General notes: As programming is generally scheduled around evening concerts, start times have been noted after the date; There were a few Sunday Feature drama pieces this year, and Twenty Minutes was awarded its slot title in September - but in the same month Postscript was axed.
THE SUNDAY PLAY:
Sunday evenings, various times as noted; The first part of several two and three-part dramas were broadcast on Saturdays, as noted.
(03-01-1999) No known programme - see 21-02-1999.
(10-01-1999; 7:30pm) Twelfth Night (William Shakespeare)
On the night when all the world is turned on its head and all authority usurped by civil misrule, girls become boys and women lust after women, in this most optimistic of Shakespeare's comedies. Michael Maloney (Orsino), Anne-Marie Duff (Viola), John Rowe (Captain), Josette Simon (Olivia). Music by Neil Brand, performed by Neil Brand (piano), Max de Wardener (double bass), Stuart Hall (violin), George Hinchcliffe (ukelele). Director Eoin O'Callaghan. (125m) (NB: Repeat of 17-05-1998.)
(17-01-1999) No programme.
(24-01-1999; 8:55pm) Hymn To Love, Homage To Piaf (Steve Trafford)
Elizabeth Mansfield represents Edith Piaf in a play which centres on one moment in time - a sudden catastrophe from her life. A wide range of her songs freshly translated into English provide a fascinating insight into this great French singer's world. Narrator Steve Trafford. Music performed by Timothy Sutton (piano/alto saxophone), Lizzy Graham (double bass) and Kevin Street (accordion/trumpet). Director Annie Castledine. (90m) (NB: Repeated 18-07-1999.)
(31-01-1999; 9:40pm; Rpt) Via Dolorosa (David Hare)
Hare's one-man play, written after his trip to Israel and Palestine in 1997 and performed by the playwright in his acting debut. After many invitations, the 50-year-old playwright finally visited the state of Israel in 1997. The resulting play offers a meditation on an extraordinary trip which leaves the author questioning his own values as searchingly as the powerful beliefs of those he met. Director Kate Rowland. (95m) (NB: Presumably originally broadcast in early 1997, it was also broadcast 04-10-1998.)
(07-02-1999; 9:15pm) The Father (August Strindberg, trans/adap Eivor Martinus)
One hundred and fifty years since his birth, August Strindberg's drama still finds resonances in today's headlines. A mother knows her child, but the seed of doubt about paternity can poison a father's mind beyond repair. With Ronald Pickup, Cheryl Campbell and Eleanor Moriarty. Director Ned Chaillet. (105m)
(14-02-1999; 8:45pm) A House Of Correction (Howard Barker)
In Barker's latest play for radio, three women and a sick old man sit in a ruined palace, preparing themselves for a forthcoming war. Their little household is changed for ever with the arrival of a perfidious courier. Starring Juliet Stevenson, Nicholas Le Prevost, Jennie Stoller, Victoria Wicks, David Bradley, Ioan Meredith and Patience Tomlinson. Directed by Richard Wortley. (100m)
(21-02-1999; 9:30pm) The Comedy Of Errors (William Shakespeare, dram Sue Wilson & Malcolm McKee)
In this new dramatisation it is 1936 and a cruise liner arrives at Ephesus, where BBC travel reporter Gervaise Ffoulkes finds himself caught up in some strange local customs. With Peter Jeffrey, Michael Maloney, Anton Lesser, Brian Parr and Clive Kneller. Director Sue Wilson. Postponed from Sunday 3 January (120m)
(27-02-1999; 8:55pm) Troy - 1: King Priam & His Sons (Andrew Rissik)
Three new plays re-telling the story of events leading up to and following the fall of Troy, broadcast over this weekend on Radio 3. With Paul Scofield as Hermes. At the birth of her second son, Hekabe, Priam's wife, dies. And her child is cast out onto the hillside in order to satisfy the demands of the gods. Also starring Toby Stephens, James Hayes, Oliver Cotton and Ian Hogg. Director Jeremy Mortimer. (90m) (NB: Repeat of 28-11-1998.)
(28-02-1999; 9:15pm) Troy - 2: The Death Of Achilles (Andrew Rissik)
With Paul Scofield as Hermes and Geraldine Somerville as Helen. The story resumes in the ninth year of the Trojan War. Achilles has removed himself from the action after a quarrel with Agamemnon. Also starring Toby Stephens, James Hayes, Oliver Cotton and Ian Hogg. Director Jeremy Mortimer. (90m) (NB: Repeat of 29-11-1998.)
(28-02-1999; 11:15pm) Troy - 3: Helen At Ephesus (Andrew Rissik)
With Paul Scofield as Hermes and Geraldine Somerville as Helen. The final play follows Helen on her way back to Sparta after the plundering of Troy, during which time she is separated from her husband Menelaus. What is the significance of these stories of pride, jealousy, love and war? What do we learn about the way that people and societies behave? Director Jeremy Mortimer. (90m) (NB: Repeat of 29-11-1998.)
(07-03-1999; 10:30pm) In The Solitude Of The Cotton Fields (Bernard-Marie Koltes, trans Jeffrey Wainwright)
Two men, the Dealer and the Client, meet at night in an empty industrial space to do business. It is a duel cast as a deal, conducted in an intense, highly wrought dialogue with a sense of incipient violence looming throughout: mesmeric, rhythmical and extraordinary. With Russell Dixon and Gerard McSorley. Director Melanie Harris. (75m) (NB: Repeated 01-08-1999.)
(14-03-1999; 9:15pm) Safe Havens (Nigel Gearing)
With James Fleet as Oliver and Selma Alispahic as Eva. In the spring of 1995, Oliver's latest composition is a success in the Purcell Room, but he seems uncomfortable with the comments that his music does not appeal to a wider audience. Then he meets the actress Eva, a refugee from the war in Bosnia. He is immediately attracted to her and asks her to work with him on his new composition inspired by Rilke's poem about Orpheus and Eurydice. So begins the allegorical journey in which is life parallels his art. With William Hootkins and Mariana Dodig. Director Alby James. (120m)
(21-03-1999; 9:00pm) Frozen Images (Kristian Smeds, trans Hikka Pekkanen & Diane Tullberg)
The 1998 winner of the Prix Europa is a raw and witty insight into poverty, pleasure and the power of spiritual love and sectarian belief. The son of a family is mute and already an old man in childhood. The mother is a single parent who raises her children with the force of her hatred and pride in it. The daughter leaves home early, becomes unhappily married and eventually returns home to attempt reconciliation. With Gus Brown, Nicholas Le Prevost, Charlie Hardwick, Derek Walmsley. Music by James Mackie. Director Kate Rowland. (50m) (NB: Repeated 22-08-1999.)
