General notes: The BBC's listings from the early days of their online presence started in June 1997, with repeats not indicated until October; as programming is generally scheduled around evening concerts, start times have been noted after the date.
(01-06-1997; 7:30pm) Brahms On A Slow Train (David Pownall)
(08-06-1997; 7:30pm) Pentecost (David Edgar)
(15-06-1997; 7:30pm) Insignificance (Terry Johnson)
(22-06-1997; 7:30pm) My Dinner With Andre (Wallace Shawn & Andre Gregory, adap Kerry Shale)
(29-06-1997; 7:45pm) Fair Hearing (Steve May)
(06-07-1997; 7:30pm) The Man Outside (Wolfgang Borchert, trans Rob Walker)
(13-07-1997; 7:30pm) Roberto Zucco (Bernard-Marie Koltes, adap/trans David Zane Mairowitz)
(20-07-1997; 10:00pm) Spell No 7 (Ntozake Shange)
(27-07-1997; 10:00pm) The Sisterhood (Moliere, adap Ranjit Bolt)
(03-08-1997; 9:40pm) Transit Of Venus (Maureen Hunter)
(10-08-1997; 9:50pm) Happy Days (Samuel Beckett)
(17-08-1997; 9:35pm) Death In Venice (Thomas Mann, dramy Peter Wolf)
(24-08-1997; 9:45pm) Blood Wedding (Federico Garcia Lorca, trans Gwynne Edwards, adap/musical composition by Felix Cross)
(31-08-1997; 9:35pm) The Libertine (Stephen Jeffreys)
(07-09-1997; 9:55pm) Intimations For Saxophone (Sophie Treadwell)
(14-09-1997; 7:30pm) Loot (Joe Orton)
(21-09-1997; 7:30pm) Up Against It (Joe Orton, adap John Fletcher)
(28-09-1997; 7:30pm) The Merchant Of Venice (William Shakespeare)
(05-10-1997; 7:30pm; Rpt) The Merry Wives Of Windsor (William Shakespeare, music by Stephen Warbeck)
(12-10-1997; 7:30pm) The Relapse (John Vanbrugh)
(19-10-1997; 7:30pm; Rpt) The Country Wife (William Wycherley, adap Martyn Read)
(26-10-1997; 10:00pm) Martin Yesterday (Brad Fraser)
(02-11-1997; 9:45pm) The Magistrate's Ordeal (Robert Holman)
(09-11-1997; 9:45pm) In Praise Of Progress (Gregory Motton)
(16-11-1997; 10:10pm) The Country (Martin Crimp)
(23-11-1997; 7:30pm) Juno & The Paycock (Sean O'Casey)
(30-11-1997; 7:30pm) To The Wedding (John Berger, dram Simon McBurney & Mark Wheatley)
(07-12-1997; 7:30pm) Antony & Cleopatra (William Shakespeare)
(14-12-1997; 7:30pm; Rpt) The Secret Commonwealth (John Purser)
(21-12-1997; 10:00pm) Handel's Ghosts (Paul Barz, trans David Tushingham)
(28-12-1997; 7:30pm) The Winter's Tale (William Shakespeare)
THE SUNDAY FEATURE:
(01-06-1997) Facts & Fables - John Aubrey, who died 300 years ago, is best known for his `Brief Lives', but his importance is much wider than that. He is a father of British archaeology, the first of the folklorists, and a pioneer of oral history. Adam Fox and Jon Kite follow the wanderings of this endlessly inquisitive man around his native county of Wiltshire, whose natural history, ancient monuments and old wives' tales he recorded. With Nicholas Boulton as Aubrey.
(22-06-1997) If Only We Knew The Life Of The Moscow Art Theatre - A hundred years ago today, a historic meeting between Konstantin Stanislavsky and Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko in a Moscow restaurant resulted in the creation of the Moscow Art Theatre. Faynia Williams travels to Moscow to tell the story of the theatre, which pioneered new acting methods and put the plays of Chekhov on stage but later found itself in the deadly embrace of Stalin. Members of the company, as well as British and American specialists, assess the theatre's past and consider whether it will have a role to play in the next century. Scenes from Chekhov's `Three Sisters' are performed by Julian Curry, Andrew Sachs and Tamara Ustinov.
