BBC

Moira Armstrong – A Christmas Carol (1977)

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Miser Ebenezer Scrooge hates Christmas, but then gets a visit from his companion Jacob Marley, who has been dead for seven years. He urges Scrooge to change his life. Read More »

Andy De Emmony – Whistle and I’ll Come to You (2010)

A chilling new single drama, Whistle and I’ll Come to You is the thoroughly modern re-working of the evocative Edwardian ghost story Oh, Whistle and I’ll come to You, My Lad by MR James, adapted for BBC Two by Neil Cross. Cross’s adaptation delves into themes of ageing, hubris and the supernatural, with a horrifying psychological twist in the tale. Read More »

Julian Jarrold – Crime and Punishment (2002)

This acclaimed BBC adaptation of Crime and Punishment remains faithful to Fyodor Dostoevsky’s classic novel. Set in St Petersburg in the second half of the 19th century, the psychological thriller tells of a desperate young murderer caught in a web of his own guilt. Rodya Raskolnikov is a poverty-stricken student living among the fetid alleyways and crumbling tenements of St Petersburg. Intense and highly intelligent, Raskolnikov believes he is among a class of men destined for greatness and as such is permitted to breach ‘normal’ moral values. He decides to test his courage and integrity by killing a pawnbroker, a mean old woman whom he is sure nobody will miss. The murder, however, only serves to draw Raskolnikov into a nightmare world in which he is dogged by guilt, paranoia and alienation. Faced with the wily investigator Porfiry, who sets up a complex series of traps, encounters and conversations, can Raskolnikov escape his own conscience or the seemingly inevitable punishment? Read More »

Amanda Rubin – Roland Barthes: 21st Century Mythologies (2020)

BBC Four Website Description
Art historian Professor Richard Clay explores how Mythologies, written in 1957 by French philosopher Roland Barthes, laid bare the myth-making at the heart of popular culture. Now, following in Barthes’s footsteps, Richard Clay dissects some of the everyday myths we still take for granted in the 21st century, revealing the hidden meanings in everything from money, Wi-Fi and race to the Madonna. Read More »

Michael Whyte – Your Cheatin’ Heart (1990)

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Scottish playwright John Byrne’s follow-up to the great Tutti Frutti of 1987, was another distinctive, music-themed series. But, whereas Tutti Frutti was about rock ‘n’ roll, 1990’s Your Cheatin’ Heart revolved around the country music and rockabilly scene. The tale contains all the traditional ingredients of the archetypal Western: a defiant woman alone with her husband in gaol, a guileless stranger who finds the courage enough to help save the day, murders, and a series of down and dirty bad men. There’s just one thing…it’s set in modern day Glasgow. But don’t forget it was Celtic music played by the Scottish and Irish immigrants in the frontier towns of the new world that helped shape American country music. Read More »

Tony Smith – Tutti Frutti [+ Extras] (1987)

Legendary Scots rock ‘n’ roll outfit The Majestics find themselves in trouble on the eve of their 25th anniversary tour when their singer, Big Jazza, is killed in a car crash. But with the appearance of his younger brother, Danny, their problems appear to be over. If only it was that easy…

Rock and roll mythologises itself as a rejuvenating rebel music, an image embodied by the Rolling Stones, who claim the music keeps them fired up and excited despite their advancing years. However, entry into the ranks of rock and roll originals has failed to bestow the same energising favours on The Majestics, Scotland’s very own (fictional) survivors of the 1960s beat boom. Read More »

Elijah Moshinsky – Cymbeline (1982)

Starring Dame Helen Lydia Mirren

Elijah Moshinsky directed the BBC Television Shakespeare adaptation in 1982, ignoring the ancient British period setting in favour of a more timeless and snow-laden atmosphere inspired by Rembrandt and his contemporary Dutch painters. Richard Johnson, Claire Bloom, Helen Mirren, and Robert Lindsay play Cymbeline, his Queen, Imogen, and Iachimo, respectively, with Michael Pennington as Posthumus. Read More »