(28-03-1999; 9:00pm) The Reith Affair (Michael Hastings)
With John Sessions as John Reith, Samuel West as Charlie Bowser, Keeley Hawes as Muriel, and Tracy Wiles as Maysie. The play focuses on the triangular relationship between the future founder of the BBC, his fiancee, Muriel, and his best friend, Charlie. John Reith's turbulent personal life would later creatively influence the development of the world's greatest broadcasting corporation. With original music by Barrington Pheloung. Director Peter Kavanagh. (85m) (NB: Repeat of 23-08-1998.)
(04-04-1999; 7:30pm) Fugitive Pieces (Anne Michaels)
The award-winning story of love, exile, concealment and loss, and the damage inflicted by the Holocaust on the lives of two survivors. With Timothy Ackroyd, John Hug, Dee Hart and Ray Singer. Adapted and directed by Roger Elsgood. (90m)
(11-04-1999; 7:30pm) The Glass Menagerie (Tennessee Williams)
The semi-autobiographical `memory play' revolves around a mother's struggle to find a gentleman caller for her crippled and emotionally vulnerable daughter. With Julie Harris, Calista Flockhart and John Goodman. Director Gordon House. (115m)
(18-04-1999; 7:30pm) The Invention Of Love (Tom Stoppard)
A radio presentation of the acclaimed Royal National Theatre production by Richard Eyre. With John Wood as A E Housman, and Ben Porter as the young Housman. With David Ryall, Robert Portal, Adam Barker and Kris Marshall. Music by Dominic Muldowney. Director John Tydeman. (150m) (NB: Repeated 21-11-1999.)
(25-04-1999) No programme.
(02-05-1999; 7:30pm) The Doctor's Dilemma (George Bernard Shaw)
A special studio recording of the Almeida Theatre's acclaimed, fast and funny 1998 production of Bernard Shaw's famous play, which reveals the piece as a love story of great passion and a psychological thriller, as well as an intensely dramatic expression of the kind of dilemmas that still face the medical profession as awkwardly and acutely as when the play was written in 1906. Cast: Laurence Mitchell, Patsy Byrne, Ian McDiarmid, Toby Salaman, Bernard Horsfall, Martin Jarvis, Tony Britton, Robert Demeger, Victoria Kamilton, James Callis, Harriet Cater and Simon Scott. Directed by Michael Grandage. (120m)
(09-05-1999; 7:30pm) Talk Of The City (Stephen Poliakoff)
This haunting play questions how the newly emerging BBC responded to the growing crisis in Europe in the late 1930s. In Broadcasting House, the Variety and Talks departments join forces in a humourous but deeply poignant attempt to inform listeners about events in Europe. A radio version of the RSC stage production, written and directed by Stephen Poliakoff. Cast: David Westhead, Angus Wright, Kelly Hunter, Diana Kent, John Normington, Sian Reeves, Julian Curry, Sara Markland, Tom Goodman-Hill, Mark Hadfield, Dominic Rowan, Rob Edwards, Gemma Page, Katy Odey and Giles Taylor. (135m)
(16-05-1999; 7:30pm) Perfect Days (Liz Lochhead)
A romantic comedy starring Siobhan Redmond as Barbs. Premiered at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, during the 1998 Edinburgh Festival, `Perfect Days' is a sharp and poignant comedy about how romantic love, mother love and friendship, affect one woman as she goes about trying to get what she really wants. With Anne Kidd, Ann Scott-Jones, Jon Kazek, Vincent Friell and Enzo Cilenti. Directed by Marilyn Imrie. (100m)
(23-05-1999; 7:30pm) Aristocrats (Brian Friel)
A production of Friel's play about Catholic aristocracy, to celebrate Friel's seventieth birthday. The O'Donnells of Ballybeg Hall gather for the wedding of the youngest daughter. Cast: Gerard Murphy, Rolf Saxon, Denys Hawthorn, Niall Buggy, Lise-Ann McLaughlin, Darragh Kelly, Aisling O'Sullivan, Kate O'Toole, Norman Rodway, Siobhan Cleary. Director: Joe Dowling. (120m)
(30-05-1999; 9:45pm) Our Lady Of Sligo (Sebastian Barry)
While seriously ill in a Dublin hospital, a woman is visited by her husband, her daughter - and her dead father. She struggles to come to terms with her life and, in particular, her volatile relationships with her husband and her country. With Fiona Shaw, Laura Hughes, Gerard McSorley, Aisling O'Sullivan, Trudy Kelly and Kevin Flood. Director Roland Jaquarello. (125m)
(06-06-1999; 7:30pm; Rpt) No Man's Land (Harold Pinter)
This 1992 production of Harold Pinter's play is broadcast again as a tribute to Dirk Bogarde, who died recently. A summer's night in a room in North London. The master of the house brings a man home for a drink - a man he has just met. Cast: Dirk Bogarde, Michael Hordern, Keith Allen, Bernard Hill. (95m)
(13-06-1999; 7:30pm) Albertina (Howard Barker)
In this play, subtitled `The 20 Duologues', the Bishop of Albertina, a tiny state in old Europe, has proposed to Rocklaw, the town's intellectual, that all undesirables should be carried off on a Ship of Fools. But Rocklaw is plagued by jealousy when his wife follows her lover on board. Cast: Nicholas Le Prevost, Juliet Stevenson, Robert Glenister (Rocklaw), Ian McDiarmid (the Bishop), Eleanor Tremain, Bill Stewart, Gavin Muir, Nigel Anthony, Stephen Thorne, Deborah Berlin. Music by Elizabeth Parker. Director Richard Wortley. (100m)
(20-06-1999; 7:30pm) Maestro (Ronald Frame)
Frame's new play stars Joss Ackland as a celebrated English conductor whose life is in crisis. On a visit to Vienna to prepare for a new recording of Beethoven's Missa Solemnis, he begins to entertain doubts about himself as a musician and to recognise the human cost of his brilliant career. With Elaine Claxton, Kate Harper, Nigel Anthony, Ron Berglas, David Holt, Ruth Gemmell, Becky Hindley, David Bannerman, Tessa Worsley and Ben Crowe. Directed by Patrick Rayner. (120m)
(27-06-1999; 7:30pm) Byron's Fancy (David Pownall)
This play, set in Cambridge in 1807, focuses on Lord Byron as a 19-year-old undergraduate - already a published poet and an established dissolute. During an intrigue, he is badly beaten up and so goes into training at gentleman John Jackson's Boxing Academy. For payment, the bankrupt poet will teach the champion wrestler to write verse. Cast: Jonathan Firth (Byron), Gareth Corke, Amanda Root, David Troughton, Jennifer Piercey, David Allister, Alison Petitt and Ben Crowe. Directed by Marina Caldarone. (90m)
(04-07-1999; 7:30pm; Rpt) Passing Places (Stephen Greenhorn)
An adaptation of the author's own `road movie for the stage'. Brian and Alex flee Motherwell in a clapped-out Lada with a stolen surfboard on the roof and, feeling like strangers in their own country, head north into deepest Scotland with a psychopathic gangster in hot pursuit. With Paul Thomas Hickey, Colin McCredie, Kenneth Bryans, Iona Carbarns, Kathryn Howden, Finlay Welsh and Liam Brennan. Director Patrick Rayner. (105m) (NB: Repeat of 26-04-1998.)
