BRANAGH AS SHTRUM.

Sashura just sent me an amazing piece of news: Kenneth Branagh will be playing the central role of Viktor Shtrum in Radio 4′s forthcoming (in September) adaptation of Vasily Grossman’s Life and Fate. Alison Hindell writes:

Producing the Radio 4 dramatisation of Life and Fate has been something of a revelation to me. The brainchild of Mark Damazer, former Controller of Radio 4, for whom it is the greatest novel of the twentieth century, it was for me entirely unknown.
Most listeners are in the same boat as me although, as a Russian speaker, I was surprised I didn’t even know the title. So I read it. And felt fairly convinced it was an impossible challenge. Fabulous prose, complex characters, beautifully translated but too long, too many characters to follow, what slot could possibly accommodate it?

Her explanation of how they decided to handle it is interesting and plausible. And while I wouldn’t go so far as to call it the greatest novel of the twentieth century, having gotten halfway through I’m quite sure it’s the greatest novel of WWII and should be far better known than it is. I’ll be writing more about it in due course; meanwhile I look forward to hearing this (assuming we Yanks will be vouchsafed the privilege).

Comments

  1. Can you get Radio 4 or would it be broadcast on the BBC World Service? I thought the BBC didn’t allow every Tom, Dick & Harry computer access to their programs. Bastards.

  2. Can you get Radio 4 or would it be broadcast on the BBC World Service?
    I don’t know. If I can’t, I hope some kindly UK reader will tape the series for me.

  3. Or hey, maybe the Beeb will send me a review copy! Alison, are you listening?

  4. Is Alison your name for the Queen?

  5. You can listen to the BBC online. Choose a station, then click on Listen Live.

  6. Sashura says:

    BBC’s iPlayer should be available in the States as it is on the Continent – go to bbc.co.uk. I am almost sure they will make an audiobook of it too.

  7. mollymooly says:

    BBC Radio broadcasts are freely streamed on the web, though only archived for a week. The TV channels, being funded by the licence fee, are mostly only accessible from UK IP addresses.

  8. Narmitaj says:

    To see if you might be able to catch up after the live broadcasts, try a test run – the Radio 4 Drama Listen Again page is here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/programmes/genres/drama/current , and you can test a couple of links and see what happens.
    @mollymooly – the BBC’s radio stations and web presence are also funded by the TV licence, mostly (there is other funding from rights sales and so on).

  9. BBC Radio broadcasts are freely streamed on the web, though only archived for a week.
    Ah yes, I used to know that. Narmitaj, your link worked fine. Thanks to both of you!

  10. mollymooly says:

    @Narmitaj — Indeed; let me repair my comment. I think the theory is that it’s OK to offer the radio free to foreigners since it’s free to locals, whereas TV requires a licence of locals and so ought not to be given away free to foreign internauts.
    In addition, BBC-branded TV channels are available abroad by subscription, so a free web service would undermine that revenue stream.

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