For someone who almost famously doesn’t watch TV, I’m a remarkably big fan of the BBC. What I DO spend is an awful lot of time listening to the radio – for news, sport, and entertainment. I’m always dazzled by the quality of the drama they produce, and I really enjoy their Science Fiction adaptations – another obssession of mine.
But, it’s also an absolute treasure trove of radio programming about Shakespeare … both factual stuff and performances.
At the moment, BBC Radio 3 seem to be running a series of fresh adaptations of plays, newly presented in ‘binaural’ sound – I think the general idea is that you listen on headphones for a better experience.
Either way, by following this link you can, at the moment, listen to free but time-limited high quality versions of the following:
Pericles: just 1 day left to listen, so get moving;
Richard II: 15 days left to listen; and
Macbeth: 29 days left to listen
Now, I already have recordings of the latter two, but listening to these new versions is like going to see the play at a different theatre, performed by different actors, no? I’m really curious about how they edit the text, how they perform certain key lines, etc. No difference, as far as I can see, except that I can use my ears and brain whilst doing the mindless drudge of reading 30 summaries of the conventions of Shakespearean Tragedy – which is my first, but by no means last, task for the day …
So, you know what I’ll be doing whilst I spend my May Day Bank Holiday on the marking treadmill …