Drama of the Week

Drama of the Week

By BBC Radio 4

Every Friday we bring you a new drama from BBC Radio 4 or Radio 3. Exercise your imagination with some of the best writers and actors on radio. Storytelling at its very best.

Episodes

A Tsar in London

Written by Mike Walker, from an idea by Michael Crick.A tragicomic take on the months Tsar Peter the Great spent in London learning about ship-building and naval tactics, destroying the house and garden of diarist John Evelyn; roistering with the ambitious young actress Letitia Cross; and preparing himself for an onslaught upon Evelyn’s treasured holly hedge, Russia’s backward society and the peace of Northern Europe.Peter . . . . . Greg Kolpakchi Letitia . . . . . Siena Kelly John . . . . . Michael Bertenshaw Ben . . . . . John Lightbody Foreign Secretary . . . . . Josh Bryant-Jones Lucy . . . . . Kitty O’SullivanSound design: Andy Garratt & Peter Ringrose Director: Sasha YevtushenkoThis drama was originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4.
01/03/24·44m 15s

Sabine - Episode 1

When Sabine’s body is found beneath the cliffs at Beachy Head in an apparent suicide, her sister Elly is convinced she was murdered. Elly's hunt for the killer takes her deep into the secret life her sister kept hidden. Elly has gone to Brighton to pack up her sister’s university room and wait for the results of the post-mortem. But things aren’t quite adding up, and Elly soon starts to unearth the secrets that Sabine was keeping from her. Sabine is a new five-part murder mystery by Mark Healy. All episodes are available on BBC Sounds now.CAST Elly ..... Sorcha Groundsell Sabine ..... Freya Mavor Mia ..... Aisling Loftus Gabe ..... Tommy Sim’aan Daniel ..... Ivanno Jeremiah Sullivan ..... John Lightbody Poppy ..... Juliana Lisk Elly’s Mum ..... Jessica TurnerWritten by Mark Healy Directed by Anne Isger Sound by Keith Graham, Ali Craig and Pete Ringrose Production Co-ordination by Gaelan Davis-Connolly Sabine is a BBC Audio Production for Radio 4
23/02/24·28m 34s

English Rose Series 2 - 1: Go West Young Girl

By Helen Cross.Rose has made a fresh start in the City of Angels and life feels good. But she can't ignore the past, and now it's starting to bite.Her ex-boss Maya is loving never getting older and has Rose to thank for that. Maya has big plans for a 'rejuvenation' spa in the California hills, but Rose suspects all is not what it seems. On top of that she's worried that someone, or something, is trying to send her telepathic messages. But are they to warn her, or frighten her?Stylish and surprising fantasy horror with a comic twist, starring Alexandra Mardell (Coronation Street) and Demetri Goritsas (Ten Percent). With music by Dana Margolin and Sam Yardley of Mercury-nominated band, Porridge Radio.Helen Cross wrote ‘My Summer of Love’ which won a Betty Trask award and was made into a Bafta-winning film with Emily Blunt (recently rated her best film in The Guardian top ten Emily Blunt films). Mary Ward-Lowery won Best Director in 2020 Audio Drama Awards.Rose ... Alexandra Mardell Maya ... Miranda Braun Austin ... Demetri Goritsas Siobhan ... Deirdre Mullins Delphine ... Yasemin Özdemir Mam ... Jane Thornton Jack ... Tyler Cameron Gym owner ... Don Gilet Dakota ... Rhiannon Neads Alina ... Kitty O'Sullivan Englishman ... Martin Bonger Angry Man ... Douglas Hodgson Gully ... Bruce CasswellOriginal music written and performed by Dana Margolin and Sam Yardley of Porridge Radio.Sound design by Ilse Lademann and Mary Ward-Lowery Assistant Producer ... Alison Crawford Director ... Mary Ward-Lowery
01/12/23·28m 56s

