14 episodes

Every Friday we bring you a new drama from BBC Radio 4 or Radio 3. Exercise your imagination with some of the best writers and actors on radio. Storytelling at its very best.

Drama of the Week BBC

    • Fiction
    • 3.0 • 2 Ratings

Every Friday we bring you a new drama from BBC Radio 4 or Radio 3. Exercise your imagination with some of the best writers and actors on radio. Storytelling at its very best.

    Hardy's Women: The Woodlanders - Part 1

    Hardy's Women: The Woodlanders - Part 1

    Marty South tells no one of her love for Giles Winterbourne in Thomas Hardy's story of ambition, money and missed chances. Dramatised by Ayeesha Menon.

    Marty South.....Katy Sobey
    Giles Winterbourne.....Oliver Hembrough
    Grace Melbury.....Holli Dempsey
    Edred Fitzpiers.....Sacha Dhawan
    George Melbury.....Nicholas Murchie
    Lucy Melbury.....Jane Slavin
    Barber Percomb.....Joshua Riley
    Felice Charmond.....Marilyn Nnadebe
    Grammer Oliver.....Jessica Turner
    Suke Damson.....Elinor Coleman
    Timothy Tangs.....Stewart Campbell
    John South.....Tony Turner

    Production Co-ordinator.....Maggie Olgiati
    Sound Design.....Peter Ringrose
    Directed by Emma Harding

    • 1 hr 9 min
    The 100-Year-Old Backstop

    The 100-Year-Old Backstop

    The Writers

    Michael Patrick & Oisín Kearney wrote the play ‘My Left Nut’ which they also adapted as a BBC Three series in 2020. Their recent play ‘The Alternative’ was the winner of Fishamble’s A Play for Ireland initiative. They were also part of BBC Writersroom’s ‘Belfast Voices’ 2019 development scheme.


    A BBC Northern Ireland production.

    • 29 min
    Episode 6 - Peking Noir

    Episode 6 - Peking Noir

    Presented by Paul French
    Drama written by Sarah Wooley

    Whatever anyone declared categorically about Shura Giraldi, someone else insisted on the exact opposite. Shura was handsome and beautiful; Shura was kind and good, Shura was exploitative and evil. Shura was just another struggling White Russian refugee trying to get by in 1930s China; Shura was the heart and brains of a gang that ran clubs, sex workers, illicit booze and drugs, when not robbing banks and stealing gems to fence in Shanghai. Shura loved ballet and cabaret, creating the Shura Giraldi Dance Troupe that topped the bill at all the best Peking nightclubs.

    Shura sometimes presented as male and sometimes as female. When passing as a man Shura bound his breasts tightly and wore a sharp tailored suit; when she was a woman she wore startlingly coloured robes, both Chinese-style cheongsam and Western dresses, letting her raven hair flow loose, said witnesses. Shura had added an incredibly massive layer of confusion and obfuscation to anyone looking by changing gender. Switching for anonymity, for commercial gain or criminal advantage, for love, for a whim.

    Paul French is a historian and writer who focuses on China in the first half of the 20th century. He's been on Shura’s trail for 15 years, digging through the paper records and archives in half a dozen countries in an attempt to get to grips with the enigma that was Shura. This story, a product of that tireless research, is full of truths, but like an old jigsaw brought down from the attic after decades, there are many pieces missing. So we're using drama, written by Sarah Wooley, to conjure and join the dots of Shura’s story, and go in search of a lost life and a forgotten world.

    The search will take us from a Russian far east in violent revolution, to the chaos of the mass emigration of the White Russians, to the crowded hutongs of Peking; from that city’s nightclubs and cabarets, to the casinos of Shanghai; from a China wracked by rampaging warlordism, invaded by Japan, and then fighting its own civil war that culminated in its own revolution.

    Shura saw it all; Shura lived through it all; Shura, in part, explains it all.

