Sherlock Holmes CD Review

Sherlock Holmes Specials

Many thanks to Random House who have sent me this boxset of four feature-length Sherlock Holmes audio dramas, originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4. Clive Merrison star as Holmes and the late Michael Williams stars as Dr. Watson. I’d heard about these dramas, but had never listened to them before.

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Story number 1 is ‘A Study in Scarlet’, from 1989. This is where Holmes meets Watson, and they end up finding accommodation together at the infamous 221B Baker Street. I love the scene where Holmes displays his skills to Watson, by describing Watson through and through, just by looking at him.
Story number 2 is ‘The Sign of the Four’ featuring a fantastic guest appearance from Brian Blessed. Merrison really comes into the role during this story – there’s also a love interest for Dr Watson during this two part adventure. At the start of the story we also hear Dr Watson warning Holmes about the use of cocaine, a powerful scene – showing Holmes’s character when he didn’t have a case to solve.

 

Story number 3 is ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ which features appearances from Judi Dench as Mrs Hudson and also the late, great Donald Sinden too.  Great cast, brilliantly dramatised, and I was hooked throughout.  I believe this was the last Merrison/Williams production – Merrison went on to work with Andrew Sachs in further adventures after Williams’s death, but this production made sure all of Conan Doyle’s novels and stories had been created.

 

Story number 4 is ‘The Valley of Fear’, again a great production – brilliant story, which interlinked events on both sides of the Atlantic.  It’s left me wanting to hear more!  Now, I’ll have to track down the shorter stories which were dramatised and are also available to purchase on CD too.
The production values are excellent, and performances from both Merrison and Williams are superb.  The Conan Doyle works are treated with real respect here.

 

All of Conan Doyle’s stories were recreated for BBC Radio 4 by Merrison and Williams between 1989 and 1998. My favourite portrayal of Holmes has always been Jeremy Brett in the Granada Television adaptation, but the Radio 4 version adds a whole new light to the characters.
8 CD’s in this boxset, hours of entertainment and I’ve been enjoying them thoroughly during my commutes to work.  A must have.  Chris

Love in Recovery CD Review

I’ve been enjoying my commutes to work over the last week – away from the sounds of Chris Evans on Radio 2, and any other channel.  The reason?  I’ve had five CD’s to go through, from Radio 4 comedy drama ‘Love in Recovery’.

Published by Penguin Random House, Series 1 and 2 are now available in a 5 CD box set, and if you haven’t heard the show before, there’s almost five hours to enjoy.

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The show has an outstanding cast (Sue Johnston, John Hannah, Eddie Marsan, Rebecca Front, Paul Kaye and Julia Deakin) – and the chemistry is there from the start.  Each episode is set during a weekly Alcoholic Anonymous meeting.  We hear their stories, we hear their highs… we hear their lows.  We hear them laugh, and sometimes cry.

 

Eddie Marsan is Andy, the “self-appointed” group leader who you can always rely on to bring the biscuits.

Sue Johnston is Julie, who’s been known to have the odd relapse here and there, and everywhere, but had a husband who relied on drink – and one day, she decided to do just the same…

John Hannah is Simon, a snide journalist with a big secret.

Rebecca Front is the snobby and guarded Fiona, who used to be a banker who had it all, and then lost the lot.

Paul Kaye is Danno, a dodgy geezer with no front teeth, but a lot of heart.

I was fortunate enough to be able to ask writer Pete Jackson some questions about the show…

 

Chris:

Love in Recovery has an outstanding cast – how easy was it to assemble the cast for the show?

 

Pete:

The cast really are our dream cast and we were amazed and very very grateful when they all said yes. And they’ve been wonderful. They find layers in the scripts that aren’t always there in the writing (but which I always take credit for). And they’re all utterly lovely too! Infuriating isn’t it? I can’t act, and I’m a dick!

Chris:  

Series 1 consists of 6 x 15 minute episodes, with the first five all focusing on a different main character.  From the Christmas Special onwards, the episodes increase in length to 30 minutes, what brought on the change in duration?

 

Pete:

We increased the duration because we felt like we’d proved the show works and wanted an opportunity to tell more complex stories. In the first series, we covered how each of the characters had arrived in the room- and so for series two we wanted to focus on things happening in the present as well as the past- and link two, sometimes three stories in the same episode.

Chris:

What has been your favourite episode so far?  (Mine so far has to be the Christmas Special, which I listened to on the way to the office this morning, excellent).

 

Pete:

My favourite episode so far has to be episode six of series 2, ‘The Wake’ because it was a story that’s quite personal to me, and I also managed to rope my whole family into singing at the end. And I gave my mum and my uncle Bill a line each- which they delivered with aplomb.

Chris:

Are there plans for a third series?

 

Pete:

I’m writing the third series as we speak (hence my rapid answers to these questions- they’ve been a very welcome distraction from trying to plot an episode). We’ll record later this year I think.

 

I’ve also been lucky enough to interview actor John Hannah (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Marley’s Ghosts and Sliding Doors).

 

Chris:

You play Simon in the series.  How did you start preparing to play Simon when you first got the role?

 

John:

I’ve had my share of issues over the years but the writing spoke of so much more than single issue problems. Putting oneself in that skin was, unfortunately all too familiar.

 

Chris:

I used to attend GA meetings and the show has really managed to capture the sometimes claustrophobic atmosphere in those meetings.  Is each show recorded in exactly the same way?

 

John:

The show is recorded exactly like the meetings…  In a church room. Maybe the biscuits are a bit better!

