SONIC screwdrivers, blazing six-guns and Mrs Tiggywinkle... whatever your particular mode of escapism, you may indulge it this week, not least as THE REUNION travels back in time to reunite creators and cast members of the original Dr Who series, which first wheeched across the space-time continuum 50 years ago.
Tomorrow, Radio 4, 11:15am
Archive on 4: Riding Into town
Tonight, Radio 4, 8pm
Afternoon Drama: Once Upon a Time There Was a Beatrix
Thursday, Radio 4, 2:15pm
The Time of Their Lives
Wednesday, Radio Scotland, 1:32pm
As the programme’s host, Sue MacGregor, discovers, the BBC was initially less than impressed by the concept of an elderly time traveller (played by the late William Hartnell) and numerous directors turned it down. Eventually 24-year-old Waris Hussein, the only Indian-born director within the Beeb at that time, took up the challenge. The first episode was recorded on 22 November, 1963 – the day President Kennedy was assassinated – and, despite the real-life drama across the Atlantic, was transmitted the following day.
Hussein joins MacGregor, along with Carol Ann Ford, who played the Doctor’s granddaughter Susan, and Jeremy Young, the Doctor’s first enemy – not an alien but a caveman by the name of Kal.
Onscreen escapism of a different kind has long been provided by the Western. Cranking up the “Yeehaa!” factor, Samira Ahmed takes a closer look at the genre and our love of it on tonight’s ARCHIVE ON 4: RIDING INTO TOWN.
A gentler strand of fantasy was spun by the pen and watercolour brush of Beatrix Potter, and Thursday’s AFTERNOON DRAMA: ONCE UPON A TIME THERE WAS A BEATRIX evokes a day in the life of the 14-year-old Potter, facing an isolated childhood and becoming embroiled in an unnerving hunt for a young rabbit.
Also getting away from it all were the girls of Glasgow’s Laurel Bank School during the war. As evacuees go they had it lucky, and as Sally Magnusson recounts in THE TIME OF THEIR LIVES, they found themselves ensconced in Perthshire’s Strathallan Castle and Auchterarder House. Posh, maybe, but it didn’t prevent them from being sent tattie howkin’.