Radio 3 Drama, 1997

General notes: The BBC's listings from the early days of their online presence started in June 1997, with repeats not indicated until October; as programming is generally scheduled around evening concerts, start times have been noted after the date.

Barry Hodge.

Sunday evenings, various times as noted.

(01-06-1997; 7:30pm) Brahms On A Slow Train (David Pownall)
The winner of the 1995 Sony Gold Award for his play `Elgar's Third' returns to the theme of composers with a fascinating look at the complex relationship between the `young eagle' Johannes Brahms and his devoted mentors Clara and Robert Schumann. Starring Denis Quilley, Roger May, Geoffrey Whitehead, Maureen O'Brien, Robert Glenister, Jane Whittenshaw, Keith Drinkel, Zulema Dene, Teresa Gallagher and David Timson. Pianist Terence Allbright. Director Martin Jenkins. (105m)

(08-06-1997; 7:30pm) Pentecost (David Edgar)
Winner of the 1995 Evening Standard Award for Best Play, Edgar's play is an urgent and powerful response to the turbulent past and uneasy present of Eastern Europe - an intellectual thriller and complex political parable. Starring Oliver Ford Davies, Sian Thomas, Michael Feast, Suzan Sylvester, Kate Fenwick, Glenn Hugill, Stephen Critchlow, Kevork Malikyan, Matilda Ziegler, Janice McKenzie, Raad Rawi, Stephen Elliott, Jason Watkins, Burt Caesar and Kate Steavenson-Payne. Director Hilary Norrish. (140m)

(15-06-1997; 7:30pm) Insignificance (Terry Johnson)
A thought-provoking play about the meaning of celebrity in America and the perils atomic warfare, made into a film in 1985 by Nicholas Roeg. An actress, a baseball player, a professor and a senator (bearing striking similarities to Marilyn Monroe, Joe Di Maggio, Albert Einstein and Joseph McCarthy) are gradually drawn to the professor's New York City hotel room in 1954. The academic and the actress talk about the limits of their fame and are joined the next morning by the other members of the quartet, who have pressing questions for them. With Frances Barber, Alun Armstrong, Tom Mannion and Colin Stinton. Director Hilary Norrish. (100m)

(22-06-1997; 7:30pm) My Dinner With Andre (Wallace Shawn & Andre Gregory, adap Kerry Shale)
Why should Wally be dreading an evening with his old friend Andre - the brilliant and extraordinary theatre director who first put one of Wally's plays on the stage? With Henry Goodman as Andre, Kerry Shale as Wally, and Joshua Towb as the waiter. Directed by Tracey Neale. (105m)

(29-06-1997; 7:45pm) Fair Hearing (Steve May)
During the Second World War, Charlie, a young violinist, finds a place in Michael Tippett's Voluntary Employment Orchestra. LIke the man he so admires, Charlie wants to be a virtuoso musician and a conscientious objector, but for a poor kid from Peckham, even to get a fair hearing is not that easy. With Julian Rhind Tutt, Samuel West, Gavin Muir, Bill Wallis, Tessa Worsley and Denys Hawthorne. Director Eoin O'Callaghan. (95m)

(06-07-1997; 7:30pm) The Man Outside (Wolfgang Borchert, trans Rob Walker)
Winter, 1946. Corporal Beckmann - just returned from the Eastern Front to find his wife in bed with another man - is about to jump into the frozen River Elbe. First broadcast on German radio in 1947, the play embodied all the grievances and questionings of a betrayed generation. With Jonathan Moore, Anthony Ofoegbu, Graham Crowden and Fenella Fielding. Director Jeremy Mortimer. (110m)

