Thursday 18 December 2014, 14:07
Caroline Raphael, commissioner at Radio 4 Extra talks about how the global hit show Serial came to Radio 4 Extra
Friday 19 December 2014, 15:25
Just over four years ago Gwyneth Williams, formerly Director of English Networks and News at BBC World Service, was appointed as Controller of Radio 4, succeeding Mark Damazer, who had resigned to become Master of St Peter’s College, Oxford.
She has proved to be quite a radical.
She has increased science and foreign coverage and the duration of the World at One, ensured that the Today programme finally had a second woman presenter, taken 15 minutes off You and Yours and introduced a range of 15 minute programmes in the newly empty space. She has even introduced chess to radio and promises a “dazzling digital future” for her network.
This New Year’s Day she has given over Radio 4 to a 10 hour adaptation of ‘War and Peace’, which she intends to listen to with a glass of vodka in her hand.
She has also appointed a new Editor of the Archers whose changes, agreed with her, have certainly hit the headlines and split the Feedback audience.
All this has been done against the background of continuing cuts in her budget, cuts which will continue for the next two years.
This year the Radio 4 budget added up to £120.6 million, of which £91.8 was allocated to content, £9 million to...
Thursday 18 December 2014, 14:07
Sarah Koenig image for Serial on Radio 4 Extra (photo credit: Elise Bergerson)
The final episode of global hit show Serial is imminent and I’m excited to confirm that we will be bringing the final episode to Radio 4 Extra on the same day it is published worldwide on Thursday 18 December at 9pm.
There is still time for those of you who have not heard the global phenomena that Serial has become, to catch up with the story. This US podcast series has showcased the power of spoken word and great storytelling, and if you love speech radio and have not heard it, these are some of the reasons why you should.
Think TV box set season length ‘who-done-it’ - but for radio. Except it is not ‘who-done-it?’ but an ‘are-we-sure-he–did-it’? And if not him, whom?
You hear recorded police interviews, cross examination from the court house, witnesses and bystanders to the story trying to remember something that happened fifteen years ago.
The storyteller is not a jaded misunderstood detective or young policeman keen to prove themselves. It is a journalist who shares her research, her notes, her faltering doubts, her bewilderment and her exasperation with us. We hear her workings, her...
Friday 12 December 2014, 14:01
Sir Mordred in The Once and Future King is one of the great bad boys of literature. Dramatist Brian Sibley offers five reasons why the traitorous knight of King Arthur’s fabled Round Table, deserves that accolade…
1. Mordred comes from background of villainy
He is the son of Queen Morgause, a scheming enchantress, known as the Queen of Air and Darkness. Morgause pretends to the world that Mordred is a child of her marriage to King Lot of Orkney, but raises the boy, in secret, to hate his true father, King Arthur, and fills him with a passionate desire to exact vengeance on the English monarch.
2. Mordred is physically and mentally damaged
Born a hunchback, he carries the scars of incestuous birth not just in his misshapen body, but also in his twisted mind. His physical and psychological deformity drives him to hurt and destroy others.
3. Mordred manipulates and controls
Cunning and calculating, he gets others – among them his brothers Agravaine and Gawaine – to carry out his schemes and do his dirty and dangerous work for him.
4. Mordred is emotionally empty
Cold, cruel and ruthless, he has so been eaten away by his anger and hatred that he is incapable of having any understanding...
Friday 12 December 2014, 12:28
This week I talked to the veteran reporter Tom Mangold about his Radio 4 documentary, The Silent Conspiracy.
It dealt with the circumstances surrounding the 1979 trial of the former liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe for conspiracy to murder his former lover Norman Scott. Thorpe was found not guilty and it was not until the day after his death, 35 years later, that Tom’s programme went out.
Many listeners praised it although some thought its timing was “ill-mannered” and one listener said it was “dripping with Dark...
Sunday 7 December 2014, 08:33
Friday 5 December 2014, 12:35
Two hundred Bookclubs, and yet it feels like only yesterday that we began. The reason, I think, is that every programme feels different. Each author is an original voice, and each group of readers has a different character. You never know quite what to expect.
I’ve been privileged to chair all these programmes, and I’ve been conscious through the years that the idea of the programme – which came from the first producer, Olivia Seligman, in 1998 – was...
Friday 5 December 2014, 10:58
Editor's note: Actor, writer, wit and naughty national treasure Stephen Fry chooses his favourite comedies from the BBC radio archive as Comedy Controller on Radio 4 Extra. Here, programme producer Peter McHugh talks about making the programme.
When you make a programme it’s always good to get as much publicity as possible. To get the message out to as many listeners as you can, that something good is going to happen. It can be tricky, in big media organisations, to negotiate the ever choppy waters of ‘publicity priorities ’. So when I arrived at 4 Extra one morning I was surprised...
Friday 5 December 2014, 10:42Radio 4's forum for comments, queries, criticisms and congratulations
On Wednesday this week I met Elan Closs Stephens, the BBC trustee leading the Review into Radio 4, 4Extra and 5 Live. She is a former Chair of the Welsh Fourth Channel Authority and Emeritus Professor of Communications and Creative Industries at Aberystwyth University.
She is charming, well informed and sharp as a tack.
She also seems to like broadcasting and broadcasters.
What a contrast with some of the BBC Governors of the past, particularly those in...
Friday 28 November 2014, 17:37
Editor's Note: Adam Roberts, author and Professor of 19th Century Literature at Royal Holloway, has written a number of critical works on both SF and 19th Century poetry and is a contributor to the SF Encyclopedia. Here he reflects on the beauty of T.H. White's writing in The Once and Future King.
T.H. White wrote his undergraduate dissertation on Malory’s Morte D’Arthur, and he knew the Arthurian legends pretty well. Still, he was surprised when, a decade later, he re-read Malory’s fifteenth-century prose-epic. ‘I got desperate among my books,’ he wrote to a friend in 1937, ‘and picked...
Friday 28 November 2014, 16:49
Editors note: Professor Maggie Andrews is the consultant historian on Radio 4’s epic drama series set in Great War Britain, Home Front. In this blog, Maggie tells us what appeals to her about the scope of Home Front and expands on Season Two’s theme of recruitment.
Why Home Front
One of the exciting things about working with a long running drama is its ability to show war effecting ordinary people’s everyday lives on the home front; the different characters show that there are numerous histories of the war.
When does the next series start?
Season Two of Home Front starts on 1 December...