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Turn off the TV: radio choices, May 14-20

Graham Norton Radio 2, Saturday 10am
Eurovision Radio 2, Saturday 8pm
Norton’s weekly Saturday show comes from Düsseldorf as the preparations for the evening’s Eurovision Song Contest final get underway. Special guests will, of course, include Blue, who are singing the UK’s entry I Can.

Norton will also, of course, be commentating the evening’s festivities. If you prefer your narration a little less frenetic and a little more Scottish, Ken Bruce does the honours on Radio 2. Or, of course, long time Stage and TV Today contributor Ewan Spence will be on hand via Twitter and many other new media platforms…

Saturday Play: Deep Down and Dirty Rock’n’Roll Radio 4, Saturday 2.30pm
Mark Davies Markham, who wrote the book for West End musical Taboo, writes this story of lifelong friends Ed (Suggs) and Carl (Burn Gorman). Both were members of the band Lost Youth, until Carl feigned his own mysterious disappearance. Fourteen years later, Lost Youth is on the verge of a big comeback — but if Carl comes out of hiding, will it ruin Ed’s chances of reviving his career and paying off his debts?

The Complete Smiley: Call for the Dead Radio 4 Extra, Saturday 6am, 4pm, Sunday 4am
Radio 4 Extra begins a repeat run of Radio 4’s adaptation of all eight John le Carré novels to feature gentleman spy George Smiley.

Desert Island Discs Revisited: June Spencer Radio 4 Extra, Sunday 10am, 9pm, 1am
Desert Island Discs: Kwame Kwei-Armah Radio 4
On Radio 4 Extra, DID continues its month-long series of interviews with actors with 2010’s edition with June Spencer, who plays Peggy Woolley in The Archers. And over on Radio 4, a new episode features actor and playwright Kwame Kwei-Armah.

Barbara Windsor Radio 2, Sunday 1pm
Elaine Paige is off on a six week long summer break, and standing in for her for the first two weeks is long time musical theatre actress Barbara Windsor (who’s also done the odd role in film and TV. I forget which.) Joining her will be The Stage reporter Matthew Hemley, who starts a new regular series looking at the major theatre news of the week.

Mr Blue Sky Radio 4, Monday 11.30am
A new sitcom — the first solo effort from Andrew Collins (BBC1’s Not Going Out) — sees Mark Benton as Harvey, a man who can’t help but be relentlessly optimistic, to the despair of his long-suffering wife (Rebecca Front).

Doctor Who: Cobwebs Radio 4 Extra, Monday-Thursday 6pm, 12am
In Jonathan Morris’s story (initially released by independent company Big Finish) Peter Davison’s Fifth Doctor returns with one of his more successful TARDIS companion rosters. The Doctor has been travelling with Tegan (Janet Fielding) and Turlough (Mark Strickson) since third companion Nyssa left. A few days later for the TARDIS travellers, they meet Nyssa (Sarah Sutton) again — but for her, fifty years have passed. The dynamic the reunited team falls into is at once familiar, but different, as they explore an abandoned genetic research facility that hold the key to curing a disease that’s taken six billion lives. Another story with the same regular cast, Stephen Cole’s The Whispering Forest, starts on Friday.

Afternoon Play: Heart Radio 4, Wednesday 2.15pm
In Mike Bartlett’s play, recently retired primary school teacher Susan (Alison Steadman) is learning to find new things to fill her time, just as husband Steve (Nicholas Farrell) is finding that pressures of work are taking him to the brink of depression. Doesn’t sound all that great on paper, but Steadman and Farrell are generally incapable of giving poor performances.

Afternoon Play: The Death of Tom Inglis Radio 4, Friday 2.15pm
Lesley Manville returns to radio drama after 30 years in the tru story of a mother whose son suffers a brain-stem injury after falling from the back of a moving ambulance. David Morely’s sensitive script follows Frances Inglis (Manville) and her husband Alex (Phil Daniels) as Frances becomes increasingly convinced that the best way to relieve her son’s suffering is to allow him to die.

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