(13-07-1997; 7:30pm) Roberto Zucco (Bernard-Marie Koltes, adap/trans David Zane Mairowitz)
A young thug imprisoned for murdering his father escapes and returns home to strangle his mother and embark on a trail of killings. In this modern French classic, heroism and bloodletting are intertwined. Starring Alistair McGowan, Judy Parfitt, Robin Bailey, Ann Beach, Colleen Prendergast, Jane Whittenshaw, Shaun Prendergast, Ronald Herdman, Patience Tomlinson, Alice Arnold, Geoffrey Whitehead, Stephen Critchlow, Keith Drinkel, Kim Wall, Jonathan Adams, David Timson and Roger May. Director Peter Kavanagh. (75m)

(20-07-1997; 10:00pm) Spell No 7 (Ntozake Shange)
An epic choreopoem, which, with its shocking honesty, captured the essence of 1970s theatrical radicalism, is adapted for radio by Bonnie Greer. The play tells of an apprentice conjurer who has rediscovered an ancient magic spell - spell No 7 - that is so powerful that, once evoked, it transforms lives. With Clarke Peters, Irene Cara and Shezwae Powell. Directed by Pam Fraser Solomon. (75m)

(27-07-1997; 10:00pm) The Sisterhood (Moliere, adap Ranjit Bolt)
A sparkling adaptation of Moliere's assault of feminism `Les femmes savantes', with Benjamin Whitrow as Chrysale and Jean Boht as Belise. Henriette's engagement is threatened as her bluestocking mother tries to marry her off to pedant Trissotin. With Haydn Gwynne, Judy Parfitt, Simon Russell Beale, Christopher Scott, Brenda Blethyn, James Greene, Jane Whittenshaw and Nicholas Boulton. Directed by Peter Kavanagh. (75m)

(03-08-1997; 9:40pm) Transit Of Venus (Maureen Hunter)
Kelly Hunter won a Sony Award this year for her performance as Celeste, the fiancee of astronomer Le Gentil. In 1760, he set out to chart the transit of Venus, leaving her at home. Six years later, he returns to find that she is older, wiser and less willing to be kept waiting. With Anton Lesser, Dinah Stabb, Doreen Mantle and Simon Ludders. Director Alison Hindell. (85m)

(10-08-1997; 9:50pm) Happy Days (Samuel Beckett)
A new radio version of the Beckett play first performed in New York in 1961. Winnie is buried up to the waist and seems likely to be sucked down even further into the earth. Her bright chatter keeps Nemesis at bay, but for how long? With Geraldine McEwan as Winnnie and Clive Swift as Willie. Narrator Phil Daniels. Directed by Peter Wood. (85m)

(17-08-1997; 9:35pm) Death In Venice (Thomas Mann, dramy Peter Wolf)
Starring Clive Francis as Gustav von Aschenbach, Penny Downie as Anja, John Rowe as the Writer and Peter England as Tadzio. A famous German writer tries to find the happiness and inspiration that is evading him by travelling to Venice after a premonition that his life will be transformed there. At first, he notices only the decay and disease lurking behind the beautiful facades. Then, just as he is about to leave, he becomes obsessed by the beauty of a young Polish boy staying at the same hotel. With Tessa Worsley, Eve Karpf, Stephen Critchlow and Anthony Ofoegbu. Director Cherry Cookson. (80m)

(24-08-1997; 9:45pm) Blood Wedding (Federico Garcia Lorca, trans Gwynne Edwards, adap/musical composition by Felix Cross)
Tracey Neale's production is set in Cuba's African community at the turn of the century. A widow, whose eldest son and husband were both killed in feuds, discovers her only living son wishes to marry. But her obsession with thoughts of death and violence cannot dim the young bridegroom's optimism. With Carmen Munroe, Akim Mogaji and Marianne Jean-Baptiste. (90m)

(31-08-1997; 9:35pm) The Libertine (Stephen Jeffreys)
1675: London is a hothouse of gossip and intrigue, and at the centre of it all is John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester, poet, wit and Restoration hero. Regularly banished from the court of Charles II for excesses of every kind, his brilliant and sordid life embodied the spirit of the age. With Bill Nighy as Rochester, James Laurenson, Kim Wall, Keith Drinkel, Richard Pearce, Adjoa Andoh, Marcia Warren, Colleen Prendergast, Gavin Muir, Emma Chambers, Chris Scott and Ioan Meredith. Director Claire Grove. (100m)

