Thursday, 9 May 2013
Get Back Steve!
I have listened to almost everything on iPlayer. I even cracked after 18 months of cold turkey and tried The Archers. I'm not that sick, it turns out.
One thing I have really been enjoying, as usual, is Paul Temple. In case you don't listen to much radio drama, Temple was a radio hero for decades in the middle 20th century, and he's a nonsensical posh sleuth who gets described as 'the famous author and amateur detective' in that way where no one really questions whether being 'a famous amateur detective' was ever a thing, which it wasn't.
The stories are all very alike. They are ridiculously intricate. There's an average of more than a death per episode and no one takes them that badly. Usually, Paul shouts at his wife Steve (plucky, clever, great actress, spends too much on clothes, has an 'intuition' once ever few episodes which Paul chuckles about) to 'stay away, I don't want you to see this'. This is even though half the deaths end with an obscure half-clue uttered with the final breath and it would be useful if someone were there to hear. Four people per series are killed after arranging to meet Temple to reveal with villain's name. Everyone bumps into everyone else in London as if it as a tiny village. If a spectacular necklace is stolen, it's the sort of crime that Paul and the police know that can only be committed by 'one man in all England'. Everyone has an accent, for clarity. Policemen tend to be Welsh and Scots. In this series, Harry Worth is a German.
On the other hand, they are well-written, line to line. They are ridiculous but they totally inhabit their ridiculousness, and so that's fine. And they are well-performed. And the period snatches you get are great. On one hand this is a couple laughing about the servant problem with respect to what to get your servant for Christmas. On a much more fun hand, the head of Scotland Yard, Sir Graeme, turned up to talk to Paul when he was in the bath. Paul invited him in and they chatted away, completely comfortably. It wasn't played for laughs. These guys had been in public schools and wars. They weren't worried by seeing each other naked. It was my favourite bit.
Anyway, I am bloody bored of being ill.