Check out those good old radio plays!

I hope you’re all keeping well and safe, dear friends, in this time of pandemic; there’s no way around it, these days we have to be sensible and stay at home as much as we possibly can, slowing down the spread of Coronavirus and thus keep our public health system from collapsing. Now I know this is not easy for many of you – my dear darling husband, too, finds it very hard to stay in all the time, especially with this lovely spring weather we’re having here in Britain.

That’s why, always having been an indoors girl rather than the sporty and outdoorsy type, I’ve got a couple of tips for you for keeping you busy and entertained at home. One thing especially which is a bit different from the usual binge-watching of films and TV series, and something I’ve fallen back on very much recently – for the reason I hadn’t written any posts in a long time was another one of those very painful and very limiting eye infections. For weeks, I mostly stayed in bed and was unable to even open my left eye, let alone watch, read or write anything.

So, I remembered something I’d been a big fan of years and years ago: radio plays! While I was at university, I used to spend quite a big part of my allowance on cassettes with radio adaptations of the works of my very favourite author, Agatha Christie. It had suited me down to the ground to listen to the plot while doing other things at the same time, like completing jigsaw puzzles or drawing. And now, while I was unable to use my eyes for anything, I thought I’d have a look (or rather ask my darling Ian to have a look) on YouTube to see whether any of them were there – and I found out that not only all the ones I knew where there, but also a lot of others that had been made since! That sorted out my entertainment during those literally dark days…

But even when your eyes are perfectly all right, listening to radio plays simply makes a difference, a new experience other than TV and video; so I’ve picked some of the best bits of radio entertainment from YouTube for you to try it out, dear friends!


During the 80s and 90s, the BBC did a brilliant, long-running series of radio adaptations of the adventures of Hercule Poirot, starring the great John Moffat as the legendary sleuth, with Simon Williams of “Upstairs, Downstairs” fame as Hastings and lots of guest stars familiar to us from TV and film, like Francesca Annis, Sylvia Sims, Julia McKenzie, William Franklyn and Nicola Pagett.

Here’s my favourite, “Murder in Mesopotamia” – radio entertainment at its very best!



Around the same time, there also was a wonderful series of radio adventures of Agatha’s lady sleuth, the lovable old spinster Miss Marple, starring June Whitfield – it’ll virtually bring the English countryside to life before your very eyes without even being able to see it! Try this, it’s one of her finest and creepiest: “Sleeping Murder”…



But of course, not everybody’s a fan of murder mysteries – so how about some really hilarious comedy from the Golden Age of Hollywood – with real Hollywood stars?! Remember ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and his cheeky puppet Charlie McCarthy? They did some fabulous radio stuff back in the 40s with the one and only W.C. Fields!



Or how about the beloved film duo Abbott and Costello, and their classic radio sketch “Who’s on First”?



But there’s plenty of drama, too, of course; in fact, you can even listen to the radio versions of classic movies, like “To Have and Have Not” – starring none other than Bogey and Bacall themselves, and even including an interview with the two lovebirds after the end of the play!



And another special tip from me: the outstanding CBS radio thriller show from the 1940s and 50s, “Suspense”. Here you can listen to fantastic performances by legends such as Orson Welles, Agnes Moorehead, Ida Lupino, Joseph Cotten, Vincent Price, Cary Grant and many others, while getting those unique radio thrills that you simply can’t get on TV or film – what you can’t see sometimes is much scarier than what you can see…



There’s much more to explore there that’ll make endless hours at home pass like nothing; so have a look, or rather a listen, and stay safe and home and healthy, dear friends! Next time I’ve got some tasty sandwich recipes for you, for keeping yourselves occupied and creative…

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