BBC Radio 4

    I’ve noticed before that the journey to Stratford is rarely the same distance coming back as it is going. It’s the productions themselves that bring about this distortion of space-time.  On the way there they’ll have a mild effect through simple anticipation (or, occasionally, apprehension). But on the way back it’s far more pronounced.

    A really good show seems to shrink the distance – or at least make it seem well justified. A disappointing one stretches the miles out, particularly if you miss the fast train by seconds (as we did the other night) and end up spacing the trip out by exploring the limited amenities of British railway stations after 10.00 at night.

    Frankly I thought it was a bit of a long-haul back from Michael Boyd’s production of Pushkin’s Boris Godunov, which is a pity because this is his swansong as Artistic Director of the RSC and I’m guessing that he wanted to go out on a high.

    It’s possible though that not all my guests felt the same way. Bidisha was there on the night I went – and I think felt every mile of the return journey too. But John Mullan and Patrick Gale went on the following night.

    I don’t know at the time of writing what anyone thinks of our film this week either – because everyone went to see Ben Wheatley’s Sightseers at the first public screening on Friday morning. I’m expecting them to arrive a little pale-faced, given the high body count in this blackly comic account of an English caravan holiday.

    Also on the programme this week two novels which take Henry James as an exemplary model  -- Emma Tennant’s ghost story The Beautiful Child and Susie Boyt’s The Small Hours – Jane Treays’ documentary series about Claridge’s and The Victoria and Albert Museum’s new furniture gallery.

    Hope you can join us on Saturday at 7.15 – but remember the programme is available for download shortly after broadcast – and you can listen on iPlayer too.

    And, since this is a blog, we’d be interested to hear your comments on any of these items…if you think our reviews missed the point or hit it with particular accuracy.


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