(11-07-1999; 7:30pm; Rpt) Document Of Identity (Wole Soyinka)
Nobel Prize winner Soyinka's play, commissioned by Radio 3 and BBC Radio Drama, Manchester, is an autobiographical account of events that took place in 1997 under the brutal regime of former Nigerian dictator General Sani Abacha. Focusing on the author's daughter and son-in-law, it highlights the plight of refugees seeking political asylum. The action begins in Nigeria and continues in London. Cast: Paterson Joseph, Rakie Ayola, Oluwawemimo Oyelana, Ehizogie Odigie, Patrice Naiambana, Anthony Ofoegbu, Claire Benedict, Ron Berglas, Brigit Forsyth, Martin Reeve, Israel Aduramo. Director: Pauline Harris. (100m) (NB: Marked as a repeat, but I don't know when from.)
(18-07-1999; 10:25pm; Rpt) Hymn To Love, Homage To Piaf (Steve Trafford)
(90m) (NB: Repeat of 24-01-1999 - see above.)
(25-07-1999; 9:45pm; Rpt) The Ceremony Of Innocence (Martyn Wade)
A play about the life of composer Benjamin Britten explores his professional and personal passions, focusing on the foundation of the Aldeburgh Festival and, through it, on the nature of his interest in the young people who played roles in the first performances of some of his compositions. With Simon Russell Beale as Britten, Julian Wadham as Peter Pears, and a cast including Anna Massey, John Wood and Alan MacNaughtan. Director Cherry Cookson. (100m) (NB: Repeat of 07-06-1998.)
(01-08-1999; 9:55pm; Rpt) In The Solitude Of The Cotton Fields (Bernard-Marie Koltes, trans Jeffrey Wainwright)
(75m) (NB: Repeat of 07-03-1999 - see above.)
(08-08-1999; 9:50pm) Naked (Luigi Pirandello, adap Nicholas Wright)
This radio version of the Almeida Theatre's production stars Juliette Binoche. Ersilia, a young woman hounded by the press after the death of a child entrusted to her care, is offered refuge by a middle-aged novelist. Ersilia is exploited by four men in turn who each respond differently to her according to how she reveals herself to them. Ultimately she attempts to unveil her true self. With Oliver Ford Davies, Anita Reeves, David Sibley, Ben Daniels, Romy Baskerville and Kevin McNally. Directed by Jonathan Kent. (80m)
(15-08-1999; 9:55pm; Rpt) Cancer Ward (Alexander Solzhenitsyn)
Set in 1955 in a cancer hospital in Tashkent, this classic of the Soviet period is a metaphor for the corruption endemic under Stalin, as revealed in Khrushchev's `thaw'. With Malcolm Storry, David Ryall, Melanie Walters, Gillian Barge and Dorien Thomas. Dramatised by Olwen Wymark. Composer Colin Sell. Director Alison Hindell. (135m) (NB: Repeat of 08-11-1998.)
(22-08-1999; 9:40pm; Rpt) Frozen Images (Kristian Smeds, trans Hikka Pekkanen & Diane Tullberg)
(50m) (NB: Repeat of 21-03-1999 - see above.)
(28-08-1999; 10:00pm) Weimar Weekend - Ironhand, Pt1: Adelbert Von Weislingen (John Arden)
The play, adapted from Goethe's `Goetz von Berlichingen'. Goetz is a robber knight - a terror to the bad and protector to the oppressed. Goethe's play, about political divisions and torn loyalties, has many parallels to 20th-century Europe. With Kate Duchane, David Calder, Dave Hill, Darren Tighe and Andrew Mawdesley. Music by Conrad Nelson. Directed by Jeremy Mortimer. (90m) (NB: Note that half of the play was transmitted on the Saturday evening.)
(29-08-1999; 9:40pm) Weimar Weekend - Ironhand, Pt2: Adelheid's Revenge (John Arden)
See above. (135m)
(05-09-1999; 10:05pm; Rpt) Waiting for Godot (Samuel Beckett)
The play about two characters waiting for Godot, who never arrives, broke new ground in the theatre when it opened in Paris in 1953 and then in London in 1955. In this radio version, all of Beckett's final revisions have been incorporated. Alan Howard (Vladimir), Michael Maloney (Estragon), Stratford Johns (Pozzo), Simon Russell-Beale (Lucky), Tristan Moriarty (Boy), Geraldine McEwan (narrations). Director Peter Wood. (115m).
