“What’s Up, Docs?” article about In The Dark in The Sunday Times


“What makes people listen to the radio? Music, mainly. Followed by news. And, of course, drama — the national theatre of the air. Sport, certainly, especially football on Five Live and Test Match Special. Religion, too: Sunday gets 1m listeners every week, at a time (7.10am) when most people are thought to be asleep. Help at times of crisis, obviously. Then there are the features, the colour.Radio documentaries lie between reporting and pure imagination. “We’re neither journalists nor artists”, says a leading practitioner, Alan Hall, whose Falling Tree Productions often makes Radio 4’s strange, comforting, slightly mystical feature Something Understood. They vary enormously, from montages to audio diaries, from factual (such as A History of the World in 100 Objects) to experimental (such as Pliny’s Naturalis Historia, on Radio 3 in 2005, in which every word was in Latin, complemented by onomatopoeic music). Features this week range from tomorrow’s The Ocean, on Radio 2, a stirring homage to seafaring culture, to an exploration of Turkish literature on Radio 3….”

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