Friday, 14 August 2009

Latest BBC Press Office Blurb

Hello. Radio promotion time again. So here's another programme you'd probably not know I'd had any involvement with if this didn't exist. The good news is this is the last of them for now.
It's stayed pretty close to my original proposal though sadly there are a few interesting strands that had to be dropped or really trimmed back on from what we recorded to fit the final time-slot.

A dragon at Barnsley train station.

A poet at Barnsley train station.

In Search Of The Wantley Dragon
Sunday 30 August
4.30-5.00pm BBC RADIO 4

Poet Ian McMillan is on a quest to find the "Dragon of Wantley". In his search, he uncovers long-forgotten, violent disputes, a knight clad in locally made armour, pantomimes, operettas and the dragon's den.

The Dragon Of Wantley is a 17th-century comic poem that was a literary sensation for more than 200 years. It's a bawdy tale, told in rhyming couplets, about a Sheffield knight who defeats a dragon that's devouring everything, even children.

In its day, the Yorkshire-based story was as famous as that of Robin Hood – but more than 100 years ago it vanished without trace.

Ian's pursuit of the Wantley Dragon leads him to discover a hero protected by local steel and a dragon that might actually be a dubious landowner. The trail takes him to meet the dragon's family and he also learns of vandalism and threats in the 1590s, and hears how the story reached Covent Garden, becoming not only an operetta, but also a circus performance and several pantomimes.

Ian's quest soon takes him out to the dragon's den – an eerily quiet cave hidden on a little-known Yorkshire hillside.

Please note: This programme was originally billed in BBC Week 34 Radio Programme Information on Sunday 23 August.

Presenter/Ian McMillan, Producer/Russell Crewe

A dragon in print.

The Dragon's Den, a cave on Wharncliffe Crags.

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