(12-09-1999; 7:30pm) Shakespeare Season - Hamlet (Shakespeare, adap Jenny Bardwell)
Sir Richard Eyre introduces a new production of `Hamlet' as part of the Shakespeare season. Michael Sheen (Hamlet), Juliet Stevenson (Gertrude), Kenneth Cranham (Claudius), Richard Johnson (Ghost), David Bradley (Polonius), Dominic Mafham (Laertes), Ellie Beavan (Ophelia), James Purefoy (Horatio), Stephen Hogan (Rosencrantz), Richard Lynch (Guildenstern). With Colin McFarlane, Conrad Nelson, Giles Fagan, Nicholas Woodeson, William Key, Nicholas Tennant, Richard Pearce, Robert Harper, David de Keyser and Timothy Spall. Adapted and directed by Jenny Bardwell. (205m)
(19-09-1999; 7:30pm) Shakespeare Season - A Midsummer Night's Dream (Shakespeare)
Richard Eyre introduces a production of `A Midsummer Night's Dream' as part of the Shakespeare season. David Threlfall (Theseus/Oberon), Sylvestra le Touzel (Titania/Hippolyta), Samuel West (Lysander), Amanda Root (Hermia), Nick Bagnall (Demetrius), Kathryn Hunt (Helena), Richard Griffiths (Bottom). With Donald McBride, Peter Sallis, Derek Walmsley, Andy Cryer, Malcolm Hebden, Becky Simpson, Thomas Pinnock, William Haigh and Holly Grainger. Music composed and performed by Robin Rimbaud. Directed by Susan Roberts. (135m)
(26-09-1999; 7:30pm) Shakespeare For The Millennium - Julius Caesar (Shakespeare)
A BBC studio production of Shakespeare's play directed by Eoin O'Callaghan and set in Rome in 1925 under the shadow of Fascism. Julius Caesar, a new Roman dictator, has swept to power. He has eliminated Pompey, and the way is now clear for him to assume total control - unless a coup led by Cassius and Brutus can alter the tide of history. With a cast including Nicholas Farrell (Brutus), Samantha Bond (Portia), Gerard Murphy (Julius Caesar), Stella Gonet (Calphurnia), Jonathan Firth (Mark Anthony), Colin McFarlane (Cassius) and Nicholas Grace (Casca). (140m)
(03-10-1999; 7:30pm) Shakespeare For The Millennium - Romeo & Juliet (Shakespeare, adap Peter Kavanagh)
An updated version which sees love not as a unifying power amid social division but as an addiction that threatens society itself. With Douglas Henshall (Romeo), Sophie Dahl (Juliet), Milo O'Shea (Friar Laurence), Freddie Jones (Capulet), Susannah York (Lady Capulet), Patti Love (Nurse), Andrew Scott (Mercutio/Balthasar). (235m)
(10-10-1999; 7:30pm) Frank V (Friedrich Durrenmatt, adap Anthony Vivis & Annabel Arden)
A comic operetta set in a Swiss bank, it tells the story of wicked Frank, who decides to fake his own death in order to retire from the world of criminal high finance. With Robert Glenister, Bill Nighty, Christopher Fairbank, Toby Jones, Cal Macanich, Kathryn Hunter, Imelda Staunton, David Troughton, Mick Barnfather, Clive Mendus, Roddy Maude-Roxby and Emily Bruni. Director: Annabel Arden. Music composed by Paul Burkhard, arranged by Olga Thomas-Bosovskaya. (95m)
(17-10-1999; 10:50pm) Barcelona Nights Season - The Meeting (Lluisa Cunille)
This play is at the cutting edge of Catalan drama. The park, the railway station and the doctor's waiting room are all anonymous locations where strangers are thrown together. How can one man enter the lives of so many, then leave them as mysteriously as he arrived? John Stahl (The Man), Russell Hunter (The Old Man), Gerda Stephenson (The Watchmaker), Stuart Wilkinson (The Young Man/The Doctor), Colin Gourley (The Traveller), Anne-Marie Timoney (The Woman). Director Kate Valentine. (70m)
(24-10-1999; 7:30pm) The Public (Federico Garcia Lorca)
Two plays celebrating the work of Lorca. David Johnston, professor of hispanic studies at Queen's University, Belfast, brings Lorca's seemingly unstageable play vibrantly to life in a radical new adaptation for radio. Gerald Murphy (The Director), Ewan Stewart (Man 1), Chiwetel Ejiofor (White Horse), Lloyd Hutchinson (Naked Man/Emperor), John Padden (Bells), Tim Treloar (Black Horse), Christopher Kelham (Centurion), Rachel Gleaves (Helena), Rosie Cavallero (Juliet). Director Mary Peate. (60m)
(24-10-1999; 8:30pm) Shadow Of The Wedding (Federico Garcia Lorca)
David Johnston's play is inspired by Lorca's `Blood Wedding', which is based on a real historical incident. Johnston's play examines what happens when death edges two sides of a bitterly divided family towards a tentative reconciliation. Elizabeth Bradley (Bride), Barbara Jefford (Josefina), Elizabeth Bell (Mari-Carmen), Claire Cox (Young bride), Yolanda Vasquez (Neighbour/Mother/Young Francisca), Harry Myers (Pepe/Antonio/Driver), Milo Twomey (Paco/Francisco). Director John Burgess. (50m)
(31-10-1999; 7:30pm) Moliere, Or The League Of Hypocrites (Bulgakov)
Written in 1929, but never performed in the author's lifetime, Bulgakov's play dramatises the last days of France's great comic writer as he is persecuted by the corrupt churchmen his plays have satirised. Michael Pennington (Moliere), Isla Blair (Madeleine), Anton Lesser (Louis XIV), Charles Kay (Charron), Daniel Betts (Moirron), John Grillo (Bouton), Struan Rodger (One-Eye), Barnaby Kay (Lagrange), Frances Grey (Armande), Jonathan Newth (Brother Faith), John Normington (Brother Strength), Abigail Thaw (Mariette/Masked Woman), John Baddeley (Just Shoemaker). Director Don Taylor. (90m)
(07-11-1999; 7:30pm; Rpt) Under Milk Wood (Dylan Thomas)
The original production of Thomas's `play for voices', first broadcast in 1954 and now digitally remastered. Richard Burton (First Voice), Richard Ebb (Second Voice), Hugh Griffith (Captain Cat), Rachel Thomas (Rosie Probert), Diana Maddox (Polly Garter), Dafydd Havard (Mr Mog Edwards), Sybil Williams (Myfanwy Price), Dilys Davies (Mrs Ogmore Pritchard), David Close-Thomas (Mr Ogmore), Ben Williams (Mr Pritchard), Meredith Edwards (Butcher Benyon), Diana Maddox (Gossamer Benyon), Philip Burton (Rev Eli Jenkins), Gwyneth Petty (Lily Smalls), John Huw Jones (Mr Pugh), Mary Jones (Mrs Pugh). Director: Douglas Cleverdon. (95m)
(14-11-1999; 7:30pm) Talk Of The City (Stephen Poliakoff)
The play questions how the newly emerging BBC responded to the growing crisis in Europe in the late 1930s. In Broadcasting House, the Variety and Talks departments join forces in a humourous but deeply poignant attempt to inform listeners about events in Europe. A radio version of the RSC stage production, written and directed by Stephen Poliakoff. Cast: David Westhead, Angus Wright, Kelly Hunter, Diana Kent, John Normington, Sian Reeves, Julian Curry, Sara Markland, Tom Goodman-Hill, Mark Hadfield, Dominic Rowan, Rob Edwards, Gemma Page and Giles Taylor. Director: Stephen Poliakoff. (135m)
(21-11-1999; 7:30pm; Rpt) The Invention Of Love (Tom Stoppard)
(150m) (NB: Repeat of 18-04-1999 - see above.)
