Tag Archives: BBC Radio 4

Audio Version of Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments, Available from BBC Radio 4 for a Limited Time Only

For the past few weeks, BBC Radio 4 has been running a full-cast reading of an abridged version of The Testaments, Margaret Atwood’s sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale. The project is now complete, and, if you move fast, you can listen to all 15 episodes.

Each episode is only available for 30 days after its original broadcast. That means that the opening episode, first run on 16 September 2019, will be unavailable after 15 October 2019. Since each episode is only 14 minutes long, though, binging shouldn’t be a problem.

The Testaments is set fifteen years after the events of The Handmaid’s Tale. The monstrous Republic of Gilead still exists, but seems to be crumbling from within. Aunt Lydia, however…

Well, just listen to the program. You can start here

Noir, Noir, and More Noir

Roger Ebert, who knew a little something about movies, called film noir “the most American film genre.”   If I had to pick just one film genre for all my entertainment for the next month, choosing film noir would be easy.  Especially right now.

Here are three reasons.


This year marks the 75th anniversary of the third and definitive film version of The Maltese Falcon, which is generally considered the first great film noir.  To celebrate, Turner Classic Movies and Warner Brothers are screening That Movie About The Bird at selected theatres nationwide on Sunday, 21 February 2016 and Wednesday, 24 February 2016.

You can buy tickets at the Fathom Events website.

Meanwhile, here’s the original 1941 trailer for The Maltese Falcon.

Look at that cast!  Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Peter Lorre, Sydney Greenstreet, and Elisha Cook Jr.

I haven’t kept count, but I’m sure I’ve seen The Maltese Falcon well over a hundred times, in theatres, on late night TV, on VCRs and DVDs, on computer monitors, and in classrooms.

It’s my favourite 20th Century movie.


Open Culture, the website that offers “[t]he best free cultural & educational media on the web,” has posted links to 60 free film noir movies on the Internet.   This is a great find, because most of them are quite obscure.  Lots of new things to discover.

Several of the films were included in TCM’s Summer of Darkness festival last year, which kept me umbilically linked to the TV for nine Fridays, starting at six in the morning and ending at dawn the next day.


Finally, there’s this.   BBC Radio 4 presents Classic Chandler, which features radio dramatisations of all eight of Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe novels.  Toby Stephens, most recently seen in the BBC’s And Then There Were None miniseries, plays Philip Marlowe. The radio plays run 60- to 90-minutes, and cam be played online of downloaded.