(06-07-1997) Gershwin In Focus - To Gershwin, show tunes were as important as concert works, and he saw no contradiction in writing both. Pianist Jack Gibbons follows Gershwin's development as a composer and investigates the close stylistic relationship between the works written for Broadway, for Hollywood and for the concert hall. The programme includes illustrations at the keyboard and from original recordings. With Ben Kingsley as George Gershwin.
(27-07-1997) Heiner Muller - The leading playwright of former East Germany after Bertolt Brecht, Heiner Muller spanned both sides of the wall with his powerful and poetic critique of 20th-century history. Hugh Rorrison presents a montage portrait of his life and work, with Bob Peck, David Schofield and Geraldine Alexander.
(03-08-1997) The African Mahler - Starring John Gielgud, with Howard Anthony as Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. From 1924 to 1939, the Royal Albert Hall was filled for two weeks each summer by thousands of enthusiasts dressed as Red Indians. They assembled for a performance of `Hiawatha' by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Britain's most celebrated black composer, known in his day as the African Mahler. In this dramatised biography, the painful story of his battle to overcome racial prejudice in Victorian England is told through his writings and thoughts and those of his families and contemporaries. This first radio feature by the acclaimed film director Tony Palmer also features John Gielgud. (
28-09-1997) What Are They Looking At? - A journey into the heart of one of the National Gallery of London's most famous paintings - the Arnolfini Portrait by Van Eyck. `I've been coming to look at this for thirty years,' says one visitor, `and I don't know why it moves me so much.' Nor do the critics, nor do we. For the last 100 years of its 500-year history, Van Eyck's secular masterpiece, a double portrait of a richly dressed couple, sometimes called `The Arnolfini Marriage', has pleased, puzzled and polarised critical and public opinion. Radio 3 goes through the mirror into the heart of a masterpiece. With Jack Klaff as Van Eyck.
(16-11-1997; 5:30pm) Four Quartets Sounding The Century - A new production of Eliot's exploration of time, eternity and the Christian faith, read by Paul Scofield. Written between 1935 and 1942, these four meditations have long been regarded as a pinnacle of 20th-century poetry. Paul Scofield fulfils a personal ambition in recording them. With specially commissioned music by Stephen Faux played by cellist Nick Parry. (60m)
(03-06-1997; 8:15pm) The Ghost In The Reading Room - Writer David Benedictus and Merton College Dean Tom Braun discuss Max Beerbohm's satirical view of 1890s literary London in his story `Enoch Soames' (broadcast earlier today on Radio 4) and his prophetic glimpse into the future. They walk from the Cafe Royal, where literary London met, to the Reading Room, where they lie in wait to see if the ghost of poet Enoch Soames materialises in order to discover whether his work has survived. (20m) (NB: This may or not be a drama-documentary.)
(10-06-1997; 8:20pm) The Dancing Master's Music (William Trevor, read by Niamh Cusack) A story commissioned by BBC Music Magazine which describes the time when music came to Skenakilla House and the effect that it had on those `downstairs'.
(02-08-1997; 8:30pm) The Battling Duo - Timothy West and Donald Sinden play Gilbert and Sullivan in a feature based on the letters and diaries of the team who were brought together by an impresario. In spite of - or maybe because of - the huge differences between them, their partnership produced some of the best-loved work in the operatic canon.
(14-08-1997; 8:25pm) Victor Pelevin - Arch Tait introduces a story by one of the leading new Russian writers. Victor Pelevin's work uses satire, fantasy and the grotesque to portray the chaos in a world trying to fuse old Soviet bureaucracy with new capitalist freedoms.
(03-09-1997; 8:20pm) Unpeeling the Mandarin - Urban, squalid and sexy - `The Miraculous Mandarin' is a dark, erotic tale of lust and murder. Simon Broughton explores the intricacies of Bartok's score, with Fenella Fielding as Mimi.
(08-09-1997; 8:25pm) Bela Bartok's Last Journey Home (read by David Suchet) In October 1940, Bartok left his native Hungary for the United States. That was the last time he saw his homeland: he died in New York five years later. In 1988, his remains were returned for an emotional reburial, and the journey was recorded in a diary by the composer's son.
(16-09-1997; 8:15pm) The Irish Worker (Hugo Hamilton, read by Mark Lambert) After a gale, roof slates are down all along the street. Cultures collide as the German mother at No 2 is driven to check up on the undoubtedly feckless Irish roof-mender.
