Drama Page 87

blood-2Blood, Sex and Money. Based on works by Emile Zola. The first season of 24 hours of drama inspired by the works of literature’s greatest whistle blower – Emile Zola. Glenda Jackson stars as Dide, 104 years old and matriarch to a family of wolves – the Rougon-Macquart’s. Les Rougon-Macquart themed around Blood, Sex And Money, the series is a mash-up of the 20 novels, that draws us into 19th century France and the tragic, farcical reign of Napoleon III, as it marches forward towards a modern, industrialised society.

Each Season will be added as they are aired. To accompany the series ‘Blood Sex and Money: The Life and Work of Emile Zola’ is included.

Series 1: Blood

01: Animals. France is on the brink of a new Empire. A compelling combination of biting humour and tragedy, as Pierre, Dide’s son siphons off her money and steals his illegitimate sibling’s inheritance. By stark contrast, Dide strikes up a caring and loving relationship with her great grand-son, Silvere, whose friendship and love for Miette is heartbreaking as they run off to join the Republican uprising.
02: Fire. France is on the brink of a new Empire. Dide’s family is a turbulent mix of the good, the bad and the misguided. This episode, Fire, focuses on Francois and Martha who are happily married, living a quiet, bourgeois life. Abbe Faujas, a charismatic, sinister priest, arrives on their doorstep and announces he has come to live in their spare room. Black comedy and tension ensue as his scheming drives a wedge between the couple, uncovering the darker side of this sleepy provincial town.
03: Food. Lisa Macquart’s brother-in-law turns up on her doorstep and her entire future seems threatened. A story of love, jealousy and betrayal dramatised by Oliver Emanuel.
04: Politics. Eugene Rougon was once at the heart of government. Now he’s just another member of the public, and it’s killing him. When his cousin, Lisa Macquart turns up with proof that her brother-in-law is embroiled in a plot to assassinate the Emperor, a game of political chess begins. A story of power and the politics of silence dramatised by Oliver Emanuel.
05: Drink. Gervaise Macquart has spent her life chasing happiness. Now, as she sits across the table from a bottle of brandy and a quiet, handsome man, she realises just how priceless that feeling is. A story of how other people’s addictions have shaped one woman’s life, dramatised by Oliver Emanuel.
06: Art. Dide secretly set aside money to support her great-grandson, Claude Lantier, in his pursuit of becoming a great artist. She’s hopeful that the bad blood in the family line won’t taint his talent. Claude, as one of the pioneers of impressionist art, is determined to paint the truth around him, contrary to popular fashion. At the same time he’s desperate to be accepted by the national salon, but when this happens, it’s devastating.
07: Masterpiece. Dide has invested her only last bit of money in her great-grandson, hopeful that his talent as an artist will pull him out of the dregs of ‘bad blood’ that have cursed the family. Claude suffered a terrible humiliation when his painting was exhibited in the National Salon gallery. He and Christine now have a son and he feels rejuvenated, but his obsession to create ‘the’ masterpiece wreaks havoc.
08: Fury. Dide follows her great-grandson Jacques, a train driver. Jacques loves his train more than any woman he’s ever met. But Dide is aware of the terrifying, murderous desires that Jacques harbours within.
09: Trains. The brand new railway system was a powerful force. Dide’s great-grandson Jacques, a train driver, has fallen in love with Sevrine, the first time a woman has come close to challenging his love of trains. As her marriage collapses under the weight of the murderous secret she and her husband share, she seeks her freedom to be with her new love. The pressure on Jacques becomes unbearable.

Series 2: Sex

01: Performance. Nana’s been living and working on the dangerous streets of Paris when a theatre manager buys her for the night and realizes just how potent she could be.
02: Power. A potent story about the clash between love and politics dramatised by Oliver Emanuel. Eugene Rougon is at the peak of his political power when his lover gives him an ultimatum.
03: Family. Family, takes place over one evening, in the luxurious mansion belonging to Aristide Rougon. Inviting his politically influential brother Eugene round to help clinch the engagement of his feckless son Maxime to a rich young heiress seems a simple enough matter. All his exquisite trophy wife Renee needs to do is look pretty and entertain. So very simple – yet by the end of the evening this rich, seemingly united family has completely unravelled, exposing the rotten core at its heart.
04: Lovesick. Dide reflects on the fate of Angelique, the love child of the incestuous affair in the previous episode. Abandoned by her real mother and cruel foster carers, Angelique is fortunate enough to be adopted by Hubertine, a kind woman desperate to have a child. Angelique is a strange, obsessive child, inheriting much of the dangerous Macquart-Rougon traits. Dide watches helplessly as Angelique’s love of God clashes fatally with her love of a beautiful young man. Tragedy is the inevitable conclusion.
05: Innocence by Martin Jameson is inspired by Zola’s The Sin of Father Mouret. A young man wakes up in an idyllic garden in the care of a beautiful young woman. He has no idea of his true identity. But when his memory returns, the young man is forced to question the very nature of his identity and a battle for his soul ensues.
06: Jealousy by Martin Jameson inspired by Zola’s A Love Episode. Recently widowed, Helene lives a claustrophobic and reclusive life struggling to look after her fragile, sickly daughter Jeanne. But when handsome Doctor Henri Deberle comes to her aid, it seems as if life for both mother and daughter might take a new turn – but Helene soon finds her heart pulled in two irreconcilable directions.
07: Affairs. By Lavinia Murray. Unusual for Zola, this is comedic and fun. Dide follows her great-grand-son as he journeys to Paris to find his fortune. Octave Mouret, ambitious and a ladies man, moves into an apartment block where there are female delights, it seems, on each floor.
08: Lust. A story of quenchless desire dramatised by Lavinia Murray. Octave Mouret runs The Ladies Paradise – the greatest shop in Paris. But no matter its success, he’s never satisfied.
09: Flesh. Love and sex part company in the season finale dramatised by Lavinia Murray. When Nana – Paris’ most famous courtesan returns to the city, she finds herself living in a derelict building with her oldest friend.