(28-11-1999; 7:30pm) Dianeira (Timberlake Wertenbaker)
A group of students meet a storyteller in a cafe who recounts an angry story of passion, jealousy, sexual betrayal and revenge. Cast includes Olympia Dukakis, Harrier Walter, Jenny Quayle, Sandra Voe, Joseph Fiennes, Alan Howard, Emily Bruni, Joy Richardson, Jonathan Tafler, David Bradley and Simon Callow. Directors: Catherine Bailey and Timberlake Wertenbaker. Original music composed by Stephen Warbeck. (135m)
(05-12-1999; 7:30pm) Lifehouse (Pete Townshend, adap Jeff Young)
A man decides to leave his rural hideaway but is drawn back by the voice of a pirate DJ to the Lifehouse, back to the music that once gave his life meaning. With David Threlfall, Geraldine James, Kelly Macdonald, Shaun Parkes, Charles Dale and Phillip Dowling. Technical director Steve Brooke. Director: Kate Rowland. (110m)
(11-12-1999; 8:55pm) Last Days Of Mankind, Pt1 (Karl Kraus, trans Robert David MacDonald, adap Giles Havergal)
The play deals with man's inhumanity to man in the First World War and the decline of a corrupt civilisation into the brutality of the war to end all wars. The one voice of sanity, Kraus the Grouse, is drowned first by patriotic madness, then by the unreality of war. With music from the first and second Viennese schools in which the disintegration of musical tonality echoes the collapse of civilisation. Director: Giles Havergal. (125m) (NB: Note that this first part was transmitted on the Saturday.)
(12-12-1999; 10:00pm) Last Days Of Mankind, Pt2 (Karl Kraus, trans Robert David MacDonald, adap Giles Havergal)
Destruction rains down on the subjects of the Habsburg Empire, who find themselves inhabiting an increasingly surreal world. Cast includes John Bett, Chris Delaney, Anna Ford, Patrick Hannaway, Giles Havergal, Crawford Logan, Robert David MacDonald, Stephen MacDonald, Sandy Neilson, Alison Peebles, Laurance Rudic, Paul Scofield, Gerda Stevenson, Finlay Welsh, Sandy Welsh and Matthew Whittle. Director: Giles Havergal. (120m)
(19-12-1999; 10:15pm; Rpt) Havisham (Ronald Frame)
In just a few sentences of `Great Expectations', Charles Dickens sketches in the bare bones of a history for the character of Miss Havisham, the old woman who sits in a shuttered old house in her soiled bridal dress, as she has done since the day she was jilted many years before. Ronald Frame's play asks how she got to be in that state. Emma Fielding (Catherine), Liam Brennan (Compeyson), James Bryce (Mr Havisham), Michael Perceval-Maxwell (Arthur), Joanna Tope (Lady Chadwyck), Emma Currie (Isabella), Noreen Leighton (Marianne), Gregor Powrie (William). Director: Patrick Rayner. (90m) (NB: Repeat of 16-08-1998.)
(26-12-1999; 7:30pm) Easy Virtue (Noel Coward, adap Maria Aitken)
Larita is a beautiful woman with a past, who has recently married John Whittaker, the eldest son of an upper-middle class family. Her arrival among his family provokes a clash with their sense of propriety, but she fends off their attacks with wit and charm until she loses control - and her husband. With Anna Massey, Victoria Hamilton, Michael Elwyn, Elisabeth Dermot-Walsh, Jimmy Gardner, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Lia Williams, Geraldine Alexander, Anton Lesser, Rupert Penry-Jones, Jack Davenport, Ruth Sillers and Mary Wimbush. Director: Maria Aitken. (90m)
THE SUNDAY FEATURE
5:45pm Sundays; 45mins; Usually a documentary series, some episodes include dramatic themes and have actors listed so I've included these for completeness sake - none in 1998, but there were two in 1999; Note that the slot was renamed in honour of the Proms during most of August.
(24-01-1999) Corridors Of Light & Shadow - A Weekend In Mantova (devised/wri Michelene Wandor) A drama-documentary that centres on the city of Mantua (now Mantova), mixing Renaissance fact with imaginative speculation. The city of Mantua, past and present, is full of shadows and whispers that run from the secret corners of the Gonzaga Palace, along the dark gardens, past Isabella d'Este's window, over the canal, into the Jewish quarter and beyond. There are secrets everywhere, intrigues and plots, about marriage, about music, about power, because Henry VIII of England is in town. With Greg Hicks as Henry VIII, and Emily Woof as Isabella d'Este.
