Fight Club. By Chuck Palahniuk. First there was the insomnia. Then there were the support groups that helped him sleep. Then Marla Singer turned up, muscled in on ascending bowel cancer and ruined everything. Then he met Tyler Durden. Then came Fight Club. Mild mannered product-recall-specialist by day, tortured insomniac by night, Fight Club is the psychological story of one man’s descent into an underground world of violence. Together with Tyler Durden – part-time projectionist, banquet waiter, soap-maker and anarchic genius – he creates Fight Club. In Fight Club our narrator, and men like him, can escape the monotony of their daily work-dominated, consumer-driven, image-obsessed lives. In Fight Club you can escape who the world thinks you ought to be. Soon there are fight clubs in basement bars in towns and cities across the country; men with cuts, bruises, stitches, missing teeth wherever you look, and Tyler Durden has become an urban legend. But when Tyler invents Project Mayhem and things begin to escalate, there’s only one thing to do: shut down Fight Club. But have they created a monster they can’t control?
Seeing Is Believing. By Sian Evans. A man is forced to re-examine everything when he sees a UFO one Saturday night in a pub car park. Jon is reliable and trustworthy. So why is he so suddenly convinced that he has seen a UFO? Then his daughter Ellie becomes ill.
Singles and Doublets. By Martyn Wade. Inspired by past events at Wimbledon, this comedy by Martyn Wade takes as its theme a famous duel between Elizabethan rivals the Earl of Oxford and Philip Sidney on a Real tennis court. Having failed to satisfy an argument with a more traditional duel, the pair resort to a five-set game in front of Queen Elizabeth herself – the outcome of which will decide not only personal pride but also the marital fate of the Queen, as she decrees that proposed nuptials with a French duke will only take place if Oxford wins…
Stupid Men. By award winning writer Gary Owen. Ryan was once a rising rugby star, until an early injury crushed his dream. Now he’s a husband, a father, a worker and only a semi-professional part-time rugby player. But as the pressures of daily life mount, and his home-life becomes increasingly strained, one last shot at sporting glory might be his only hope of keeping his family together. A moving and modern-day story about facing adversity and fighting for what you love.
Suspicion for 10 Voices. By Mark Lawson. During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, England was a protestant country standing alone against formidable European and papal enemies. Fear of a Roman Catholic fifth column was rife. But when William Byrd, Elizabeth’s favourite composer, is arrested and charged with placing secret papist messages within the music of the Chapel Royal, the court is shocked and panic takes hold among the recusant community. Byrd’s dense polyphony is dissected and decoded and it seems sedition is undeniable. But the composer has a powerful protector – one whom not even Walsingham dare countermand.
Trumbo. Christopher Trumbo’s drama about his father, the American screenwriter and novelist Dalton Trumbo’s ordeal at the hands of the House Un-American Activities Committee and its anti-communist witch-hunt. Trumbo was one of the original Hollywood Ten – those accused in 1947 and subsequently blacklisted, ostracised and forced into poverty, obscurity and in some cases exile, because of their beliefs. The play is based on transcripts of those now notorious HUAC hearings and the extraordinary letters written by his father during this period, both to his son and to others.
Turf Wars. A series of four plays.
Losing The Plot. By Nick Warburton. In Nick Warburton’s delicious comedy, James Fleet plays Edward, a bashful man who, passing a local allotment, speaks to an attractive female allottee. He decides there and then that he must apply for a plot. But doing so involves an interview with ferocious site-manager Bernie who runs the allotments with military rigour. It’s all looking unlikely until Edward reveals that his father was a local landscape horticulturalist, one Bernie has admired all his life. Edward joins the site. And it is only then that he springs a surprise on Bernie. One that leads to explosive confrontation. Which of them will lose the plot?
