September 19, 2011

EPISODE ONE IS POSTED AT THE BOX:

Some of the cast of Radio 4's dramatisation of Life and Fate. (Pete Naughton, 19 Sep 2011, The Telegraph)

You could almost smell the apprehension on Radio 4 on Sunday afternoon, as Vassily Grossman's Life and Fate - a thirteen-part dramatisation of a great but underexposed Russian novel written in 1959 and set during World War Two - began on the network. Nothing quite like it had ever been attempted by the BBC before, and Radio 4 had done much to grease the wheels prior to transmission, with a special edition of Start The Week, a documentary mini-series about the author and enough on-air mentions and trailers to make even a casual listener realise that Something Big was afoot. But the question remained: how would audiences respond to eight hours of dark and challenging material, spread over every single drama slot on Radio 4 (bar the Archers) for an entire week?

On one level, the jury is still out, as - at the time of writing - less than half of the episodes have gone to air. But if I were the BBC's attorney I'd advise them to rest easy and bide their time until the next Sony Awards: Life and Fate is fabulous, mind-expanding drama, brilliantly adapted from Grossman's book by Mike Walker and Jonathan Myerson and delivered with great subtlety by a big-name cast. I'd be staggered if it's not an enduring hit, and if sales of the novel don't spike dramatically as a result.




Posted by at September 19, 2011 3:21 PM
  

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