Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Ramped up

The BBC Radio Theatre, the DG and Controller R4 Gwyneth Williams were all got up equally sparkly for Monday evening's launch of the 'new season' on Radio 4. Guests noted that a generous ramp had been set up leading to the stage - sadly the star of the show, Reith Lecturer 2015 Professor Stephen Hawking, was in the end unable to attend.  For those who can't use stairs, normal access to the stage is by a small hydraulic lift.

Prof Hawking's absence seems to have left the BBC Press Office with a dilemma; they chose to top their release with a shot of Andrew Marr - though there's no sign in the text of anything 'new' from him. Indeed, only last week, BBC Radio boss Helen Boaden revealed "only 10 percent of our radio schedules change each year".

One other headliner in this new season is Glenda Jackson, who will star as 104-year-old Adelaide Fouque in an new take on Emile Zola's novels. Glenda last acted for BBC microphones in 1978, in a radio adaptation of Hugh Whitemore's film, also starring Glenda, about Stevie Smith. It was commissioned in the World Service but also ran on Radio 4.

Glenda was also a regular voice on Radio 4 panel shows and appeals, but I can find only one other drama booking - for an afternoon theatre of 1969 - the year before she filmed "Women in Love". It was "The Road From Ruin", by Frederic Benedict. Glenda starred opposite David Buck. If her agent's reading this, inflation should generate a fee five times bigger than her cheque for 1978 - or fourteen times bigger than the 1969 fee.

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