(07-09-1997; 9:55pm) Intimations For Saxophone (Sophie Treadwell)
With Fiona Shaw as Lily. Another chance to hear the first performance of Sophie Treadwell's play judged as too radical for American audiences in the 1930s. Lily, a New York socialite, is driven to self-realisation and destruction by the vulgar, empty world that surrounds her. With Tim McInnerny, Clive Russell, Matilda Ziegler, John Padden, Ellie Haddington, David Fleeshman and Kathryn Hunt. Director Kate Rowland. (90m)

(14-09-1997; 7:30pm) Loot (Joe Orton)
Radio 3 marks the 30th anniversary of Orton's death with the first-ever radio production of his hilarious, black masterpiece. With Trevor Peacock, Debra Gillett, Neil Stuke, Andy Serkis and Timothy Spall. Director Lindsay Posner. (85m)

(21-09-1997; 7:30pm) Up Against It (Joe Orton, adap John Fletcher)
An unfinished screenplay written for the Beatles in 1967. Orton was found dead on the very day he was to meet director Richard Lester about the making of the film. In this first production of the play, 30 years on, Blur's Damon Albarn provides a musical link to the original Beatles casting. Also starring Leo McKern, Sylvia Syms, Prunella Scales, Douglas Hodge, Joe Fiennes, Louise Lombard and Jacinta Mulcahy. John Gielgud and Irish director Joe Dowling make cameo appearances. Director John Adams. (90m)

(28-09-1997; 7:30pm) The Merchant Of Venice (William Shakespeare)
With Warren Mitchell as Shylock, Martin Jarvis as Antonio, Juliet Aubrey as Portia and Samuel West as Bassanio. Shakespeare's thrilling courtroom drama in which a pound of living flesh is the penalty to be exacted. With David Morrissey, Ron Cook and Colin McFarlane. Directed by Peter Kavanagh. (120m)

(05-10-1997; 7:30pm; Rpt) The Merry Wives Of Windsor (William Shakespeare, music by Stephen Warbeck)
Freddie Jones stars as randy Falstaff, who is in hot pursuit of a brace of Windsor wives - Paula Wilcox as Mistress Ford and Miriam Margolyes as Mistress Page - in this lively comedy of suburban lust. The cast also features Clive Merrison, Geoffrey Whitehead, Elizabeth Spriggs, David Collings, Peter Gunn, Ioan Merdith, Nigel Anthony, John Hartley, Tracy Wiles, Roger May, Andrew Branch and Stephen Critchlow. Members of the Finchley Children's Music Group, Dave Laurence and Roger Montgomery (horns), Michael Gregory (percussion), Dai Pritchard (bombarde/clarinets). Director David Blount. (120m)

(12-10-1997; 7:30pm) The Relapse (John Vanbrugh)
A tercentenary production of the famous play. Lord Foppington gains a title and loses his bride, Amanda loses her husband and gains a gallant, and Sir Tunbelly Clumsey loses his only daughter and gains two son-in-laws. With Clive Francis, Ian Hogg, John Duttine, Robert Glenister and Susan Tracy. Director Sue Wilson. (120m)

(19-10-1997; 7:30pm; Rpt) The Country Wife (William Wycherley, adap Martyn Read)
London, 1675. The King's Players give the first performance of William Wycherley's new play, in which Harry Horner, an unredeemed rakehell hits upon a remarkable stratagem for conquering new bedchambers! Starring Julia McKenzie as Lady Fidget, Michael Hordern as William Wycherley, and a cast including Anton Lesser, Stephen Moore, Cathryn Bradshaw, Norman Rodway, Gary Bond, Michael Cochrane. (120m)