The North Remembers

By Samantha Harvey. Mum drives through the Dark Hedges, crossing a threshold into a different world. Read by Deirdre Mullins.Topical fiction inspired by the story, in this week's news, that some of the beech trees that line the Bregagh Road in Armoy, County Antrim, have been felled amid concern for public safety. The trees, a landmark in their own right, were made more famous after featuring in the fantasy drama Game of Thrones.Samantha won the Betty Trask Prize for her first novel The Wilderness, which was longlisted for the Man Booker, and shortlisted for the Orange Prize and the Guardian First Book Award. Her work has been described by critics as 'spectacular', 'beautiful' and 'profound', and her latest novel, 'Orbital', an 'awe-inspiring and humbling love letter to Earth', has been selected by The Guardian as one of the most important books of 2023.Producer: Mary Ward-Lowery
24/11/23·14m 0s

Gaslight - Episode 1

Atmospheric drama from BBC Radio 4 with bonus scenes for BBC Sounds, featuring original music by Imelda May.Have you ever wondered where the term 'gaslighting' comes from? Find out in episode 1 of this dark reimagining of the classic 1938 stage thriller by Patrick Hamilton. To hear the series in full, just search for Gaslight in BBC Sounds.Jonathan Holloway's modern adaptation is set in the present, with a deliciously vintage feel.Jack Manningham has used his wife’s recently inherited money to buy a huge period property - a former bell foundry - which they will renovate. They occupy a small habitable part of the ground floor and basement. This previously neglected ramshackle building is lit by gas, as it was in Victorian times.In this first episode, Jack and Bella find a house that suits them and there's a lot riding on the screening of their latest film.Cast in order of appearance:Tippi Griffiths ..... Lacey Turner Jack Manningham ..... James Purefoy Bella Harding ..... Rebecca Night Ishani Rawe / Izzy ..... Macadie Amoroso DCI Nina Rawe ..... Cathy Tyson DI Reynolds / Michael McLennon / Chris De Jeanne ..... Richard LinternWritten by Jonathan Holloway, based on the original play by Patrick HamiltonMusic: Imelda May with Tim BranProduced by Sally Harrison with James Purefoy Directed by Johnny VegasA Woolyback production in association with Darling Pictures, for BBC Radio 4 and BBC Sounds
22/02/23·15m 24s

Part 10 - Broken Colours

Dan's life is in danger. To what lengths will Jess go to save him?Jess now knows the truth about Ronnie Vaz's relationship to Dan. But she's sucked even deeper into the violent world of his drug gang. Holli Dempsey and Josef Altin star in a new thriller of conflicting perception from Matthew Broughton (the creator of Tracks).Jess.....Holli Dempsey Dan.....Josef Altin Melissa......Alexandria Riley Petal.....Rina Mahoney Mother.....Christine Kavanagh Ronnie.....Alun Raglan Gallery Director....Jasmine Hyde Magnar.....Neil McCaulSound design by Catherine Robinson and Nigel Lewis A BBC Cymru Wales production for BBC Radio 4, directed by John Norton and Emma Harding
24/02/22·25m 53s

Part 9 - Broken Colours

Jess now knows the truth about Ronnie Vaz's relationship to Dan. But she's sucked even deeper into the violent world of his drug gang. Holli Dempsey and Josef Altin star in a new thriller of conflicting perception from Matthew Broughton (the creator of Tracks).Jess.....Holli Dempsey Dan.....Josef Altin Melissa......Alexandria Riley Petal.....Rina Mahoney Mother.....Christine Kavanagh Ronnie.....Alun Raglan Gallery Director....Jasmine Hyde Magner.....Neil McCaulSound design by Catherine Robinson and Nigel Lewis A BBC Cymru Wales production for BBC Radio 4, directed by John Norton and Emma Harding
24/02/22·21m 36s

Part 8 - Broken Colours

Jess has returned to Dan, despite her misgivings. In revenge for his secretive behaviour, she snorts a line of DMT. And experiences a terrifying trip. Holli Dempsey and Josef Altin star in a new thriller of conflicting perception from Matthew Broughton (the creator of Tracks).Jess.....Holli Dempsey Dan.....Josef Altin Henry.....Brendan Charleson Janey.....Jasmine Hyde Ronnie.....Alun Raglan Petal.....Rina MahoneySound design by Catherine Robinson and Nigel Lewis A BBC Cymru Wales production for BBC Radio 4, directed by John Norton and Emma Harding
24/02/22·21m 6s

