New and forthcoming
This is the story of a music-obsessed boy’s journey from his bedroom in Hitchin to the heart of nineties London just as Britpop is about to explode...
From James Cook’s early encounters with pop’s pioneers – Revolver heard for the first time, Led Zeppelin glimpsed on evening TV – through an adolescence in which friendships are forged on a mutual love for the Velvet Underground, to the high-stakes gamble of moving to the metropolis, the years between the assassination of John Lennon and Kurt Cobain’s suicide are mapped in musical memories. Along the way, we explore the diverse influences that fuelled the nineties guitar pop boom, from John Barry to Bryan Ferry, and follow James as he forms a band with his twin brother and releases a critically acclaimed debut album.
More than a memoir, Memory Songs stands as a testament to music’s power over the imagination, the way it punctuates our past and shapes our future. Woven through with meditations on the artists who defined the UK's last legendary scene, it delivers a passionate analysis of the music that shaped a crucial moment in British cultural history.
It is one of the most fascinating and influential musical periods in recent history, and yet the goth movement has largely been undervalued and forgotten. But now John Robb, founder of the legendary post-punk band The Membranes, is ready to redress that oversight. Based on countless interviews with the key players of the era, as well as his own insights from the goth clubs and gigs where he saw it all, he has written the definitive book, taking in everything: goth’s roots, from art, literature and architecture; its foundation in the music of the Doors, Iggy, Bowie and glam rock; its development with Southern Dealt Cult, Nick Cave, Siouxsie Sioux and Joy Division, and the role it still plays in today’s music culture and fashion.
From the bands, the clubs, the clothes and lifestyle, as well as goth’s political, historical and social context, John Robb’s comprehensive book takes in the entire wealth of this subculture – snakebite, hair-crimping and all.
A deliciously black satirical comedy about the dinner party from hell.
The fastidious host, Paige, decides to throw a dinner party in honour of her husband Lars, who is celebrating the success of his pop psychology book, Beyond Belief. She carefully plans a surprise menu that will mark the occasion, and anxiously checks with the waiter she has employed to make sure that everything is perfectly prepared. Her lucky guests include a post-feminist vegetarian artist, a distinguished microbiologist, a TV journalist and an uninvited guest who ends up staying for dinner. But it soon becomes apparent that the meal may contain some rather nasty surprises…
Moira Buffini's outrageous comedy Dinner started life in the National Theatre's Loft in 2002, and became her first West End smash. In this production, adapted by the writer for BBC Drama on 3, Harriet Walter returns to the role she created: Paige, the hostess and architect of an evening which her guests will never forget. Two other original leads, Nicholas Farrell and Penny Downie, and four new cast members join her in this viciously black chamber piece about appetite, which will make you think twice about ever accepting another invitation to dinner.
Moira Buffini was nominated for an Olivier Award for Dinner in 2003, and won the Olivier in 2014 for her play Handbagged.
Produced and directed by Jonquil Panting
‘One of the best dramas – on television or radio- currently on offer’ Radio Times
‘instantly compelling’ The Guardian
A major conspiracy thriller about life, death and the human brain, starring Romola Garai.
When Dr Helen Ash witnesses the brutal and disturbing crash of the plane that is carrying her father, the incident sets her on an investigation into a dark conspiracy. Florian Chauvin was flying to Wales to tell his daughter something important, but his plane fell out of the sky. In the aftermath of the crash, Helen discovers that one of the passengers doesn't seem to have a heart.
What was Florian coming to tell Helen? Who was he travelling with? And why did his plane crash?
The first series of Tracks became the most successful drama series launched by Radio 4 in 2016.
A prequel to the first series, Series 2 is set 36 years before the events that rocked the life of Helen Ash. It explores the roots of a conspiracy that is set to envelop the world.
Snowdonia, 1980. It’s the dawn of a new decade and the future is coming. But in the wilds of Snowdonia, the ancient history of the landscape is hard to escape.
