In advance of my trip to Annecy, I've been listening to francophone radio more or less solidly since March, trying to improve my comprehension. Now that I'm back in the linguistic brothel where English was born, it's time to do some catching up – and oh, what a lot there is to choose from!
FACTUALThe Reith Lectures: Hilary Mantel
- Author of Wolf Hall
and A Place of Greater Safety
speaks fascinatingly about historical fiction, our relationship with the past, how and why we resurrect the dead in stories, and many other things very close to my heart.Away with the Fairies
- An exploration of the journey the Little People have made in popular culture, from uncanny threat to sparkly friends.
- An excellent jape set in colonial New York. Only available until the wee hours, UK time, so if you're reading this on June 20th, give it a listen while you can – it's a very good story, very well read!I, Claudius
- A radio adaptation of the famous historical novel. I've only caught half of one episode so far, but it's very good, so will be catching up on the rest as an antidote to the news. If you think man's inhumanity to man is a recent thing, well, you don't know much about the Romans...A Place of Greater Safety
- Hilary Mantel's novel of the French Revolution, and a salient cautionary tale for passionate idealists on either side of the political spectrum. This production I know for a fact is fabulous, as it was so good the first time I recorded it and listened over and over. Highly recommended.Hard Times
- I never got into this novel when I tried reading it, but the exploration of heartless pragmatism vs anything else is appealing, so I hope the radio adaptation is a way in to the Industrial Revolutionary fable.Nineteen Ninety-Eight
- A spoof of Orwell's 1984
, but when the main character Edward Wilson goes in pursuit of Truth and ends up founding a Movement, and it stars David Threlfall (my favourite Iago) and Hugh Laurie (Hugh Laurie
), there's reason enough to listen right there.
- John Finnemore's series of droll two-character dramas is back! As always, anything he writes is worth listening to – these aren't as laugh-out-loud funny as Cabin Pressure
or Souvenir Programme
, but are great little character pieces, and have such range.Saturday Night Fry
- Stephen Fry, Hugh Laure, Jim Broadbent and guests are silly on the wireless – and SO YOUNG.The Burkiss Way
- Vintage barmy sketch comedyThe Harpoon
- Slightly more recent barmy sketch comedy, spoofing much less recent and generally non-comedic kids' magazines.The Consultants
- Contemporary barmy sketch comedyJohn Finnemore, Apparently
- Contemporary barmy sketch comedy by a certain eponymous gentleman, airing ThursdayTalking and Not Talking
- Contemporary barmy sketch comedy, with a little more gender balanceOn the Town With the League of Gentlemen
- Barmiest of all comedy, the radio series that preceded the TV series that launched the careers of Mark Gatiss, Reece Shearsmith, and Steve Pemberton.
And now my laptop's overheating, so I will leave it there! Enjoy!