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Dangerous Visions on BBC Radio 4 – Visions of a dystopian future

The Dangerous Visions season on BBC Radio 4 features a series of dramas and readings that ‘explore that explore contemporary takes on future dystopias’.   The season includes specially commissioned new stories as well as productions of classics ‘Brave New World’ and ‘The Kraken Awakens’.


The webpage for the season  includes whole programmes, quizzes, articles and 35 clips from programmes and readings.  The season lasts for three weeks from 22 May and all programmes will be available online for 30 days or can be downloaded via iPlayer Radio.

One of the articles the webpage looks at the life and work of Aldous Huxley and includes archive footage from an interview with the writer in which he talks about his novel ‘Brave New World’


Here is a selection of some of the programmes available:


Brave New World  

BBC Radio 4  Episode 1 repeated 28 May 9pm, Episode 2 29 May 3pm

‘Aldous Huxley’s thought-provoking classic, written in 1931, continues to be relevant today. Set in 2116 in a society where people’s lives are completely controlled by world government, drugs are an accepted part of everyday life and promiscuity is the norm.


The Kraken Wakes by John Wyndham

BBC Radio 4  Episode 1 28 May 2.30pm

‘John Wyndham’s science fiction novel is adapted by the bestselling crime writer Val McDermid who also happens to be a long-time fan of Wyndham’s work. The drama was recorded with specially composed music performed by the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra in a 21st century retelling of alien invasion and global flooding. With Tamsin Greig.’


Book at Bedtime – Never Let Me Go

BBC Radio 4 Episode 1 30 May 10.45pm

A reading of Kazuro Ishiguro’s disquieting novel of friendship and loss, in 10 episodes.


Dark Vignettes – Inertia by Melissa Lee-Houghton

In the last of four specially-commissioned stories ‘Somewhere in a near-future Britain, Mr McManus wakes up in hospital and discovers that the healthcare provision he’s been paying for is not at all as expected.’


Related Programmes

Away from this season there are other BBC Radio 4 programmes available which may be of interest.  These include:

George Orwell: The Appeal of the Dystopian Novel

Originally broadcast in 2013, this Today Programme special commemorates the anniversary of George Orwell’s death with a discussion of the ongoing appeal of the dystopian novel. From the BBC webpage, “Today is the anniversary of George Orwell’s death. His most famous novels ‘Animal Farm’ and ‘1984’ are classic examples of dystopian literature. John Sutherland, professor of English literature at University College London, and Margaret Reynolds, professor of English at Queen Mary’s University, discuss the appeal of the dystopian novel.”


Desert Island Discs with JG Ballard, downloadable as a podcast

JG Ballard talks to Sue Lawley about his extraordinary life – his childhood in Shanghai, his adolescence spent in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp and how, after the sudden and tragic death of his wife, he raised his three young children alone

Front Row – Margaret Attwood

In this special edition of the programme, originally broadcast in 2007, Margaret Atwood talks to Mark Lawson about her life and work