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Afternoon Play: Something Memorable


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Adam Thorpe's play imagines the conversation between Thomas Hardy and his first wife Emma Gifford in the last 45 minutes before midnight on 31 December 1900. They are sitting in front of a crackling fire on a frosty night at the gloomy Victorian house Hardy built near Dorchester. But as the clock winds down towards midnight and a new century approaches, the strains in their marriage become sharply focused. Hardy wants to read Emma his new poem, "The Darkling Thrush", while Emma tries to goad him into doing something more memorable.

Reassuringly, today's episode in the Victorian Love Stones (3.30pm R4) series reinforces the established stereotype of a society hidebound and tongue-tied by the rigidity of class barriers. Henry Harland's Flower o' the Quince tells a technically tragic (though, unfortunately, unmoving) tale of an inhibited English aristocrat who never to)d a music teacher that he loved her. Frankly, you find yourself thinking what a thoroughgoing twit he must have been.
The Angel of New Street (2.15pm R4) is well worth hearing. It's about the Birmingham station and displays the talents of three brilliant young writers: Liz John, Helen Ketty and Carolyn Scott-Jeffs. The drama follows the progress of three radically different groups of people as they find their way through the station's system - alongside a sinister, spookily fossilised cat. (SG)


Writer: Adam Thorpe
Director: Robert Ketteridge
Tom: Patrick Malahide
Emma: Gemma Jones

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Feedback about Afternoon Play: Something Memorable, BBC Radio 4 FM, 14.15, 26 January 2001
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