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S. M. A. John

  • 10
  • reviews
  • 11
  • helpful votes
  • 34
  • ratings
  • Gaslight

  • By: Patrick Hamilton
  • Narrated by: Emilia Fox, Terry Molloy, Sean Connolly, and others
  • Length: 1 hr and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 4
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 5

This classic Victorian thriller was first produced in 1935. Jack Manningham is slowly, deliberately driving his wife, Bella, insane. He has almost succeeded when help arrives in the form of a former detective, Rough, who believes Manningham to be a thief and murderer. Aided by Bella, Rough proves Manningham's true identity, and finally Bella achieves a few moments of sweet revenge for the suffering inflicted on her.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • A disappointing adaptation.

  • By S. M. A. John on 03-12-18

A disappointing adaptation.

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-12-18

This excellent play by Patrick Hamilton suffers in this woefully inadequate rendition which is a shame because the cast does include the talented Emilia Fox. This poorly directed audio piece will not withstand the test of time.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Cabin Pressure: The Complete Series 4

  • By: John Finnemore
  • Narrated by: AudioGO Ltd
  • Length: 2 hrs and 48 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 1,193
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,053
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 1,039

Stephanie Cole, Benedict Cumberbatch & Roger Allam star in the fourth series of the hit sitcom about the tiny charter airline for whom no job is too small, but many, many jobs are too difficult. By John Finnemore (The News Quiz, Mitchell & Webb).

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 'Everyone in the car, we're going for a drive...'

  • By L on 14-04-13

Cabin pressure

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-07-18

Cabin pressure is an excellent comedy which uses the erudition & self deprecating wit of yes minister & satirical edge of absolute power. The BBC audioscape at its best!

  • Charles Paris: Murder in the Title

  • A BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation
  • By: Simon Brett, Jeremy Front
  • Narrated by: Bill Nighy, Suzanne Burden, full cast
  • Length: 1 hr and 50 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 151
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 110
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 110

Charles Paris is his own worst enemy, a louche lush who can resist anything except temptation - especially in the form of women and alcohol. He’s been out of work so long now he feels he may never get a job and he’s driving Frances, his semi-ex-wife, mad. So when he’s offered a small role in a play, she nearly pushes him out of the door. But it seems that ‘The Message is Murder’ is such a terrible production that someone wants to kill off the cast.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Lightweight but great fun

  • By Pippa on 06-02-16

Another excellent adaptation!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-05-18

A superb adaptation from the production team led by Jeremy Front. Nighy & Burden create a wonderful atmosphere of marital tensions as the backdrop against another thespian themed murder mystery.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • George Cragge: In the Red & Other Mysteries

  • By: Mark Tavener
  • Narrated by: Barry Foster, full cast, Hugh Laurie, and others
  • Length: 11 hrs and 32 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 85
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 77
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 77

A collection of four blackly humorous crime mysteries featuring the fictional BBC Radio crime correspondent, George Cragge. Adapted from the novel by Mark Tavener, In the Red sees the anarchic George Cragge investigate a spree of bizarre murders in the world of City finance, a small political party contesting a by-election, and a plan to overthrow the Director-General of the BBC. The sequel, In the Balance, features George Cragge kicking off a murder trail during the FIFA World Cup at Wembley Stadium. And with Europe becoming a hot potato, can the Prime Minister hold on to his job? In the Chair follows the maverick hack as he looks into a series of murders of dentists linked to New Labour policy. The final drama, In the End, sees George Cragge investigating a series of murders of journalists.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Prequel to BBC Radio 4's ‘Absolute Power’

  • By Nigel on 17-03-18

Satire with a twist!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-05-18

Michael Williams is excellent in his role as the modern crusading journalist in the shallow worlds of politics, high finance and media. Much of what is being satirised is relevant today as it was when this series was first broadcasted. The plots and characterisations are strong, helped by an extraordinary supporting cast which not only reads as a Who's Who of British satire of the past 50 years with the likes of John Bird, Rebecca Front, Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry but also stellar actors such as Barry Foster, Tracey-Ann Oberman, Peter Woodthorpe, Jim Carter, Suzie Brand, Stephen Thorne, Benjamin Whitrow and Jeremy Clyde. The series is excellent due to the superb efforts of production teams which include the likes of Scott Cherry and Paul Schlesinger. This is BBC radio at its best, long may it continue!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Charles Paris: A Decent Interval

  • A BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation
  • By: Simon Brett, Jeremy Front
  • Narrated by: Bill Nighy, Suzanne Burden, full cast
  • Length: 1 hr and 52 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 120
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 106
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 103

A BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation of Simon Brett's entertaining crime novel, starring Bill Nighy. Charles Paris has been resting for quite a while, so he's relieved when he is cast as Ghost of Hamlet's Father and First Gravedigger in a touring production of Hamlet. But rehearsals are a little tense - the lead roles of Hamlet and Ophelia are played by a reality TV contestant and TV talent show winner respectively, and their opinions on celebrity and the theatre differ somewhat from those of the more experienced members of the cast.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Perfectly narrated by Bill Night

