New and forthcoming

Twentieth-Century Classical Music

Fiona Maddocks



How did modern classical music develop over the 20th Century?

What enabled women to get their music performed in the early 1900s?

Which classical composers borrowed from jazz?

How did composers respond to politics and war?

DISCOVER the stories behind Mahler's, Symphony No. 5 (1901-2), Ullman's Piano Sonata No. 7 (1944), Bernstein's West Side Story (1957), as well as learn about minimalism, jazz, swing, opera . . .


Discover the answers and more inside Fiona Maddocks' Twentieth Century Classical Music, the thrilling and accessible account that explains what happened throughout the 20th century, who the key composers were and what influenced them to write what they did?

The Inspector Chen Mysteries

Qiu Xiaolong (and others)

Nine BBC Radio full-cast dramatisations of the crime novels of Qiu Xiaolong, set in Shanghai. Starring Jamie Zubairi as Chief Inspector Chen Cao, an astute young policeman with twin passions for food and poetry.

Through thrilling crime drama, these nine mysteries paint a portrait of modern life in communist China, depicting traditional Shanghai life amidst the old alleyways and how it is rapidly changing with modernisation.

"Witty and thrilling" The Daily Telegraph
"A welcome alternative to Scandi-noir" The Observer.

Death of a Red Heroine: Shanghai, May 1990. The body of a national model worker is found in Baili Canal. Academic turned detective Chen Cao now heads up the Special Case Squad, an assignment that brings political scrutiny with every move.

A Loyal Character Dancer: When a former dancer and party loyalist at the heart of a people smuggling operation to the USA goes missing, Inspector Chen is under political pressure to find her, tactfully host a young female US Marshall, and find the connection with a grisly Triad murder.

When Red is Black: When Chen agrees to do a translation job for a property developer he is given a laptop, a 'little secretary' to provide for his every need, and medical care for his mother. There are, it seems, no strings attached . . . and then the murder of a dissident writer is reported.

A Case of Two Cities: When the head of the Shanghai anti-corruption squad is found dead in compromising circumstances, Inspector Chen is drafted in as "Special Envoy to the Emperor with an Imperial Sword".

Red Mandarin Dress: A serial killer is loose on the streets of Shanghai, but Chen is otherwise engaged on a high-level corruption case. With bodies appearing at the rate of one a week, the homicide team is in desperate need of help.

The Mao Case: It's a dangerous and politically sensitive case for Inspector Chen when he is asked to investigate the sudden change of fortune of the granddaughter of Chairman Mao's mistress.

Don’t Cry, Tai Lake: Chen's lakeside holiday is interrupted by the violent death of the boss of the Wuxi Number One Chemical Company. Will his blossoming relationship with a young environmental engineer compromise his covert investigation?

Enigma of China: Inspector Chen is called in to oversee the investigation into the death of the Director of The Shanghai Development Committee while under house arrest. He has to negotiate the power of the Party, an internet campaign and a new potential romance.

Shanghai Redempton: Inspector Chen finds himself "promoted" sideways from the Shanghai Police Bureau, before narrowly escaping a night-club trap and exposing a web of financial and sexual corruption.

Dramatised by Joy Wilkinson and John Harvey.
Directed by David Hunter and Toby Swift

The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency: BBC Radio Casebook Vol.3

Alexander McCall Smith (and others)

Another seven BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramas, written and adapted by Alexander McCall Smith from his own bestselling series

‘Must-listen...beautifully cast, precisely timed, simply wonderful' Daily Telegraph

‘…will charm listeners whether they already know and love these stories or are hearing them for the first time’ Audiofile Magazine

A third outstanding collection of stories featuring Botswana’s only female private detective agency, run by the irrepressible Precious Ramotswe. Based on the hugely popular novels and brought to life with music and full casts, these evocative productions return us to Botswana, where Precious has more mysteries to solve.

In the first of these seven episodes, Mma Ramotswe helps an adopted child search for her birth family; gets embroiled in the murky world of a football cheat; faces the dangers of crocodiles, hippos and a tiny canoe in the Okovango Delta; and investigates some violent, unexplained attacks on cattle. Meanwhile, the countdown to her upcoming wedding begins…

The stories included are: The Miracle at Speedy Motors, Tea Time for the Traditionally Built, The Seller of Beds, An Exceptionally Wicked Lady, Canoeing for Ladies, A Late Van Just Glimpsed and The Saturday Big Tent Wedding.