(26-10-1997; 10:00pm) Martin Yesterday (Brad Fraser)
The celebrated Canadian playwright's extraordinary radio debut examines relationships when they are going right and when they are going very, very wrong. Matt hates relationships. They make life so unbearable. You have to be vulnerable. You have to be tender. You have to remember that not everything is about you. With Daniel MacIvor, Rod Wilson, Stuart Hughes and Jason Cadieux. Director Hilary Norrish (a co-production of the BBC and CBC). (90m)

(02-11-1997; 9:45pm) The Magistrate's Ordeal (Robert Holman)
Lilith has a son she has never seen. She has spent forty years hoping he might just appear. Then a strange girl, a semi-delinquent boy and a middle-aged magistrate turn up on her doorstep. They all seem to want something of her. With Lee Oakes, Christopher Horner, Freda Dowie and Tracy Gillman. Director Hilary Norrish. (90m)

(09-11-1997; 9:45pm) In Praise Of Progress (Gregory Motton)
Starring Jonathan Firth as Mr Smith, Rudi Davies as Bubbles and Clive Swift as Mr Baron. This play takes a wryly humorous look at the lack of compassion in our society. Other players include Pip Donaghy, Pauline Yates and Patti Love. Director Peter Kavanagh. (90m)

(16-11-1997; 10:10pm) The Country (Martin Crimp)
The evening begins when Richard brings home an unconscious young woman. Is it not rather odd to be sprawled far from home beside a country road in the middle of the night? With Lindsay Duncan, Donald Sumpter and Nancy Crane. Director Hilary Norrish. (65m)

(23-11-1997; 7:30pm) Juno & The Paycock (Sean O'Casey)
O'Casey's best-loved play, set in Dublin in 1922, takes a curiously contemporary look at the endlessly sacrificing wife trapped by a thoughtless husband. Starring Pauline McLynn as Juno, Owen Roe as the Paycock, with Garrett Keogh, Luke Griffin, Cathy Belton, Darragh Kelly, Vincent Higgins, Marie Jones and Maureen Dow. Music performed by Neil Martin. Directed by Pam Brighton. (120m)

(30-11-1997; 7:30pm) To The Wedding (John Berger, dram Simon McBurney & Mark Wheatley)
With an international cast well known from the productions of the Theatre de Complicite. A father and mother, separated for 17 years, travel across Europe to their daughter's wedding in Italy. As they journey, we become aware of the human tragedy that awaits them. With Lilo Baur, Sandro Mabellini, Katrin Cartlidge, Tim McMullan, Simon McBurney, Kathryn Hunter and Richard Hope. Directed by Simon McBurney. (90m)

(07-12-1997; 7:30pm) Antony & Cleopatra (William Shakespeare)
The classic story of love and war in a vivid new production made in association with Northern Broadsides Theatre Company, whose interpretation brings Shakespeare's Elizabethan language to life in the Yorkshire dialect. With Ishia Bennison, Barrie Rutter, Dave Hill, Andrew Cryer, Julie Livesey and Sally Ann Matthews. Director Kate Rowland. (130m)

(14-12-1997; 7:30pm; Rpt) The Secret Commonwealth (John Purser)
This play is set in the late 17th century and takes its inspiration from the old Scots ballad `Mill O'Tiftie's Annie', based on the true story of a miller's daughter who fell in love with the trumpeter at Fyvie Castle in Aberdeenshire. The play's title comes from a work of the period by the Rev Robert Kirk about the spirit world of elves and fairies. Starring Vicki Masson, Anne Kristen, Derek Anders, Kenneth Glenaan, Jimmy Chisholm, Andrew Dallmeyer, Anne Lacey, Paul Young, Robert Paterson, Gerda Stevenson and Kern Falconer. Music by John Purser. Director Patrick Rayner. (110m)

