A Fortunate Man by John Berger

I’ve adapted John Berger’s book A FORTUNATE MAN for BBC Radio 4.

It was broadcast on R4 Saturday 27th June 2020 at 3pm.

It’s now available on BBC SOUNDS for a month.

It’s a book I’ve known and loved for many years.

In the 1960s writer John Berger was living in the Forest of Dean, and became friends with his extraordinary local GP John Eskell in the village of St Briavels.  Interested in this talented and complex man, Berger asked the doctor if he could shadow him for some weeks to observe his working methods and his relationships with his patients in the forest.

Along with photographer Jean Mohr, Berger turned this experience into a remarkable book – A FORTUNATE MAN.  It describes many patient case studies, asks how we value human life, and meditates on the role of the doctor in society.  (To protect Eskell’s identity, Berger changed his name in the book to John Sassall.)

For me it’s a fascinating, intelligent, and challenging book. It’s filled with poetry, unsentimental emotion, and is ultimately extremely moving.

While the book was published in 1967, it feels modern, relevant and resonant to the world now (and particularly this country and the NHS.)

The last sections could have been written this year.

“There are such things as national crises of such an order that they test all those who live through them. There are moments of truth in which, not everything, but a great deal is revealed about individuals, classes, institutions, leaders…”

(From A FORTUNATE MAN – JOHN BERGER.)

Set in the Forest and  the somewhat isolated Forester community – it speaks directly to today.

And there is a bitter twist to the ending.

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Although I can’t claim I knew John Berger, I did meet him on a few occasions while working with the Theatre Company ‘Complicite’ in the early 2000s.  (While adapting Torgny Lindgren’s novel ‘LIGHT’ with the company.)   He was a great observer, listener, and thinker – often surprising and passionate, always insightful.  (His death 3 years ago was a great loss.)

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A FORTUNATE MAN the AUDIO DRAMA:

My radio adaptation of A Fortunate Man – is an hour long.

(It was written and recorded under lock down conditions in March/April.)

It’s produced/directed by John Norton.

Sound designed by Nigel Lewis.

Cast:

Adrian Scarborough

Peter Marinker

Barbara Flynn

Joe Sims

Carys Eleri

Scarlett Courtney

And the voices of Dorothy Burley, Kevin and Karen Wellham, Anne Childs and Robin Harris, recorded by the Reading the Forest project.

(The latter are real village voices recorded in recent years as they remember their Dr. Eskell.)

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PRESS:

radio times review

Radio Times (27th June-3rd July)

guardian

Guardian (27/6/20)

The Times

TRACKS series 1, 2 and 3. (and 4)

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Ahead of Series 4, TRACKS Indigo-

The BBC have put the first 3 series of TRACKS onto BBC SOUNDS.

For design consistency the first series is now called TRACKS Origin.

ORIGIN

STRATA

and CHIMERA

(For reasons I don’t understand, the episodes are often out of order on BBC SOUNDS – so do double check!)

Are all now available:

HERE

COMING SOON:     Series 4: Tracks Indigo

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Tracks Chimera

Tracks Chimera (Tracks Series 3)

The return of Dr Helen Ash and Freddy.

Tracks Chimera is now going out every Thursday at 2.15pm on BBC Radio 4.  (The series finale will be broadcast on R4 on 27th December.)

All 9 episodes are also now available online as a boxset and podcast.

EPISODE 1

EPISODE 2

EPISODE 3 –  (Written by Matt Hartley)

EPISODE 4(Written by Lucy Catherine)

EPISODE 5

EPISODE 6 (Written by Caroline Horton)

EPISODE 7 (Written by Timothy Atack)

EPISODE 8

EPISODE 9

BBC Series Link

Podcast (All episodes of Series 3 are now available.)

WARNING: From 26 January 2019   TRACKS: CHIMERA will no longer be freely available to listen to online (The BBC are planning a commercial release later this year).

If you want to hear Series 1 and 2 – They are available on AUDIBLE and AMAZON.

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Helen and Freddy in studio

Tracks Chimera – Previews  / Reviews:

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Radio Times

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Observer

The Observer

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The Times (2/11/18)

Music:

(A list of some of the music used in this series)

Black Phase – by Tim Hecker

Toccata – by Jaga Jazzist

E-musik – by Neu!

Satellite Snyper – by Pantha Du Prince

Im Bann – by Pantha Du Prince

Laker Boo – by Portico Quartet

We Move Lightly – by Dustin O’halloran

Shattered Glass – by DJ Food

Turquoise Hexagon Sun – by Boards of Canada

Seoul – by Amiina

Boga – by Amiina

Elephant Gun – by Beirut

September Song – Agnes Obel

Scenic World – by Beirut

Muesli –  by Minotaur Shock

Beau Nash – by Minotaur Shock

La Foule – by Edith Piaf

Never Understand – by The Jesus and Mary Chain

The Refused are fucking dead – by The Refused

Barok Main – by Mica Levi and Oliver Coates

Singularity – by Jon Hopkins