Thursday, 20 December 2007

From Fact to Fiction: Girl power by Katie Mosse

The Plot
A journalist who built her career on the rise and fall of the Spice Girls travels penitant to their reunion concert.

What I liked
The sparse sound effects -- travel announcements, the odd burst of Spice Girls music.

What I learnt
This was written in response to the week's news, so it would have been put together very quickly.

I like the idea of a total unknown weaving their own story in and out of that of someone famous. I guess the 'someone famous' has to be very famous, otherwise people won't take to the story, however.

Broadcast BBC Radio 4 on Saturday 15 December.

Website: Fact or Fiction

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Doctor Finlay: The Further Adventures of a Black Bag. The Fever: Sue Rodwell's adaptation of AJ Cronin's tales

Dr Finlay discovers the source of a scarlet fever outbreak, but no-one believes him, including the area's medical officer, who puts his political ambitions before the safety of the community.

What I liked
The element of 'What would I have done' -- closing the farm to prevent the fever spreading, would have ruins the farmer's livelihood and reputation.

Medical drama -- medics are exciting because they are forced to make life-or-death decisions that most of us never face. It can offer a lot in the way of human interest, too.

Regional voices -- apparently it's not hard to sell a play with regional accents. These sounded OK to me -- but I'm not very familiar with the niceties of Scottish accents.

What I learnt
That thing with the names again -- small boy called Robbie; the farmer was called Rob. It's such a tiny thing and pretty easy to change.

I would have made the farmer and his wife more sympathetic -- the real 'baddie' here was the medical officer. I think their anger, quite understandable and believeable in the circumstances, would have offered a good dramatic point. But perhaps having them as pretty unlikeable characters made it all the more interesting when Dr Finlay had to talk about the fever in the milk.

Sense of place -- I really didn't get much sense of place from the sound effects (my teacher talks a lot about this in writing radio plays). Mostly dialogue was used; people making effort noises, or commenting on their work to show they were outside; someone serving food to show they were inside. Feverish mutterings to indicate a bedside scene. I'm not sure if this is bad -- the play didn't not work because it didn't go all out to make a soundscape.

The ending was very abrupt, but incredibly touching. The Medical Officer coming in at the wrong time with the test results; and the ruined farm a place that Dr Finlay always avoids.

Compare to...
Sector General; The Archers; All Creature Great and Small

Broadcast: BBC 7, 17 December 2007

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Marvel: Wolverine -- Origin

The plot

Where did Wolverine originally come from? Did he slip in from an alternate Earth? Is he really a mutated Wolverine? Did he land in a meteorite? Is he a failed experiment?

It would appear not. A village girl is sent up to the big house to amuse a sickly child. When the sickly child turns out to have strange powers, they are driven from the house by enraged relations. They end up in the Canadian backwoods, and tragedy drives the young Wolverine on.

What I liked
The dark illustrations; The pages are laid out on black -- which makes the colours vivid; and some pages and spreads show dramatic hot / cold contrasts.

The finality of the ending.

What I learnt
One of the writers claims that he discussed the book with his children six and nine, talking over what kind of kid Wolverine would have been to grow up the way he did. I guess: don't do this. Because I can't see any of the Wolverine I know in the boy in this book. The boy is a personalityless little... he's not even a little whiner. I suppose he could explain Wolverine's gentlemanly streak, but only because he grew up in a rich house with a charming father.I know Wolverine has had his memory wiped a few times, but even so...

The story leaves stacks of questions unanwered, and closes the whole thing off at the end.

I'm probably just cranky because I wanted scientific reasoning and a proper story as to why Wolverine is the way he is. Instead, all I've been given is a hint that his mother suffered Wolverine-claw injuries at some point and an idea that his father is probably not his mother's husband.