(21-12-1997; 10:00pm) Handel's Ghosts (Paul Barz, trans David Tushingham)
Born in 1685, Georg Friedrich Handel and Johann Sebastian Bach were the foremost composers of their age and almost exact contemporaries. In `Handel's Ghosts', they meet for the first and last time in their lives. With Robert Hardy, Richard Briers and John Wells. Harpsichordist Martin Parry. Director John Adams. (75m)

(28-12-1997; 7:30pm) The Winter's Tale (William Shakespeare)
Tom Courtenay stars as the wildly jealous King Leontes, who, suspecting his queen Hermione of infidelity with his best friend Polixenes, exacts a terrible revenge which forces the full retribution of the Gods. With Harriet Water, Jill Balcon, Tim Pigott-Smith, Rory Campbell, Nickolas Grace and Jonathan Cullen. Music by Julie Cooper, played by Justin Pearson (cello), Alasdair Malloy (percussion), Lucy Wakeford (harp), David Roach (oboe) and Claire Moore (singer). Director Eoin O'Callaghan. (100m)

5:45pm Sundays; 45mins (unless otherwise stated); Usually a documentary series, some episodes include dramatic themes and have actors listed so I've included these for completeness sake; Those without direct reference to actors have been omitted; No writer credits could be found.

(01-06-1997) Facts & Fables - John Aubrey, who died 300 years ago, is best known for his `Brief Lives', but his importance is much wider than that. He is a father of British archaeology, the first of the folklorists, and a pioneer of oral history. Adam Fox and Jon Kite follow the wanderings of this endlessly inquisitive man around his native county of Wiltshire, whose natural history, ancient monuments and old wives' tales he recorded. With Nicholas Boulton as Aubrey.

(22-06-1997) If Only We Knew The Life Of The Moscow Art Theatre - A hundred years ago today, a historic meeting between Konstantin Stanislavsky and Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko in a Moscow restaurant resulted in the creation of the Moscow Art Theatre. Faynia Williams travels to Moscow to tell the story of the theatre, which pioneered new acting methods and put the plays of Chekhov on stage but later found itself in the deadly embrace of Stalin. Members of the company, as well as British and American specialists, assess the theatre's past and consider whether it will have a role to play in the next century. Scenes from Chekhov's `Three Sisters' are performed by Julian Curry, Andrew Sachs and Tamara Ustinov.

(06-07-1997) Gershwin In Focus - To Gershwin, show tunes were as important as concert works, and he saw no contradiction in writing both. Pianist Jack Gibbons follows Gershwin's development as a composer and investigates the close stylistic relationship between the works written for Broadway, for Hollywood and for the concert hall. The programme includes illustrations at the keyboard and from original recordings. With Ben Kingsley as George Gershwin.

(27-07-1997) Heiner Muller - The leading playwright of former East Germany after Bertolt Brecht, Heiner Muller spanned both sides of the wall with his powerful and poetic critique of 20th-century history. Hugh Rorrison presents a montage portrait of his life and work, with Bob Peck, David Schofield and Geraldine Alexander.

(03-08-1997) The African Mahler - Starring John Gielgud, with Howard Anthony as Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. From 1924 to 1939, the Royal Albert Hall was filled for two weeks each summer by thousands of enthusiasts dressed as Red Indians. They assembled for a performance of `Hiawatha' by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Britain's most celebrated black composer, known in his day as the African Mahler. In this dramatised biography, the painful story of his battle to overcome racial prejudice in Victorian England is told through his writings and thoughts and those of his families and contemporaries. This first radio feature by the acclaimed film director Tony Palmer also features John Gielgud. (

28-09-1997) What Are They Looking At? - A journey into the heart of one of the National Gallery of London's most famous paintings - the Arnolfini Portrait by Van Eyck. `I've been coming to look at this for thirty years,' says one visitor, `and I don't know why it moves me so much.' Nor do the critics, nor do we. For the last 100 years of its 500-year history, Van Eyck's secular masterpiece, a double portrait of a richly dressed couple, sometimes called `The Arnolfini Marriage', has pleased, puzzled and polarised critical and public opinion. Radio 3 goes through the mirror into the heart of a masterpiece. With Jack Klaff as Van Eyck.

