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Friday, 16 March 2012

Radio Days - The pictures are better

Our hero is strapped to a chair, a blade swings on a pendulum, getting ever closer.
How will he escape?
 Is escape possible?

 It was terrifying - at least to a young boy and those cliffhangers were often unbearable while we waited for the next episode to discover just how our intrepid hero would escape  certain death. And all this was created with sound - no flashy visuals except those created by the imagination of the listener which meant of course that the pictures were better. And that's the power of radio - a medium that was and remains capable of great things, of transporting the listener to strange alien landscapes, to war torn battlefields, to any point in history or into the far flung future. The humble old radio is capable of conjuring up scenes that would strain the most expensive Hollywood CGI wizards and all for a fraction of the cost.

With a few sound effects you can be anywhere, witness anything.

This coming week the Archive celebrates all that is great about radio with features on old time radio as well as a look at the current state of the medium. In a series of articles we will look at everything from Dick Barton to Radio Four's Afternoon Play. We'll be taking a Journey into Space and visiting the mean streets of Victorian London.

We will also be going off on a tangent and looking at the popular Big Finish range of audio drama made especially for release on CD or as MP3 downloads. And those of you who think that radio drama/comedy is a thing of the past are in for a big surprise - the BBC'S radio spoken word output is as strong and varied as ever - there's even a station in Radio 4 Extra that is dedicated to nothing but the best in spoken word entertainment.

So don't touch that dial and be here for the Archive's short series on the power of the radio

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