War & Peace: Leo Tolstoy
For Radio 4 enthusiasts, New Year’s Day was either a great day in the listening calendar, or it was a great let down. But I was intrigued. The BBC were doing something very daring. The longest novel in the Russian language was adapted as a radio play (all 560,000 words of it), and all ten 1 hour episodes were broadcast as a continuous sequence, interrupted only by a five minute news bulletin on the hour.
In other words, you could sit down at 9am and, if you had the stamina, stay with it until 8pm in the evening. I was sorely tempted. I listened to the first hour to find out if it was worth the endurance effort, decided I would see it through……but not all on the same day.
Ah, the wonders of “playback radio”. So to cut a long saga short, on January 10th, I listened to the last episode and, even though it was hard throughout trying to keep track of the myriad characters, it was a relatively painless way of appreciating the (exceeding) length and breadth of this iconic piece of literature.
If you are intrigued, click here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04w82wf