(16-11-1997; 5:30pm) Four Quartets Sounding The Century - A new production of Eliot's exploration of time, eternity and the Christian faith, read by Paul Scofield. Written between 1935 and 1942, these four meditations have long been regarded as a pinnacle of 20th-century poetry. Paul Scofield fulfils a personal ambition in recording them. With specially commissioned music by Stephen Faux played by cellist Nick Parry. (60m)

Various dramatic twenty-minute pieces that are used as mid-concert interval pieces; Writer/reader credits have been noted where available; Documentaries/talks have been omitted.

(03-06-1997; 8:15pm) The Ghost In The Reading Room - Writer David Benedictus and Merton College Dean Tom Braun discuss Max Beerbohm's satirical view of 1890s literary London in his story `Enoch Soames' (broadcast earlier today on Radio 4) and his prophetic glimpse into the future. They walk from the Cafe Royal, where literary London met, to the Reading Room, where they lie in wait to see if the ghost of poet Enoch Soames materialises in order to discover whether his work has survived. (20m) (NB: This may or not be a drama-documentary.)

(10-06-1997; 8:20pm) The Dancing Master's Music (William Trevor, read by Niamh Cusack) A story commissioned by BBC Music Magazine which describes the time when music came to Skenakilla House and the effect that it had on those `downstairs'.

(02-08-1997; 8:30pm) The Battling Duo - Timothy West and Donald Sinden play Gilbert and Sullivan in a feature based on the letters and diaries of the team who were brought together by an impresario. In spite of - or maybe because of - the huge differences between them, their partnership produced some of the best-loved work in the operatic canon.

(14-08-1997; 8:25pm) Victor Pelevin - Arch Tait introduces a story by one of the leading new Russian writers. Victor Pelevin's work uses satire, fantasy and the grotesque to portray the chaos in a world trying to fuse old Soviet bureaucracy with new capitalist freedoms.

(03-09-1997; 8:20pm) Unpeeling the Mandarin - Urban, squalid and sexy - `The Miraculous Mandarin' is a dark, erotic tale of lust and murder. Simon Broughton explores the intricacies of Bartok's score, with Fenella Fielding as Mimi.

(08-09-1997; 8:25pm) Bela Bartok's Last Journey Home (read by David Suchet) In October 1940, Bartok left his native Hungary for the United States. That was the last time he saw his homeland: he died in New York five years later. In 1988, his remains were returned for an emotional reburial, and the journey was recorded in a diary by the composer's son.

(16-09-1997; 8:15pm) The Irish Worker (Hugo Hamilton, read by Mark Lambert) After a gale, roof slates are down all along the street. Cultures collide as the German mother at No 2 is driven to check up on the undoubtedly feckless Irish roof-mender.

(25-09-1997; 8:25pm) Beehernz (Penelope Fitzgerald, read by David Troughton) A story commissioned by Radio 3 and BBC Music Magazine. Once upon a time, there was an old, reclusive composer who just had to be lured out of retirement.

(27-09-1997; 8:00pm) Wole Soyinka's Prison Diaries (read by Anthony Ofoegbu) In 1967, the Nigerian writer Wole Soyinka was imprisoned without trial for his attempts to end the country's civil war. This reading from Soyinka's prison memoir, `The Man Died', describes his two-year ordeal of solitary confinement and abuse as a political prisoner.

(30-09-1997; 8:10pm) A Woman's Hair (Bryan MacMahon, read by Frances Tomelty) A haunting tale by a grand master of the Irish story. On a winter's night, a woman lies frozen to the ground by her long, shining hair.

(07-10-1997; 8:25pm; Rpt) The Dancing Master's Music (William Trevor, read by Niamh Cusack) A story commissioned by BBC Music Magazine which describes the time when music came to Skenakilla House and the effect that it had on those `downstairs'. (NB: Repeat of 10-06-1997.)

