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The Present Experiment

Celebrating seventy years to the hour that the Third Programme was launched, Robin Brooks's fantastical comedy romps through the first hours of the pioneering station's life.

Robin Brooks' deliciously lyrical comedy romps through the first hours of the pioneering Third Programme, in fact and fantasy.

1946. A new government and the NHS. The first Festival of British contemporary music. Peter Grimes. De-mobbed servicemen and young working-class beneficiaries of the Butler Act are crowding into university. And in a Blitz-battered Broadcasting House, chosen head George Barnes (1st in History, Kings) and his Director-General William Hayley (no university education) meet to discuss a new arts network, Programme C, (after A - Light - and B - Home) to pull up the cultural life of the nation by its bootstraps.

Inspired by the disruptive geniuses of early contributors Louis MacNeice, Dylan Thomas and Benjamin Britten, the story of the network's dreams and fears begins to unwind in a fantastical verse adventure through the corridors of Broadcasting House. Meanwhile in the wry BBC realpolitik of W1A 1946, staff producer Guy Burgess is being consulted about how to stop the Russians invading the frequency with weird interruptions from Riga Station.

Katherine, the Herald ..... Pippa Bennett-Warner
George Barnes ..... Pip Torrens
Gwylim Jones ..... Trystan Gravelle
Lawrence O’Neill ..... Jonjo O’Neill
Lord Reith ..... Christopher Godwin
Roland Givens ..... Tim Potter
Guy Burgess ..... Gunnar Cauthery
William Hayley ..... Michael Bertenshaw
Rex Hardcastle ..... Adrian Scarborough
Virginia, the Sorceress ..... Carolyn Pickles
Heidi O’Neill ..... Catriona McFarlane
Ethel McRea ..... Natasha Cowley
with Nicholas Murchie and John Dougall

Produced and directed by Jonquil Panting

1 hour, 29 minutes

Last on

Sun 9 Sep 2018 19:30

Music Played

  • Edward Elgar

    Salut d'amour, Op 12

    Performer: Gil Shaham. Orchestra: Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Conductor: Naoko Tanaka.
    • Romances: Gil Shaham/Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.
    • Deutsche Grammophon.
    • 1.

Credits

Role Contributor
Writer Robin Brooks
Katherine, the Herald Pippa Bennett-Warner
George Barnes Pip Torrens
Gwylim Jones Trystan Gravelle
Lawrence O'Neill Jonjo O'Neill
Lord Reith Christopher Godwin
Roland Givens Tim Potter
Guy Burgess Gunnar Cauthery
William Hayley Michael Bertenshaw
Rex Hardcastle Adrian Scarborough
Virginia, the Sorceress Carolyn Pickles
Ethel McRea Natasha Cowley
Actor Nicholas Murchie
Actor John Dougall
Producer Jonquil Panting
Director Jonquil Panting

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