“Dangerous Visions” returns to BBC Radio 4 with Kafka, Fahrenheit 451 and more

BBC Radio 4 has more Dangerous Visions for its listeners, starting next week, offering a fifth season of dramas and readings presenting uneasy reflections of the future, mixing sci-fi classics with brand new writing and a strong line-up of acting talent.

The season starts on Saturday 24th June and runs until Saturday 1st July, exploring a range of themes from antimicrobial resistance to life in a city divided by a giant, electrified fence.

It’s great to see Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 in the line up, one of my favourite dystopian SF novels. This is a reading of the book, rather than a dramatisation, however – but looking forward to hearing it. 

(I really enjoyed the dramatisation of The Martian Chronicles (the work of the team at B7 Media, who also do the Dan Dare Audio Adventures), which aired as part of an earlier Dangerous Visions season).

The programmes are spread across two weeks and all dramas and readings will be available to listen to online for 30 days. You can also download each drama via the BBC iPlayer Radio app.

Read on to discover more about this year’s thrilling tales, and for further information visit this BBC Radio 4 page.

Saturday 24th June: Dangerous Visions: Kafka’s Metamorphosis

Dangerous Visions: Kafka’s Metamorphosis

14:30-15:30, BBC Radio 4 | Listen Here

A darkly comic updating of the classic tale by Franz Kafka.

Gregor Samsa’s life is dominated by routine – the monotony of his busy commute, mindless call centre job and crowded tower block home is steadily taking its toll. Then one morning Gregor awakes to find himself transformed into a giant insect. As he attempts to master life with six legs, his family must also learn to live with his new look.

Writer Alan Harris gives Kafka’s classic a modern twist with a darkly comic edge. Starring Tom Basden (W1A), Kenneth Collard (Cuckoo), Felicity Montagu (Alpha Papa), Emma Sidi (W1A) and Tim Key (Alpha Papa).

Cast:

Gregor…. Tom Basden
Grete…. Emma Sidi
Father…. Kenneth Collard
Mother…. Felicity Montagu
Pest Controller…. Tim Key
Juri…. Simon Ludders
Mr Lazarus…. Mike Bubbins
Mrs Dawson…. Alison Belbin
Narrator…. Peter Marinker

Adapted by Alan Harris.

Directed by James Robinson |  A BBC Cymru Wales Production

Monday 26th June: Dangerous Visions: Culture

Monday 26th June: Dangerous Visions: Culture

14:15-15:00, BBC Radio 4 | Listen Here

Al Smith’s dystopian vision of a world where antibiotics have stopped working and heart-breaking choices must be made, starring David Calder and Pippa Nixon.

Anna is a Doctor working in infectious diseases and is forced every day to help choose whether to treat a patient or not. But what does it do to both you and your patient when your judgement is wrong?

Cast:

Anna ….. Pippa Nixon
Ned ….. David Calder
Maria ….. Olivia Popica
Shireen ….. Chetna Pandya
Quartermaster ….. Philip Fox
Celine ….. Sarah Ridgeway
Tom ….. Tom Forrister
Bailiff ….. Emilio Doorgasingh

Scientific Advisor: Dr Claas Kirchhelle | Director: Sally Avens for the BBC

Culture was developed through the Wellcome Trust Experimental Stories scheme.

Dangerous Visions: Fahrenheit 451 Episode One (of 10)

Dangerous Visions: Fahrenheit 451
22:45-23:00, BBC Radio 4 | Listen Here

Ray Bradbury’s classic cult Fahrenheit 451, first published in 1953, explores a world in which books are outlawed.

Fahrenheit 451 is the temperature at which paper burns. It’s Guy Montag’s job to know these things: he’s a fireman and he burns books for a living. He loves his job doing this service for the public, but he is not happy. As his life unravels he begins to question all his beliefs.

Poetic, dazzling and schocking: Ray Bradbury’s vision of the future has become terrifyingly familiar.

Read by Alex Jennings | Abridged by Sara Davies | Producer: Mary Ward-Lowery for the BBC | Buy the book | Buy or rent the film

Friday 30th June: Dangerous Visions: Perimeter

Dangerous Visions: Perimeter
14:15-15:00, BBC Radio 4 | Listen Here

A dystopian comedy about an increasingly divided society written by and starring comedians Josie Long and Liam Williams.

In the not-so-distant future, siblings Josie and Liam live in a city divided by a giant, electrified fence. The haves live on one side, the have-nots on the other.

Josie and Liam live on the non-affluent side of the city and share a room – as in Josie lives in it for twelve hours a day and Liam for the other twelve; it is too small for two people to be in at one time. Then one day they’re offered the opportunity to cross the fence and see how the other half lives.

Cast:

Josie…. Josie Long
Liam…. Liam Williams
Marie-Anne-Anne-Marie…. Pippa Haywood
Collette…. Ashna Rabheru
Clarke….. Samuel James
Old Begby…. John Cording
Dan…. Sion Pritchard
Toppett…. Simon Ludders

Director: James Robinson | A BBC Cymru Wales Production

Saturday 1st July: Dangerous Visions: Darkness at Noon

Dangerous Visions: Darkness at Noon
14:30-15:30, BBC Radio 4 | Listen Here

Inspired by the Moscow Trials in Stalin’s Russia, Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon is set in an unnamed country ruled by a totalitarian government.

Rubashov, once a powerful player in the regime, finds the tables turned on him when he is imprisoned and psychologically tortured. His reflections on his previous life and his experiences in prison are at the heart of this thought-provoking masterpiece.

Cast:

Rubashov . . . . . Matthew Marsh
Arlova . . . . . Poppy Miller
Ivanov . . . . . Stephen Boxer
Gletkin . . . . . Samuel James
Bogrov . . . . . Simon Ludders
Ulrich . . . . . Tom Forrister
Loewy . . . . . Charlie Clements
Kieffer . . . . . Philip Fox
Michael . . . . . David Sturzaker

Adapted by Simon Scardifield | Directed by Sasha Yevtushenko for the BBC

• For further information visit this BBC Radio 4 page

Graphics: Radio 4 Digital Team © BBC

John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a "freelance comics operative", currently working as a freelance editor for TITAN COMICS, as Creative Consultant on the new DAN DARE audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the LAKES INTERNATIONAL COMIC ART FESTIVAL and LANCASTER COMICS DAY. John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years, starting out at Marvel UK, where he edited a number of the Genesis 1992 books with Paul Neary. His numerous credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines, where he was Managing Editor. He also edited STRIP Magazine and worked as an editor on several audio comics for ROK Comics, including TEAM M.O.B.I.L.E. and THE BEATLES STORY. Most recently he is writing CRUCIBLE as a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and DEATH DUTY and SKOW DOGS with Dave Hailwood for the digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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