Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Radio drama review: Fatherland by Steve Harris

Way back on July 9, 1997, the BBC aired the first of its 4-part adaption of the Robert Harris novel, Fatherland.

It is currently being run on BBC 7 - an episode a day, beginning on Monday March 3.

I read this novel many years ago, and remember much of it. So I tuned in to the first episode, and I have to admit I was disappointed.

It takes place in Germany. Therefore, every bloody actor should be using a German accent! But they don't! They're all English. When they use a German word - like ├╝bergrupenfuhrer, or similar, they say that in a quasi-Germanic way, but that's about it. It's annoying and it detracts from the story, because these are all professional actors who should be able to do a German accent!

Anton Lesser plays police detective Xavier March. Angeline Ball plays the female reporter Charlie Maguire. Also in the cast were Peter Ellis, Andrew Sachs (Manuel on Fawlty Towers is his most famous role in the States, but he's been in tons of stuff), Amanda Wallace, Ned Sherrine, and Stratford Johns. It was directed by John Dryden. Unfortunately, nowhere in the credits does it tell which role each actor plays - except for the top two, of course, and I don't know these actor's voices well enough to be able to assign role to actor.

Being lazy, I'm just going to share the plot from the copyright free Wikipedia:
The plot follows detective Xavier March, an investigator working for the Kripo (Kriminalpolizei), as he investigates the suspicious death of a high-ranking Nazi (Josef B├╝hler) in the Havel, on the outskirts of Berlin. As March uncovers more details he realises that he is caught up in a political scandal involving senior Nazi party officials, who are apparently being systematically murdered under staged circumstances.

March meets with Charlie Maguire, a female American journalist who works for the New York Times, who is also determined to investigate the case.

As for the rest, it's a full-scale adaption - each character voiced by its own actor, sound effects, etc. etc. If you can get past the fact that the accents are all wrong - which I can't - you'll probably enjoy it!

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