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Messages - Ed

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106
I was a bit taken aback by the production of \'Gaudy Night\'. It came across more as an audio book than a radio play, as the character Harriet Vane simply recited large chunks of the plot.

I can understand why BBC Radio weren\'t interested back in the 1980s. Ian Carmichael wasn\'t in one episode at all, and made only a couple of fleeting appearances overall in the first three. He wasn\'t investigating the mystery in any real sense; it was Harriet who was doing that.

Nice though it was to hear Mr Carmichael, when he finally did appear, this wasn\'t really a Lord Peter Wimsey investigation. I could quite see why it took a further 20 years before the Beeb finally decided to produce this.

107
Hello again folks.

I\'ve been unfortunately sidetracked by the usual slew of computer-related problems, and family-related problems; and in trying to keep up with some excellent Ian Carmichael shows on BBC 7 itself.

In her latest newsletter, last Friday, Mary does finally come close to admitting that a large axe is hovering over the station. I think she expects to be the Controller of the new station, however, and so I don\'t think she is personally very worried. But I do know that she has received a number of e-mails privately, urging her to say what she has now finally said, about the need for listeners to respond to the BBC Trust\'s consultation.

Certainly, it would be helpful if listeners were to respond individually: the BBC Trust will then get a greater volume of replies. To a certain extent this is a \"counting heads\" procedure, hence the more responses they get in favour of preserving the station, the better its chances. It would be less effective if just one response was sent on behalf of everyone at Beebotron. Much better if every member of the forum replies individually.

I was amused to see that the automated forum script had posted my message, \'BBC Radio 7 to be abolished\', as \'BBC Radio 7 to be abolished by Ed\'. And I would like to mention that it\'s not me who\'s trying to abolish it! :-)

109
The Lord Peter Wimsey serial \'Nine Tailors\', starring Ian Carmichael, begins on BBC Radio 7 today, Tuesday 8th June, at 1.00pm. The episodes of this serial will be available on BBC iPlayer for 7 days.

110
No apologies for this off-topic Radio 4 posting.

Radio 4 -

Friday 11th June
11:30am
Paul Temple and Steve
Duration: 30 minutes

Episode 1: The Notorious Dr Belasco

New production of Francis Durbridge\'s 1947 detective serial. Private detective and crime novelist Paul Temple and his glamorous Fleet Street journalist wife Steve investigate the activities of a shadowy and ruthless criminal mastermind in post-World War Two London. With Crawford Logan, Gerda Stevenson, Gareth Thomas, Jimmy Chisholm.

111
Though I would share this little gem that I happened across by chance recently -

http://streemeboxvcr.yuku.com/topic/2238/t/Recording-BBC-iPlayer.html

112
I will put the cat among the pigeons, then, and ask this: do you think that the reason for introducing the female character, Harriet Vain, was solely because the author, Dorothy L Sayers, was a woman?

To my mind, I much prefer the humorous banter between Wimsey and Bunter. And, frankly, I miss Peter Jones. Quite clearly Harriet Vane has been brought in to replace Bunter, for he never appears in the stories which feature her. But she lacks the necessary qualities to replace him: i.e. LPW is left without a valet, which is not credible for an aristocrat at the period in question.

The romantic subplot between LPW and Harriet Vane is never entirely satisfactory either. He always sounds like he\'s merely going through the motions, as she always rejects his marriage proposals. And since he\'s both rich and titled, and hence a \"good catch\", she merely looks stupid for casually rejecting him out-of-hand. It\'s always so off-hand and unconsidered.

This particular sub-plot hit its low point in the Petherbridge tv version, IMHO, where Harriet Vane really grated; but there are some signs of that in these Ian Carmichael radio serials too. Personally, I thought her murder trial was a low point in the radio adaptations: DLS seemed to have great difficulty in understanding the male point of view - and in consequence LPW was left looking a right berk at times!

113
Lady Penelope Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> IvorThirst Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Sorry to say this (I have held off as long as I
> > could), but I listened to the first episode of
> the
> > first series and gave up. I kept expecting
> Jeeves
> > to appear. He comes over (to me) as a
> silly-arse,
> > although he obviously has a razor-sharp mind.
>
>
> Exactly my point, Ivor, another example of dumbing
> down?!

It\'s not dumbing-down, IMHO.

I\'m sorry that Ian Carmichael\'s LPW comes across to some listeners as simply a silly-arse aristocrat. But this is what I was alluding to in my previous post, when I mentioned that we\'re listening to a story written in the 1930s: most aristocratic characters in novels and films of that period did sound like Ian Carmichael\'s characterisation of Wimsey.

