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BBC Radio 7 Newsletter - Friday 25th March
The Selection
Classic Comedy
Comedy Zone
Comedy Club
7 Drama
7th Dimension
Crime & Thrillers
Fact And Fiction
Stories For All The Family
And finally
Hello again

It was with more than a little nostalgia that yesterday evening I began to draft today's newsletter, knowing it would be the last one I’ll be sending from Radio 7, as next Friday will be our final day on-air before we relaunch as BBC Radio 4 Extra on Saturday 2nd April.

What a long and fascinating journey it’s been so far. It all began in March 2002, when I was invited to create a new archive digital speech radio station, known then as "Network Z". With the assistance of just two newly recruited producers plus an archive researcher - and facing a blank sheet of paper - I have to admit it was a somewhat daunting task. Back then there were a few naysayers shaking their heads as they posed the question " Do you really believe you'll get an audience - who wants to listen to old radio programmes anyway?"

Eight years on - with a name change from BBC 7 along the way - Radio 7 now has an audience of around a million enjoying our " old (and new!) radio programmes". And with the imminent re-branding of our station, we hope to build an even bigger audience by continuing to bring you a great range of radio entertainment from the archive - and more.

Our first evening of BBC 7 programmes was broadcast on the eve of our official launch on 14th December 2002. With Paul Merton as the host, it was simulcast on our sister station, Radio 4 and it felt exhilarating.

And now, by linking up more with Radio 4, as 4 Extra we have, in a way, almost come full circle.

It’s certainly been uplifting to hear recent trails on Radio 4 show-casing our re-branded network. The trail I heard this morning in the Today programme did make me smile, when it ended with the waspish voice of Kenneth Williams riposting " Life is short - so let's get on with it!"

And we certainly are getting on with it. Our 17-strong team of producers, broadcast assistant/researchers, archivist and schedule planner have been working all hours in the past few weeks to clear more new programmes resulting in what I think is an excellent schedule for Radio 4 Extra.

Last week I gave you news snippets of some of the comedy and drama we’ve got lined up, and next week I will be revealing more.

But now on to delights you can look forward to in the final week of  Radio 7:

The Selection

The Selection
A Microphone Comedy Controller
Justin Moorhouse

Justin Moorhouse reveals his comedy influences and chooses these comic delights: Knowing Me Knowing You (22.12.92), Ken Dodd's Palace of Laughter (3.9.87), On The Town With The League of Gentlemen (6.11.97), Ross Noble Goes Global - South Africa (18.4.02), Radio Shuttleworth (with Vanessa Feltz) (24.11.98) and Listen to Les (18.3.95).
Saturday at 10am and 8pm

Classic Comedy

Classic Comedy
Ken Dodd The Ken Dodd Show
Doddy’s Daft Half Hour
With his tickling stick at the ready, Knotty Ash’s favourite son spreads his own brand of ‘Happiness’, with the help of Hugh Paddick, Talfryn Thomas, Jo Manning Wilson and Miriam Margolyes, in a show directed by Bobby Jaye and first broadcast in 1972.
Sunday at 12midday and 7pm

The Men from the Ministry
The Moving Target
New to Radio 7
Britain is set to send a man into space, but is it a good idea to ask Hamilton-Jones and Lamb to make the arrangements? Starring Richard Murdoch, Deryck Guyler, Norma Ronald and John Graham, directed by Edward Taylor, and first broadcast in 1970.
Thursday at 8am, 12midday and 7pm

Comedy Zone
Hugh Dennis The Now Show
New to Radio 7
Comedians Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis host the latest edition of the topical stand-up and sketch show where they are joined by Mitch Benn and guests Lloyd Langford and Holly Walks. First heard on Radio 4 on 18th March.

Sunday at 4.30pm and 4.30am
Hats Off
Janie Hampton presents these two informative programmes on the much loved comedienne, Joyce Grenfell. Her gentle poems are wonderfully read by Maureen Lipman Directed by Jonathan James-Moore and first broadcast in 2001.
Thursday and Friday at 9.30am, 5.30pm and 4.30am

Comedy Club

Comedy Club
Kevin Eldon The Bigger Issues
1/4 Homelessness

Via drama and song, although not necessarily to a high standard, the gang enthusiastically focus on the plight of those living rough. Written by and starring Dave Lamb, Jim North and Nick Walker, who are joined by Richie Webb. Directed by Gareth Edwards and first broadcast in 2000.
Monday at 11.30pm

Poets Tree

Unforgettable poetry on equally unforgettable subjects, such as ‘A Bad Date’, written by and starring Kevin Eldon (pictured) and Stewart Lee. Also starring Steve Pemberton, Olivia Coleman and Peter Serafinowicz. Directed by Ed Morrish and first broadcast in 2008.
Wednesday at 11.30pm

The Correspondent
Tales of ordinary folk going about their daily lives are depicted in this series of comic monologues. Written by Tom Allen and John Hoggarth, read by Tom Allen and directed by Victoria Lloyd
Wednesday at 11.45pm