(01-08-1999) Proms Feature - The Foot Of The Cross Or The Muzzle Of A Gun (Ian Burton) A centenary portrait of composer Francis Poulenc, drawing on interviews he gave, the reminiscences of friends, his compositions, and imagined scenes with important figures in his life. The portrait explores how, through the tension between his sexuality and Catholic faith, he created some of the wittiest and most profound music of the 20th century. With Michael Pennington as Poulenc, and Nathaniel Parker as his lover, Lucien Roubert.
Various dramatic twenty-minute pieces that are used as mid-concert interval pieces during Performance On 3 and Opera On 3; Writer/reader credits have been noted where available; Documentaries/talks have been omitted; The actual Twenty Minutes slot title was adopted formally in September.
(13-01-1999; 8:55pm) News From North Britain - 1: Virtual (Ali Smith, read by Vicki Liddelle) Five new stories from Scotland. An anorexic girl is given a computer pet to nurture while she is in hospital. If she does not keep pressing the buttons, it will die.
(19-01-1999; 7:15pm) New York Stories - 3 - Throughout the century, the bright lights of New York have attracted some of the world's finest writers, and our own time is no exception. In a nine-part interval series of specially commisioned works for Radio 3, novelists, essayists and playwrights who have moved to New York present portraits of the city through fiction and non-fiction. French-born novelist Catherine Textier reads a new short story about her adopted city. (NB: One of two parts that were explicitly billed as fiction.) (25m)
(22-01-1999; 8:15pm) News From North Britain - 2: Mystic Lotus (Ellen Galford, read by Maureen Beattie) Great-uncle Hugh goes to Blackpool and returns with a new wife. Her exuberant taste in clothes and exotic make-up make her a clear winner in her new family's `black sheep Olympics'.
(05-02-1999; 8:40pm) News From North Britain - 3: Coloured Lights (Leila Aboulela, unknown reader) For a young journalist working for the World Service, the Christmas lights of shop windows in London spark off a series of memories of life - and death - in Sudan.
(25-02-1999; 8:45pm) News From North Britain - 4: The Thatched Roof, The Roadside Madonna & The Banjo (Bill Duncan, read by Michael Mackenzie) The intriguing tale of the little-known marriage between Gaelic and Negro cultures in the 18th century and its impact on the music and songs of the Western Isles of Scotland.
(26-03-1999; 8:05pm) News From North Britain - 5: Cargo Cult (Alexander McCall Smith, read by Crawford Logan) A comic story about an anthropologist who investigates a remote tribe in New Guinea that worships Elvis Presley.
(10-04-1999; 7:40pm) New York Stories - 8 - Continuing the series in which novelists, essayists and playwrights who have moved to New York present portraits of the city through fiction and non-fiction. Ilan Stavans, Mexican-born critic, novelist and editor of the Oxford Book of Jewish Stories, reads his own story `Xerox Man'. An Orthodox Jew is caught stealing precious books from New York libraries in order to photocopy them to further a bizarre theological quest. (25m)
(26-04-1999; 8:10pm) The Yellow-Haired Boy (Michele Roberts, read by Stella Gonet) Commissioned by BBC Radio 3 and BBC Music Magazine. Shunned by the group, it would take a miracle for him to sing the perfect note. Then one night...
(27-05-1999; 8:15pm) Poems On The Pavement - A view of Glasgow by poet Edwin Morgan. The poems on the pavement outside the city halls in Glasgow, not published in any anthology, describe a bygone age of the merchant city. Edwin Morgan talks about his work and the inspiration that the city gives him. The poetry is read by Adam McNaughtan and Liz Lochhead.
(04-06-1999; 8:10pm) Shell Songs (Clare Boylan, read by Jenny Agutter) A new story enters the mind of a boy enchanted with the sounds of the sea.
(10-06-1999; 8:35pm) Pushkinskaya - James Young creates a sound portrait of Moscow's Pushkin Square, including Ralph Fiennes reading from `Eugene Onegin'.
(17-07-1999; 8:45pm) The Irresistible Don (John Mortimer, read by Emily Mortimer) A short story written for the Proms, which takes us to a Promenade concert where all is not well in one particular box.
(24-08-1999; 8:00pm) Goblin Market - Tom Paulin introduces a reading of Christina Rossetti's poem of 1862, a story of passion, faith and sisterhood.
(01-09-1999; 8:10pm) The Gypsies (Puskhin, read by Ralph Fiennes, Gabrielle Glaister and Alex Jennings) A powerful exploration of the conflict between freedom and love, and the work which inspired Rachmaninov's `Aleko'.
(04-09-1999; 8:10pm) Interval Reading - Bestiary (Julio Cortazar, trans Paul Blackman, read by David Allister) Isabel is sent to the Funes' country home for the summer. How will she cope with the pet tiger they keep in the house?
(11-10-1999; 7:50pm; Rpt) The Yellow-Haired Boy (Michele Roberts, read by Stella Gonet) (NB: Repeat of 26-04-1999 - see above.)
(06-12-1999; 8:10pm) The Legend Of The Holy Drinker - 1 (Joseph Roth, trans Michael Hoffman, read by Nigel Anthony) In the first of three episodes, a fantastic tale which asks us how we would spend unlimited amounts of money.
(07-12-1999; 8:10pm) The Legend Of The Holy Drinker - 2 (see above)
(10-12-1999; 8:40pm) The Legend Of The Holy Drinker - 3 (see above)
Various post-concert series, broadcast weekdays between 9pm and 10pm, with varying running times (both as noted); Again, documentaries/talks have been omitted; The slot was axed in September and replaced with the Night Waves discussion programme.
(04 to 08-01-1999; Rpt) Fictuality - Five specially commissioned dramatic monologues that combine fiction and a news story. (20m) (NB: Repeat of 02 to 06-11-1998.)
