When I was but a small nodgefangler in deepest, darkest Essex, we used to sit around the kitchen table listening to the BBC comedy series Round the Horne. One character that stood out was Rambling Syd Rumpo and his stirring tales of downright hilarity.
I’m personally fascinated by book to film/TV/radio adaptations – taking a story in one form and transforming it to work in another. That fascination goes way back to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – a series I have adored since childhood. I love Hitchhiker’s because it’s little bit different between the different forms. The radio, the TV show, the books and the film are the same story – but all told slightly differently. Of all the different versions of the story, the film is the most different – but I don’t love it any less.
If Jane had tackled Neil’s story in its entirety, we’d have probably ended up with an 10 hour (or longer) film. With radio, and especially dramatic episodic radio, you’ve got more time to work within the original published story – but pacing is obviously going to be different between a book and radio performance (it’s not an audiobook and thus not a reading). Plus the lack of visuals provides a challenge in its own right. For those that have never read Stardust (or watched the film), you’ve got to be able to paint a clear picture in the listener’s mind of the characters, the settings – everything through audio. That is hard.
When Peter Harness (for whom I’m also looking to interview at some point when he’s back in the UK) adapted Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell for BBC television, he reworked the story to fit into 7 one hour parts, and in doing so, actually rearranged some of the events in the book which I think actually helps the story a great deal. It’s a superb adaptation. A bloody difficult adaptation, but Peter achieved it when three other screenwriters couldn’t.
Anyway, nothing has been set in stone yet. I don’t know which format the interview will be in. It’s entirely dependent on Dirk’s availability. Email interviews are much easier, of course. But I now have a video camera (a Sony FDR-AX53, a 4K capable camera that replaces my 16 year old non-HD, tape-based camera which died several years ago), an external microphone (with dead cat), and a high quality audio recorder. So I could do it as a vlog/podcast. In any event, I’m prepared for any format of interview.
In the mean time, if you have any questions for Dirk and Stardust, please feel free to leave a comment below. When I have more information I’ll post it here.