Saturday, April 15, 2006

Easter saturday

Tuesdays seem to be a bit of a jinx day for Julie's poultry. The week before last I came home from the office to find she was worn out from chasing straying chickens and building a new house for them at her place.

Last Tuesday I arrived home to find that she'd brought over two more ailing chickens from her place and reorganized the poultry here. The grounds around my house are slowly being filled with cages and hen-houses - as though a property developer with an interest in bigger-and-better barnyards has been at work. There are chickens of various breeds inside the house, outside the back door, in the driveway and there's a goose on the back lawn.

We have to bring the rooster inside at night in case his crowing wakes up the people next door. Not waking us up, of course, is more a matter of good luck than anything else.

Sometimes it's all a bit much....

On BBC Radio 4, Sunday's new Classic Serial was part 1 of "The Code of the Woosters", by PG Wodehouse, dramatised by Judith French. It's been recorded on location and the production team promised "a lot of vim and vigour."

"Now, this is really going to divide opinion, isn't it?" commented the BBC programme guide. They may be right. The first five minutes for example are a bit of a shock, as we discover that the producers have dubbed in a lot of comical sound effects more suited to Roger Rabbit than the Drones Club, as well as a dream sequence that I don't remember in the original. (Mind you it has been about 35 years since I last read it.)

This is a bit strange, since in condensing a Wodehouse novel into two one-hour segments one would have thought the problem was deciding what to leave out, not what to insert.

Marcus Brigstocke plays Bertie and Andrew Sachs shimmers in as Jeeves. This is the one where Bertie has to rescue newt-loving Gussie Fink-Nottle's engagement to Madeline Bassett, daughter of the formidable Sir Watkyn Bassett.

BBC Radio have done many fine adaptations of Wodehouse - I thought Richard Briers was a particularly good Bertie Wooster and Michael Hordern a satisfactory Jeeves when they serialised The Code of the Woosters in 1973 - but this one may disappoint the purists and fans.

I shall report further when I've heard part 2.

Speaking of radio, I greatly enjoyed the 1957 special Easter episode of the old radio show The Great Gildersleeve that was available on the Digital Deli website. I tuned in for it after seeing some comments that it was the sort of thing that nobody would be willing or able to do in the modern media.

I think they could be right. Not only would it be politically incorrect, it would be difficult to find any modern star who would sound convincing espousing mainstream Christian ideals.

It simply doesn't happen today.


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