His Father’s Wife. By Mike Harris, based on an idea by Robert Louis Stevenson. In 1892, Robert Louis Stevenson claimed that his stories came to him fully formed in dreams. He wrote down the outline of one such story from memory. This drama is based on that outline, and is therefore the world premiere of a story that Robert Louis Stevenson never wrote. It is a dark tale of love and filial hate set in nineteenth century Scotland.
A Short History Of Gothic. (R)
01 Markheim. Hugh Bonneville reads Robert Louis Stevenson’s macabre tale charting one man’s rapid fall from grace.
02 Clytie. Watery parallels to Greek mythology, as life gets too much for a woman in Mississippi. Barbara Barnes reads Eudora Welty’s tale.
03. The Lady Of The House Of Love. Indira Varma reads Angela Carter’s gothic fantasy. On the eve of war, a soldier meets the last of the Nosferatu family.
04 Those Who Seek Forgiveness. Laurell K Hamilton’s legendary Anita Blake helps a woman revive her recently deceased husband. But what is the motivation? Read by Melanie Bond.
The Man of Mode, or, Sir Fopling Flutter is a Restoration comedy by George Etherege, written in 1676 and first performed on the 2nd of March of the same year. The play is set in Restoration London, and follows the libertine Dorimant as he tries to win over the young heiress Harriet, and to disengage himself from his previous affair with Mrs. Loveit. Despite the subtitle, the fop Sir Fopling is only one of several marginal characters; the rake Dorimant is the protagonist.
Coram Boy. Jamila Gavin’s dramatisation of her own novel. Coram Boy is the story of Toby, saved from an African ship as a child, and Aaron, the illegitimate son of the heir to a great estate. The two boys’ lives are linked by the Coram Man, a shady figure who collects abandoned and unwanted children from across the country, supposedly to deliver them to a safe new life at the Coram Hospital in London. In reality, however, the unscrupulous man sells the unfortunate children into slavery, or ‘disposes’ of them if they are of no use to him. Soon, Toby and Aaron find themselves bound together in an epic journey, fraught with danger and excitement. Rich with historical detail, this enthralling, moving and sometimes deeply distressing novel provides an important and thought-provoking insight into 1750s society. Packing a powerful punch, it is a tense tale full of twists and turns, and was a deserving winner of the Whitbread Children’s Book Award.
Darkside. By Sir Tom Stoppard. Drama from legendary playwright Sir Tom Stoppard, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon. The album topped the charts on its release in 1973, and it remained in the charts for 741 weeks from 1973 to 1988. With an estimated 50 million copies sold it is the band’s most commercially successful work and is frequently ranked as one of the greatest albums of all time. Sir Tom Stoppard was first approached with the suggestion of writing a play based on the album by a friend in 1973. Now, 40 years later, he’s created a fantastical story about fear, philosophy and madness, which is woven together with the original music.
Cottonopolis. By Nick Leather. Cottonopolis follows local Manchester Evening News journalist Gemma Hayes, as she uncovers the truth behind the disappearances of women in Manchester; one of whom was an old school friend. Five linked stories explore the drastic consequences of what happens to individuals when fear of the unknown changes their behaviour.
01. By Michelle Lipton. Maggie, a fearful agoraphobic, enlists a taxi driver to pick up more locks and CCTV, but news asking for a taxi driver to come forwards sends her into a panic and she accidentally stabs her son.
02. By Michelle Lipton. News of the disappearances puts Dot’s dull existence into sharp relief and makes her long for unfulfilled dreams of becoming a nurse. When her husband collapses fearing a heart attack she walks away.
Later, finding Tony alive they face the painful truth of their meaningless lives.
03. By Michelle Lipton. Joe is delighted as Kathy, mother of two young daughters, says “Yes” to his proposal, but police questioning those on the sex offenders’ register come knocking. Nine years ago, he downloaded child porn. Will he run away or tell Kathy?
04. By Michelle Lipton. We track illegal immigrant and Taxi Driver Henri’s story back across the week. Having seen an apparent abduction, Henri has a dilemma, does he tell the police and risk deportation or keep quiet?
05. By Michelle Lipton. “Henri” is faced with an impossible choice bringing back echoes from his past, as we get nearer to the truth behind the disappearances.
