BBC Productions - Radio 3

BBC Radio 3

Lowri Blake

"The Hidden Composers" - November 2009 - 1x44mins

Presented by Lowri Blake / Produced by Richard Bannerman

Hidden behind their domestic lives, two French women composers challenged the masculine world of French music and are now being discovered. Louise Hiritte-Viardot (1841-1918) and Mel Bonis (1858-1937) were highly creative composers, but their work was largely hidden behind the prejudice against women composers that existed in France at that time, and the demanding nature of their domestic and private lives. They are virtually unknown today, but Lowri Blake talks to members of their families, and to musicians who are enthusiasts for their work, and makes a case for their music. With over six hundred works between them, Hiritte-Viardot and Mel Bonis were prolific, though only a handful of pieces were performed in their lifetime, and the cd catalogue is only just beginning to represent them.



Debussy at the piano

"Debussy's Summer of 1912" - June 2008 - 1x44mins

Presented by Lowri Blake / Produced by Richard Bannerman

It was a very hot summer and Debussy had no time to take his wife and 7 year old daughter Chouchou on their annual trip to the seaside, much to her displeasure. He had a new Diaghilev commission to compose, his last completed orchestral work, the ballet Jeux,  he was trying to finish the second book of the Preludes for piano, was working on numerous other projects, and tussling with the dancer Maud Allen who wanted changes to the ballet Khamma. He also had a visit from Stravinsky and together they played through, as a piano duet, the score of The Rite of Spring. It made a ‘terrifying impression’ on him. Lowri Blake talks to pianists Roy Howat, Peter Hill and Alasdair Beatson and musicologist Robert Orledge, and introduces music from that summer.



Carla Bley

"Jazz File - Carla Bley" - September 2006 - 3x30mins

Presented by John Fordham / Produced by Richard Bannerman

Carla Bley ranks with the finest and most influential jazz personalities from the second half of the 20th Century onwards. John Fordham celebrates this verstile, some would say eccentric talent, who has won an array of international awards and accolades.


Miles Kington

"Jazz File - Swing City" - December 2006 - 3x30mins

Presented by Miles Kington / Produced by Neil Rosser

Kansas City became the focus for the greatest jazz players of the day during the 1920's and 30's, and Miles Kington explores the streets where speak-easies, clubs and honky-tonks thrived, and where alcohol flowed and the Prohibition was largely ignored.


Woody Allen playing jazz clarinet

"Woody Allen's New Orlean's Jazz Clarinet" - January & February 2002 - 8x30mins

Presented by Woody Allen / Produced by Alan Hall & Alyn Shipton

Director and clarinetist Woody Allen, over 8 episodes, makes a personal assessment of Sidney Bechet, Johnny Dodds, Jimmy Moon, George Lewis and other great New Orleans-based exponents of the jazz clarinet. 


New York Philharmonic Orchestra

"The Orchestras of North America" - 1999 - 10x75mins

Presented by Natalie Wheen / Produced by Alan Hall

This ground-breaking ten-part series tells the story of five major US orchestras - the Boston Symphony, the Clevenland Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Philharmonic, the Chicago Philharmonic and the New York Philharmonic.


"The Israel Philharmonic - Orchestra & People" - 1998 - 2x120mins

Presented by Sheena McDonald / Written by Neville Teller / Produced by Martin Cotton

The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra came into being as the state of Israel was founded in 1948. To mark their shared 50th anniversary, Sheena McDonald tells the story of the IPO’s growth in tandem with the state’s, celebrating a half-century of music making, triumphs and controversy. Among the leading figures from the classical music scene specially interviewed for the programme are Zubin Mehta, Daniel Barenboim, Isaac Stern, Pinchas Zukerman and Noam Sheriff, as well as many members of the orchestra, past and present.




"Blind Tasting" - 1998 - 8x30mins

Presented by Fiona Talkington / Produced by Martin Cotton

In BLIND TASTING, two guests from the worlds of music and the arts discuss with the presenter three different recordings of the same short piece of classical music.  The guests are not told in advance which artists/orchestras feature on which recording - hence the series’ title.  Together with the presenter, the guests nominate the best of the recordings, at which point the performers of all three are revealed for the first time to the guests and to the listeners.  The nominated piece is then played in full.  The entertainment value of BLIND TASTING lies in the guessing-game element, and the chance to hear interpretations by famous names judged “blind” alongside less revered (and even obscure) artists and orchestras.  It’s also an opportunity for listeners to test their critical assessments against those of the guests and presenter. At the same time, the series provides authoritative and sometimes surprising recommendations for listeners who are building up their record collections.


"I Was There" - Series 2 - 1997 - 5x30mins

Presented by Richard Fawkes / Produced by Louise Armitage

After the success of the original series of I WAS THERE, presenter Richard Fawkes returns with the first of five more interviews which bring vividly alive great musical events and celebrities of the past.



