Was Dracula Irish? Monday, Radio 4, 4pm
Radio 4 explores the Guinness-quaffing origins of the blood-sucking count in WAS DRACULA IRISH? in which the acclaimed Sligo-based novelist and playwright Brian McCabe, whose writing boasts a small-town darkness of its own which he has christened “Bog Gothic”, investigates the extent to which the Victorian horror classic – penned, after all, by the Dublin-born Bram Stoker – was shaped by Irish folklore, landscape and even politics.
Stoker, who died a hundred years ago, was inspired by visits to Slains Castle in Aberdeenshire and Whitby in Yorkshire, but also by contemplating the mummified corpses in the vaults of St Michan’s Church in Dublin.
The Essay, Mon-Fri, Radio 3, 10:45pm
Back across the Irish Sea, artistic inspiration in Scotland is discussed over five nights in THE ESSAY: INSPIRATIONS OF VISUAL ART, starting with the painter Alison Watt, famous for her sculptural canvases of rumpled fabric, suggestive of an unseen human presence, discussing her work before an audience in Edinburgh’s Ingleby Gallery. She’s followed during the week by four other artists operating in Scotland – Andrew Miller, Ruth Ewan, Claire Barclay and Kevin Harman.
The Moral Maze, Wednesday, Radio 4, 8pm
But should we all be paying to fund such high-minded artistic excellence on the airwaves? Cue the return of THE MORAL MAZE, which kicks off in typically disputatious style, live from the Cheltenham Literary Festival. To mark the 90th anniversary of the BBC, the programme’s panel turns its attention to exactly what the purpose is of a public service broadcaster today.