Jonathan Ross Radio 2, Saturday 10am
JR’s studio guest this week is Tom Hollander, co-creator and star of new BBC1 comedy Rev., in which he plays the new vicar of an inner city parish. See TV Today on Monday for my preview of Rev., and in next week’s Stage podcast (and our print edition, out next Thursday) I’ll be interviewing Hollander’s costar, Olivia Colman.
Why do Women Die in Opera? Radio 3, Saturday 12.15pm
So many of the big opera roles for women end in death, whether by consumption (Mimi), throwing oneself off a tower (Tosca), stabbed by a spurned lover (Carmen) or herself (Butterfly)… So why is it always the women who get bumped off? Martin Kettle explores whether it’s just because we want the diva to go through the gamut of emotions, or whether male composers’ relationships with women in real life have any bearing.
Weekend Wogan Radio 2, Sunday 11am
Live performances from the Radio Theatre in Broadcasting House from Jodie Prenger (currently touring with Spamalot as well as sitting in for Paul O’Grady, Sunday 5pm) and Rick Astley. Yes, Rick Astley.
Drama on 3: Antony and Cleopatra Radio 3, Sunday 8pm
David Harewood and Frances Barber star in Mary Peate’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s great tragedy. Roger Allam, Amanda Root, Claire Rushbrook and so many other great names make the dramatis personae read like a who’s who of great talent.
Woman’s Hour Drama: Amazing Grace Radio 4, Monday-Friday 10.45am
Based on a true story, Michelle Lipton scripts the tale of Grace (Wummi Mosaku), who flees her Sudanese village when it is attacked, but in the chaos loses her twin boys. The efforts of the family to reunite takes the story to Kenya and Britain.
Afternoon Play: Black and White Riot Radio 4, Monday 2.15pm
In 1980, riots broke out in the St Paul’s district of Bristol. Edson Burton’s drama looks at events of the time through the eyes of a girl (Tyra Allen) whose café owner father (Jude Akuwideke) is king of the hustlers.
A Strange, Enchanted Boy Radio 4, Tuesday 1.30pm
Eccentric hippy eden ahbez, who requested that his name always be spelled in lower case, wrote just one song: Nature Boy. Originally performed by Nat King Cole, Baz Luhrmann featured it in his film Moulin Rouge! (in a version by David Bowie) and it has been covered by hundreds of artists, including former Any Dream Will Do finalist Daniel Boys on his recent album So Close.
Afternoon Play: The Art of Balance Radio 4, Tuesday 2.15pm
Deborah Findlay, Niamh Cusack and Joseph Kloska star in a magical fable by Rachel Joyce. Two women seeking balance in their lives find themselves in a field with two wooden towers and a tightrope.
The Glory of Glam Rock Radio 2, Tuesday & Wednesday 10pm
Thursday is the 40th anniversary of the recording of T. Rex’s first hit single, Ride a White Swan, which is regarded as the birth of glam rock. From the Bowie & Bolan rivalries to the glam explosion that showered the charts with glitter, Gary Kemp narrates the story of one of British pop’s silliest looking, but most creative, eras.
Jeremy Hardy Speaks to the Nation Radio 4, Wednesday 6.30pm
It’s been two years since the last series of comic lectures in which the News Quiz regular berates Britain (although they’re repeated often enough on Radio 7 for the gap not to have been that noticeable).
Methuselah’s Children Radio 7, Friday 6pm
Robert A Heinlein’s first book to feature the enigmatic Lazarus Long is also the best. A group of families have used secretive techniques to extend their own lives far in excess of the human average. Is it just selective breeding, as they claim, or have they turned to other means? The quest for longevity pervades this six-part drama.
Amazing Grace Radio 4, Friday 9pm
An omnibus edition of the Woman’s Hour Drama (see above). It’s a shame that original drama is no longer being commissioned for this slot, but at least people who want to listen to thought-provoking drama on a Friday evening have something. Small crumbs of comfort, I know…