Series 3: Money

01: Crash. Crash follows the meteoric rise and spectacular fall of Aristide Rougon, whose wild money making speculations in 19th century France are almost an exact mirror of the money markets of today. As he struggles with Bourse, Dide starts to hatch a plan to get out and reveal the truth about the Rougon Macquart evil deeds to the world.
02: Massacre. In a radical re-imagining of Zola’s classic novel Germinal, the powerful Rougon brothers – Eugene and Aristide – become embroiled in a volatile miners’ strike in North East France, whilst their grandmother plots her escape from the asylum at Tulettes.
03: Trapped. Following the violent collapse of the Montsou miners’ strike, Etienne Lantier heads back to work determined to find love where revolution has failed. As his great grandmother contemplates the true nature of struggle, Etienne faces a greater reckoning than he could ever have imagined.
04: Swindle. Sidonie, takes in her orphaned niece, Pauline, and manages to siphon off her considerable fortune.
05: Inheritance. First of a two part drama set in the depths of rural France where families fight over ownership of land, and the earth takes precedence over humanity. An unflinching and gritty account of rural life in 19th century France, inspired largely by Zola’s novel The Earth.
06: Reap. Concluding part of drama set in the depths of rural France where families fight over ownership of land, and the earth takes precedence over humanity. Francoise lies dying on her farm, after being attacked by her cousin and sister, husband and wife, Buteau and Lise.
07: Fate. Two Rougon brothers, Eugene and Aristide, head to Prussia. One on a diplomatic mission to prevent war, one chasing an arms deal. When their worlds clash, the repercussions are monumental.
08: Apocalypse. The forces of Blood, Sex and Money come to violent fruition in the author’s visceral exploration of the Franco Prussian War. Precipitated in the corridors of power, the war is for ordinary men to fight. Land worker Jean Macquart returns to the army where he makes an unlikely emotional connection with a young soldier under his command. Meanwhile, his Grandmother is on the brink of escape from the asylum at Tulettes.
09: Ghosts. Dide escapes from the asylum and sets about stopping daughter-in-law Félicité Rougon’s unscrupulous plans to make the family rule supreme in wealth and politics across France. Her third grandson, Pascal, unites his scientific research with her family memories to publish a book that will blow the whistle on all the appalling misdeeds and weaknesses of Dide’s family line. But Félicité will stop at nothing to prevent publication. When Pascal falls in love, to his great surprise, Félicité finds a chink in his armour – with disastrous results.

Blue Glory-2Blue Glory. By Hayley Squires. For almost ten years Terence and his daughter Lillian have barely spoken to one another. But tonight, on his 60th birthday, father and daughter are reunited to watch their beloved football team vie for championship victory. Will they find reconciliation as satisfying as winning? A tender drama about the fragile relationship between a father and a daughter, and the unifying power of the beautiful game.

Boots on the Ground-2Boots on the Ground. By Don Webb. Danny Marks arrives at a Military Research centre. He’s a volunteer for speed reaction testing; trying to improve reaction times under duress. His mate Billy Rogers was on the same course, but he’s gone missing. Has he just done a bunk? Or is it something more sinister. A dark, contemporary thriller by veteran TV writer.

