Every day on In Tune next week, you can hear famous writers discussing Grimms' Fairy Tales. Hannah Sander produced the series and here she describes how it came about ...
It seemed a simple idea. Take five of the country's leading writers, put them in a studio and ask them to read their version of a Brothers Grimm story. What better way to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the most beloved fairy tales in the world? How exciting, to place these great writers side by side and spot all their many differences.
The Grimm Tales, Sir Terry Pratchett told us, 'seem to exist in the ether': Goldilocks, Cinderella, Snow White, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, Little Red Riding Hood, in paintings, stories, films, songs, plays, operas, twisted versions without the happy endings, cleaned up stories for children with all the blood and gore removed, strongly moral retellings, dusty books with illustrations and plates, ballets, fashion shoots, Disney, Disney, and more Disney. The Grimm's Fairy Tales are everywhere, and in each re-imagining they are enormously different.
Like most children, I read the Grimm Tales and loved them, confusing them in my mind with all the other stories and legends I came across. I first discovered the Grimm Tales rewritten through Carol Ann Duffy's The World's Wife. Her poems led me to Angela Carter and Marina Warner, and from there I was hooked. Then this spring Penguin announced that Philip Pullman would be producing a new volume for this anniversary, I discovered that In Tune presenter Suzy Klein also loved the Grimm Tales, and this miniature series was born.
As it happened, the recording proved a logistical nightmare. Between the Olympics, the summer break, the miserable weather making everybody ill and the BBC Proms, our limited resources were completely occupied. All five writers are extremely busy and Suzy's schedule is similarly hectic. We eventually recorded Michael Morpurgo's interview in an upstairs office at his publishers in West London.
These five authors took a set of tales written in old-fashioned prose two hundred years ago, and carry them, and us, to wildly different places. That is why I wanted to make this series.