Ra­dio

By Stephanie Billen

The Observer - The New Review - - Television -

An am­bi­tious edi­tion of

(Sun­day, Ra­dio 3, 5pm) trav­els back to the birth of mu­sic as pre­sen­ter Tom Ser­vice in­ves­ti­gates the an­cient sounds of palae­olithic caves and Ro­man are­nas. Ac­knowl­edg­ing that there is much we can­not know, he hears from ar­chae­ol­o­gists, his­to­ri­ans, com­posers and in­stru­men­tal­ists dis­cov­er­ing how bone flutes can pro­duce any­thing from melody to scream, and how echo­ing caves may have in­spired call and re­sponse. Just as in­ter­est­ing are his ob­ser­va­tions on how com­posers have imag­ined the mu­sic of his­tory through the mu­sic of their present. He also sug­gests we know more than we think – our voices, breath­ing, hands and feet cre­at­ing “the sounds of our deep past”.

“Un­less you are born and bred here you are never lo­cal,” semi-jokes one of the Devon­shire walk­ers in the first of a new se­ries of (Thurs­day, Ra­dio 4, 3pm). Still, Clare Bald­ing dis­cov­ers a touch­ing shared his­tory be­tween rel­a­tive new­comer Amy and friends Jenny and Anna as they walk across Hem­bury Fort, near Honi­ton. The three be­gan to walk their dogs to­gether after meet­ing at the school gates and Jenny ex­plains how de­bil­i­tat­ing thy­roid prob­lems led to a new be­gin­ning when she and Anna set up a dog-walk­ing busi­ness. Comic in­ter­ludes are pro­vided by Golden Doo­dle Nigel.

His­to­rian and Zion­ist Si­mon Schama was three when the state of Is­rael was born in May 1948. In

(Fri­day, Ra­dio 4, 11am) he of­fers a fas­ci­nat­ing if con­tro­ver­sial view of its his­tory, at one stage com­par­ing the mass ex­o­dus of Jews from Mid­dle Eastern coun­tries in 1948 with the dis­place­ment of Pales­tini­ans. Both sides of the de­bate may take some com­fort from his in­ter­views with EcoPeace, an or­gan­i­sa­tion bring­ing to­gether Pales­tinian and Is­raeli en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists.

A re­ward­ing two-parter

(Fri­day, Ra­dio 4, 11.30am) traces the ori­gins of some of the star’s clas­sic sketches and char­ac­ters, of­fer­ing rare ma­te­rial from Wood’s ar­chives and tapes in­clud­ing her pri­vate notes on promis­ing over­heard con­ver­sa­tions. Pre­sen­ter Re­becca Front is a fan who can also take a step back; she is at her best dis­sect­ing Wood’s hi­lar­i­ous use of lan­guage, which was some­times all her own but of­ten rooted in the rhythms of north­ern speech.

Vic­to­ria Wood (here as Bren in din­ner­ladies) gives up her se­crets. BBC

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