Olivia Colman and Toby Stephens on the subject of obsession, with music and readings from writers and composers wrestling with ideas that take hold of the brain.
'Obsession requires a commendable mental agility', according to Nick Hornby and this edition of Words and Music wrestles with ideas that inexorably take hold of the brain. Readers are Olivia Colman and Toby Stephens.
There is nothing more absorbing than being in the throes of love, and the more unrequited it is, the more obsessive the lover becomes - from the idée fixe of Berlioz, in his almost gothic passion for Harriet Smithson, to the hormone-fuelled obsession with the teen idol, as suffered by the young Allison Pearson.
But this passion can disintegrate into something more sinister, and so enter the stalker, courtesy of Ian McEwan and The Police, and the narcissist, taken to fantastical extreme in The Portrait of Dorian Gray.
And there are those whose minds work in a way they struggle to control - Dr Johnson may have had a form of obsessive compulsive disorder, there is the hoarder, the hypochondriac, and the keeper and interpreter of minutiae, like Nick Hornby's football obsessive.
And finally the all-absorbing, all-encompassing epic grand passion, the inability to concentrate on anything else - Ahab's quest for the white whale, and the Arthurian knight's mission to find the Holy Grail.
Music from jazz, pop, rock and classical, including Cole Porter's rather unsettling (in this context) "Night and Day", the romanticism of Schubert, Berlioz and Wagner, and the joyous piling up of insistent ostinati by Herbie Hancock.
Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes
Never give all the heart
W.B. Yeats, read by Olivia Colman
Sonnets For Hélène
Pierre de Ronsard, read by Toby Stephens
The Memoirs of Berlioz (excerpt)
Hector Berlioz, read by Toby Stephens
William Shakespere, read by Olivia Coleman
Enduring Love (excerpt)
Ian Mcewan, read by Toby Stephens
Dusty Answer (excerpt)
Rosamund Lehmann, read by Olivia Coleman
You'll Love Me Yet
Robert Browning, read by Toby Stephens
I think I Love You (excerpt)
Alison Pearson, read by Olivia Coleman
Fever Pitch (excerpt)
Nick Hornby, read by Toby Stephens
Hector the Collector
Shel Silverstein, read by Olivia Coleman
Three Men in a Boat (excerpt)
Jerome K. Jerome, read by Toby Stephens
The Life of Johnson (excerpt)
James Boswell, read by Toby Stephens
The Picture of Dorian Gray (excerpt)
Oscar Wilde, read by Olivia Coleman
John Updike, read by Toby Stephens
Moby Dick (excerpt)
Herman Melville, read by Olivia Coleman
The Ballad of Sir Bors
John Masefield, read by Toby Stephens
- Sun 7 Apr 2019 17:30