This week’s best radio: Armando Iannucci’s Essential Classics
As a teenager, Armando Iannucci shared a bedroom with his older brother and his Deep Purple and Lou Reed records. “I remember thinking, ‘I don’t get this,’” he says, and he’s held that line pretty much ever since. Classical music is his preferred poison. Therefore, as Iannucci continues to promote his new film The Death of Stalin, he’s the perfect guest for Suzy Klein on Essential Classics (Weekdays, 9am, Radio 3).
I haven’t yet heard Dancing to the Music of Time (Weekdays, 1.45pm, Radio 4), so I will have to wait to discover whether in this rendition of Hilary Spurling’s new biography of novelist Anthony Powell, the reader Hattie Morahan pronounces his surname to rhyme with “trowel” or “mole”. There’s a whole world of old-fashioned English class distinction in that single nuance, which is as it should be because there’s a whole lot more in Powell’s books. Spurling’s profile will illuminate the 12 volumes of his life’s work by explaining the real-life events and people that inspired them.
The latest Unmade Movies (28 October, 2.30pm, Radio 4), Hammer Horror’s The Unquenchable Thirst Of Dracula, begins with Penny, a young British woman, travelling by train through India in the year 1932. On the way she meets Prem and Lakshmi who have been hired by a maharajah to entertain his guest from the Carpathian mountains, one Count Dracula. This latest in the series of radio adaptations of film scripts that were never produced is directed by Mark Gatiss and stars Anna Madeley and Lewis MacLeod.
It is Benjamin Britten weekend at Suffolk’s renowned concert hall, Snape Maltings. One of the high spots is a performance of Louis MacNeice’s radio play The Dark Tower (29 October, 9pm, Radio 3), a drama featuring a score by Britten, which was first broadcast in 1946. The performance at Orford Church is directed by Fiona McAlpine, with music by the BBC Concert Orchestra, and Harry Lloyd, Lucy Robinson, Jude Akuwudike and Adrian Scarborough among the cast.
It can be instructive to note the different kinds of advertising running on American political podcasts. If you listen to Pod Save America, which is run by former Obama staffers and Democratic party partisans, you’ll be exposed to ads for home delivery of everything from gourmet meals to underwear, presumably in the belief that you’re too busy being fabulous to go near a shop. If, on the other hand, you listen to former Breitbart staffer and conservative gadfly Ben Shapiro on The Ben Shapiro Show – which gets full marks for energy if not for balance – it’s assumed you stay indoors for different, more paranoid reasons. Hence the introductory deal with a firm called My Patriot Supply, which stands ready to furnish all your practical Armageddon-anticipating needs.