BBC Radio Adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere Begins Saturday: A Preview

Amer­i­can radio dra­mas, once the pride of the medi­um, died out soon after the rise of tele­vi­sion. But U.S. lis­ten­ers in search of con­tin­ued dra­mat­ic inno­va­tion over the air­waves need only turn their ears toward the oth­er side of the Atlantic, where the BBC has kept the craft in stur­dy work­ing order. This Sat­ur­day, March 16, brings the debut of a much-antic­i­pat­ed BBC Radio 4 series adapt­ed from the work of a British sto­ry­teller with inter-gen­er­a­tional, inter­na­tion­al appeal, and a hybrid fan­tas­ti­cal-real­ist sen­si­bil­i­ty all his own. The writer? Neil Gaiman. The dra­ma? Nev­er­where. Astute fans will know that Gaiman craft­ed this “urban fan­ta­sy” series first as a tele­vi­sion series, and then as a nov­el. It went on to become a com­ic book, then a stage pro­duc­tion and now, adapt­ed by Dirk Mag­gs, a radio play. Has the man’s work tran­scend­ed all lim­its of form?

When Nev­er­where begins, non‑U.K. res­i­dents can lis­ten on the BBC’s site here. At the moment, it offers a slew of pre­view clips to give you a fla­vor of just how Gaiman’s mate­r­i­al sounds as inter­pret­ed by cast includ­ing James McAvoy, Natal­ie Dormer, Bene­dict Cum­ber­batch, and Christo­pher Lee. With just music, sound effects, and the voic­es of these for­mi­da­ble thes­pi­ans, the BBC’s experts will tell Gaiman’s sto­ry of two Lon­dons: “Lon­don Above,” the one we all know and some of us love, and “Lon­don Below,” the city’s under­ground par­al­lel inhab­it­ed by the grotesque, the flam­boy­ant, the anachro­nis­tic, or—depending on your feel­ings about Lon­don Above—the more grotesque, the more flam­boy­ant, and the more anachro­nis­tic. Hear what hap­pens between these two visions of Lon­don with Nev­er­where’s first, hour-long episode on Sat­ur­day and its sub­se­quent five half-hour episodes from Mon­day, March 18 onward. All episodes will stay avail­able on demand until March 29. You can read more details on the BBC Radio 4 Nev­er­where about page.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Neil Gaiman’s Free Short Sto­ries

Neil Gaiman Launch­es New Crowd­sourced Sto­ry­telling Project (Spon­sored by the New Black­Ber­ry)

The BBC Presents a New Drama­ti­za­tion of Orwell’s 1984, with Christo­pher Eccle­ston as Win­ston Smith

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture and writes essays on lit­er­a­ture, film, cities, Asia, and aes­thet­ics. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall.

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