  • By Sparkest on 07-02-18

Cabin pressure meets Agatha Christie!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 28-03-18

A modern classic from the BBC!
Keep taking the risks it is worth it in the end!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Charles Paris: A Reconstructed Corpse

  • A BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation
  • By: Simon Brett, Jeremy Front
  • Narrated by: Bill Nighy, Suzanne Burden, full cast
  • Length: 1 hr and 52 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 145
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 122
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 121

Bill Nighy returns as Charles Paris: unsuccessful actor, bad husband, and dipsomaniac. Desperately in need of work, having been kicked out of his marital home, Charles jumps at playing a missing property developer in a crime-reconstruction program. But the missing person case soon turns to murder when severed body parts begin to appear.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A superb rendition!

  • By S. M. A. John on 14-08-17

A superb rendition!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 14-08-17

A superb BBC adaptation with a fantastic cast! Keep them coming they are really enjoyable!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency 8: A Very Rude Woman & Talking Shoes (Dramatised)

  • By: Alexander McCall Smith
  • Narrated by: Claire Benedict, Nadine Marshall
  • Length: 1 hr and 27 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 11
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 8
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 8

These acclaimed productions, complete with vibrant music, bring the exotic world of the books vividly to life. A Very Rude Woman finds Precious Ramotswe facing change at The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, while Mr J.L.B. Matekoni meets the rudest person in all Botswana. Talking Shoes sees a new detective taking on a case for the Agency, while Mma Ramotswe, among others, has a problem with high blood pressure.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • McCall Smith at his best!

  • By S. M. A. John on 18-02-17

McCall Smith at his best!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 18-02-17

A superb adaptation of the McCall Smith stories from the BBC.These nuggets are heartwarming and reveal the complexity of human nature in what appears to be simple tales on the surface. Superb acting from Clare Benedict & supporting cast.

  • Paul Temple: The Complete Radio Collection: Volume Two

  • The Fifties
  • By: Francis Durbridge
  • Narrated by: Marjorie Westbury, Peter Coke
  • Length: 18 hrs and 50 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 200
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 177
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 178

When it comes to classic crime partnerships, Paul Temple (Peter Coke) and his wife, Steve (Marjorie Westbury), are the crème de la crème. Between 1938 and 1968, their glamorous exploits enthralled generations of radio listeners around the world. Here, presented in chronological order, are some of the amateur detective's adventures from the 1950s.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great period drama

  • By Steve_Morris on 17-12-16

Superb piece of radio theatre. Marjorie Westbury & Peter Coke as husband & wife detective team

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 31-10-16

A fantastic piece of radio theatre from the 1950s. Surprisingly it has not dated. Hail BBC!!!!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Amy's View (Classic Radio Theatre)

  • By: David Hare
  • Narrated by: Judi Dench, Samantha Bond, Ronald Pickup
  • Length: 2 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 12
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 12

Judi Dench, Samantha Bond and Ronald Pickup star in this BBC Radio 4 full-cast drama from 2000 - which features many of the original West End and Broadway stage cast. Esme Allen is a middle-aged West End actor and is in control of her life: she’s financially secure and successful. However, Amy, her grown-up daughter is pregnant by Dominic, an ambitious media-man who believes that theatre is dead. Esme and Dominic, unsurpisingly, loathe each other.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Political and social comment as entertainment

  • By Mary MP on 16-04-11

Amy's view by David Hare

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 16-08-16

An excellent adaptation of Hare's modern masterpiece with much of the National Theatre original cast from the 1997 production. The central debate as to the function of the arts in modern day society is as important now as it has ever been.

  • The News Quiz: Series 87

  • 7 episodes of the BBC Radio 4 comedy quiz
  • By: BBC
  • Narrated by: full cast, Jeremy Hardy, Sandi Toskvig
  • Length: 3 hrs and 14 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 45
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 43
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 42

Sandi Toksvig chairs seven episodes of the ever-popular topical comedy show. The News Quiz, ‘the finest topical comedy panel game known to radio’, has been providing headlines and punchlines since it first aired in 1977. In these seven episodes, long-standing panellists and guest players tackle issues diverse and diverting.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliant

  • By Maebel on 01-10-18

The Golden Age of Satire

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-08-16

An excellent demonstration of BBC comedy at its best including vintage wit from Jeremy Hardy, Andy Hamilton, Phil Jupitus, Susan Calman,Francis Wheen, Rebecca Front and introducing newcomer Samira Ahmed. This is the last series presented by the pioneering Sandy Toksvig. Sandy's style has brought this venerable series to a new audience concerned about the state of contemporary politics & society.