7 Drama

7 Drama
John Shrapnel stars as Inspector Morse in The Wench is Dead Things We Do For Love
School friends Barbara and Nicky meet again after 11 years, causing mayhem and confusion in both their lives. Alan Ayckbourn’s black comedy, adapted by Martyn Read, stars Joanna Van Gyseghem, Teresa Gallagher, Cameron Stewart and Gavin Muir. Directed by Gordon House it was first broadcast on the World Service in 2000.
Saturday at 1.30pm and 1.30am

The Wench is Dead
During a stay in hospital, Morse is given a book re-counting a murder committed alongside a canal in Oxford, in 1859. Intrigued with the case, he begins his own investigation. Colin Dexter’s thriller, dramatised by Guy Meredith, stars John Shrapnel (pictured), Robert Glenister, Kate Binchy, Garard Green, Paul Copley, Siriol Jenkins and Peter Penry Jones, directed by Ned Chaillet and first broadcast in 1992.
Sunday at 1pm and 1am

Abandoned Projects
The late Alan Plater explains how, throughout his career, many of his ideas did not come to fruition. Those to bite the dust included a feature set in the Amazon, a schooldays attempt to perform comedy and a venture into the world of architecture. Starring Brian Blessed, Christian Rodska, John Woodvine and Richard Elfyn, directed by Alison Hindell and first broadcast in 2005.
Monday to Friday at 11am, 9pm and 2am

James Fleet stars in BeastWe have a week of dramas from the popular radio writer Nick Warburton.
When a strange creature is pulled from the sea, there are divided feelings about its capture. Starring James Fleet (pictured), Eve Best and Struan Rodger, directed by Peter Kavanagh and first broadcast in 2005.
Monday at 11.15am, 9.15pm and 2.15am

Doreen’s Chair
A henpecked husband and his wife are sent an article on feng shui by their daughter. Can it help when he decorates the spare bedroom? Starring Peter Sallis and Gillian Barge, directed by Peter Kavanagh and first broadcast in 1999.
Tuesday at 11.15am, 9.15pm and 2.15am

A schoolteacher records a year in the life of three of her pupils by interviewing their parents. Starring Tracey Childs, Henry Goodman, Kate Fleetwood and Richard Katz, directed by Sally Avens and first heard in 2005.
Wednesday at 11.15am, 9.15pm and 2.15am

Mustard Seed
A traveller passing through a remote village finds himself at the centre of a desperate request when a mother implores him to cure her only son. A beautiful touching story based on a Buddhist fable. Starring Emma Fielding, Jim Norton and Stephen Hogan, directed by Peter Kavanagh and first broadcast in 2004
Thursday at 11.15am, 9.15pm and 2.15am

Every Book in the World
The true story of Sir Thomas Philipps, a bibliomaniac who has the desire to own every book in the world. But is the price for his obsession too great? Starring Benjamin Whitrow, Lia Williams and Peter Gunn, directed by Mark Smalley and first broadcast in 2006.
Friday at 11.15am, 9.15pm and 2.15am

7th Dimension

7th Dimension
Neil Dudgeon stars in The Birds The Birds
Daphne Du Maurier’s horror novel of the natural world turning against mankind. A young girl is frightened when she spies an abnormal number of birds behaving irrationally. Dramatised by Melissa Murray, starring Neil Dudgeon, Nicola Walker, Jade Williams, Gerard Horan and Carl Grose, directed by Sally Avens and first broadcast in 2007.
Sunday at 6pm and 12midnight

A young woman working at a museum becomes fascinated when she observes a girl depicted in a 17 th century painting looks like her. She is even more intrigued when an old man she meets resembles another of the painting’s subjects. Robert Easby’s sci fi thriller stars Lyndsey Marshal, Peter Marinker, Joseph Kloska and Mark Straker and was directed by Liz Webb.
Monday to Friday at 6.30pm and 12.30am

Crime & Thrillers
A Knife The Distant Echo
A young woman is murdered and many years later the crime is reinvestigated. Is it possible that the killings will continue into the present day. Val McDermid’s thriller is dramatised by Bert Coules, and stars Jimmy Chisholm, John Paul Hurley, Stephen Cartwright and Michael Nardone. Directed by Lu Kemp it was first heard in 2005.
Saturday at 11pm

Devil in A Blue Dress
Gumshoe Easy Rawlings becomes involved in murder and intrigue after meeting a white man in Joppy’s bar. Walter Mosley’s atmospheric post war thriller is abridged by Margaret Busby and read in 10 parts by Paul Winfield. Produced by Pam Fraser-Solomon, it was first broadcast in 1996.
Monday to Friday at 1.30pm, 8.30pm and 1.30am

Fact and Fiction

Fact And Fiction
James Ellis reads his own short stories Frozen Words
A young man takes the woman he loves to his Scottish mountain in the hope that he can persuade her to climb it with him. Elizabeth Buchan’s story is read by Mark Bonnar, produced by Lizzie Hart and was first broadcast in 1997.
Saturday at 10.15am and 9.15pm