Born in the DDR-2Born in the DDR. By Jonathan Myerson. The Berlin Wall fell in November ’89. But the bricks started crumbling long before that – and were given a mighty kick by a Rock’n’Roll band from New Jersey. This is the madcap and improbable true story of how the Stasi licensed a Bruce Springsteen gig in East Berlin, and started something they couldn’t stop. In 1987, both Pink Floyd and David Bowie play at the Reichstag, deliberately pointing the speakers towards the East. The result is rioting on the Eastern side – Glasnost has arrived and East German youth wants some. ‘Pony’ Ponesky, an East German band manager (no easy job) knows something has to be done – the hard line won’t work any more, they have to provide their own rock concerts. He is granted a rare luxury: a phone call to the West. And when he speaks to the promoter of Bruce Springsteen’s Tunnel of Love Tour, the answer – freakishly, unbelievably, miraculously – is Yes! Who’d’ve guessed Bruce has always wanted to play East Berlin? Now all he has to do is sell the idea to the Stasi…

Cocktail Sticks-2Cocktail Sticks. An adaptation for radio of the National Theatre’s production of Alan Bennett’s short autobiographical play “Cocktail Sticks”, originally directed by Nicholas Hytner. Alan looks back on his early life with affection and sadness, revisiting some of the themes and conversations of his memoir “A Life Like other People’s”. Both he and – to a certain extent – his mother (with her longing for “cocktail parties”), are seduced by the idea that other people’s lives are much richer and more fulfilling than their own. But in adulthood Alan came to realise the value of a happy family upbringing, and the particular strengths and virtues of his father and mother. When Alan and his mother do, finally, have cocktail parties, they are not at all what his mother would have envisaged…. Alan is played by Alex Jennings and Alan Bennett, supported by the original National theatre cast of Gabrielle Lloyd, Jeff Rawle, Sue Wallace and Derek Hutchinson.

More Alan Bennett in the Authors Pages.

Community Service-2Community Service. By Jonny O’Neill. Daniel Mays stars as Tommy, a young man in court for the first time and facing consequences that risk putting his whole life in jeopardy. Tommy has spent his life being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Whether it’s problems at school or scrapes with the law, he has a fabled knack of attracting trouble. But this time his predicament is harder to laugh off. Writer Jonny O’Neill’s moving and funny character study follows Tommy over the course of his first day in a London Magistrates’ Court, and sees him face some uncomfortable, but perhaps necessary, truths.

Cuttin' It-2Cuttin’ It. By Charlene James. Two Somali teenagers, Muna and Iqra, go to the same school. They are from the same place but they are strangers; strangers who share a secret embedded in their culture.

Au Pairs-1Au Pairs. Comedy by David and Caroline Stafford about manners, morals, accidental chaos and heavy-duty childcare. The story follows the fortunes of two au pairs, Alvy from Ireland and Dorkia from Hungary, who bond over their mutual condemnation of modern parenting.

Because-1Because. By Trevor Preston. A psychological thriller by BAFTA-winning writer Trevor Preston. Ruth was a successful investigative journalist until a terrible accident in France. Her physical recovery now takes second place to her desperate need to remember what really happened that night. Only recovering that memory can allay the fears that fill her every thought.

Bullitt-2Bullitt. By Robert L Pike. Dramatisation of Robert L Pike’s gritty detective story, set in New York’s rough 52nd Precinct in 1963. Lieutenant Clancy, head throbbing from days without sleep, is assigned to protect important Mafia witness Johnny Rossi. But when he is found dead, Clancy has only a matter of hours to find the killer before his enemy, Assistant District Attorney Chalmers, finds out.

Credit Card Baby.-1Credit Card Baby. By Annie Caulfield. Sally sometimes wonders if she has inadvertently put a spell on Sean, the kind, diligent man who has made her life so suddenly and unexpectedly great. But she’s five years older than his forty, and he wants to be a father. It took them so long to find each other, and now she’s worried she’s going to let him down over something so significant: a baby. The only option, according to their pompous, God-like gynaecologist, is to try using a donor egg from a Spanish clinic, where donors and eggs are plentiful. The Spanish egg belongs to Ines, who understands the need for children. She and her husband Rai are suffering from Spain’s economic troubles and selling her DNA seems like a solution. But she also has a generous spirit. Annie Caulfield’s drama parallels these two women’s thoughts and experiences: they never meet but are closely bound together. Funny, poignant and true.

Dead Girls Tell No Tales-1Dead Girls Tell No Tales. Joanna Toye’s drama explores the backstage story to a watershed moment in the history of broadcasting which became one of the defining cultural events of the 1950s. It is media folklore that the death of soap opera heroine Grace Archer was a ploy to thwart the launch night of ITV on 22 September 1955. But for the first time, this new drama delves deep into The Archers’ archives to reveal what really inspired 20 million people to tune in and left tens of thousands of listeners distraught.

Dead Souls.-1Dead Souls. By Nikolai Gogol. As Gogol’s wily antihero, Chichikov, combs the back country wheeling and dealing for “dead souls”, deceased serfs who still represent money to anyone sharp enough to trade in them, we are introduced to a Dickensian cast of peasants, landowners, and conniving petty officials, few of whom can resist the seductive illogic of Chichikov’s proposition.