(25-09-1997; 8:25pm) Beehernz (Penelope Fitzgerald, read by David Troughton) A story commissioned by Radio 3 and BBC Music Magazine. Once upon a time, there was an old, reclusive composer who just had to be lured out of retirement.
(27-09-1997; 8:00pm) Wole Soyinka's Prison Diaries (read by Anthony Ofoegbu) In 1967, the Nigerian writer Wole Soyinka was imprisoned without trial for his attempts to end the country's civil war. This reading from Soyinka's prison memoir, `The Man Died', describes his two-year ordeal of solitary confinement and abuse as a political prisoner.
(30-09-1997; 8:10pm) A Woman's Hair (Bryan MacMahon, read by Frances Tomelty) A haunting tale by a grand master of the Irish story. On a winter's night, a woman lies frozen to the ground by her long, shining hair.
(07-10-1997; 8:25pm; Rpt) The Dancing Master's Music (William Trevor, read by Niamh Cusack) A story commissioned by BBC Music Magazine which describes the time when music came to Skenakilla House and the effect that it had on those `downstairs'. (NB: Repeat of 10-06-1997.)
(19-11-1997; 8:15pm) Till The Unready (read by Edward De Souza) A cautionary tale of a modern-day Eulenspiegel who cannot quite get started on his first symphony.
(11-12-1997; 8:30pm) Britten & Pears In The US - Paul Muldoon reads from Muldoon's '7, Middagh Street', the poem he set in the Brooklyn house which Britten and Pears shared with Wystan Auden, Carson McCullers, Paul Bowles and Gypsy Rose Lee during the early days of the Second World War. The duo returned to Britain, in 1941. Donald Mitchell, the editor of Britten's letters and diaries, considers what their two years in America meant to them.
(02 to 06-06-1997) A Wet Handle - A five-part selection of songs, stories and poems from humorist Ivor Cutler. With Craig Murray-Orr, Alison O'Kill, Dylan Edwards and Beverley Crew. (15m) (NB: Not listed as part of Postscript, but it was broadcast in the usual slot.)
(09 to 13-06-1997) In Translation - Five readings of contemporary fiction from around the world. (25m)
1: Fragments (Binjamin Wilkomirski, trans from the German by Carol Brown Janeway, read by David Suchet; 9:35pm) The author was a tiny child when he was separated from his family and interned in a Nazi concentration camp. He was released at around the age of ten and sent to a Swiss orphanage, where he found it very difficult to adapt to his new life. His fragmented memories of the past kept haunting him. (25m)
2: Silk (Alessandro Baricco, trans from the Italian by Guido Waldman, read by Jonathan Keeble; 9:30pm) A French silk manufacturer falls in love with a concubine in Japan.
3: The Lone Man (Bernardo Atxaga, translated from the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa, read by Jamie Glover; 9:20pm) A reformed Basque terrorist agrees to hide two Basque activists in his hotel during the 1982 World Cup.
4: Santa Evita (Tomas Eloy Martinez, translated from the Spanish by Helen Lane, abr Paul Kent, read by John Rowe; 9:35pm) Already and international literary sensation, `Santa Evita' is part historical narrative, part detective story and part philosophical treatise. When Eva Peron died of cancer at the age of 33, her demise triggered a bizarre chain of events which has never been fully understood.
5: Texaco (Patrick Chamoiseau, translated from the French/Creole by Rose-Myriam Rejouis & Val Vinokurow, read by Aicho Kossoko; 9:35pm) On the island of Martinique, the aged daughter of a freed slave recalls how her father came to be born into plantation slavery and how he learned the meaning of the word `emancipate'.
(04 to 08-08-1997) Five Poems For 50 Years - A week of poems commissioned to mark the Third Programme's golden jubilee. (20m)
1: Three (Peter Reading; 9:50pm) Like Radio 3, Peter Reading is 50 years old. His poem is an elegy for those who have died since then, particularly the poets George Macbeth and Gavin Ewart.
2: Ultrasound (Kathleen Jamie; 9:50pm) The Scottish poet charts her pregnancy and the birth of her first child.
3: The Wind Dog (Tom Paulin; 9:55pm) Paulin is distinguished as a critic as well as a poet. His poem is an autobiography in sound, ranging from bomb blasts in Belfast to the sound of someone wearing hobnailed boots walking down a lane in winter.
