Sound Frontiers - The Present Experiment [Drama On 3]

Episodes

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Broadcast
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20160929

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As part of Sound Frontiers, celebrating seventy years to the hour that the Third Programme was launched, Robin Brooks' deliciously lyrical comedy romps through the first hours of the pioneering station's life, in fact and fantasy.

1946. A new government and the NHS. The first Festival of British contemporary music. Peter Grimes. De-mobbed servicemen and young working-class beneficiaries of the Butler Act are crowding into university. And in a Blitz-battered Broadcasting House, chosen head George Barnes (1st in History, Kings) and his Director-General William Hayley (no university education) meet to discuss a new arts network, Programme C, (after A - Light - and B - Home) to pull up the cultural life of the nation by its bootstraps.

Inspired by the disruptive geniuses of early contributors Louis MacNeice, Dylan Thomas and Benjamin Britten, the story of the network's dreams and fears begins to unwind in a fantastical verse adventure through the corridors of Broadcasting House. Meanwhile in the wry BBC realpolitik of W1A 1946, staff producer Guy Burgess is being consulted about how to stop the Russians invading the frequency with weird interruptions from Riga Station.

And in celebration of the day, the play's opening scene will be performed live in front of an audience at Southbank Centre, alongside Radio 3's pop-up studio.

Katherine, the Herald - Pippa Bennett-Warner

George Barnes - Pip Torrens

Gwylim Jones - Trystan Gravelle

Lawrence O'Neill - Jonjo O'Neill

Lord Reith - Christopher Godwin

Roland Givens - Tim Potter

Guy Burgess - Gunnar Cauthery

William Hayley - Michael Bertenshaw

Rex Hardcastle - Adrian Scarborough

Virginia, the Sorceress - Carolyn Pickles

Heidi O'Neill - Catriona McFarlane

Ethel McRea - Natasha Cowley

with Nicholas Murchie and John Dougall

Produced and directed by Jonquil Panting.

1946. A new government and the NHS. The first Festival of British contemporary music.PETER GRIMES. De-mobbed servicemen and young working-class beneficiaries of the Butler Act are crowding into university. And in a Blitz-battered Broadcasting House, chosen head George Barnes (1st in History, Kings) and his Director-General William Hayley (no university education) meet to discuss a new arts network, Programme C, (after A - Light - and B - Home) to pull up the cultural life of the nation by its bootstraps.

Inspired by the disruptive geniuses of early contributors Louis MacNeice, DYLAN THOMAS and BENJAMIN BRITTEN, the story of the network's dreams and fears begins to unwind in a fantastical verse adventure through the corridors of Broadcasting House. Meanwhile in the wry BBC realpolitik of W1A 1946, staff producer GUY BURGESS is being consulted about how to stop the Russians invading the frequency with weird interruptions from Riga Station.

George Barnes - PIP TORRENS

Lord Reith - CHRISTOPHER GODWIN

GUY BURGESS - GUNNAR CAUTHERY

Rex Hardcastle - ADRIAN SCARBOROUGH

Virginia, the Sorceress - CAROLYN PICKLES

with NICHOLAS MURCHIE and JOHN DOUGALL

Produced and directed by JONQUIL PANTING