Joan Bakewell

"Sound Choice" - 1997 - 8x60mins

Presented by Joan Bakewell / Produced by Martin Cotton & Rosalind Furlong

Joan Bakewell presents a new series aimed at music lovers and record buyers. Over the course of eight programmes, music celebrities such as Thomas Allen, Andrew Davis and Richard Hickox talk about the earliest records that were significant for them, while the likes of Leonard Slatkin, Emma Johnson, Nicholas Daniel and Robert Tear compare notes on recordings they have heard without knowing who the performers are.




Janos Starker

"Janos Starker" - 1997 - 3x90mins

Presented by Moray Welsh / Produced by David Papp

In 1931 Janos Starker entered the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest as a prodigiously gifted six year-old and by the time he was nine, he already had several students. The die was cast. For most of his extraordinary seven decade career, Starker has not only been one of the century’s greatest cellists, but also one of its foremost teachers. In these three programmes, LSO Principal Cellist Moray Welsh talks to Starker and his contemporaries about those formative years at the Academy. Starker also plays music which reflects that time.


"Off The Record" - 1996 - 5x60mins

Presented by Robert Cowan / Produced by Martin Cotton

Robert Cowan presents the a new magazine series about the classical music recording business - the current issues surrounding it, its stars, backroom people, politics, finances, techniques and output.


Howard Goodall

"Key Questions" - Series 2 - 1995

Presented by Howard Goodall / Produced by Jim Hiley

Composer Howard Goodall and a panel of guests return for a second series where they answer questions about music, recorded live at six different lilve music concerts across the UK.


"I Was There" - 1995 - 5x30mins

Presented by Richard Fawkes / Produced by Louise Armitage

A series of five programmes that brings vividly alive great musical events and celebrities of the past, who are recalled by first-hand witnesses and with recordings of their music. 



"Private Passions" - 1995 - 9x30mins

Presented by Michael Berkeley / Produced by David Papp

Michael Berkeley meets 9 guests and discovers their musical passions, including Sir Colin Davis, James MacMillan, Albert Roux, John Peel and David Hare. 


Howard Goodall

"Key Questions" - Series 1 - 1994

Presented by Howard Goodall / Produced by Jim Hiley

Composer Howard Goodall and a panel of guests answer questions about music, recorded live at six different lilve music concerts across the UK.


Musical Theatre

"The Highest Form of Art" - 1993 - 6x45mins

Presented by Jim Hiley / Produced by Alan Nixon

A series of six 45-minute programmes, in which Jim Hiley presents musical theatre songs, ranging from the most familiar "standards" to the most obscure gems, linked by a perceptive and provocative commentary. 



King Henry VIII

"Henry: King of Kings" - April 2009 - 5x15mins

Produced by Neil Rosser

April 2009 is the five hundredth anniversary of Henry VIII’s accession to the throne and is marked by this series of five individual essays on key areas of his thirty eight year reign. 




DH Lawrence & Frieda in Cornwall

"Paradise Or Nightmare - Lawrence In Cornwall" - May 2008 - 1x44mins

Presented by John Worthen / Produced by Richard Bannerman

‘He was rather odd. To begin with he had a red beard, and Frieda wore bright red stockings, which was unusual in those days.’ Stanley Hocking, a teenager when D. H. Lawrence and his wife Frieda moved in up the road, recorded vivid memories of the Lawrences’ arrival in Cornwall in March 1916.  Lawrence, suffering from the destruction of his novel The Rainbow on grounds of obscenity and wanting to get away from a war he hated,  chose the ‘peacock’ sea and primitive landscape near St. Ives as a refuge. Lawrence biographer John Worthen follows in his footsteps, and talks to fellow Lawrence scholars Fiona Becket, Mark Kinkead-Weekes, and Christopher Pollnitz about the impact of this period on Lawrence’s life and work. He may have loved the place, and completed one of his greatest novels Women In Love, but the violence of the war caught up with him, he and Frieda were expelled on suspicion of spying in October 1917, and that experience surfaced in the angry chapter which he called ‘The Nightmare’ in his later novel Kangaroo.


Maths visualised

"The Essay - Symmetry & The Monster" - April 2008 - 4x15mins

Presented by Mark Ronan / Produced by Richard Bannerman

These four essays under the title ‘Symmetry and the Monster’ open up the world of mathematics, and describe one of the journeys which have preoccupied some of the greatest mathematical brains from the early 19th century to now. It’s a chronological journey, presented by Mark Ronan, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Illinois in Chicago, and Hon. Professor of Mathematics at University College London.


Blatny plaque

"The Poetic World of Newt" - April 2007 - 1x45mins

Presented by David Vaughan / Produced by David Vaughan

'Newt' was the name on the secret police file in Communist Prague which masked the identity of the poet Ivan Blatny. In his twenties Blatny was one of the central figures in the cultural avant-garde, but when the Communists came to power in 1948 he defected to Britain, much to the fury of the Czechoslovak authorities, who opened a secret file on him and attempted to lure 'Newt' back. In the years that followed his mental health gradually deteriorated, and he spent most of the rest of his life - all but forgotten - in various psychiatric hospitals. David Vaughan explores the life and the poetry of Blatny, travelling to Brno to meet his family, to Prague to the see the police files, and, poignantly, to the psychiatric hospitals in Suffolk where Blatny died in 1990. He continued to write poetry to his dying day, scraps of paper salvaged by his nurse, Frances Meacham, and his reputation is confirmed by the testimonies of the former playwright President Havel, and by the leading Czech writer Josef Skvorecky.