(19-11-1997; 8:15pm) Till The Unready (read by Edward De Souza) A cautionary tale of a modern-day Eulenspiegel who cannot quite get started on his first symphony.

(11-12-1997; 8:30pm) Britten & Pears In The US - Paul Muldoon reads from Muldoon's '7, Middagh Street', the poem he set in the Brooklyn house which Britten and Pears shared with Wystan Auden, Carson McCullers, Paul Bowles and Gypsy Rose Lee during the early days of the Second World War. The duo returned to Britain, in 1941. Donald Mitchell, the editor of Britten's letters and diaries, considers what their two years in America meant to them.

Various post-concert series, broadcast weekdays between 9pm and 10pm, with varying running times (both as noted); Again, documentaries/talks have been omitted.

(02 to 06-06-1997) A Wet Handle - A five-part selection of songs, stories and poems from humorist Ivor Cutler. With Craig Murray-Orr, Alison O'Kill, Dylan Edwards and Beverley Crew. (15m) (NB: Not listed as part of Postscript, but it was broadcast in the usual slot.)

1: (8:50pm)

2: (9:20pm)

3: (8:55pm)

4: (9:20pm)

5: (9:30pm)

(09 to 13-06-1997) In Translation - Five readings of contemporary fiction from around the world. (25m)

1: Fragments (Binjamin Wilkomirski, trans from the German by Carol Brown Janeway, read by David Suchet; 9:35pm) The author was a tiny child when he was separated from his family and interned in a Nazi concentration camp. He was released at around the age of ten and sent to a Swiss orphanage, where he found it very difficult to adapt to his new life. His fragmented memories of the past kept haunting him. (25m)

2: Silk (Alessandro Baricco, trans from the Italian by Guido Waldman, read by Jonathan Keeble; 9:30pm) A French silk manufacturer falls in love with a concubine in Japan.

3: The Lone Man (Bernardo Atxaga, translated from the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa, read by Jamie Glover; 9:20pm) A reformed Basque terrorist agrees to hide two Basque activists in his hotel during the 1982 World Cup.

4: Santa Evita (Tomas Eloy Martinez, translated from the Spanish by Helen Lane, abr Paul Kent, read by John Rowe; 9:35pm) Already and international literary sensation, `Santa Evita' is part historical narrative, part detective story and part philosophical treatise. When Eva Peron died of cancer at the age of 33, her demise triggered a bizarre chain of events which has never been fully understood.

5: Texaco (Patrick Chamoiseau, translated from the French/Creole by Rose-Myriam Rejouis & Val Vinokurow, read by Aicho Kossoko; 9:35pm) On the island of Martinique, the aged daughter of a freed slave recalls how her father came to be born into plantation slavery and how he learned the meaning of the word `emancipate'.

(04 to 08-08-1997) Five Poems For 50 Years - A week of poems commissioned to mark the Third Programme's golden jubilee. (20m)

1: Three (Peter Reading; 9:50pm) Like Radio 3, Peter Reading is 50 years old. His poem is an elegy for those who have died since then, particularly the poets George Macbeth and Gavin Ewart.

2: Ultrasound (Kathleen Jamie; 9:50pm) The Scottish poet charts her pregnancy and the birth of her first child.

3: The Wind Dog (Tom Paulin; 9:55pm) Paulin is distinguished as a critic as well as a poet. His poem is an autobiography in sound, ranging from bomb blasts in Belfast to the sound of someone wearing hobnailed boots walking down a lane in winter.

4: The Knowing (Sharon Olds; 9:50pm) Olds is one of the best poets in the USA today, and her sequence of poems is both epic and domestic, recalling her life from her childhood - with a terrifying, abusive father - to her own marriage and children.