The Actor, The Lodgings, The Kipper And Me
Geoffrey Wheeler looks at the bygone era of touring theatre companies and their boarding house accommodation. With anecdotes from the comedians and actors and from the landladies who provided them with a home away from home. Directed by Libby Cross and first heard in 2004.
Sunday at 11am and 5pm

Five Stories by James Ellis (Pictured)
The Irish actor reads and adapts these short stories from their original French to an Irish setting.
The Devil: Granny Greer is hired to watch over a dying old woman, so her son can tend to his wheat.
Scully’s Goat: An intrepid goat makes a bid for freedom.
My Uncle Julius: Will a family's black sheep help solve their financial problems?
The Miller’s Tale: A Priest takes desperate measures to win back his dwindling congregation.
The Umbrella: A thrifty wife has a novel ideal to replace her husband’s umbrella.
Monday to Friday at 3pm

Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature
Linda Lear’s biography of the popular children’s author, whose love of the landscape nurtured her creative imagination. Abridged by Alison Joseph and Read in 5 parts by Lindsay Duncan. Produced by Kisteen Cameron, it was first broadcast in 2006.
Monday to Friday at 3.15pm

An Accidental MP
Martin Bell reads from his autobiography detailing his transition from BBC correspondent to Independent MP. Abridged in 5 parts by Neville Teller and first broadcast in 2000.
Monday to Friday at 3.30pm

Mrs Miniver
Originally published in The Times, beginning in 1937, Jan Struther’s endearing everyday chronicles of an English Housewife are read in five parts by Penelope Wilton. Produced by Sara Davies and first broadcast in 2001.
Monday to Friday at 3.45pm

A Brief Encounter with Richard Wagner
A school teacher has the unenviable task of staging ‘Ring Cycle’, with students from a school rated bottom of the league table. Written by Alan Plater, read by Barbara Flynn and first broadcast in 1995.
Wednesday at 11.45am, 9.45pm and 2.45am

The BBC and the Closet
Before gay sex became legal in 1967, how did the BBC tackle the issue of homosexuality? Using clips from the BBC archive, this programme shows how the BBC management was divided in the 1950s and early 60s between those who were for and those who were against broadcasting discussions on homosexual rights. First broadcast in 2008.
Tuesday at 2.30pm

The Nose School
Rosie Goldsmith visits the world-famous Nose School in Versailles to learn the art of perfume-making. She talks to students and teachers about this ancient and secretive art which feeds a multi-million pound industry. Produced by Anna Raphael and first broadcast in 2005.
Wednesday at 2pm

Smile, Smile, Smile
Aled Jones presents this poignant programme about the composer Felix Powell who wrote one of the most famous tunes in the world, but whose personal life did not reflect the words of the song's title. Produced by Geoff Ballinger and first heard in 2004.
Thursday at 2.30pm


CBeebies CBeebies
Join all your CBeebies friends for an early breakfast of songs, rhymes and stories on Radio 7, starting with the CBeebies Wake Up Hour.  
Daily at 6am

Chris Pizzey presents Big Toe BooksNext week will be the final week of Big Toe Books. As a special treat a new reading of a Jacqueline Wilson favourite story was commissioned, and will be broadcast on the morning of Saturday 2nd April on Radio 4 Extra.  

Saturday and Sunday at 8am
The Book Thief
by Markus Zusak. Read by Christopher Eccleston.

Monday to Friday at 4pm

Vampire Slugs on Callisto by Jackie French. Read by Finty Williams
Emlyn's Moon by Jenny Nimmo. Read by Kate Jarman
Spoofer Rooney by Jonathan Kebbe. Read by Ed Byrne.
Cookie by Jacqueline Wilson, read by Alice Connor

Stories For All The Family
Zelah Clarke reads The Outside Child Children’s Hour: Once Upon a Time
Sandy Chalmers fondly remembers this BBC institution with such favourites as Toytown, Norman and Henry Bones, Larry the Lamb and The House at Pooh Corner.
Monday to Thursday at 5am

The legendary tale of the faithful dog Bobby and his owner. Written by Ronald Frame, starring Crawford Logan, Paul Young, Kenny Blythe and Gayanne Potter, directed by David Ian Neville and first broadcast in 2002.
Friday at 5am

and finally

And finally
Mary KalemkerianJust a reminder that as from next week you'll be receiving a Radio 4 Extra newsletter rather than a Radio 7 newsletter.

You don’t have to re-subscribe, as it should arrive automatically, but if, for any reason you don’t want to receive the "new" newsletter, you can unsubscribe here However, I do hope that you will all stay with us. and don’t forget to put your clock forward one hour this weekend for the arrival of British Summertime.

I leave you now with the iPlayer and the Schedule for the final week of Radio 7.

Happy listening.

Mary Kalemkerian
Head of Programmes, BBC Radio 7

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