'Night Watch' by Rembrandt

"Rembrandt 400" - July 2006 - 1x45mins

Presented by Neil MacGregor / Produced by Richard Bannerman

BUY IT NOW via Rembrandt 400 (Unabridged) 

Neil MacGregor, the Director of the British Museum, visits Amsterdam to reassess the qualities that make Rembrandt's subjects reach out so directly to us today.


Maureen Lipman recording in studio

"Joyce Grenfell at the Aldeburgh Festival" - 2005 - 3x20mins

Presented by Janie Hampton / Starring Maureen Lipman / Produced by Merilyn Harris

Comedienne and actress Joyce Grenfell fell in love with the annual classical music pageant in Aldeburgh back in 1947. These three 20 minute programmes, written & presented by Joyce's biographer Janie Hampton, follow her love for the festival through the reading of her personal letters to her best friend. Features Maureen Lipman as Joyce Grenfell.


Joss Ackland

"Cat On A Hot Tin Roof" - March 2008 - 1x120mins

Starring Joss Ackland / Directed by Andy Jordan

Hypocrisy, greed and secret passions threaten to tear apart a wealthy but dysfunctional Mississippi family in Tennessee Williams' explosive American masterpiece set in the plantations of the Deep South. The play, produced here in its original version, portrays the larger-than-life characters of Maggie "the Cat," her alcoholic husband, Brick, and the dominating family patriarch, Big Daddy. A hot-house of corruption and lies, the drama is played out against a backdrop of rampant 1950’s Cold War anti-communism, white domination, racial segregation, and intense homophobia.

Don Carlos cast at Abbey Road

"Drama on 3 - Don Carlos" - 2005 - 1x120mins

Starring Sir Derek Jacobi / Directed by MIchael Grandage & Andy Jordan

A transfer of the critically acclaimed West End production of Schiller's 'Don Carlos' - starring Sir Derek Jacobi, Richard Coyle, Elliot Cowan, Claire Price, Peter Eyre, Charlotte Randle, Una Stubbs, Ian Hogg and Andrew MacDonald among others. Directed by award-winning theatre director Michael Grandage and Andy Jordan, with music by Adam Cork. Recorded in Studio 2 at Abbey Road studios.


The cast of In The Company of men

"Drama on 3 - In The Company of Men" - May 2003 - 1x120mins

Written by Edward Bond / Directed by Andy Jordan

A two-hour ensemble cast performance of Edward Bond's critically acclaimed play. Adapted for radio by Bond himself! Starring Kenneth Cranham.



David Sawer & the Toys

"Between the Ears - The Long Time Ago Story" - December 2003 - 1x20mins

Composed by David Sawer / Written by Rose English / Sound Design by Peregrine Andrews / Produced by Martin Cotton

Filtered through the reverie of a modern-day child, fragments of romantic ballet stories are distilled into a musical fabric of toy sounds and toy musical instruments to make an imaginary radio ballet.



Tony Robinson

"Musical Tales" - Series 2 - 1995 - 8x30mins

Presented by Tony Robinson / Produced by Claire Collingridge

Great composers have based much of their best-loved music on  myth, legend and fairy story.  In this series, TONY ROBINSON returns for a second series to tell contemporary versions of the original tales, against a background of the music they inspired. 



Tony Robinson

"Musical Tales" - Series 1 - 1992-1994 - 8x30mins

Presented by Tony Robinson / Produced by Claire Collingridge

Great composers have based much of their best-loved music on  myth, legend and fairy story.  In this series, TONY ROBINSON tells contemporary versions of the original tales, against a background of the music they inspired. 


Hardeep on location in Ukraine

"Sorochintsy Fair" - March 2009 - 1x45mins

Presented by Hardeep Singh Kohli / Produced by Richard Bannerman

In his short writing career Nikolai Gogol made an indelible mark on the nascent Russian literary scene. His first stories, led by his tale ‘Sorochintsy Fair’, were inspired by the folklore of his native Ukraine. Published in 1832, they brought him the friendship of Pushkin and instant fame. He followed these with plays, stories and his novel ‘Dead Souls’, all of which combined fear and laughter, brilliant observation and comedy rubbing shoulders with the fantastic and grotesque. Marking the 200th anniversary of Gogol’s birth, Hardeep Singh Kohli begins his journey through the Gogolian world at the bustling Sorochintsy Fair in the Ukraine, and follows the trail into the darker, madder worlds that followed, ending with the burning of Gogol’s final work and his painful, desperate death.


To Do list

"Between The Ears - Doing The To Do List" - 2005 - 1x30mins

Produced by Richard Bannerman

Everyone has a to do list - this original montage piece looks at the to do lists of people from around the UK, learning just what these lists mean to their owners, and whether or not they ever achiebe their ultimate aims! Featuring comedian Arthur Smith.