Part 7 - Broken Colours

Jess has left Dan, the dockside studio and the grimy, violent world of Ronnie Vaz behind. But something is pulling her back. Holli Dempsey and Josef Altin star in a new thriller of conflicting perception from Matthew Broughton (the creator of Tracks).Jess.....Holli Dempsey Dan.....Josef Altin Henry.....Brendan Charleson Janey.....Jasmine Hyde Ronnie.....Alun Raglan Petal.....Rina Mahoney News Reader.....Chris JackSound design by Catherine Robinson and Nigel Lewis A BBC Cymru Wales production for BBC Radio 4, directed by John Norton and Emma Harding
24/02/22·24m 1s

Part 6 - Broken Colours

Jess starts her first paid commission as an artist, painting a work for Dan's employer Ronnie Vaz. But she also discovers the true nature of Vaz's business empire. Holli Dempsey and Josef Altin star in a new thriller of conflicting perception from Matthew Broughton (the creator of Tracks). Written by Faebian Averies.Jess.....Holli Dempsey Dan.....Josef Altin Clem…..Francois Pandolfo Melissa.....Alexandria Riley Petal.....Rina Mahoney Security Guard.....Chris JackSound design by Catherine Robinson and Nigel Lewis A BBC Cymru Wales production for BBC Radio 4, directed by John Norton and Emma Harding
24/02/22·22m 51s

Part 5 - Broken Colours

Jess discovers more about the shadowy world Dan moves in, but she's also increasingly aware of its benefits. She's moved into the dockside studio owned by Dan's employers - the gangster-run Tactical Security. And though Dan himself remains something of a mystery, the studio is starting to inspire Jess’s art. Holli Dempsey and Josef Altin star in a new thriller of conflicting perception from Matthew Broughton (the creator of Tracks). Written by Faebian Averies.Jess.....Holli Dempsey Dan.....Josef Altin Clem…..Francois Pandolfo Melissa.....Alexandria Riley Ryan.....Justice Ritchie Petal.....Rina Mahoney Security Guard.....Chris JackSound design by Catherine Robinson and Nigel Lewis A BBC Cymru Wales production for BBC Radio 4, directed by John Norton and Emma Harding
24/02/22·21m 45s

Part 4 - Broken Colours

Dan has reappeared just as mysteriously as when he vanished. Can Jess trust him.? And is he boyfriend or predator? Holli Dempsey and Josef Altin star in a new thriller of conflicting perception from Matthew Broughton (the creator of Tracks).Jess.....Holli Dempsey Dan.....Josef Altin Melissa.....Alexandria Riley Daisy....Grace Cooper MiltonSound design by Catherine Robinson and Nigel Lewis A BBC Cymru Wales production for BBC Radio 4, directed by John Norton and Emma Harding
24/02/22·24m 22s

Part 3 - Broken Colours

When aspiring artist, Jess, is injured during an environmental protest, she’s taken to hospital by a kind stranger. And then the stranger becomes her boyfriend. And then he disappears. Holli Dempsey and Josef Altin star in a new thriller of conflicting perception from Matthew Broughton (the creator of Tracks).Jess.....Holli Dempsey Dan.....Josef Altin Melissa.....Alexandria Riley Desk Sergeant.....Chris Jack Security Guard.....Jasmine Hyde Mark.....Neil McCaulSound design by Catherine Robinson and Nigel Lewis A BBC Cymru Wales production for BBC Radio 4, directed by John Norton and Emma Harding
24/02/22·20m 44s

Part 2 - Broken Colours

Jess is an aspiring artist with synaesthesia, which means that she sees colours and patterns when she hears certain sounds. When Jess collapses and hits her head during an environmental protest, she meets the engimatic Dan. This meeting will change both of their lives.Holli Dempsey and Josef Altin star in a new thriller of conflicting perception from Matthew Broughton (the creator of podcast drama Tracks).Jess.....Holli Dempsey Dan.....Josef Altin Johnny.....Tom Byrne Melissa.....Alexandria Riley Petal.....Rina Mahoney Daisy.....Grace Cooper MiltonSound design by Catherine Robinson and Nigel Lewis A BBC Cymru Wales production for BBC Radio 4, directed by John Norton and Emma Harding
24/02/22·24m 48s