An Incident At The Border. By Kieran Lynn. A border guard’s tape line divides two young lovers in a park. Nigel Planer stars as a border-guard in Kieran Lynn’s comedy about boundaries that are both territorial and personal. Arthur and Olivia take the sun in their local park on a beautiful summer’s day. Olivia is reading a newspaper article on their country’s new-found independence. It seems that no-one knows quite what the terms are for the secession. Arthur couldn’t care less. He’s apolitical and just enjoying watching the ducks. Suddenly a soldier arrives, dragging a tape across the ground, marking out the new border. He barges between the two young lovers. Now one is on one side of the new border, and one on the other! Arthur’s attempt to cross is met with a stun-gun jolt from the guard, who has as little understanding of the new rules as the couple. He just knows he has been trained to be suspicious of everyone who isn’t from ‘this country’ which now includes Arthur! How can our lovers be reunited?
How’s Your Mother? By Simon Brett. In a gossipy village Humphrey Partridge is reckoned to be anti-social, indeed stand-offish. But he always has an excuse – namely that he has to look after his ailing elderly mother. It raises eyebrows at work. For example when Humphrey’s boss needs him to stand in for a colleague at a conference abroad, Humphrey point blank refuses to go. The boss ends up going himself. No-one has ever met the legendary matriarch. Not even nosy Raj the local postman. But then one morning when Humphrey is at work, Raj notices a fire in Humphrey’s house, breaks in to put it out and makes an extraordinary discovery. Soon police are digging in Humphrey’s garden. But just what is Humphrey’s dark secret?
The Accidental Head. By Jeremy Front. Beth just wants what’s best for her 11 year old son; a solid secondary education at the kind of school that recognises his genius, as well as his aptitude for baroque music. A school like Folgate. But when the family is edged out of Folgate’s catchment area, a battle begins.
Vincent van Gogh The Letters. (R) Mark Rylance and Julius D’Silva read from a new edition of Van Gogh’s prodigious correspondence. This selection illustrates the artist’s contradictions and complexities: his self-doubt and his passionate ambition; his close bond with his brother Theo; and his sometimes troubled relationships with other family members and fellow artists. What emerges above all is his overriding passion for his art.
Read the full collection of Vincent van Gogh’s letters from http://www.vggallery.com/letters/main.htm
A Whole Life. By Robert Seethaler. Andreas lives his whole life in the Austrian Alps, where he arrives as a young boy taken in by a farming family. He is a man of very few words and so, when he falls in love with Marie, he doesn’t ask for her hand in marriage, but instead has some of his friends light her name at dusk across the mountain. When Marie dies in an avalanche, pregnant with their first child, Andreas’ heart is broken. He leaves his valley just once more, to fight in WWII – where he is taken prisoner in the Caucasus – and returns to find that modernity has reached his remote haven.
“Seethaler shows that for even the most ordinary people, life is an extraordinary adventure – and he does so tenderly and memorably.” Mail on Sunday
“Against the backdrop of a literary world that often seems crowded with novels yelling “Look at me!”, it’s refreshing to read a story marked by quiet, concentrated attention . . . Seethaler’s scenes of mountain life are realised with spare, almost surreally vivid images. But what is perhaps most remarkable about this remarkable novel is the way that it continually weaves past, present and future into a single fabric.” Sunday Times
“Robert Seethaler’s novel is, like its hero, short on words but in its 150 pages manages to do exactly what it says on the tin: embrace a whole life… It’s an unremarked existence, told in simple prose, of a simple man that magically captures the universal in all our lives. A slim masterpiece.” Daily Mail
A Steal. By Mike Bartlett. Liverpudlian shop assistant Hanna tries to help out a couple of friends who are down on their luck, and before she knows it, it’s turned into a mission to tackle the widening economic gap in her community. A comic look at the morality of economics and how the financial crisis feels on the street.
Closely Observed Trains. By Bohumil Hrabal. Dramatised by Ian Kershaw. It is 1945. For gauche young apprentice Milos Hrma, life at the sleepy railway station in Bohemia is full of complex preoccupations. There is the burden of dispatching German troop trains; the shocking scandal of Dispatcher Hubicka; and the vexing problem of his sexual performance. Classic comedy drama from a celebrated Czech writer.
Milos is played by John Bradley who is Samwell Tarley in ‘Game of Thrones’. This is John’s first radio play.
