two contrasting but inter-linked lives: through the retiring Amelia Sedley and the brilliant Becky Sharp, Thackeray examines the position of women in an intensely exploitative male world.