Rachel Turner is looking for fossils with her four year-old son, Joe. But when a freak earthquake shakes the land beneath their feet, Joe vanishes. With the help of two locals, Rachel embarks on a desperate search to find her son. But as darkness descends, the secrets hidden in the ancient forests of the mountain are uncovered.
Cast of Tracks
Fisker Lee…………..Kenneth Cranham
Other parts played by Suzanne Packer, Richard Nichols, Caroline Berry, Alexandria Riley, Matthew Gravelle, Claire Cage, Richard Mitchley, Pauline McLynn, Paul Courtenay Hyu, Leo Wan, Ruth Lloyd, Tristan Sturrock, Jaimi Barbakoff, John Norton, Paul Copley, Rhodri Meilir, Sam Rix, Nabil Elouahabi, Liz Sutherland and Matilda le Fleming.
Written by Matthew Broughton
Directed by James Robinson, Helen Perry and Abigail le Fleming.
Original music by Stu Barker
A BBC Cymru Wales Production
Cast of Tracks: Strata
Rachel ………………Fiona O’Shaughnessy
Written by Matthew Broughton
Directed by James Robinson
A BBC Cymru Wales Production
Join Professor John Lloyd and Curators Noel Fielding, Jo Brand, Romesh Ranganathan and Sally Phillips as they plunge down the badger hole of ignorance in a search for the universe's most mind-boggling oddnesses.
The Museum of Curiosity is BBC Radio 4's monumental comedy edifice, and the only one with gargoyles in the foyer. It allows nothing inside that doesn’t make you scratch your head, stroke your chin or, at the very least, go ‘Hmm’. Fortunately, helping to fill its almost vacant plinths is a gathering of the world’s most original minds.
The guests bearing donations to the museum in this collection include Howard Goodall, Corey Taylor, Vic Reeves, Ross Noble, George Monbiot, Lucy Porter, Deborah Frances-White, Stephen K Amos, Konnie Huq, Rory Bremner and Phil Jupitus.
Spring 1905, England.
When Helen Schlegel goes to stay at Howard's End - the country home of the Wilcox family, her own life, along with that of her sister Margaret, is changed forever. This is the tale of three families at the beginning of the twentieth century: the rich Wilcoxes, the gentle, idealistic Schlegels and the lower-middle class Basts.
Frequently cited as E. M. Forster's finest work, Howard's End brilliantly explores class warfare, conflict and the English character. This BBC dramatisation skilfully brings the classic novel to life.
Starring John Hurt as the Narrator, Lisa Dillon as Margaret Schlegel, Jill Cardo as Helen Schlegel, Tom Ferguson as Tibby Schlegel, Alexandra Mathie as Aunt Juley, Malcolm Raeburn as Henry Wilcox, Ann Rye as Ruth Wilcox and Joseph Kloska as Charles Wilcox.
Sir Ian McKellen stars as Milton in this dramatised retelling of John Milton’s epic poem about the fall of Man
"devilishly good... I urge you to give it a listen" The Telegraph
Milton’s biblical masterpiece, first published in 1667, is one of English literature’s most seminal works. Straddling three worlds – Heaven, Hell and Earth – it tells the gripping story of fallen angel Satan’s rebellion against God, his temptation of Adam and Eve and their subsequent expulsion from the Garden of Eden.
Written to ‘justify the ways of God to men’, it aimed to show what caused Mankind's fall and the consequences for the world, both bad and good. By reaching back to the beginning of time, Milton hoped to discover the events that had led to the political and societal upheaval of his own era – as well as using allegory to ask powerful questions about authority, government, tyranny and disobedience. In this brand new dramatisation, Milton himself (Sir Ian McKellen) is the blind narrator grieving the loss of his wife, played by Frances Barber.
Also starring Simon Russell Beale as Satan, and adapted by award-winning poet and broadcaster Michael Symmons Roberts, this enthralling drama is a vital piece of storytelling with striking parallels to contemporary events.