4: The Knowing (Sharon Olds; 9:50pm) Olds is one of the best poets in the USA today, and her sequence of poems is both epic and domestic, recalling her life from her childhood - with a terrifying, abusive father - to her own marriage and children.
5: The Shadow Of God (Ken Smith; 9:20pm) Every Lent, the streets of Mohacs in southern Hungary go wild with noisy, hairy masked men as the Buso Festival takes place - a vision of the ancient world in the 20th century. Ken Smith's poem records this and one of the triggers for the mayhem - the slaughter of 30,000 Hungarians in one day by the invading Turkish army of the Ottoman Empire in 1526.
(22 to 26-09-1997) Tales From Yoknapatawpha County (William Faulkner, read by Ron Berglas) To mark 100 years since the Faulkner's birth, five short stories set in his mythical Mississippi county. (Weekdays; 20m)
1: The Courthouse (10:00pm)
2: Ambuscade (9:45pm)
3: Barn Burning (8:55pm)
4: Wash (9:40pm)
5: The Jail (9:40pm)
(29-09 to 03-10-1997) Novelists - Five programmes this week about novelists. (15m)
1: Lawrence Norfolk, author of `Lempriere's Dictionary' and `The Pope's Rhinoceros', is one of the most admired and successful of British novelists. Today, he introduces his next book, which is about a contemporary suicidal love affair and boar-hunting in ancient Greece. (11:15pm)
2: Eight years ago, Paul Bailey, whose books include `Gabriel's Lament' and `At the Jerusalem', made his first visit to Romania, knowing very little about the country. He has now learned the language, and introduces and reads from his next novel, which is set there - `Kitty and Virgil: a Romance'. (9:30pm)
3: Alex Garland, still in his twenties and whose first novel `The Beach' won a Betty Trask Award this year, introduces and reads from his forthcoming suspense story concerning the villains, British and native, of Manila. (9:45pm)
4: Frederic Raphael, known for his screenplays as well as such novels as `A Double Life', introduces and reads from his next novel, `Coast to Coast', drawing on his Hollywood experience and his American childhood. (9:40pm)
5: Philip Hensher, author of `Kitchen Venom', introduces and reads from his next novel, `Slow Thunder', set in Berlin at the time of the fall of Communism, and his forthcoming short stories, `The Inert Reveller'. (8:50pm)
(13 to 17-10-1997) Fan Mail - Following the example of W H Auden's `Letter To Lord Byron', five poets read a newly commissioned verse letter to a poet from the past whom they admire. (15m)
1: Tom Paulin reads his letter to John Clare called `The Writing Lark'. (9:45pm)
2: Kathleen Jamie writes to Robert Burns about growing up in modern Scotland and about devolution. (9:30pm)
3: Glyn Maxwell writes to Edward Thomas. (9:45pm)
4: The Caribbean writer Olive Senior reads her letter to the great Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. (9:00pm)
5: In the last of the series, American poet Mark Doty reads his `Letter to Walt Whitman'. (9:10pm)
(27 to 31-10-1997) Radio Poems - Five specially commissioned poems blending words and sound. (20m)
1: Spirit Machines (Robert Crawford; 9:25pm)
2: Wire Through The Heart (Ken Smith; 9:30pm)
3: Once Upon A Zoo (Lavinia Greenlaw; 9:00pm)
4: The Man Made Of Rain (Brendan Kennelly; 9:05pm)
5: Hopewell Haiku (Paul Muldoon; 9:40pm)
(22 to 26-12-1997) Christmas Day (wri/read by Paul Durcan) Over five programmes this week, Durcan reads his book-length poem that sets out a funny, poignant and often irreverent vision of Christmas. (15m) (NB: Episode 2 was marked as a repeat, though none of the others were.)
1: Accustomed to loneliness, Paul takes up Frank's unexpected invitation for a curiously homely, decidedly male Christmas lunch. (9:45pm)
2: Paul and Frank continue their funny, melancholic and often subversive Christmas afternoon conversation. (9:30pm)
3: Paul and Frank settle down to lunch. (9:30pm)
4: Lunch over, Paul and Frank continue their conversation. (9:45pm)
5: Back home from Christmas at Frank's flat, Paul's thoughts range across his life. (9:45pm)
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