The Woman In Black

British Broadcasting Corporation is repeating the four part 1993 radio adaptation of Susan Hill’s The Woman In Black.

The segments will only be available on BBC7’s website for one week from broadcast. It is worth hearing. The BBC program page is here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00bg37x

It is a traditional ghost story, set sometime in the last century and relying on suggestive disturbances in banal reality to construct a very personal malevolent spirit.

Hill explains on her website what elements she felt were needed to recapture a proper ghost story:

In 1982, I decided I wanted to try and write a full length ghost story in the traditional English style. I made a list of ‘ingredients’ – I don`t often write in this very conscious way but it was necessary here.

Ingredients included
1. A ghost… not a monster or a thing from outer space but the ghost of a human who was once alive and is known to have died but whose recognisable form re-appears – or occasionally is not seen but heard, or possibly even smelled.
2. The haunted house… usually isolated.
3. Weather… atmospheric weather conditions – fog, mist, snow, and of course moonlit darkness on clear nights.
4. A sceptic. A narrator or central character who begins as a sceptic or plain disbeliever and scoffer but who is gradually converted by what he or she sees and experiences of ghostly presences.

This will make you more appreciative of crafted genre writing and curious about predecessors like Daphne Du Maurier and M. R. James.

Sadly, these links no longer work as of May 27, 2008.  BBC does repeat the radio play every year or so, it seems.

Tuesday May 20, 2008:

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Friday, May 23, 2008

Other links:
Wikipedia: The Woman In Black (spoilers*)
Author’s website: susan-hill.com
Stage adaptation website: thewomaninblack.com
1989 TV movie: IMDB
Guardian review of Hill’s 2007 ghost story: The Man In The Picture
Works of predecessor Montague Rhodes James on Project Guttenburg.
First segment of the 1989 ITV Movie on Youtube: http://youtube.com/watch?v=w6jAM-aQLbc

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Posted on May 21, 2008, in BBC, books, Digital Radio and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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