Disobedience. (R) By Naomi Alderman, abridged by Sally Marmion. Read by Sara Kestelman and Tracey-Ann Oberman. Ronit Krushka is in America and when her father, an eminent rabbi, dies she is obliged to return home to Hendon.
Black Dog. By Katie Hims. Out of the blue, Clare’s husband goes missing leaving her alone with their seven year old son and a huge black dog to look after. Award-winning playwright Katie Hims’ funny and moving play about family, loss and love, starring Claire Rushbrook.
More Katie Hims on The Katie Hims page
Eating For England. By Sarah Daniels. In the bleak Christmas following his mother’s death, the young Nigel Slater sought refuge in food. Sugar mice, pink wafers and mince pies helped him survive. So too did his Aunt Elvie who, against the wishes of his father, encouraged Nigel to cook. Eating for England, the successor to his highly acclaimed memoir Toast, is part food memoir, part collective memory bank of a nation’s taste. Using the book as source material along with further conversations with Nigel, dramatist Sarah Daniels has written a playful reimagining. A grown up Nigel – played by Julian Rhind Tutt, looks back on his childhood while caring for a now elderly, yet ever sparkling, Aunt Elvie, played by Celia Imrie. Rich with sounds of the kitchen and recorded on location, with a cameo performance from Nigel himself. What drives a cook to write about food? Why is there such a powerful link between memory and what we eat? And why is reading about food so irresistibly appetising?
Ghost On The Moor. By Peter Wolf. A romantic drama, set on the Yorkshire moors. Graham has become something of a recluse since a dramatic breakup with his childhood sweetheart, the reasons for which continue to haunt him. A new and unexpected relationship is to have a cathartic effect on him. Haunted by a painful break-up, moors recluse Graham begins an unexpected relationship.
Hemingway’s Chair. (R) By Michael Palin. Assistant postmaster Martin conceals a secret all-consuming passion for the words of Papa. Written and read by Michael Palin.
Kamikaze Ground Staff Reunion Dinner. By Stewart Parker. John Le Mesurier Centenary. The men who serviced Japanese attack planes stir memories and plan a new mission. Stewart Parker’s drama for the actor’s centenary.
Anne of Green Gables. By L.M. Montgomery. Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert are in for a big surprise. they are waiting for an orphan boy to help with the work at Green Gables – but a skinny, red-haired girl turns up instead. Feisty and full of spirit, Anne Shirley charms her way into the Cuthberts’ affection with her vivid imagination and constant chatter. It’s not long before Anne finds herself in trouble, but soon it becomes impossible for the Cuthberts to imagine life without ‘their’ Anne – and for the people of Avonlea to recall what it was like before this wildly creative little girl whirled into town.
Diving Belles. By Lucy Wood.
01. Diving Belles. (R) An abandoned wife sets out to fetch her husband back from the watery spirits who lured him away. Read by Amanda Lawrence.
02. Of Mothers and Little People. (R) A pot of shimmering eye shadow leads to a magical revelation.
03. The Giants Boneyard. (R) 12-year-old Gog struggles over feelings for best friend Sunshine, and his mum insisting that he is part giant.
04. Countless Stones. (R) Questioning her past, Rita sees her future bound to the standing stones above her village.
05. Notes From the House Spirits. (R) A chronicle of the happenings and lives of the neglectful inhabitants of a Cornish house.
Mary, Mary. By Martin Sorrell. The fevered imagination of the third Bennet sister, gives Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’ a new twist.
Accrington Stanley. By Martin Sorrell. Not the football club, but a one-legged, partially sighted wheeler-dealer from Lancashire. Bernard Cribbins tells the tale.
The Cuban Heel. By Martin Sorrell. A maverick bus driver’s attitude starts to annoy the passengers on an over-heated tourist bus in Spain. Stars Andrew Sachs.
The Man Who Came Back. By Matthew Solon. The heroic Norwegian seamen and their vital wartime ‘Shetland Bus’ lifeline. Based on real-life events.
The Inspection. By Nick Warburton. (R) Roy dislikes his nice new school jacket so much that losing it becomes a mission.
The Toad Squad. By Nick Warburton. Redundant Reg is lacking meaning in his life. Could amphibians provide the answer?