1: One Giant Leap (Sue Teddern; 9:15pm)
2: Come The Day (Fraser Harrison; 10:20pm)
3: Thank You For My Baby (Alison Joseph; 9:15pm)
4: Abide With Me (John Fletcher; 8:35pm)
5: All At Sea (Pippa Gladhill; 9:10pm)
(08 to 12-03-1999) Radio Poems - For the third year running, Radio 3 has commissioned five of the finest poets writing in English today to write a new poem for radio. The poems include specially recorded sound and music. (20m)
1: Lullaby Of Broadway (George Szirtes) A poem inspired by the remarkable extended dance sequence by Busby Berkeley in the film `Gold Diggers of 1935'. (9:20pm)
2: Tea For My Father (Michael Hofmann) A sequence of poems on the death of the poet's father, the novelist Gert Hofmann. (8:50pm)
3: The Blue Monkeys Of Zomba (Mark Beeson) A poem written by a poet-cum-biologist about his research on monkeys in Malawi. (9:40pm)
4: The Other Shadow (Ken Smith) A poetic report from among the threatened Hungarians of Romanian Transylvania, recorded on location. (9:25pm)
5: Marfan (Peter Reading) The `laureate of grot' turns his attention to a small town in Texas. (9:40pm)
(29-03 to 02-04-1999; Rpt) Rereading Auden - Twenty-five years after W H Auden's death, five poets and critics reassess his poetry and make a personal selection of readings.(20m) (NB: Repeat of 28-09 to 02-10-1997.)
(31-05 to 04-06-1999)
9:10pm Postscript Ruslan and Lyudmila (Pushkin, trans/adap Gary Yershon) Dramatisation of Pushkin's verse fairy tale written during his time in St Petersburg. Starring Kevin McKidd and Kate Fleetwood in the title roles, with Alex Jennings as the poet, Donald Sinden, David Ryall, Kevin McKidd, Katie Fleetwood, Chris Langham, Toby Jones and Pam Ferris. (20m)
(07 to 11-06-1999) The Golden Gate (Vikram Seth) Readings from Seth's epic poem, a homage to Pushkin's `Eugene Onegin', which focuses experiences of love and loss of a group of twentysomethings in the San Francisco of the early 80s. With Mark Leake, Barbara Barnes, Laurel Lefkow, Michael Neil. (20m)
1: `The world's discussed while friends are eating'. (10:10pm)
2: `A concert generates a meeting'. (10:15pm)
3: `A cat reacts to competition'. (9:40pm)
4: `A quarrel is initated'. (10:10pm)
5: `Friends meditate on friends who've gone/The months go by; the world goes on'. (9:10pm)
(14 to 18-06-1999) Elizabeth Bowen (read by Fiona Shaw) Neil Corcoran introduces five readings from the work of the Anglo-Irish novelist and short story writer. (20m)
1: `Out Of A Book' and `The Roving Eye' - two essays reflecting on childhood reading and how a writer discovers her subject (9:40pm)
2: `The Last September', Bowen's great novel of political struggle and snobbery set in County Cork during the Irish war of independence. (9:40pm)
3: `The House In Paris', Bowen's 1935 novel of deception, childhood and the tyranny of the past. (9:40pm)
4: `The Demon Lover', a short story set in London during the Second World War which explores Bowen's preoccupations with suppressed emotion, dislocation and the supernatural. (9:40pm)
5: `The Heat Of The Day', Bowen's great novel of treachery and deception set in London and Ireland during the Second World War. (9:40pm)
(28-06 to 02-07-1999) Piers Plowman - Four new translations of William Langland's visionary allegorical poem `Piers Plowman'. (25m)
1: Kevin Jackson introduces the four new translations, which are presented by the translators in subsequent programmes this week. Langland's poem satirised church and state and contributed to the Peasants' Revolt of 1381. (9:15pm)
2: Ken Smith's version of the `Confession Of The Seven Deadly Sins'. (9:15pm)
3: John Burnside's version of `Ploughing The Half-Acre'. (9:35pm)
4: Helen Dunmore's version of `The Confession & The Harrowing Of Hell'. (9:20pm)
5: David Cnstantine's version of Piers Plowman's meeting with Hope and Charity. (9:05pm)
(19 to 24-07-1999) Contemporary American Poets - A series of readings by contemporary poets from America reflecting the diverse range of poetry being written in the States today. With Michael Schmidt. (20m) (NB: Skipping Friday, the final part was broadcast on the Saturday.)
1: Rita Dove & Mark Doty - Dove was the first African-American poet laureate of the US, and her work is suffused with a quiet humanity. Doty, forceful and inventive, was the winner of the 1995 T S Eliot Prize. (10:15pm)
2: Louise Gluck & Charles Simic - Gluck's work is delicate and oblique; Serbian-born Simic's is warm-hearted and slightly surreal. Both are winners of the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. (9:25pm)
3: Sharon Olds & August Kleinzahler - Olds is a winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award; Kleinzahler has also received many top awards. (9:45pm)
4: Deborah Garrison & Yusef Komunyakaa - Garrison, a senior editor for the New Yorker, reads from her very first collection; Komunyakaa, a Vietnam veteran, delivers a powerful meditation on African-American life. (9:50pm)
5: John Ashbery - One of the most prolific American poets of our time, Ashbery reads a selection of his writing past and present. (8:50pm)
(09 to 13-08-1999; Rpt) Radio Poems (20m) (NB: Repeat of 08 to 12-03-1999 - see above.)
BETWEEN THE EARS
Saturday evenings; 45mins (unless otherwise noted); Experimental radiophonic features (the actual dramatic content being unknown), usually grouped in series of six; Writer credits aren't always given; One full series, a one-off repeat and the start of a new series were broadcast.
(13-02-1999; 9:35pm) Virtual Spires (Unknown) The first of six newly commissioned experiments in creative radio. Richard Coles trawls the World Wide Web in search of its new empires. Virtual communities the size of California, with no gravity, few laws, and no restrictions on how you look. What sort of society develops when reality and imagination collide? And who rules the new city-states of cyberspace? (40m)
(20-02-1999; 9:00pm) Eating At Coopers (Rod Tinson) With mango sauce on the wall, a partner allergic to food, and a mysterious commis chef, will Cooper ever get his two stars in Hershel's restaurant guide? With Anton Lesser, Belinda Sinclair, Cathy Sara and Simon Carter. Music by Rod Tinson. Director Sue Wilson.