    Shura . . . . . Maggie Bain
    Zaichek . . . . . Leo Wan
    Roy . . . . . Daniel York Loh
    Leopard . . . . . Chris Lew Kum Hoi
    Tatiana . . . . . Charlotte East
    Anton . . . . . Luke Nunn
    Marie . . . . . Cecilia Appiah
    Saxsen . . . . . Ian Dunnett Jnr
    The MC . . . . . Roger Ringrose
    Anna . . . . . Jane Whittenshaw

    Editing and sound design by Peter Ringrose.

    Directed by Sasha Yevtushenko.

    • 26 min
    Episode 5 - Peking Noir

    Episode 5 - Peking Noir

    Presented by Paul French
    Drama written by Sarah Wooley

    Whatever anyone declared categorically about Shura Giraldi, someone else insisted on the exact opposite. Shura was handsome and beautiful; Shura was kind and good, Shura was exploitative and evil. Shura was just another struggling White Russian refugee trying to get by in 1930s China; Shura was the heart and brains of a gang that ran clubs, sex workers, illicit booze and drugs, when not robbing banks and stealing gems to fence in Shanghai. Shura loved ballet and cabaret, creating the Shura Giraldi Dance Troupe that topped the bill at all the best Peking nightclubs.

    Shura sometimes presented as male and sometimes as female. When passing as a man Shura bound his breasts tightly and wore a sharp tailored suit; when she was a woman she wore startlingly coloured robes, both Chinese-style cheongsam and Western dresses, letting her raven hair flow loose, said witnesses. Shura had added an incredibly massive layer of confusion and obfuscation to anyone looking by changing gender. Switching for anonymity, for commercial gain or criminal advantage, for love, for a whim.

    Paul French is a historian and writer who focuses on China in the first half of the 20th century. He's been on Shura’s trail for 15 years, digging through the paper records and archives in half a dozen countries in an attempt to get to grips with the enigma that was Shura. This story, a product of that tireless research, is full of truths, but like an old jigsaw brought down from the attic after decades, there are many pieces missing. So we're using drama, written by Sarah Wooley, to conjure and join the dots of Shura’s story, and go in search of a lost life and a forgotten world.

    The search will take us from a Russian far east in violent revolution, to the chaos of the mass emigration of the White Russians, to the crowded hutongs of Peking; from that city’s nightclubs and cabarets, to the casinos of Shanghai; from a China wracked by rampaging warlordism, invaded by Japan, and then fighting its own civil war that culminated in its own revolution.

    Shura saw it all; Shura lived through it all; Shura, in part, explains it all.

    Shura . . . . . Maggie Bain
    Zaichek . . . . . Leo Wan
    Roy . . . . . Daniel York Loh
    Leopard . . . . . Chris Lew Kum Hoi
    Tatiana . . . . . Charlotte East
    Anton . . . . . Luke Nunn
    Marie . . . . . Cecilia Appiah
    Saxsen . . . . . Ian Dunnett Jnr
    The MC . . . . . Roger Ringrose
    Anna . . . . . Jane Whittenshaw

    Editing and sound design by Peter Ringrose.

    Directed by Sasha Yevtushenko.

    • 20 min
    Episode 4 - Peking Noir

    Episode 4 - Peking Noir

    Presented by Paul French
    Drama written by Sarah Wooley

    Whatever anyone declared categorically about Shura Giraldi, someone else insisted on the exact opposite. Shura was handsome and beautiful; Shura was kind and good, Shura was exploitative and evil. Shura was just another struggling White Russian refugee trying to get by in 1930s China; Shura was the heart and brains of a gang that ran clubs, sex workers, illicit booze and drugs, when not robbing banks and stealing gems to fence in Shanghai. Shura loved ballet and cabaret, creating the Shura Giraldi Dance Troupe that topped the bill at all the best Peking nightclubs.

    Shura sometimes presented as male and sometimes as female. When passing as a man Shura bound his breasts tightly and wore a sharp tailored suit; when she was a woman she wore startlingly coloured robes, both Chinese-style cheongsam and Western dresses, letting her raven hair flow loose, said witnesses. Shura had added an incredibly massive layer of confusion and obfuscation to anyone looking by changing gender. Switching for anonymity, for commercial gain or criminal advantage, for love, for a whim.