Cast and credits
Milton……………………Sir Ian McKellen
Satan……………………Simon Russell Beale
All other parts were played by members of the company
Written by John Milton
Dramatised by Michael Symmons Roberts
Produced and directed by Susan Roberts
Approx. 2.5 hours
How did Claudius become the man he is in Shakespeare's Hamlet? What were the real reasons behind the murder of his brother? How does he really feel about his nephew? These questions will be answered in this drama spiced with ghosts, pirates, magic and political skulduggery.
Set in an alternative Europe in the 1930s, Elsinore is a prequel to Shakespeare’s Hamlet. This compelling new drama imagines the turbulence of the Danish court, in a world where Denmark is a powerful, militarised country with a small empire around the Baltic that it is fighting hard to maintain. There is more than a hint of totalitarianism in the air.
In this uneasy setting, Elsinore delves into the troubled, not to say murderous relationship between King Hamlet and his brother Claudius: one of the most interesting characters in the Shakespearean canon. Realism meets with moments of otherworldliness as the story unravels, taking in pirates and magic, rebellion and betrayal.
A dark, exciting drama that touches on the events and people in Shakespeare's play, and brings us to the moment where Hamlet begins.
From the extraordinary imagination of Sebastian Baczkiewicz, writer of the successful Pilgrim series.
Duration: 3 hours approx.
WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY OLIVIA LAING
In 1986 Derek Jarman discovered he was HIV positive and decided to make a garden at his cottage on the barren coast of Dungeness. Facing an uncertain future, he nevertheless found solace in nature, growing all manner of plants. While some perished beneath wind and sea-spray others flourished, creating brilliant, unexpected beauty in the wilderness.
Modern Nature is both a diary of the garden and a meditation by Jarman on his own life: his childhood, his time as a young gay man in the 1960s, his renowned career as an artist, writer and film-maker. It is at once a lament for a lost generation, an unabashed celebration of gay sexuality, and a devotion to all that is living.
The Sunday Times Bestseller
This is the inside story of twelve years at the helm of Britain’s greatest theatre.
It is a story of lunatic failures and spectacular successes such as The History Boys, War Horse and One Man, Two Guvnors; of opening the doors of the National Theatre to a broader audience than ever before, and changing the public’s perception of what theatre is for. It is about probing Shakespeare from every angle and reinventing the classics. About fostering new talent and directing some of the most celebrated actors of our times. Its cast includes the likes of Alan Bennett, Maggie Smith, Mike Leigh, Daniel Day-Lewis, Michael Gambon and Helen Mirren.
Intimate, candid and insightful, Balancing Acts is a passionate exploration of the art and alchemy of making theatre.
A centenary collection of the best BBC Radio programmes about the legendary Spike Milligan – including brand new documentary Spike Milligan: Inside Out
Named for Spike’s explanation of his sense of humour – ‘I’m Irish – we think sideways’ – this BBC radio anthology, published to celebrate the centenary of his birth, provides unique insight into his genius.
Spike Milligan: Inside Out sees Milligan admirer Michael Palin and Spike’s daughter, Jane, chat through some of Spike’s many audio recordings. Also included in this compilation is a wealth of archive material, much of it from 2012’s The Spike Show: Milligan Remembered, presented by Spike’s agent and friend Norma Farnes.
In Milligan Chota Sahib, Spike recalls the excitement of his early life in India. Denis Norden pays tribute to his friend in Vivat Milligna: A Twenty-One Goon Salute, while In the Psychiatrist’s Chair: Spike Milligan finds Spike telling Professor Anthony Clare about the profound impact of shellshock on his mental health.
Plus, we hear Spike’s favourite Goon Show episode, Fear of Wages, and some magical poems from both Spike’s Poems and Spike Milligan: The Serious Poet, an award-winning documentary in which Spike’s three daughters discuss how their father’s serious poetry reflected his life and personality.