The Cambridge Geek

Radio Round-up - 09 August 2021

Given I've not done an actual post in about four months, since finding literally every fiction podcast has taken up a lot of my time, I thought I'd be lazy and find a sneaky way of covering my radio listening a lot more quickly than the usual big posts. Here's a quick look at three things I listened to this week that I enjoyed.

Party's Over: One that had a previous pilot, and now a full series. Miles Jupp features as a very short-term former Prime Minister, attempting to figure out what to do with the rest of his life. I really enjoyed the pilot, but I struggled heavily through these proper episodes.

It's aiming for a combination of satire and farce, and the farce works very well, but there's no space here for well-crafted political jokes. It would take too much time to stop for them, so it devolves to "remember this Tory? Weren't they evil/stupid?" moments of simple reference, such as making a trivial David Cameron + pig joke, or Prince Andrew + sweating. It's particularly a problem when the jokes have all already been done by The Skewer, Dead Ringers or The Now Show, a lot closer to the relevant event.

The Learners: Another one that came out of the last pilot season, this is back in traditional sitcom territory, being about the difficulties of a small class of Welsh learners. Nothing particularly ground-breaking here, but a solid effort of comedy, mostly driven by the oddities of the characters, with the conflict thus far being purely internal to the group. (That paragraph feels rather uninspired, but my reaction to the show is mostly "it's fine", so perhaps that's appropriate.)

The Book of Danielle: My choice of the week is this drama from Jeremy Front, who is always rather good, in the form of a re-telling of the golem myth, in which someone creates a form from clay, that inevitably goes a bit mad and causes havoc. Who better to create one then than Danni, a Jewish potter, who is struggling to deal with her son's school bullies, local criminal youths, grave desecration, and someone doing a Farage.

She's inspired by a helpful glazer, who also does the narration, which is fun and a bit self-aware, given it's voiced by Henry Goodman, who is described within the play itself as having "a timbre". I admit I don't know enough Jewish folklore to be certain, but this does seem to be a bit of a twist on the standard tale, with the golem being more of a shifting form than usual. Either way though, it's an excellent version of the myth, and allowing a little bit of vicarious revenge.

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