Paradise. By Nick Warburton. Antonia chucks in her job in the City and buys an idyllic cottage out in the countryside. She soon finds out why it was going so cheaply.
The Wooden Overcoat. By Pamela Branch. A comic murder mystery set in London in 1951. Much to his surprise, Benji Cann has got away with murder. He gravitates to the Asterisk Club, a place of refuge for those who have strayed beyond the pale and not paid the ultimate price. But then Benji turns up dead. Who killed him and how will they be able to get rid of the body without the neighbours noticing?
The Absent Guest. By Peter Whalley. After a murder at a dinner party, the guests become suspects, one by one.
Bar Mitzvah Boy. By Jack Rosenthal. Radio version of Jack Rosenthal’s award-winning television play about a boy having his Bar Mitzvah – the ceremony in which a thirteen year old becomes a man in the Jewish faith. At the tender age of thirteen Eliot Green is about to become a man – in the Jewish religion at least. In synagogue, in front of the whole congregation, he will read and sing in Hebrew from the Torah (the Hebrew scrolls) – this after a year of intensive tuition. Later he will enjoy receiving gifts from relatives and friends as he celebrates with them at his Bar Mitzvah party. All eyes are on Eliot as he is called up in synagogue for his big moment! But is he ready to become a man? This play along with many others established the late Jack Rosenthal as one of Britain’s best loved television writers. A master at creating characters that you could recognise and empathise with, his plays were always sharp and finely tuned with a rich helping of humour. This new version of Bar Mitzvah Boy is specially adapted for radio by Jack’s daughter, the playwright Amy Rosenthal.
Self Control. By Mary Brunton. Brunton was a Scottish novelist much admired by Jane Austen, and Self-Control, first published in 1810, deals with similar scenes to Sense And Sensibility. Laura Montreville is loved by two men, a reckless libertine and a dignified but reserved landowner. In a world where polite society and sexual hypocrisy rub shoulders easily, can she choose wisely between passion and virtue?
The Awakening. By Kate Chopin, dramatised by Janice Okoh. When it was published in 1899, Kate Chopin’s novel shocked society and divided critics. Respectable, married Edna Pontellier, 28, is away from her home in New Orleans, holidaying on Grand Isle in the Gulf of Mexico with her husband and children. Teaching her to swim is the debonair young Robert Lebrun, known for forming an attachment with a different woman every summer. Despite warnings from her more conventional friend, Adele, Edna falls incontrovertibly for Robert. When he leaves Louisiana for Mexico, Edna realises she’s been “awakened” and questions everything: her marriage, her position, the society she lives in. But what is left for her? The novel is regarded by many as the first in a new wave of modern American literature.
The Mysterious Death of Jane Austen. By Lindsay Ashford. A lifelong friend discovers Jane may have been murdered and begins to present her case. Twenty-six years have passed since the death of Jane Austen. Armed with a lock of Austen’s hair as perhaps her best clue, Anne Sharp, former governess to the Austen family and Jane’s close friend, has decided at least to tell her story-a story of family intrigues, shocking secrets, forbidden loves, and maybe even murder.
Upon its publication in the UK, Lindsay Ashford’s fictional interpretation of the few facts surrounding Jane Austen’s mysterious death sparked an international debate and uproar. None of the medical theories offers a satisfactory explanation of Jane Austen’s early demise at the age of 41. Could it be that what everyone has assumed was a death by natural causes was actually more sinister? Lindsay Ashford’s vivid novel delves deep into Austen’s world and puts forth a shocking suggestion-was someone out to silence her?
The Dog. By Jon Canter. Richard Wilson stars as Fraser McDonald, a counsellor trying to save a marriage on its last legs. Jon Canter’s hilarious new comedy features Charlie and Apples – two people who started off as boss and secretary and have ended up as adversaries on the cusp of murder. With over thirty years of experience, has Fraser finally come up against the one couple in a million who couldn’t be helped? When he’s not trying to help people, Fraser likes to spend time with the love of his life – Grace, a golden retriever. Their relationship is as simple as it is loving, with a deep understanding that seems to evade most humans. Fraser would be lost without her.