06. Local reporter Gemma uncovers the truth behind the disappearances of women in Manchester.
Recordings Recovered from the House of Leaves. Mark Z Danielewski’s spooky cult novel dramatised for radio. Adapted by Mike Walker. “The Navidson Record now stands as part of this country’s cultural experience and yet, in spite of the fact that hundreds of thousands of people have seen it, the film continues to remain an enigma. Some insist it must be true, others believe it is a trick on a par with the Orson Welles radio romp The War of the Worlds. Many more have never even heard of it.” According to the Navidson record, it was when the family returned to the house from a trip to Seattle that they first discovered the additional door and the space behind it. Will Navidson, celebrated adventure photographer, was intrigued, his partner Karen insisted that the door be permanently locked. But one night after a row, Navidson opened the door and went in. He found rooms beyond rooms, all windowless, all unlit, and only narrowly escaped becoming lost forever in the labyrinth. Not long afterwards the spiral staircase appeared, corkscrewing downwards to a dark infinity. So Navidson equipped his brother Tom and others for an expedition, as if they were embarking on a quest into some architectural jungle. The cameras rolled and they descended, and here’s the audio. House of Leaves is the remarkable cult novel by Mark Z Danielewsky, a labyrinth of its own kind with its multiple interwoven narratives and textual tricks. This dramatic piece re-imagines the terrifying heart of the story.
Four Trees Down From Ponte Sisto. Adapted and composed for radio by Gregory Whitehead. Twenty five years ago in Rome, an American student named Geoffrey Charde fell to his death from a wall above the river Tiber, late at night and with no witnesses, four trees down from Ponte Sisto. Since then, his mother, the poet Sharon Charde has been writing her way through all the dimensions of her son’s death; writing her way back to life through a series of poems that combine her fearless examination of specific details and events with deep philosophical insights into the close proximity of death within every aspect of life.
Hero Jones. By Jim Poyser. Paul remembers three guys at school called Jones. Nutter Jones, Brickhouse Jones; and the star of show – Hero Jones. But after many years, when he encounters the charismatic Hero Jones again, Paul begins to question those memories.
Strike for a Kingdom. By Menna Gallie. Paul Rhys stars in a new adaptation of Menna Gallie’s classic novel. First published in 1959, Strike for a Kingdom was Menna Gallie’s first book. Menna grew up in a small village in the Swansea valley which serves as a template for the fictional Cilhendre. She was six at the time of the miner’s strike, though deeply affected by its impact on her community. Strike for a Kingdom is two things: It’s a darkly engrossing murder mystery that keeps you guessing until the end. But it’s also a beautifully poetic evocation of a close knit community struggling to survive in a world of extreme poverty.
Freud – The Case Histories: Dora. By Deborah Levy. Deborah Levy’s dramatisation of Sigmund Freud’s iconic case study ‘Dora’ translated by Shaun Whiteside. 1899 finds a father imploring Sigmund Freud to treat his daughter after discovering her intention to end her life. When Dora first comes to Freud she suffers from a loss of voice, a debilitating cough and a limp. Dream analysis is the key to unlocking the causes of Dora’s condition, and as Freud’s treatment continues, secrets, seduction and betrayal are uncovered.
Freud – The Case Histories: The Wolf Man. By Deborah Levy. It is 1910 when the depressed son of a wealthy Russian landowner arrives in Vienna. Sergei Pankejeff, 24 years old, is suffering from debilitating fears and phobias. Freud’s treatment of Pankejeff is centred around an enigmatic dream his patient had as a very young child; a dream of white wolves. Freud invites Sergei to return to his childhood as a means of understanding his current depression. Analysing the child inside the man Freud unlocks the meaning of the wolves that haunt Sergei’s dreams.
Success Story. By Brett Goldstein. When Ray’s low-budget film is picked up by a major studio his dreams of Hollywood start to become a reality. Then, holed up in a hotel room doing endless publicity interviews, he finds the past coming back to bite him.
The Forgotten. Exploration of the onset of dementia by Anne Devlin. Alarming lapses of memory lead to Bee losing her home and career. She returns home to her family and ageing mother, increasingly isolated and frustrated with herself. Then she meets a strange creature in the park who calls himself The Forgotten. Can he help her?
The Weirdstone of Brisingamen. By Alan Garner. A much-loved story firmly rooted in an ancient landscape offers a thrilling and moving adventure. Say ‘Alderley Edge’ to a lot of people and they’ll think of footballers with their wives, living in grand mansions. But for a great many the words will conjure up wizards and a hundred knights sleeping in a cave for thousands of years. Alan Garner used a local legend as the starting point for his book The Weirdstone of Brisingamen and the story is firmly set in the part of Cheshire that he knows so well. The book has been cherished by readers of all ages for fifty years. Alan Garner’s story, dramatised by Peter Thomson, is set on Alderley Edge and stems from a local legend of knights sleeping in a cave for hundreds of years, ready to awake and save the world from evil when the need comes.Wizards and dwarfs play their part, but it’s two children who seem to hold the key to the future.
