I haven't been listening to the radio at all, this past fortnight, but if I had, these are the shows I might recommend to wile away the gift-wrapping or drown out "Jingle Bell Rock."
DRAMA and READINGSA Father For My Son
- A dramatic look at the dramatic life of the dramatic wife of Captain Scott. Kathleen Bruce was a sculptress and New Woman and a very interesting character in her own right.Small Gods
- Dramatisation of Terry Pratchett's story about a Great God who tried to manifest in 'his' desert theocracy. Capital stuff.M.R. James: Echoes From the Abbey
- Every Christmas, Cambridge medievalist M.R. James would invite friends over for a ghost story, so it's only appropriate the BBC should be rerunning a series of them.Casino Royale
- A reading of the first James Bond novel. It is, of course, a bit of silly fun, but Alex Jennings always delivers a good reading.Metamorphosis
- Benedict Cumberbatch reads Franz Kafka's famous tale about a man who turns into a bug.
COMEDYCabin Pressure: Zurich, part 1
- If you missed the excellent two-part closure of this most excellent series, you are in luck, as it's being rerun; Part 2 is next week. If you haven't heard the series yet, I cannot recommend enough that you listen to the rest of it before the finale. You won't regret it.The Atkinson People: George Dupont
- One in a series of spoof biographical sketches by Rowan Atkinson, this looks at an influential French philosopher. Warning: this show may permanently affect your perception of the Dordogne.I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue
- The Antidote to Panel Games has now become more or less The Model For Panel Games, which is only right and just given that it's still brilliant after decades in the chair.Heresy
- Speaking of panels, this one has varying degrees of experts challenging received wisdom for a laugh.Armando Iannucci's Charm Offensive
- In the mid-2000s there were three series of this show, apparently intended to fill the gap that arises between News Quiz and Now Show series in the summer. In true Iannucci fashion, what happened was a brilliant and surreal half-hour riff on reality, which manages somehow to be just as topical as it was at the time, in different and sometimes unsettling ways.The Harpoon
- Radio send-up of the genre of Boy's Own magazines. Think Tintin
crossed with sketch comedy.Thom Tuck Goes Straight to DVD
- Excellent one-man show juxtaposing personal memoir with direct-to-video franchises. All episodes are worth a listen, but not available for much longer, so give it a spin soon if you're at all inclined.
FACTUALCat Women of the Moon
- Examining the role of women in science fiction, both as subjects and creators, from a 1915 story about an all-female society to the speculative fiction of today.Lady Curzon and a Pineapple
- Shows like this fascinating look at the history of the pineapple in Western culture are why we love Radio 4.The Mark Steel Lecture: Muhammad Ali
- An interesting and humourous look at the life of someone much more influential than a mere sportsman.Blowing in the Wind: Bob Dylan's Spiritual Journey
- Not having listened to this, I can only guess it does what it says on the tin.The Life Scientific: Richard Morris
- As I've been learning a lot about how memory works recently, this episode exploring neuroscience would be particularly interesting.The Curious Cases of Rutherford & Fry
- If you're on the run and can only take your science in bite-sized portions, this series looks at everyday scientific mysteries in 10 minutes or less.