Ladhood: The Complete Series 1 and 2

Liam Williams (and others)

From Liam Williams, a two-time Edinburgh Festival Award Nominated comedian, comes a rich storytelling series about Liam's teenage misadventures in the Yorkshire suburbs.

The first series delves into Liam's memories of his first fight, virginity loss, the best house party ever organised, and his marvellous outwitting of an entire teaching staff. This is the New Labour, post-mining, aspirational heartland, meeting 50 Cent and Generation Y ennui, represented in a bourgeois radio format - by one of Britain's most exciting comedians.

Series two sees Liam anxiously awaiting A-Level results before trying to find his feet in a most alien of new environments, Cambridge University. There, he searches for hedonism, torn between the laddish drinking societies and the artsy intelligentsia of Cambridge University.

Liam Williams is a critically acclaimed comedian, known for his wry poetic presentation style. He was nominated for Best Newcomer at the 2013 Edinburgh Fridge Comedy Awards, and for Best Show at the 2014 awards. He has appeared as a guest stand up on Russell Howard’s Good News, and on Channel 4’s Drunk History. His successful mockumentary series on BBC Three in 2017 was called Pls Like, about a man trying to become a YouTube star.

The series was recorded in Leeds and stars teens from Yorkshire as the young Liam and his mates. Ladhood received a commendation for Best Scripted Comedy at the BBC Audio Drama Awards 2018.

Produced by Arnab Chanda (Series 1) and Joseph Nunnery (Series 2).

The Shootist: A Classic Western

Glendan Swarthout (and others)

A BBC Radio full-cast dramatisation of this landmark Western, starring Brian Cox and Michelle Fairley.

‘The Shootist’ is John Bernard Books, the last surviving top gunfighter in a vanishing American West. He rides into El Paso in the year 1901, to be told by a doctor that he has a terminal illness. As word spreads that the famous assassin has reached the end, an assortment of vultures gather to feast upon his corpse. Most men would end their days quietly, but Books outwits them all by selecting the where, the when, and the manner of his death.

The Shootist is a classic Western novel written by Glendon Swarthout in 1975. It won the Spur Award for Best Western Novel of 1975, and was chosen in the Western Writers of America’s members’ poll in 2000 as one of the 10 greatest Western novels of the 20th century. It was made into a 1976 film starring John Wayne and Lauren Bacall, which was John Wayne’s final film role.

Brian Cox (X-Men 2, The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy) stars as John Bernard Books, with Michelle Fairley (Game of Thrones, 24: Live Another Day) as the widow Bond Rogers, with whom he finds affection in his final days.

John Bernard Books…Brian Cox
Bond Rogers…Michelle Fairley
Gillom Rodgers…Joe Jameson
Marshal Thibido…Craige Els
Charles Hostetler…Michael Bertenshaw
Shoup…Joe Sims
Norton…Ashley Kumar
Mrs Woodling…Heather Craney
Bartender…Clive Hayward
Adapted by Nick Perry
Directed by Sasha Yevtushenko

Fight Club

Chuck Palahniuk (and others)

First there was the insomnia.
Then there were the support groups that helped him sleep.
Then Marla Singer turned up, muscled in on ascending bowel cancer and ruined everything.
Then he met Tyler Durden.
Then came Fight Club.

Fight Club is the psychological story of a man's descent into an underground world of violence. Mild mannered product-recall-specialist by day, tortured insomniac by night, our narrator meets Tyler Durden - part-time projectionist, banquet waiter, soap-maker and anarchic genius. Together they create Fight Club. In Fight Club our narrator, and men like him, can escape the monotony of their daily work-dominated, consumer-driven, image-obsessed lives. In Fight Club you can escape who the world thinks you ought to be.

Soon there are Fight Clubs in basement bars in towns and cities across the country; men with cuts, bruises, stitches, missing teeth wherever you look, and Tyler Durden has become an urban legend. But when Tyler invents Project Mayhem and things begin to escalate, there's only one thing to do: shut down Fight Club.

