Monday 20 December
Woman's Hour Drama - Lorna Doone
A new adaptation, by award-winning writer Jane Rogers, of R D Blackmore's
high romance of love and vengeance on Exmoor with Timothy West as the
older John Ridd and Alex Avery as the young John.
Lorna Doone is a story of star-crossed lovers, feuding families, royal
plots and noble destinies set against a backdrop of uncertainty in 17th
King Charles II lies on his deathbed and the future of the country is
left in the hands of divided politicians and warring rebels.
Peaceful Exmoor farmers, John Ridd and family endure the wrath of the
nearby colony of notorious outlanders and lawbreakers, the Doones.
Lead by Sir Ensor, the clan has been ejected from their Scottish homelands
and forced to plunder the villages on the moor to survive.
When his father is murdered one day by Carver Doone, 12-year-old John
Ridd swears vengeance on his father's killers.
Without a father John must leave school and provide for his family.
Out fishing one day he accidentally finds himself in Doone valley, where
he makes the acquaintance of a mysterious maiden, Lorna (Jemma Powell).
Bidding him to never again appear on their land if he wants to live,
she leaves him and it is seven years before his return.
Despite the fact that Lorna is a Doone, and therefore a sworn enemy,
love blossoms as the pair meet again and John finds he simply cannot stay
As their friendship grows, so does the hatred between their families.
Turbulent times lay ahead for the young lovers, as they chance fate and
defy all that they know.
What emerges from the nest of passions and desires, unbridled corruption
and pure fate is a story of faith, courage and determination.
Jane Rogers is an award-winning original writer and dramatist. Her credits
include Mr Wroe's Virgins, Dawn and The Candidate (TV), Diary Of A Provincial
Lady (E M Delafield), Letters To An Icon and Hardy's A Tragedy Of Two
BBC Radio 4 Publicity
Wall Of Death
Take a huge wooden drum, 20 feet high and 32 feet in diameter, put a
viewing platform around the top and ride a vintage motorbike around its
vertical walls at speeds of over 50 mph.
A spectacle that has enthralled funfair audiences in Britain for 75 years,
it still draws the crowds today and is called the Wall of Death.
Life-long bike enthusiast Andy Kershaw sets out to explore
the history of this most spectacular of all fairground shows and meets
the men and women who are brave - or mad - enough to carry on the tradition.
Andy meets the Wall of Death's very own historian, Neil Calladine.
The first Wall arrived in Britain in 1929 at the Kursaal in Southend
where it remained for nearly 50 years.
Its most celebrated owner was George 'Tornado' Smith who, during an eventful
career, had several assistants who rode pillion as part of the performance.
These included his wife and Briton, a lioness who as a cub rode on the
handlebars but, when she grew bigger, graduated to a sidecar.
The Thirties were a golden age for the Wall of Death and no self-respecting
funfair was without one.
The best riders were even treated like modern-day rock or film stars.
The tradition has been continued to the present day by Roy's grandson
Graham who takes his Wall to shows and fairs up and down the country.
Surprisingly, in an age where the extraordinary is regularly seen on
TV and in films, the Cripsey Wall of Fear is still a hugely popular attraction.
As Graham approaches the age of 50, however, he's decided to retire and
Andy joins him on the day the Wall comes up for auction.
It's an emotional moment as Graham gives his last performance (or so
he thinks) and Andy reflects on a remarkable spectacle that has entertained
British audiences for nearly 80 years and still draws 'em in today.
Presenter/Andy Kershaw, Producer/Jeremy Grange (Wales) BBC Radio
Afternoon Play - A Long Time Dead
Careful Kath and bossy Beatrice (both in their late fifties) are all
set for their girlie weekend in Paris, but an hour before leaving to catch
the Eurostar, Kath quietly dies in her armchair.
But neither of them see why this should get in the way of their European
Beatrice and dead Kath take on Paris with enthusiasm. They watch the
sunset over the Seine and Beatrice even treats Kath to a designer frock
and a pair of gold shoes for her funeral.
