Radio Review: A world of wonderfully drawn characters

Vicky McClure stars in hit BBC drama Line Of Duty

Hardy’s Woman Radio 4

My Life in a Mixtape Radio 2

CountryWide RTE Radio 1

The thing about Hardy is you know before you head into his hefty Victorian novels that things are never going to turn out well.

He was never one for the happy ever after.

Think the children hanged in “Jude the Obscure” because “We are too menny” or poor virtuous Tess on whom tragedy upon tragedy is heaped at the hands of a cruel villain and another heartless judgmental one too.

Hardy’s is a world of missed opportunities, happenstance and if onlys – a letter slipped under a door that is never read.

But his characters are wonderfully drawn.

What is special about this dramatisation is the fresh way that the stories are told through the eyes of the female protagonists.

The Woodlanders (an old O Level favourite) as told by Marty South was beautiful.

And Tess telling her own story? It’s an interesting perspective. There is a lightness about this drama – it’s the events that work from the May day dance to Angel carrying Tess over the flooded road… definitely worth a listen.

Actress Vicky McClure is well known for Line of Duty and Broadchurch.

Hers was a childhood full of fun and lots of parties. My Life in a Mixtape is like a chat with a mate.

It’s not Desert Island Discs or Private Passions, it’s more laid back, easier, just the guest on their own and their music.

So we had Bohemian Rhapsody. So far, so wonderful.

“Onto my next one. This reminds me of my sister Jenny .. it was always coming from her bedroom.”

Remember China in your hand by T’pau?

“Still not sure of what the lyrics were about,” sighed Vicky.

We had oldies but goldies - Aretha, The Carpenters - and great dance tunes too from Missy Elliot, Beyonce and Kylie.

Don’t expect deep and soul searching. Do expect that chat with a mate vibe, as you sit on the living room floor up at her house, flicking through her record collection.

There’s nostalgia too with talk of all night discos sponsored for charity .. “Forget Christmas,” said Vicky, “Best night of the year.”

The excitement of Penneys/Primark or the hairdressers reopening is a pile of Christmases rolled together for some.

For others, it’s about the caravan. RTÉ’s CountryWide made time to visit a caravan park in Wicklow where Peggy, 81, from Tallaght was only delighted to be back in her mobile home.

The people, the park, the beach is so near – Peggy was as exuberant as Vicky was on the all-night disco.

Just one small thing… the weather.

“Don’t we all deserve the weather? If only they could give us the weather. Is it too much to ask?” Ay, there’s the rub.


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