Part 1 - Broken Colours

Jess is an aspiring artist with synaesthesia, which means that she sees colours and patterns when she hears certain sounds. When Jess collapses and hits her head during an environmental protest, she meets Dan and falls in love. This relationship changes both of their lives. But Dan has a shadowy career, working for a criminal gang who are running drugs. He’d like to escape from this way of life, but Jess is increasingly pulled towards it.Holli Dempsey and Josef Altin star in a new thriller of conflicting perception from Matthew Broughton (the creator of podcast drama Tracks).Jess.....Holli Dempsey Dan.....Josef Altin Johnny.....Tom Byrne Melissa.....Alexandria Riley Petal.....Rina Mahoney Daisy.....Grace Cooper MiltonSound design by Catherine Robinson and Nigel Lewis A BBC Cymru Wales production for BBC Radio 4, directed by John Norton and Emma Harding
24/02/22·21m 53s

House Rules

Exercise your imagination with some of the best writers and actors on radio.
02/07/21·14m 42s

Episode 6 - Peking Noir

Presented by Paul French Drama written by Sarah WooleyWhatever anyone declared categorically about Shura Giraldi, someone else insisted on the exact opposite. Shura was handsome and beautiful; Shura was kind and good, Shura was exploitative and evil. Shura was just another struggling White Russian refugee trying to get by in 1930s China; Shura was the heart and brains of a gang that ran clubs, sex workers, illicit booze and drugs, when not robbing banks and stealing gems to fence in Shanghai. Shura loved ballet and cabaret, creating the Shura Giraldi Dance Troupe that topped the bill at all the best Peking nightclubs.Shura sometimes presented as male and sometimes as female. When passing as a man Shura bound his breasts tightly and wore a sharp tailored suit; when she was a woman she wore startlingly coloured robes, both Chinese-style cheongsam and Western dresses, letting her raven hair flow loose, said witnesses. Shura had added an incredibly massive layer of confusion and obfuscation to anyone looking by changing gender. Switching for anonymity, for commercial gain or criminal advantage, for love, for a whim.Paul French is a historian and writer who focuses on China in the first half of the 20th century. He's been on Shura’s trail for 15 years, digging through the paper records and archives in half a dozen countries in an attempt to get to grips with the enigma that was Shura. This story, a product of that tireless research, is full of truths, but like an old jigsaw brought down from the attic after decades, there are many pieces missing. So we're using drama, written by Sarah Wooley, to conjure and join the dots of Shura’s story, and go in search of a lost life and a forgotten world.The search will take us from a Russian far east in violent revolution, to the chaos of the mass emigration of the White Russians, to the crowded hutongs of Peking; from that city’s nightclubs and cabarets, to the casinos of Shanghai; from a China wracked by rampaging warlordism, invaded by Japan, and then fighting its own civil war that culminated in its own revolution.Shura saw it all; Shura lived through it all; Shura, in part, explains it all.Shura . . . . . Maggie Bain Zaichek . . . . . Leo Wan Roy . . . . . Daniel York Loh Leopard . . . . . Chris Lew Kum Hoi Tatiana . . . . . Charlotte East Anton . . . . . Luke Nunn Marie . . . . . Cecilia Appiah Saxsen . . . . . Ian Dunnett Jnr The MC . . . . . Roger Ringrose Anna . . . . . Jane WhittenshawEditing and sound design by Peter Ringrose.Directed by Sasha Yevtushenko.
10/01/21·26m 27s

