Category: Radio

BBC Radio Dramas & Book Readings

BBC Radio Drama

BBC Radio Drama

BBC Radio Dramas & Book Readings

BBC radio dramas & book readings are among the best listening programs in the world. I have enjoyed many over many years. When relaxing or working on anything at home e.g. DIY etc., I prefer listening to the spoken word rather than the musical lyric!

Jean prefers listening to music while doing something like chores at home.  She said fast beat music makes tedious ironing a little better.

BBC Radio 4 & Radio 4 Extra are the channels for drama, documentaries, comedy, news and magazine/lifestyle type shows.

BBC Radio has performed dramas and readings since 1932.

Some recordings from the 1940s onwards can be heard via the BBC radio archives.

Now with podcast and BBC iPlayer we can hear these anytime; at pur convenience.

Their drama & book collection covers diverse genres such as  crime, thrillers, historical, classical, sci fi horror, spooky and more, every taste is catered for.

BBC also excel at  readings of famous books for those who are about to sleep; at 10.45pm weekdays they can listen to ‘Book at Bedtime’ readings. .

Popular Book at Bedtime

Popular Book at Bedtime

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The latest I listened to via Book at Bedtime is the latest James Bond novel called Trigor Mortis by Anthony Horowitz (one of the modern authors allowed to write new James Bond novels apart from Bond’s creator Ian Fleming).

As for dramas, I enjoy a good plot, interesting story and characters.

Sometimes, they produce intriguing plays/dramas that when I hear the start, I have to listen  to the end!

Last.week I listened to ‘The Man in The Lift’

  A man has been contracted to repair the lift in a residential tower block. But trapped in a confined space and suspended in time, a lift can become a place of transformation.

A maintenance  man at a London  council comes to repair and service  the lifts (elevators) in one of the  council  blocks.

While he works and ascends and descends in the lifts, he meets various and diverse tenants and becomes involved in their lives.

Most do not know their fellow neighbours, or even talked to them, such can be the isolation & loneliness  of living in a tower block.

While going up or down in the lifts, these tenants take the time to chat to him. They come to find it easy to talk to him and confide problems to him. He offers sage advice.

They come to think of him as a friend they never had and even a father figure to one young teenager.

After completing his work and he departs,   the tenants  find that they have been brought closer together and talk to each other resolve any problems and become friends.

The lift repair man had become an almost mystical catalyst to those lonely tenants.

More BBC please!

 

Number Stations Still Going For The Spy Audience

Number stationBeing interested in the great game as all things espionage is known, I read about this particular method for sending coded secret signals to spies in the field.  Those clandestine operatives that are hidden among us tune in at certain times to certain shortwave radio frequencies.  A sequence of spoken numbers is broadcast automatically to the target agents who could be anywhere in the known world.  The agents  copy and transcribe the numbers using deciphering methods  such as ‘one time pads’ to decode the numbers into a meaningful message. One time pads are unbreakable if used correctly and as the name stated,  the encryption is used only once then disposed of.

Number Stations Still Going For The Spy Audience

Those radio amateurs (HAMS)  that ‘surf’  shortwave channels are fascinated by these mysterious emanations from the ether.  Anyone with a decent shortwave receiver should be able to pick them up. Thought to be a relic  of  the Cold War, this means of covert communication is still a valued tool to contact secret agents anywhere!

We recently watched a good action thriller movie called ‘The Numbers Station’ (2013) starring excellent actors John Cusack and Liam Cunningham with Malin Akerman.
I was pleasantly surprised as the movie managed to make the unglamourous and probably monotonous subject to non-spy enthusiasts quite exciting 😉
numbers station -banner

Where the transmitting stations are located is a mystery,  and of course spy agencies deny that they exist.  A British number station is rumoured to be based in Cyprus?
The best known of the number stations was the “Lincolnshire Poacher”, which is thought to have been run by the British Secret Intelligence Service.

Below are two YouTube items

World Radio Day – go Ga Ga !

Today 13th February 2013, is World Radio Day celebrating the positive effect the airwaves can have on the world.

Radio is still the single largest mass media in the world today. The audience is now 6 billion people all over the world, but still 1 billion still do not have access to radio.

While Brit supergroup Queen went Radio Ga Ga, with the advent and evolution of  TV, computers &  smartphones, there is still a place for the humble radio.

Listening and viewing habits have and are changing, but the radio is still the best, cheapest and easiest medium to communicate, educate, entertain and inform on a mass scale.

Remote  and poorer areas such as in parts of Africa rely on broadcasts to share knowledge etc. Radio can provide a voice for marginalised people. Today recognises the power of radio.    From the earliest crystal sets to the modern DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting),Radio still rules. Personally,  I sometimes enjoy listening to the radio more than watching TV.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)  is world-famous. BBC World  Service (broadcasts in 28 languages) brought unbiased nonpolitical  information, news and indeed some comfort to many of those under repressive regimes etc.

I used to like to listen to BBC Radio 1, the pop music stations, now I prefer to listen to more talk based radio such as BBC Radio 4 for news, views (intelligent talk as DAB indicates!)  comedy quiz shows, drama and more, also BBC Radio 4 Extra which plays archived shows from the 1930s to present day.

Radio can be a powerful communicator as demonstrated in October 1938, when Orson Welles’s radio adaptation of HG Wells science fiction classic ‘War of  The Worlds’ caused mass panic among listeners, who believed an invasion from Mars was really happening!

Here are some radio facts;

The first public wireless(radio) transmission which was in Morse code, was made in 1895 by Italian Gugliemo Marconi and took place in London.

The longest running radio soap opera  drama in the world  is the BBC’s ‘ The Archers’, which started in 1950 to help introduce new farming practices to farmers in rural Britain, it then evolved into to more drama based plots! One of the actors who appeared in the first episodes remained until his death in 2009, over 50 years in the part!

China Radio broadcasts more than 1500 hours in 61 languages.

Valve pwered radion 1930s 50s

Valve powered radion 1930s- 50s

Valve radio

Valve radio

 

transistor powered radio

transistor powered radio

transistor radio 1960s

transistor radio 1960s

 

Modern DAB Digital Radio

Modern DAB Digital Radio