Kath's death not only provides a whole new lease of live for Beatrice,
but also an opportunity for a belated and moving reconciliation for the
Marion Bailey plays Kath with Linda Marlowe as Beatrice and Tony Selby
Other parts are played by Emily Wachter and Stephen Hogan.
Writer Sheila Goff's previous plays include Thirty Years Is Pearl, Stay
Stum, Sad, and Will You Love Me Tomorrow.
She is currently working on a dramatisation of Monica Dickens' novel
My Turn To Make The Tea.
BBC Radio 4 Publicity
1/4 3.30-3.45pm (Mon-Thurs)
The inspiration for this series of short stories about angels comes from
famous paintings and poems - from the traditional portrayals of Raphael
through to Anthony Gormley's thoroughly modern Angel Of The North.
The Green Angel by John Burnside. An abstract painting of an
angel by Jasper Johns triggers a forgotten memory for the story's narrator.
The colours and images in the painting cause a moment many years ago
to gain heightened significance.
The reader is David Rintoul.
Kali Is Dancing For Me by Tanika Gupta. Joya is on holiday with
her mother in India. On her first night, she dreams of a beautiful dancing
The Goddess is Kali and she seems to be sending Joya a message.
Eager relatives persuade a reluctant Joya to visit the Kali temple outside
Calcutta. Standing before the temple statue, she realises that it is the
exact same image of Kali that appeared to her in the dream and she seeks
The reader is Yasmin Wilde.
And We Flew Into Bethlehem by Michael Morpurgo. The popular
Christmas carol, While Shepherds Watch Their Flocks is the inspiration
for this story by Children's Laureate, Michael Morpurgo.
He speculates on what happened to the shepherd left behind to look after
the sheep while the rest of his friends travelled to Bethlehem.
The readers are Paul Copley and Robert Hastie.
Untitled story by Clare Boylan. A story of unrequited love centres
on a painting of a beautiful woman - to the mind of the art collector
who owns the painting she becomes his guardian angel as he attempts to
woo a much younger, married woman.
BBC Radio 4 Publicity
A child falls over and a bone is broken. On the hospital ward, the parents
start to notice whispers and dark looks and then the child is taken into
care on suspicion of abuse.
In this revealing documentary, Hugh Levinson hears from parents who have
lost their children in these circumstances - but who believe the root
cause is medical ignorance.
They believe their children are suffering from undiagnosed cases of
brittle bone disease.
It's a rare condition and one which is difficult to test. Some doctors
don't even believe it exists. Yet the parents say that they are victims
of a system which knows little about the disease and which is unwilling
to test medical explanations for unusual childhood fractures.
In one case, a young woman was convicted of neglect on the basis of evidence
from a radiographer. She spent 14 months in prison before her criminal
conviction was overturned.
But by then, her daughter had been adopted - a decision which is irreversible.
None of the parents interviewed for the programme have spoken directly
to the media before. Now they say they are prepared to tell their stories,
using their real names.
Reporter Hugh Levinson examines their cases and asks
Social Services departments to explain their decisions.
He also puts challenging questions to the parents - even if their children
do suffer from brittle bone disease it does not automatically mean that
they have not been abused.
Through these stories he explores a social worker's most sensitive and
finely balanced decision: whether to take children into care for their
Presenter/Hugh Levinson, Producer/Smita Patel
BBC News Publicity
Book At Bedtime - Augustus Carp, Esq By Himself
Subtitled 'Being The Autobiography Of A Really Good Man', this is the
book that Anthony Burgess described as "one of the great comic novels
of the 20th century".
Augustus Carp is so convinced of his own moral superiority he feels it
is his duty to "place some higher example before the world."
A hypocritical, pompous, cowardly and sanctimonious bully, Carp makes
his heavy-footed way through life completely blind to his own faults and
acutely aware of the faults in others.
He sees it as both a duty and a pleasure for him to point them out…
The novel was published anonymously in 1924 and for many years the identity
of the author remained a mystery.
He was finally revealed to be Sir Henry Howarth Bashford, Hon Physician
to King George VI.
Producer/David Jackson Young
BBC Radio 4 Publicity