'BBC PROGRAMMES are revoltingly coarse,' said a Cambridge professor reviewing the BBC's modern retelling of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. Chaucer's raunchy stories have been popular since he wrote them in the late 13th century. The new tales feature actors like Dennis Waterman, James Nesbitt and Julie Walters. Don't be put off by school memories of Chaucer. This is a cut above the usual fare.
Canterbury Tales starts Thursday 11 September, 9pm, BBC1
THE NEW play by Patrick Jones, The War is Dead, Long Live the War, is a hard-hitting and moving production on the barbarity of war. It is performed with two characters, one from the current war in Iraq and one from the First World War. The class-ridden nature of the armed forces is brutally shown. We see underneath the laddish exterior to a young working class man who is a pawn in our rulers' war game. The play doesn't compromise in condemning the actions of those armies as they seek to suppress those they occupy.
The play moves from Blackwood Miners Institute to the London ICA on 15-20 September
BILLIE HOLIDAY'S most famous song, 'Strange Fruit', is one of the most moving condemnations of racism in the US ever recorded. Her personal life was a hard battle against oppression which informs all her haunting songs. This celebration of Billie is based on the words of a series of great women writers and musicians.
Billie and Me: A Celebration of Billie Holiday, Friday 19 September, 10pm, Radio 2