Press Office

Wednesday 29 Oct 2014

Press Release

Autumn highlights on Radio 4 Extra

This autumn, BBC Radio 4 Extra brightens the onset of darker, shorter days with a new short story strand, a second series of Ambridge Extra; a new series of the comedy magazine series What's So Funny?; a Spy Season; and a Gothic Weekend.

On Monday 10 October, Radio 4 Extra launches a new strand, The Short Story Zone. Every weekday at 11am (repeated at 9pm and 4am), listeners will hear a selection of contemporary and classic short story readings from the BBC Sound Archive – as well as 25 new productions of published work over the year. The Short Story Zone launches with Evelyn Waugh's short stories. Subsequent authors will include: William Trevor, MR James, EM Forster, Margaret Drabble, Fay Weldon, Rose Tremain and Dorothy Whipple.

On Tuesday 4 October, Ambridge Extra returns for a brand new series which can be heard twice weekly on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2.15pm, with an Ambridge Extra omnibus on Sundays at 11.15am (repeated at 7.15pm and 2.15am).

On Friday 7 October at 7.30am, What's So Funny? returns with a new host – Irish stand-up comedian, Ed Byrne, with Lucy Porter providing guest interviews.

On 16 October a Spy Season begins. Over three weeks listeners can hear: Black Butterfly written and read by Mark Gatiss; Open Secret, Stella Rimmington's M15 memoirs; Casino Royale read by Alex Jennings; You Only Live Twice read by Michael Jayston; Agent Zig-Zag read by Damian Lewis; The Spying Game, a Baroness Orczy thriller; The Ipcress File; The Thirty-Nine Steps; and dramatisations of The Honourable Schoolboy and Smiley's People, to coincide with the 80th birthday of John le Carre on 19 October.

In a special Gothic Weekend on 28-31 October, listeners can hear Gothic drama and readings including: Sherlock Holmes versus Dracula, A Short History Of Vampires, The Man In Black, MR James Ghost Stories, and six hours of The History Of Titus Groan.

Other autumn highlights include:

To tie in with this year's BBC National Short Story Award, Radio 4 Extra will repeat the five short-listed stories from The National Short Story Award 2009 from Monday 3 to Friday 7 October at 2.30pm. The authors featured include: Naomi Alderman, Lionel Shriver, Jane Rogers, runner up Sara Maitland and the winner Kate Clanchy.

From Monday 3-7 October at 11am listeners can hear readings from the Cheltenham Literature Festival 2008. The authors featured include: John Banville, Graham Swift, Penelope Lively, DBC Pierre and Ben Okri reading extracts from their novels. (Repeated at 9pm and 4am)

On Thursday 6 October at 10am, Radio 4's Saturday Live poets perform a Poetry Pop-Up from the BBC Radio Theatre for National Poetry Day. Richard Coles hosts and there's music from Cerys Matthews.

This year is the 20th anniversary of the landmark comedy series, On The Hour. To mark this occasion, journalist Eddie Mair selects and introduces six of the ground-breaking programmes, and reveals why he joined the BBC newsroom. It's A Painful Business: On The Hour With Eddie Mair on Saturday 1 October at 9am.

Lastly, Saturday late night Comedy On The Boat, recorded at the Tattersall Castle on the River Thames, features stand-up comics David Ward, Jason Cook, Marlon Davies, Terry Alderton, and many more over eight weeks, beginning on Saturday 8 October at 10pm.


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