(27-02-1999; 11:00pm) At The Window (Unknown) Glimpses of the Chicago pianist Jimmy Yancey through one of his greatest blues, the voices of his family and friends, the magic of baseball, and the sounds and music of his city. (30m)
(06-03-1999; 9:30pm) The Church Of Lanza (Unknown) Mario Lanza had a singing career that lasted ten years, and he cancelled almost as many concerts as he gave. He was a boxer and a gargantuan eater who only ever sang one complete opera in public. Lanza died 40 years ago this year, an obese, bloated and exhausted young man, yet he remains one of the most celebrated and execrated tenor voices of the century, idolised across the world. In an original sound piece for Radio 3, Jakko Jakszyk weaves the voices of Lanza's family, friends and acolytes into a contempltation of the man and the myth.
(13-03-1999; 10:25pm) Brick Lane (Bryony Lavery) A journey through the heart of one of the oldest parts of London. Voices of people who live and work on Brick Lane are woven into Lavery's story, with music by Graeme Miller. With Dillie Keane and Shamsa Omar.
(20-03-1999; 9:35pm) Grosse Fuge / Portraits In Absentia (Unknown) A special double bill to conclude the series of newly commissioned experiments in creative radio. 9:35pm: A tapestry woven from public speeches given by speakers including Winston Churchill, JFK, Gandhi, Margaret Thatcher, Jesse Jackson and Brian Keenan. 9:55pm: Composer Jocelyn Pook weaves musical portraits of people whose voices resonate in her memory and in her life.
(31-08-1999; 10:45pm; Rpt) Out Of The Blue (compiled by Rex Brough) Winner of the Sony Award for Best Feature, this programme from the `Between the Ears' series focuses on the shock of being made redundant. People who have experienced this dramatic event describe the impact it made on their lives. With Hannah Andrassy and Mary Harper. (NB: One-off repeat broadcast, unusually, on a Monday.)
(20-11-1999; 10:00pm) The Patchwork Planet (Unknown) The first in a new six-part series of experiments in creative radio. Today, seven producers from around the world respond in different ways to the passing of time in a patchwork of sound pieces, which interweave fleeting human encounters with the music of ancient landscapes. Contributing producers: Siri Kathrine Rude (Norway), Cathy Peters (Australia), Sushmita Sen Gupta (India), Helen Thorington (USA), Veroniker Brvar (Slovenia), Mai Nishiyama (Japan) and Alan Hall (UK).
(27-11-1999; 10:00pm) Gone Fishing (Unknown) A remix of the 1960 classic radio documentary `Singing the Fishing', which was about the romance of the sea. Now a less romantic view of the sea emerges, reflecting the fact that British trawlermen now fight for their livelihoods in the European courts, that the fish have gone and the fishing communities have been bulldozed by well-meaning town planners.
(19-12-1999; 10:45pm) Killing Time (wri/perf Simon Armitage) A 1,000-line poem based loosely on news events of the last 12 months and their connections with the past 1,000 years of history. The poem plays with the idea of the millennium as both fact and fiction, exploring the divisions of East and West, the old and the new, religion and science, and war and peace. (60m) (NB: This piece wasn't specified as being part of the series.)
(25-12-1999; 10:30pm) Beethoven's Fifth (Unknown) Mark Russell introduces a specially mixed performance of the symphony, reflecting its impact on the aural landscape of the late 20th century. With contributions from Dai-Chi and Valentin (pianos), the training orchestra of the Central Music School, Oxford, Professor Peter Schickele, Walter Murphy's `A Fifth of Beethoven', Les Quatre Barbus, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Roaring Jelly, singing dogs, Leonard Bernstein and many, many more. Technical presentation Marvin Ware. Devised and produced by Alan Hall. (NB: Repeat from 1996, also broadcast 20-07-1997 and 09-06-2005; Although a repeat, it seems it was considered as part of this 'six part' Between The Ears series which would continue in mid January.)
Pieces that were not broadcast in the usual slots - they would probably have originally been considered as Postscript entries; The Beckett pieces were pre-Night Waves, and the others were during the same programme's Christmas break.
(06 to 10-09-1999) Beckett Festival: The Other Beckett - In the first of four programmes exploring the fiction and poetry of Samuel Beckett, Christopher Ricks introduces a personal selection from the early fiction(Weekdays except Thursday; various running times)
1: Watt, and the short story Dante & The Lobster. (9:50pm; 20m)
2: Murphy and From An Abandoned Work. (9:30pm; 15m)
3: Molloy, Malone Dies and The Unnamable, the three works which make up Beckett's central work of fiction, the Trilogy. (9:40pm; 20m)
4: Beckett's late fiction, including a complete reading of the prose poem Still. (9:50pm; 10m)
(06-09-1999; 10:40pm) Beckett Festival: Embers / A Samual Beckett Double Bill - Martin Esslin introduces the first of three programmes dedicated to the radio plays of Samuel Beckett. (Mon, Tues, Thur, 10:40pm; 50m)
1: Embers - Henry sits on a beach looking back on his life. He dwells on failed relationships, fragments of stories - anything to shut out the sound of the sea. With Jack MacGowan, Kathleen Michael, Kathleen Helme and Patrick Magee. Cicely Hoye (piano), director Donald McWhinnie.
2: Cascando - With Patrick Magee and Denys Hawthorne, directed by Donald McWhinnie; Rough For Radio - With Harold Pinter, Billie Whitelaw, Patrick Magee and Michael Deacon, directed by Martin Esslin.
3: Words & Music - With Patrick Magee and Felix Felton, music by John Beckett, directed by Michael Bakewell; A Piece Of Monologue - Performed by Ronald Pickup, directed by Ronald Mason.
(20 to 24-12-1999) Dear Joyce... Dear Ginnie... - A selection from the letters of Joyce Grenfell and Virginia Graham read by Maureen Lipman and Janie Hampton. (Weekdays; 20m)
1: 1929-41 - Engagements, Weddings & Entertainments. (9:30pm)
2: 1942-43 - Contraltos, Concert Parties & Consonants. (9:30pm)
3: 1944-45 - Theatres Of War & Peace. (10:00pm)
4: 1948-52 - Revue & Reviewing. (9:30pm)
5: 1955-79 - America, Aldeburgh & Australia. (9:10pm)
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