Dear Countess.-1Dear Countess. By Elizabeth Morgan. “You will indeed be a good husband to me, John. You who are so kind will be a perfect lover as a husband.” So wrote Euphemia Chalmers Gray to her husband-to-be, John Ruskin. She was soon to discover that the reality was very different from the fantasy into which he steadily retired.

Death in the Fifth Position-1Death in the Fifth Position. (R) By Edgar Box. Jamie Parker reads Gore Vidal’s mystery whodunit set in the world of a ballet company. Vidal wrote the story under the name Edgar Box

Deliverers-1Deliverers. By Claudine Toutoungi. A dark comedy about a disastrous school trip to France. A group of pupils are stranded outside Paris on their journey to the Finals of the Young European Ethical Enterprise Awards. Young NQT teacher Lee and more experienced teachers Val and Lesley struggle to cope when one of their students goes missing and then try to minimise the fallout from the incident back home where headmistress Eve is determined to find out what really happened. “Deliverers” examines the stresses, strains and compromises of teachers taxed to deliver success at all costs.

Slipping-1Slipping. By Claudine Toutoungi. Andrew Scott and Charlotte Riley play two expert liars who meet in an ocular prosthetics clinic. Elena, a teacher, is about to undergo surgery to receive a cosmetic eye to replace one of hers which has been disfigured by glaucoma. Sean, her prosthetics specialist, is crafting and hand-painting a shell to exactly match Elena’s good eye. Flattered by her interest in him, Sean embarks on a relationship with her, in part as a distraction from his own chaotic life, but the closer they get, the more he realises that her charismatic stories may all be lies. Is Elena ready for surgery and is Sean ready for a relationship?

Dickens in London-1Dickens in London. By Michael Eaton. Five short plays broadcast to mark the bi-centenary of Charles Dickens’s birth. The theme of these plays is the Dickens’s changing relationship with the city that fired his imagination. Each of the plays tells a unified, ‘stand-alone’ story, but it also contributes to an over-arching narrative – organised around the sounds of the city and the life story of the man whose footsteps pounded those streets.

These five plays are in a single file.

A-Not-Particularly-Taken-Care-of Boy tells how the young Charles visited London as an eight-year old boy, in the care of his uncle. They become separated by the crowds, but with the help of a young gentleman, the terrors of the unknown city become part of a new world of stories. Based on ‘Gone Astray’ – written in 1853 about events c.1820; ‘The Pantomime of Life’ – written in 1837 and ‘Meditations In Monmouth Street’ – Sketches by Boz.
Boz. The strange Young Gentleman is now working for The Morning Chronicle, and has established himself as the swiftest and best-dressed Parliamentary Reporter, earning a decent salary of five guineas a week, taking down shorthand reports of debates in the House. But he has ambitions to write his own stories. Based on ‘Thoughts About People’ (1835), ‘A Dinner at Poplar Walk’ from The Monthly Magazine (1833), ‘Sketches By Boz’ in general and ‘A Parliamentary Sketch’ (1836).
The Sparkler of Albion. By Michael Eaton. Has there ever been a more successful writer? Has there ever been a more well-beloved writer? Dickens can go anywhere and do anything. And this evening he is going out for a jaunt with the detective police. Inspector Field who is now the Chief of the Detective Department at Scotland Yard, greets ‘The Sparkler of Albion’ like an old friend. They have some ground to cover, is he up for it? Of course he is. Largely a dramatisation of ‘On Duty With Inspector Field’ – written in June 1851 – with some material from ‘A December Vision’ – written in 1850 and ‘Bleak House’ – begun in 1852.
The Uncommercial Traveller. Almost a decade on and Dickens is still night walking. But now it is because he can no longer sleep. His attitude towards the city has transformed: ‘London is a vile place, I sincerely believe I see that great heavy canopy lowering over the housetops… the meanness of Regent Street…the abortive ugliness of Trafalgar Square…London is shabby by daylight, shabbier by gaslight.’ Based upon his statement: ‘Personal’- written in June 1858 – and ‘The Uncommercial Traveller’ essays: His General Line Of Business; City of London Churches; The City of the Absent; Shy Neighbourhoods; Night Walks and Two views of a Cheap Theatre – written in 1860.
The Inimitable. Dickens is an old man now, though he’s not even sixty. His aching feet draw him irresistibly towards London’s East End. All around he sees the same want and ignorance he wrote about all those years ago. Why is he doing all these public readings? He can fool himself that it’s because he wants the contact with his readers – no writer before him has ever had such an adoring Public – but is there another reason? Based on A Small Star in the East and On An Amateur Beat – written in 1869; and the reading of Sikes and Nancy – first given on his reading tour in 1868 and performed finally in 1870, three months before his death.

More Dickens on the Authors Page 

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