    Paul French is a historian and writer who focuses on China in the first half of the 20th century. He's been on Shura’s trail for 15 years, digging through the paper records and archives in half a dozen countries in an attempt to get to grips with the enigma that was Shura. This story, a product of that tireless research, is full of truths, but like an old jigsaw brought down from the attic after decades, there are many pieces missing. So we're using drama, written by Sarah Wooley, to conjure and join the dots of Shura’s story, and go in search of a lost life and a forgotten world.

    The search will take us from a Russian far east in violent revolution, to the chaos of the mass emigration of the White Russians, to the crowded hutongs of Peking; from that city’s nightclubs and cabarets, to the casinos of Shanghai; from a China wracked by rampaging warlordism, invaded by Japan, and then fighting its own civil war that culminated in its own revolution.

    Shura saw it all; Shura lived through it all; Shura, in part, explains it all.

    Shura . . . . . Maggie Bain
    Zaichek . . . . . Leo Wan
    Roy . . . . . Daniel York Loh
    Leopard . . . . . Chris Lew Kum Hoi
    Tatiana . . . . . Charlotte East
    Anton . . . . . Luke Nunn
    Marie . . . . . Cecilia Appiah
    Saxsen . . . . . Ian Dunnett Jnr
    The MC . . . . . Roger Ringrose
    Anna . . . . . Jane Whittenshaw

    Editing and sound design by Peter Ringrose.

    Directed by Sasha Yevtushenko.

    • 25 min
    Episode 3 - Peking Noir

    Episode 3 - Peking Noir

    Presented by Paul French
    Drama written by Sarah Wooley

    Whatever anyone declared categorically about Shura Giraldi, someone else insisted on the exact opposite. Shura was handsome and beautiful; Shura was kind and good, Shura was exploitative and evil. Shura was just another struggling White Russian refugee trying to get by in 1930s China; Shura was the heart and brains of a gang that ran clubs, sex workers, illicit booze and drugs, when not robbing banks and stealing gems to fence in Shanghai. Shura loved ballet and cabaret, creating the Shura Giraldi Dance Troupe that topped the bill at all the best Peking nightclubs.

    Shura sometimes presented as male and sometimes as female. When passing as a man Shura bound his breasts tightly and wore a sharp tailored suit; when she was a woman she wore startlingly coloured robes, both Chinese-style cheongsam and Western dresses, letting her raven hair flow loose, said witnesses. Shura had added an incredibly massive layer of confusion and obfuscation to anyone looking by changing gender. Switching for anonymity, for commercial gain or criminal advantage, for love, for a whim.

    Paul French is a historian and writer who focuses on China in the first half of the 20th century. He's been on Shura’s trail for 15 years, digging through the paper records and archives in half a dozen countries in an attempt to get to grips with the enigma that was Shura. This story, a product of that tireless research, is full of truths, but like an old jigsaw brought down from the attic after decades, there are many pieces missing. So we're using drama, written by Sarah Wooley, to conjure and join the dots of Shura’s story, and go in search of a lost life and a forgotten world.

    The search will take us from a Russian far east in violent revolution, to the chaos of the mass emigration of the White Russians, to the crowded hutongs of Peking; from that city’s nightclubs and cabarets, to the casinos of Shanghai; from a China wracked by rampaging warlordism, invaded by Japan, and then fighting its own civil war that culminated in its own revolution.

    Shura saw it all; Shura lived through it all; Shura, in part, explains it all.

    Shura . . . . . Maggie Bain
    Zaichek . . . . . Leo Wan
    Roy . . . . . Daniel York Loh
    Leopard . . . . . Chris Lew Kum Hoi
    Tatiana . . . . . Charlotte East
    Anton . . . . . Luke Nunn
    Marie . . . . . Cecilia Appiah
    Saxsen . . . . . Ian Dunnett Jnr
    The MC . . . . . Roger Ringrose
    Anna . . . . . Jane Whittenshaw

    Editing and sound design by Peter Ringrose.

    Directed by Sasha Yevtushenko.

    • 22 min

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