Episode 5 - Peking Noir

Presented by Paul French Drama written by Sarah WooleyWhatever anyone declared categorically about Shura Giraldi, someone else insisted on the exact opposite. Shura was handsome and beautiful; Shura was kind and good, Shura was exploitative and evil. Shura was just another struggling White Russian refugee trying to get by in 1930s China; Shura was the heart and brains of a gang that ran clubs, sex workers, illicit booze and drugs, when not robbing banks and stealing gems to fence in Shanghai. Shura loved ballet and cabaret, creating the Shura Giraldi Dance Troupe that topped the bill at all the best Peking nightclubs.Shura sometimes presented as male and sometimes as female. When passing as a man Shura bound his breasts tightly and wore a sharp tailored suit; when she was a woman she wore startlingly coloured robes, both Chinese-style cheongsam and Western dresses, letting her raven hair flow loose, said witnesses. Shura had added an incredibly massive layer of confusion and obfuscation to anyone looking by changing gender. Switching for anonymity, for commercial gain or criminal advantage, for love, for a whim.Paul French is a historian and writer who focuses on China in the first half of the 20th century. He's been on Shura’s trail for 15 years, digging through the paper records and archives in half a dozen countries in an attempt to get to grips with the enigma that was Shura. This story, a product of that tireless research, is full of truths, but like an old jigsaw brought down from the attic after decades, there are many pieces missing. So we're using drama, written by Sarah Wooley, to conjure and join the dots of Shura’s story, and go in search of a lost life and a forgotten world.The search will take us from a Russian far east in violent revolution, to the chaos of the mass emigration of the White Russians, to the crowded hutongs of Peking; from that city’s nightclubs and cabarets, to the casinos of Shanghai; from a China wracked by rampaging warlordism, invaded by Japan, and then fighting its own civil war that culminated in its own revolution.Shura saw it all; Shura lived through it all; Shura, in part, explains it all.Shura . . . . . Maggie Bain Zaichek . . . . . Leo Wan Roy . . . . . Daniel York Loh Leopard . . . . . Chris Lew Kum Hoi Tatiana . . . . . Charlotte East Anton . . . . . Luke Nunn Marie . . . . . Cecilia Appiah Saxsen . . . . . Ian Dunnett Jnr The MC . . . . . Roger Ringrose Anna . . . . . Jane WhittenshawEditing and sound design by Peter Ringrose.Directed by Sasha Yevtushenko.
10/01/21·20m 55s

Episode 4 - Peking Noir

Presented by Paul French Drama written by Sarah WooleyWhatever anyone declared categorically about Shura Giraldi, someone else insisted on the exact opposite. Shura was handsome and beautiful; Shura was kind and good, Shura was exploitative and evil. Shura was just another struggling White Russian refugee trying to get by in 1930s China; Shura was the heart and brains of a gang that ran clubs, sex workers, illicit booze and drugs, when not robbing banks and stealing gems to fence in Shanghai. Shura loved ballet and cabaret, creating the Shura Giraldi Dance Troupe that topped the bill at all the best Peking nightclubs.Shura sometimes presented as male and sometimes as female. When passing as a man Shura bound his breasts tightly and wore a sharp tailored suit; when she was a woman she wore startlingly coloured robes, both Chinese-style cheongsam and Western dresses, letting her raven hair flow loose, said witnesses. Shura had added an incredibly massive layer of confusion and obfuscation to anyone looking by changing gender. Switching for anonymity, for commercial gain or criminal advantage, for love, for a whim.Paul French is a historian and writer who focuses on China in the first half of the 20th century. He's been on Shura’s trail for 15 years, digging through the paper records and archives in half a dozen countries in an attempt to get to grips with the enigma that was Shura. This story, a product of that tireless research, is full of truths, but like an old jigsaw brought down from the attic after decades, there are many pieces missing. So we're using drama, written by Sarah Wooley, to conjure and join the dots of Shura’s story, and go in search of a lost life and a forgotten world.The search will take us from a Russian far east in violent revolution, to the chaos of the mass emigration of the White Russians, to the crowded hutongs of Peking; from that city’s nightclubs and cabarets, to the casinos of Shanghai; from a China wracked by rampaging warlordism, invaded by Japan, and then fighting its own civil war that culminated in its own revolution.Shura saw it all; Shura lived through it all; Shura, in part, explains it all.Shura . . . . . Maggie Bain Zaichek . . . . . Leo Wan Roy . . . . . Daniel York Loh Leopard . . . . . Chris Lew Kum Hoi Tatiana . . . . . Charlotte East Anton . . . . . Luke Nunn Marie . . . . . Cecilia Appiah Saxsen . . . . . Ian Dunnett Jnr The MC . . . . . Roger Ringrose Anna . . . . . Jane WhittenshawEditing and sound design by Peter Ringrose.Directed by Sasha Yevtushenko.
10/01/21·25m 31s