But have they created a monster they can't control?

Chuck Palahniuk's visceral and unflinching cult novel stars Patrick Kennedy, Sam Hazeldine and Elaine Cassidy.

The Narrator...Patrick Kennedy
Tyler Durden...Sam Hazeldine
Marla Singer... Elaine Cassidy
Big Bob...Martin Sherman
Doctor/Boss...Nigel Whitmey
Recruit One...Danny Mahoney
Mechanic...John Schwab
Ted...Sam Dale
Glenda...Jane Slavin
Chloe...Ayesha Antoine

Dramatised by Tracey Malone and Ed Whitmore
Produced by Heather Larmour

Useless Magic

Florence Welch

Lyrics and never-before-seen poetry and sketches from Florence Welch of Florence + the Machine

Songs can be incredibly prophetic, like subconscious warnings or messages to myself, but I often don't know what I'm trying to say till years later. Or a prediction comes true and I couldn't do anything to stop it, so it seems like a kind of useless magic.

'An elegant collaged scrapbook' Observer

'A treasure . . . beautiful. Generous in its honesty, by the end you feel as though you have climbed into the colourful, and sometimes tortured, world of a passionate artist' iNews



‘Wiley is Wiley, and if you don’t know me, you don’t know much.

*Winner of the NME Best Music Book Award 2018*


'The greatest UK MC of all time' Noisey

Wiley. Godfather of grime. He's one of Britain's most innovative musicians – and the movement he started in east London in the early 2000s is taking over the world.

This is his story. This is ESKIBOY.

'Perhaps the most influential musician working in Britain today' Guardian

'Wiley is the pioneering force of grime, the most revolutionary musical movement in Britain since punk' The Times

'A glimpse of the 21st-century rock'n'roll' Sunday Times

Dave Gorman - Genius: The Complete Series 1-3

Dave Gorman (and others)

The complete Genius radio series, in which Dave Gorman and his celebrity guests consider the ridiculous, unworkable, but sometimes genius inventions of the public.

Guests such as Stewart Lee, Johnny Vegas, Germaine Greer and Charlie Brooker peruse a parade of proposals, be they innovations, gadgets, gizmos, philosophies or follies, in an attempt to sort the worthy from the worthless. Will they unearth some genuine gems of genius? And which pitch will win the legendary Genius trophy?

Ideas include the use of breathalysers on mobile phones to stop you making regrettable calls, a 99p coin, genetically-engineered mini-elephants as pets, Bovril as a fizzy drink, virtual reality headsets for chickens, Lego prisons and the best thing since sliced bread – perforated bread.

If you've ever had an ingenious invention, a sublime plan for solving problems both small and large, or a twisted scheme for making the world a better, or more interesting, place then Genius is the midwife to your brainchild.

The guests are Paul Daniels, Richard Madeley, John Fortune, Neil Innes, Stewart Lee, Johnny Vegas, Armando Iannucci, Chris Addison, Brian Sewell, Carol Vorderman, Sid Waddell, Germaine Greer, Gyles Brandreth, Matthew Wright, Rob Newman, Charlie Brooker and Simon Munnery. This complete collection also includes the Christmas Special edition of the show featuring Lee Mack.

Bonus content: Dave Gorman’s Pub Olympics. In this one-off, very silly panel show, contestants Chris Addison, Roisin Conaty, Geoff Lloyd and Seymour Mace compete for gold medals in a series of ridiculous rounds, very loosely based on sports. Usain Bolt can run the 100m in 9.58 seconds. What do the panellists think they could do in 9.58 seconds? And what Olympic themed panel show would be complete without Quiz Akabusi?

Wordaholics: The Complete Series 1-3

Jon Hunter (and others)

All 18 episodes of Radio 4's word-obsessed comedy panel game hosted by Gyles Brandreth, where stars from across the world of wordplay come together to guess the meanings of now-obsolete words, invent their own clichés and cockney rhyming slang, discuss their own favourite words and phrases - and suggest words they would like to ban.

This witty and unexpected show brings you toponyms, abbreviations, euphemisms, old words, new words, cockney rhyming slang and Greek gobbledegook. Find out the meaning of words like giff-gaff, knock-knobbler and buckfitches; the difference between French marbles, French velvet and the French ache; hear the glorious poetry of the English language, as practiced from writers varying from William Shakespeare to Vanilla Ice; and spend time laughing and learning with some of the finest Wordaholics in the business.

