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Round-up of reviews

Steve Bowbrick Steve Bowbrick 16:51, Monday, 9 March 2009

This week the BBC's Science Fiction drama season, with programmes going out on Radio 4, Radio 3, Radio 7 and BBC 4, is getting a fair amount of attention in the media and on the blogs.

Kate Chisholm, in The Spectator, laments the absence of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop's audio magic from last week's adaptation of Iain M. Banks' The State of the Art (part of the BBC's Science Fiction drama season):

A few electronic whooshes were all that could be summoned up as Linter and Sma dashed about the universe in what was otherwise a beautifully directed production (by Nadia Molinari), their voices echoing eerily through the ether.

Listen here.

Moira Petty in The Stage is baffled by the BBC Science Fiction season:

I'm no great authority on the genre but much of radio's sci-fi season seems simply bonkers. Although it began promisingly with HG Wells' The Time Machine, the output - in particular the original plays - seems to be pitched somewhere between farce and a low-budget made-for-TV film with humankind represented in either comic book or two-dimensional form.

Gillian Reynolds in The Telegraph has more patience with both the season and with Sci-Fi in general:

What makes it so popular is how it sets up alternatives, challenges assumptions, stretches the bounds of what we know into what is still credible.

She particularly liked Iain M. Banks' The State of the Art and Kim Newman's Cry Babies but she thought chilly Woman's Hour serial The Death of Grass

...sounded more like an old Goon Show than a glimpse of an apocalypse

The BBC Science Fiction season home page.

And in non-Sci-Fi content, Feminist blogger Charlotte on the Subtext Magazine blog, objects to Jenni Murray's objectification of a male prostitute on Wednesday's Woman's Hour:

The radio show irritated me (not least because some woman tried to insinuate that anyone who didn't support the commodification of sexuality and prostitution was blind to a woman's right to say Yes) but the dismissive tone which eradicated any prostitutes (sic) option to be a real person or anything other than a sex object irked me more

Listen here.

Mark Lawson, a bi-media heavyweight if there ever was one, on the financial necessities behind yet another Radio 4-to-television crossover - this time for I've Never Seen Star Wars - in The Guardian:

I've Never Seen Star Wars is a glimpse of the economic future of broadcasting: a series where it's irrelevant whether you see it or not.

Listen to the programme here.


  • Comment number 1.

    I rather like Sci-Fi, Steve, so I am following the Science Fiction Drama Season in some detail (across radio and television). Some of the dramas are extremely good.

    In more general terms, this kind of non-linear approach to broadcasting, where a particular subject (whether Sci-Fi, Darwin or some genre of music) is used as a theme across the BBC, is very interesting.

    You perhaps need to work harder to communicate to your digital audience what is on, and where (radio, television or online), but at least you are trying here.


  • Comment number 2.

    Farah Mendlesohn also reviewed The State of the Art, for Strange Horizons, here.


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