Episode 3 - Peking Noir

Presented by Paul French Drama written by Sarah WooleyWhatever anyone declared categorically about Shura Giraldi, someone else insisted on the exact opposite. Shura was handsome and beautiful; Shura was kind and good, Shura was exploitative and evil. Shura was just another struggling White Russian refugee trying to get by in 1930s China; Shura was the heart and brains of a gang that ran clubs, sex workers, illicit booze and drugs, when not robbing banks and stealing gems to fence in Shanghai. Shura loved ballet and cabaret, creating the Shura Giraldi Dance Troupe that topped the bill at all the best Peking nightclubs.Shura sometimes presented as male and sometimes as female. When passing as a man Shura bound his breasts tightly and wore a sharp tailored suit; when she was a woman she wore startlingly coloured robes, both Chinese-style cheongsam and Western dresses, letting her raven hair flow loose, said witnesses. Shura had added an incredibly massive layer of confusion and obfuscation to anyone looking by changing gender. Switching for anonymity, for commercial gain or criminal advantage, for love, for a whim.Paul French is a historian and writer who focuses on China in the first half of the 20th century. He's been on Shura’s trail for 15 years, digging through the paper records and archives in half a dozen countries in an attempt to get to grips with the enigma that was Shura. This story, a product of that tireless research, is full of truths, but like an old jigsaw brought down from the attic after decades, there are many pieces missing. So we're using drama, written by Sarah Wooley, to conjure and join the dots of Shura’s story, and go in search of a lost life and a forgotten world.The search will take us from a Russian far east in violent revolution, to the chaos of the mass emigration of the White Russians, to the crowded hutongs of Peking; from that city’s nightclubs and cabarets, to the casinos of Shanghai; from a China wracked by rampaging warlordism, invaded by Japan, and then fighting its own civil war that culminated in its own revolution.Shura saw it all; Shura lived through it all; Shura, in part, explains it all.Shura . . . . . Maggie Bain Zaichek . . . . . Leo Wan Roy . . . . . Daniel York Loh Leopard . . . . . Chris Lew Kum Hoi Tatiana . . . . . Charlotte East Anton . . . . . Luke Nunn Marie . . . . . Cecilia Appiah Saxsen . . . . . Ian Dunnett Jnr The MC . . . . . Roger Ringrose Anna . . . . . Jane WhittenshawEditing and sound design by Peter Ringrose.Directed by Sasha Yevtushenko.
10/01/21·22m 5s