With top guests including Stephen Fry, Jack Whitehall, Michael Rosen, Susie Dent, Alex Horne, Paul Sinha, Robin Ince, Josh Widdecombe, Natalie Haynes, Dave Gorman, Richard Herring, Ed Byrne, Jenny Eclair and Milton Jones.

Written by Jon Hunter and James Kettle.
Produced by Claire Jones.

The Sensitive

Alastair Jessiman (and others)

The complete series of off-beat thrillers about psychic detective Thomas Soutar, who uses his skills in police investigations. Set in Glasgow and featuring fantastic full casts, these unique police dramas star Robin Laing as Thomas Soutar.

The Sensitive
Police call in Thomas Soutar to help find a missing woman. Thomas is adept at solving crimes - but is his extraordinary gift a blessing or a curse?

The Hanged Man
Thomas Soutar discovers some unsettling connections between his own uncle's past and the murder of a young boy.

A Possession
When Thomas agrees to help in the search for a missing music student, he becomes obsessed by the missing girl in ways that he had not expected.

A Nobody
Thomas suffers a crisis of confidence when he is asked to investigate a potential serial killer. An old girlfriend, Kat, persuades him to take a break for a few days, but Thomas soon becomes convinced that they are being followed.

A Casualty of War
Thomas' mother has been forced to close her guest house due to emergency building work. An old friend offers her the use of his guest house, now lying empty. But Thomas senses a malignant presence in the isolated house, and one night Thomas' mother is sure she sees a face in her bedroom mirror – the face of a woman not seen since 1945...

The Protector
Thomas is asked to investigate the disappearance of a family friend. It's believed the missing man may have committed suicide, but the voices in Thomas's head suggest a different explanation…

Queen of the Dead
A grieving daughter finds hundreds of cassette recordings made by a woman obsessed with her late father, a Professor of English. Thomas Soutar is hired to trace the identity of the woman behind the tapes, who styles herself the ‘Queen of the Dead’.

Thomas is brought helps investigate when a journalist goes missing after building up a dossier on a powerful crime family.

Black Island
Thomas and Kat go on holiday to the Western Isles. But Thomas is soon drawn into a dangerous game with a celebrated actor.

Underground Man (2 parts)
Glasgow's disused underground tunnels are the hunting ground for an injured ex-soldier who threatens to kill three men he holds responsible for cheating him out of an inheritance. When one of the men under threat goes missing, Thomas helps the police in their search - but he soon discovers that there is danger much closer to home.

Heart of Darkness (2 parts)
A religious retreat in the Scottish Highlands is the venue for the final investigation by the psychic Thomas Soutar. Thomas and Kat discover that the extreme views of their host have alienated many people in the community, and a quiet few days away become unexpectedly life-changing when Thomas has a fateful reckoning with his psychic abilities.

Written by Alastair Jessiman
Produced and directed by Bruce Young

I’ve Never Seen Star Wars: The Complete Series 1-6

Marcus Brigstocke (and others)

Marcus Brigstocke persuades his reluctant guests to try new experiences: things that they've perhaps always meant to try but haven't had the time, the courage or possibly the inclination.

Enjoy hearing some famous names embrace new challenges, such as Phill Jupitus drinking absinthe, Mark Steel constructing flat-pack furniture, Esther Rantzen finally joining Facebook, Kelly Holmes trying her first deep-fried Mars bar, Giles Coren having a go at being vegan, and Frank Skinner getting a spray tan.

The curious guests include: Phill Jupitus, Paul Daniels, Mark Steel, Esther Rantzen, Suggs, Sandi Toksvig, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Jon Culshaw, Jenni Eclair, Ardal O’Hanlon, Kate Adie, Ian Hislop, Frank Skinner, Alan Davies, Kathy Burke, Sarah Millican, Meera Syal, Dave Gorman, Benjamin Zephaniah, Rebecca Front, Reece Shearsmith and Kelly Holmes.

Whether the experiences are banal or profound, the show is all about getting out of our comfort zones and embracing the new.

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