Marathon Tales. By Hannah Silva and Colin Teevan. Pheidippides, charged with covering an immense distance to seek help from the Spartans, is aided by the shepherd god Pan and joined by an extraordinarily varied collection of athletes.
There is Abebe Bikila, the Ethiopian who won the 1960 Marathon in Rome, Atalanta, the formidable mythical figure who ran naked, John Tarrant, the “Ghost Runner” desperate to prove his amateur status and beat the privileged elite, Kathrine Switzer, the American athlete who ran the Boston Marathon when women weren’t allowed in long distance competitions, and Grete Waitz the Norwegian Marathon winner who talks as fast as she runs.
Aired on the penultimate day of the London 2012 Olympics, Marathon Tales harnesses the enthusiasm for competitive sport and sets it in an historical but dramatically imaginative context.
Marathon Tales was based on many sources including Marathon Woman by Kathrine Switzer and Barefoot Runner by Paul Rambali.
New Grub Street. By George Gissing. Generally regarded as Gissing’s finest novel, is the story of the daily lives and broken dreams of men and women forced to earn a living by the pen. With vivid realism it tells of a group of novelists, journalists, and scholars caught in the literary and cultural crisis that hit Britain in the closing years of the nineteenth century, as universal education, popular journalism, and mass communication began to leave their mark on the life of intellectuals. Harold Pinter narrates the tale of a group of Victorian writers’ struggles with integrity and poverty. Stars Jonathan Firth.
Radio 4 sitcom Ed Reardon’s Week contains characters based on the novel.
The Testament of This Day. By Edward Bond. A new radio play written and directed by Edward Bond, one of our greatest living playwrights, who turns 80 this year. In true Bond style, this confronting and disturbing drama connects with realities of our lives and societies. A young man embarks on two journeys, He is in control of only one. He soon discovers there is no going back, from either. An arresting drama about the world today.
As one of the most important and prolific post-war playwrights, Edward Bond has been at the forefront of radical, political and influential drama for over 50 years. He is one of the most produced playwrights in Europe. He was born in London in 1934. He had virtually no formal education and left school at 15. The Royal Court Theatre staged Saved in 1965. The play created a national scandal, which was instrumental in the abolition of censorship of the English stage, and established Bond as a major British playwright. He has written more than 50 plays, including Lear, The Sea, Bingo, The Woman, Restoration, The War Plays and ‘The Paris Pentad’ (Coffee, Crime of the Twenty-first Century, Born, People, Innocence). Many of these have attained the status of radical classics.
Travelling Light. Six teenagers become embroiled in an evil American cult and each tell their tale.
01. Jenny’s Story
02. Carmen’s Story
03. Simon’s Story
04. Maria’s Story
05. Raj’s Story
06. Ecky’s Story
2 versions are available.
V1. 6 individual episodes.
V2. 2 Omnibus episodes.
The Real Mystery of Marie Roget. American writer Edgar Allan Poe was obsessed by the unsolved murder of a woman, Mary Rogers, who he called “Marie Roget” in his fictionalised version of the case.
On his last night on earth, Poe has a visitor with a disturbing solution as to who might have killed her.
The Saudi Prince and the Pauper. A story about modern-day slavery that becomes a blow for British justice, by leading television dramatist Neil McKay. On 20 October 2010, Saud Abdulaziz bin Nasser al Saud, a grandson of the King of Saudi Arabia, was sentenced to 20 years for strangling and beating Bandar Abdulaziz to death. Bandar was his servant, his lover, his punch-bag and his slave. The drama takes place in the police station and courtroom, with commentary by Omar, an anonymous Saudi blogger. During his time in London, Prince al Saud indulged in a two-week hedonistic spree with Bandar in tow, during which they dined at the best restaurants, left £50 tips, drank champagne and cocktails, and entertained gay masseurs. At the end of the fortnight, on Valentine’s Day, the prince murdered Bandar. He spent the next 12 hours on the phone to Saudi Arabia, working out how to cover up his crime. When the police arrived, he tried to claim diplomatic immunity. Bandar died from heavy blows to his head and neck and with bite marks on his face and arms. The post-mortem revealed internal injuries and scarring commensurate with long-term physical abuse. The jury took less than 90 minutes to find the prince guilty of murder and grievous bodily harm. The prince is the most senior member of the Saudi Royal Family ever to be convicted and jailed for a serious crime. Outside the Old Bailey, DCI John McFarlane pronounced, “No man, not even a prince, is above the law.”