Episode 2 - Peking Noir

Presented by Paul French Drama written by Sarah WooleyWhatever anyone declared categorically about Shura Giraldi, someone else insisted on the exact opposite. Shura was handsome and beautiful; Shura was kind and good, Shura was exploitative and evil. Shura was just another struggling White Russian refugee trying to get by in 1930s China; Shura was the heart and brains of a gang that ran clubs, sex workers, illicit booze and drugs, when not robbing banks and stealing gems to fence in Shanghai. Shura loved ballet and cabaret, creating the Shura Giraldi Dance Troupe that topped the bill at all the best Peking nightclubs.Shura sometimes presented as male and sometimes as female. When passing as a man Shura bound his breasts tightly and wore a sharp tailored suit; when she was a woman she wore startlingly coloured robes, both Chinese-style cheongsam and Western dresses, letting her raven hair flow loose, said witnesses. Shura had added an incredibly massive layer of confusion and obfuscation to anyone looking by changing gender. Switching for anonymity, for commercial gain or criminal advantage, for love, for a whim.Paul French is a historian and writer who focuses on China in the first half of the 20th century. He's been on Shura’s trail for 15 years, digging through the paper records and archives in half a dozen countries in an attempt to get to grips with the enigma that was Shura. This story, a product of that tireless research, is full of truths, but like an old jigsaw brought down from the attic after decades, there are many pieces missing. So we're using drama, written by Sarah Wooley, to conjure and join the dots of Shura’s story, and go in search of a lost life and a forgotten world.The search will take us from a Russian far east in violent revolution, to the chaos of the mass emigration of the White Russians, to the crowded hutongs of Peking; from that city’s nightclubs and cabarets, to the casinos of Shanghai; from a China wracked by rampaging warlordism, invaded by Japan, and then fighting its own civil war that culminated in its own revolution.Shura saw it all; Shura lived through it all; Shura, in part, explains it all.Shura . . . . . Maggie Bain Zaichek . . . . . Leo Wan Roy . . . . . Daniel York Loh Leopard . . . . . Chris Lew Kum Hoi Tatiana . . . . . Charlotte East Anton . . . . . Luke Nunn Marie . . . . . Cecilia Appiah Saxsen . . . . . Ian Dunnett Jnr The MC . . . . . Roger Ringrose Anna . . . . . Jane WhittenshawEditing and sound design by Peter Ringrose.Directed by Sasha Yevtushenko.
10/01/21·19m 12s

Episode 1 - Peking Noir

Presented by Paul French Drama written by Sarah WooleyWhatever anyone declared categorically about Shura Giraldi, someone else insisted on the exact opposite. Shura was handsome and beautiful; Shura was kind and good, Shura was exploitative and evil. Shura was just another struggling White Russian refugee trying to get by in 1930s China; Shura was the heart and brains of a gang that ran clubs, sex workers, illicit booze and drugs, when not robbing banks and stealing gems to fence in Shanghai. Shura loved ballet and cabaret, creating the Shura Giraldi Dance Troupe that topped the bill at all the best Peking nightclubs.Shura sometimes presented as male and sometimes as female. When passing as a man Shura bound his breasts tightly and wore a sharp tailored suit; when she was a woman she wore startlingly coloured robes, both Chinese-style cheongsam and Western dresses, letting her raven hair flow loose, said witnesses. Shura had added an incredibly massive layer of confusion and obfuscation to anyone looking by changing gender. Switching for anonymity, for commercial gain or criminal advantage, for love, for a whim.Paul French is a historian and writer who focuses on China in the first half of the 20th century. He's been on Shura’s trail for 15 years, digging through the paper records and archives in half a dozen countries in an attempt to get to grips with the enigma that was Shura. This story, a product of that tireless research, is full of truths, but like an old jigsaw brought down from the attic after decades, there are many pieces missing. So we're using drama, written by Sarah Wooley, to conjure and join the dots of Shura’s story, and go in search of a lost life and a forgotten world.The search will take us from a Russian far east in violent revolution, to the chaos of the mass emigration of the White Russians, to the crowded hutongs of Peking; from that city’s nightclubs and cabarets, to the casinos of Shanghai; from a China wracked by rampaging warlordism, invaded by Japan, and then fighting its own civil war that culminated in its own revolution.Shura saw it all; Shura lived through it all; Shura, in part, explains it all.Shura . . . . . Maggie Bain Zaichek . . . . . Leo Wan Roy . . . . . Daniel York Loh Leopard . . . . . Chris Lew Kum Hoi Tatiana . . . . . Charlotte East Anton . . . . . Luke Nunn Marie . . . . . Cecilia Appiah Saxsen . . . . . Ian Dunnett Jnr The MC . . . . . Roger Ringrose Anna . . . . . Jane WhittenshawEditing and sound design by Peter Ringrose.Directed by Sasha Yevtushenko.
10/01/21·22m 1s

Home Front: 24-28 September 1918

The first omnibus of Season 15, Onward, set in Folkestone, in the week, in 1918, when the Allies launched their final, and decisive campaign on the Western Front. Adam, meanwhile, is on a mission to the harbour.
28/09/18·58m 14s
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