As you might have guessed, I searched for … Sylvia Plath. I also searched Ted Hughes and Frieda Hughes.
The website offers two major ways to access listing information. One is a blanket, standard search (with advanced searching available, too). Another is to browse the separate issues of Radio Times (and by doing so, you can see a select few of the actual covers -- greedily I would love to see them all). I like both methods, but have to admit it is easier to search the Radio Times listings if I know the exact date for the broadcast in which I am interested. For example, Sylvia Plath's "Three Women" was broadcast on 19 August 1962, and thus appeared in the 16 August 1962 issue of Radio Times in the Third Programme section. It is fascinating to see what else was on at the time, and to try to guess whether Plath listened to the other programs on at the time. "Three Women" was re-broadcast on 13 September 1962, which was when she was in Ireland. In browsing the search results, I learned that Plath's novel The Bell Jar was dramatized on the BBC's Radio 3 on 29 December 1974 (and again on 1 February 1976). The adaptation was about 70-80 minutes in duration. Would love to hear it. (Hint hint.) And review it. (Hint hint).
The data in many of these search results is not as granular as I would like, but I am perhaps unreasonable given the massive breadth of what the BBC would have to do to present all the information. Such as I would love the site to present the poems read by title. Through my own research and consulting published works by Stephen Tabor and Kate Moses, among others, I have captured this level of detail on my website for Sylvia Plath, so at least I feel we are covered from that angle. But, my website really only concerns itself with broadcasts during Plath's life time. And what you see in BBC Genome is the fuller history of Plath herself on the British radio (during her lifetime and posthumously) but also those programmes that she may have listened to during her time at Cambridge, in London, and in Devon. Plath regularly listened, for example, to foreign language programmes in German and Italian, which is noted in her 1962 Letts Calender.
|Listing for dramatization |
of Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar,
from The Listener.
If you have access to both the BBC Genome and The Listener . . . well, let's just say you can and should call it a party.
All in all, BBC Genome is a wonderful resource. The website is easy to use and to navigate, and I get a certain thrill being able to browse the Radio Times this way knowing that Plath, herself a subscriber to the Radio Times, browsed it in the original version. Many of the Genome's pages are already cached by Google, so you can always quickly search "Sylvia Plath" "BBC genome" and feel happy about the results. Go on, get lost in history.
Kind thanks to Dr Ann Skea for letting me know about the resource.
All links accessed 8, 20, 28 January 2015.