5: The Shadow Of God (Ken Smith; 9:20pm) Every Lent, the streets of Mohacs in southern Hungary go wild with noisy, hairy masked men as the Buso Festival takes place - a vision of the ancient world in the 20th century. Ken Smith's poem records this and one of the triggers for the mayhem - the slaughter of 30,000 Hungarians in one day by the invading Turkish army of the Ottoman Empire in 1526.

(22 to 26-09-1997) Tales From Yoknapatawpha County (William Faulkner, read by Ron Berglas) To mark 100 years since the Faulkner's birth, five short stories set in his mythical Mississippi county. (Weekdays; 20m)

1: The Courthouse (10:00pm)

2: Ambuscade (9:45pm)

3: Barn Burning (8:55pm)

4: Wash (9:40pm)

5: The Jail (9:40pm)

(29-09 to 03-10-1997) Novelists - Five programmes this week about novelists. (15m)

1: Lawrence Norfolk, author of `Lempriere's Dictionary' and `The Pope's Rhinoceros', is one of the most admired and successful of British novelists. Today, he introduces his next book, which is about a contemporary suicidal love affair and boar-hunting in ancient Greece. (11:15pm)

2: Eight years ago, Paul Bailey, whose books include `Gabriel's Lament' and `At the Jerusalem', made his first visit to Romania, knowing very little about the country. He has now learned the language, and introduces and reads from his next novel, which is set there - `Kitty and Virgil: a Romance'. (9:30pm)

3: Alex Garland, still in his twenties and whose first novel `The Beach' won a Betty Trask Award this year, introduces and reads from his forthcoming suspense story concerning the villains, British and native, of Manila. (9:45pm)

4: Frederic Raphael, known for his screenplays as well as such novels as `A Double Life', introduces and reads from his next novel, `Coast to Coast', drawing on his Hollywood experience and his American childhood. (9:40pm)

5: Philip Hensher, author of `Kitchen Venom', introduces and reads from his next novel, `Slow Thunder', set in Berlin at the time of the fall of Communism, and his forthcoming short stories, `The Inert Reveller'. (8:50pm)

(13 to 17-10-1997) Fan Mail - Following the example of W H Auden's `Letter To Lord Byron', five poets read a newly commissioned verse letter to a poet from the past whom they admire. (15m)

1: Tom Paulin reads his letter to John Clare called `The Writing Lark'. (9:45pm)

2: Kathleen Jamie writes to Robert Burns about growing up in modern Scotland and about devolution. (9:30pm)

3: Glyn Maxwell writes to Edward Thomas. (9:45pm)

4: The Caribbean writer Olive Senior reads her letter to the great Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. (9:00pm)

5: In the last of the series, American poet Mark Doty reads his `Letter to Walt Whitman'. (9:10pm)

(27 to 31-10-1997) Radio Poems - Five specially commissioned poems blending words and sound. (20m)

1: Spirit Machines (Robert Crawford; 9:25pm)

2: Wire Through The Heart (Ken Smith; 9:30pm)

3: Once Upon A Zoo (Lavinia Greenlaw; 9:00pm)

4: The Man Made Of Rain (Brendan Kennelly; 9:05pm)

5: Hopewell Haiku (Paul Muldoon; 9:40pm)

(22 to 26-12-1997) Christmas Day (wri/read by Paul Durcan) Over five programmes this week, Durcan reads his book-length poem that sets out a funny, poignant and often irreverent vision of Christmas. (15m) (NB: Episode 2 was marked as a repeat, though none of the others were.)

1: Accustomed to loneliness, Paul takes up Frank's unexpected invitation for a curiously homely, decidedly male Christmas lunch. (9:45pm)

2: Paul and Frank continue their funny, melancholic and often subversive Christmas afternoon conversation. (9:30pm)

3: Paul and Frank settle down to lunch. (9:30pm)

4: Lunch over, Paul and Frank continue their conversation. (9:45pm)

5: Back home from Christmas at Frank's flat, Paul's thoughts range across his life. (9:45pm)

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