P G Wodehouse sent-up that type of stereotype aristocrat by creating Bertie Wooster. This is why Wooster was such a big success: so many aristocrats really did speak in the way that Wooster speaks. If you watch films which were made in the Thirties, you see it all the time. Every single aristo in them talks like Bertie Wooster! Hence they were such an easy target for spoofing by P G Wodehouse.

You have to bear in mind the fact that the upper-class accent was nothing unusual when the LPW books were being written. And you have to approach the stories with the frame of mind of a reader in the 1930s, i.e. someone who has never seen \'The World of Wooster\' on tv - and hasn\'t seen either Ian Carmichael or Hugh Laurie in the Wooster part!

Obviously, because Carmichael had played Bertie Wooster in the Sixties, there is an unfortunate shadow of Wooster lurking in the back of our minds when we hear him playing Lord Peter Wimsey in the Seventies. I don\'t remember him as Wooster (too young!), but I did once see a repeat on tv of him in that role. I suspect that those with stronger memories of the Sixties series might have difficulties with his portrayal of LPW.

But there can\'t be too many such people, outside of this group, as so few of those tv episodes survive. What I do find saddest, is that in fact only one edition of \'The World of Wooster\' is known to exist.

114
I think that perhaps it\'s a matter of perception.

The characters all have particularly strong accents in this dramatisation of \'Five Red Herrings\'. And hence the contrast in this case, between Wimsey\'s aristocratic English accent and those of the various Scottish characters (who range from Edinburgh English all the way to broad Glasweigan), is particularly marked.

Back in the 1970s, this type of thing was quite common in radio drama. It seems to be less so today. So perhaps we\'re perceiving the characters without the benefit of living amid the radio shows of that era.

Certainly, less trouble is taken over radio drama nowadays. Because all the actor has to work with, on radio, is his voice, in years gone by the best actors went to great pains to come across really authentically. And a versatile chap like Ian Carmichael would suit his accent to the tone of the piece: in this case, he does a really terrific job of coming across in an authentic 1930s style.

So we\'re listening to a 1970s production, of a story written in (and set in) the 1930s. And we\'re not listening with the expectations of someone in 1977, but with a different set of expectations of radio entirely.

But certainly, this story has a more direct clash of Wimsey\'s upper class tones with the Scots characters who make up both the police and the suspects than is evident in any of the other Ian Carmichael adaptations.

Peter Jones, on the other hand, just sounds like, well, Peter Jones! One might as easily be listening to him in The Hitch-Hiker\'s Guide to the Galaxy, for all the evidence (or, rather, lack of evidence) of the Nineteen Thirties in his performance here. A little defference, but no real attempt to sound any different from his normal speaking voice. Whereas Ian Carmichael most assuredly did not sound like LPW in what passes for real life.

115
I take the point about some of the characters being a little over-acted in Clouds Of Witness, such as Sir Impy Biggs. But for me, this is all part of the fun.

That sort of caricature can only be done in performance! You won\'t notice it in the novel.

116
Does anyone know why my old mp3 recording of this serial has a different announcer to the current version airing on BBC7 (which is a repeat of their 2006 repeat of this serial), and why the episodes run 4 minutes short on BBC 7?

The first episode, The Riddlesdale Inquest, runs 28\'39\'\' on the mp3 version; but BBC 7\'s broadcast only runs 24\'25\'\'.

Checking the mp3, I find there is additional dialogue in a lot of scenes which isn\'t present in the BBC 7 broadcasts. The cast appear to be identical on both, it\'s only the announcer who is different.

Was \'Clouds of Witness\' recorded more than once? Did they make a seperate version for a BBC cassette release that wasn\'t the same as the original Radio 4 broadcasts?

117
IMHO this is the very best of all Ian Carmichael\'s radio performances as Lord Peter Wimsey.

I wouldn\'t like to think anyone might be put off listening to \'Five Red Herrings\' by the suggestion that its plot is too complicated to follow. Doesn\'t that imply that if you can\'t figure it out before LPW does, you shouldn\'t listen? I\'d never have got interested if I had to be clever enough to work it out in advance!

And surely we don\'t listen purely because of the plot? The characters, and the performances, have as much to do with it. If you don\'t like the characters, it doesn\'t matter how good the plot is. And in radio or tv, the actor\'s performance is equally important.

I remember this serial from its original broadcast in the late 1970s. I\'d seen him in film comedies on BBC2, but was rather too young to have heard his earlier LPW radio serials. I was impressed at how good he was in this drama, because I\'d only thought of him in terms of his comedy roles.

And I\'ve always thought how well this story was translated into radio. There\'s never a sense of half-a-dozen actors huddling over a mike in a studio: there\'s a real feeling of \"being there\".

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