 

Chris:

Apart from Simon, who is your favourite character in the show?

 

Simon:

It may be a cliche but every character is so beautifully drawn and played. I love and feel for each one. As you know in every group there’s always a dick. I’m just happy they let me play with them- being the dick.

 

Chris:

What has been your favourite episode to date of the series?

 

Simon:

I honestly felt each story each episode took us on a journey of such beautiful discovery We really felt like we walked a mile in their shoes. I hope you enjoy the 2nd series. Pete and Ben managed to top their 1st series and I think that’s no mean feat.

 

‘Love in Recovery’ Series 1 and 2 is out now on CD from all good stockists.  Buy it.  You will not be disappointed.  It will leave you wanting more.  Chris

Catch My Radio Show!

From this Friday (Jan 6th), you can hear Benson’s Sport Preview… giving you a guide to all of the sport on Freeview over the coming week.

You can listen to the show at http://www.livesportsfm.co.uk and also through the Mixlr app – every Friday at 5:30pm approx. and Saturdays at 1pm approx..!

Let me know if you tune in!  There will be some great music too.

Here’s a look at some of Live Sports FM’s highlights during 2016… thanks to Live Sports FM for sending this information over.

England’s Young Lions

We broadcast live commentaries of England’s Youth Internationals from U16s-U20s, including England U20s vs Brazil U20s and the UEFA U19s Euro Qualifiers. Congratulations to England’s Young Lions on qualifying for the Finals.

The Kingstone-Press Summer Bash 2016!

We were in Blackpool for the Rugby League Championship’s showpiece weekend at the seaside where we commentated live on six of the fixtures throughout the weekend. We’ve also enjoyed commentating on England’s Schoolboy Internationals and our Home Nations international sides.

The Barclays U18s Premier League

We started the 2016/17 season with regular commentaries of the U18s Premier League. Our first match was defending champions Man City vs West Bromwich Albion at the City Academy Arena. The quality of matches has been excellent – and we’re convinced we’re giving you an exclusive insight into many of the stars of the future…

Anyone for tennis?

We were live at the Aegon Ilkley Tennis Trophy for commentaries from Centre Court from 13-19 June. Women’s Final winner Evgeniya Rodina & Men’s Final winner Yen-Hsun Lu both qualified for Wimbledon – Lu lost to Wimbledon winner Andy Murray in the second round (more about Andy later…)

Owzat – The Road to Lord’s

Congratulations to Sessay CC, National Village Cup 2016 winners at Lord’s. We broadcast some great commentaries at idyllic settings in England & Wales on the road to Lord’s (enjoying some wonderful hospitality), followed by live ball-by-ball commentary from the home of cricket for the Final. We also enjoyed broadcasting Yorkshire Vikings T20 visits to Harrogate, York and Pudsey Congs.

We’re up for the Cup!

There’s been lots of drama – including plenty of penalty shootouts as our live match commentaries continued in the FA Youth Cup, Buildbase FA Vase, Buildbase FA Trophy & Emirates FA Cup. We saw Marcus Rashford impress for Manchester United U18s – and noted he could be one to watch…

A knockout year for KO Radio on Live Sports FM

We were live in Las Vegas for the mega-fight between Amir Khan & World Champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, live for Kell Brook’s World Title challenge against Pound-for-Pound king “GGG” Gennady Golovkin, interviewed Anthony Joshua at ringside at the O2 Arena after he beat Charles Martin to become the Heavyweight Champion of the World – and we joined all-time-greats Floyd Mayweather & Sugar Ray Leonard on their 2016 UK tours.

2016 Olympics Homecoming Parade…Radio Gold!

We joined Team GB’s 2016 Rio Olympic medal heroes on their open top bus parade & interviewed the Olympic Gold medallists about their achievements! We proudly mentioned that if Yorkshire were a Country it would have been 14th in the Rio 2016 medal table with 14 medals (excuse our Northern bias!) 

In A League of Their Own!

We’ve clocked up lots of miles commentating on teams in the Vanarama Conference/National League (and football clubs throughout the pyramid) again this year. Congratulations to Cheltenham Town & Tranmere Rovers on their promotion to the EFL at the end of the 2015/2016 season. 

For the Fans, By the Fans…!

We’re delighted that after building up a popular listenership on BBC 5Live over the last few years – that Caroline Barker, Dave Anderson & colleagues from the Non-League Football Show have found a new home with us on Live Sports FM on Saturdays at 2pm – as well as being available to listen to as a podcast with our content partners AudioBoom via http://www.audioboom.com 

Game, Set & Match…to Andy Murray

We were live at the ATP Paris Masters from 30 October – 5 November. Andy Murray beat John Isner in the Final and became the first British player to achieve the ATP World #1 ranking. It was an incredible year for Andy who also won his second Wimbledon title, his second successive Olympic Gold medal, the BBC Sports Personality of the Year for a record third time – AND he even got to chat to our very own Jonathan Pinfield (you can see how pleased he was about that…!):

 

 

Chris

 

Catch me on the Radio this Christmas!

The transmission time for my Christmas quiz on BCB Radio confirmed! You can catch the show on Christmas Eve afternoon at 3pm-4pm. My first show for BCB since February 2012! You can listen in Bradford at 106.6FM and online at http://www.bcbradio.co.uk and also via the Radio Player and Tunein apps. If you want to say hello to someone or have a song request… drop me a message. Don’t forget to tune in… And have your pens and paper ready to join in with the quiz during the show – no prizes… all festive fun! Chris