BBC hates sci-fi a little less, with Dangerous Visions.

Those who report back to us from the halls of the BBC usually describe an environment of high-brow condescension towards science fiction and fantasy. Many of the top brass actually hate SF with a passion, and would love to kill Doctor Who, for instance. They can’t because it’s a Moo-Moo-Money-Cow. But boy, do they ever itch to get rid of it!

Which makes the achievement of Radio 4’s Dangerous Visions series all the more remarkable.

Of course, they rarely use the word SF, preferring to describe it as a “contemporary take on future dystopias.”

Anyway, it’s coming back for another shot. And is well worth a listen.

Jeremy Howe, Radio 4’s commissioning editor said of the next series, “The wonderfully bold First World Problems is inspired by what it must be like to be an ordinary family caught up in the tragedy that is the Syrian civil war – but transplanted to a civil war happening in Britain now. It is real, it is gripping and it is a truly terrifying Dangerous Vision.”

First World Problems, a five-part afternoon drama written by Martin Jameson, is the centrepiece of new new season.

The drama imagines the next British civil war, told from the viewpoint of the Fletchers: an asset-rich, cash-poor middle-class family from the North West of England, trying to love and look after each other as the UK dissolves into conflict, in a not very distant future.

Jameson researched the story by consulting a range of experts, including civil contingency planners, defence analysts and conflict response experts, as well as a host of BBC correspondents and someone with first-hand experience of the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s.

Starting the season on 4th June 2018 is Louise Erdrich’s new novel Future Home Of The Living God, set in a world in crisis. Evolution has gone into reverse. Fewer babies – or their mothers – are surviving to full term, and of those babies born, many have been identified as belonging to a more primitive species of human. As governments take drastic action to limit the catastrophe, there has never been a more dangerous time to be having a baby. Read by Cherrelle Skeete.

Another recently published novel, Shadowbahn, is the first dramatisation of Dangerous Visions on 9th June 2018.

BBC hates sci-fi a little less, with Dangerous Visions.
BBC hates sci-fi a little less, with Dangerous Visions.

Written by SFF author Steve Erickson and adapted for radio by Anita Sullivan, Shadowbahn is set in 2021 – and The Twin Towers have reappeared.

Dubbed by reporters on the scene in South Dakota as an “American Stonehenge” they immediately become a pilgrimage site and a 15 year-old and her brother begin a road trip across a divided and dangerous America. The cast includes Mike Iveson, Antu Yacob, Robbie Tann and Patch Darragh.

On 10th June is Jonathan Holloway’s dramatisation based on Dostoyevsky’s novella The Double, about a man driven to madness when his life is usurped by a doppelganger.

Three more dramas feature in Dangerous Visions this year. The first is Speak, by SF author Philip Palmer, a dystopian love story about the power of language. Set in a near future where the language spoken is Globish – a version of English which has been reduced to just 1,500 core words (and a real language developed in 2004 as an international means of communication), Speak stars Pippa Haywood and Andrew Gower.

Forward Presence is a drama inspired by the recent UK-Russia tensions written by Hugh Costello, whilst Freedom, by playwright Gary Owen, examines the difficulty of being who you really are in a society that has abandoned tolerance.

Set in the near future, Marian tries to protect her son Jamie from the consequences of a new Freedom Law that has licensed both the freedom to say what you like, however hateful, and the right to take offence. Starring Suzanne Packer as Marian.

Here’s the full  schedule on BBC Radio 4.

Dangerous Visions: Future Home Of The Living God
4-15th June 2018 at 10.45pm-11pm.
Abridged by Jeremy Osborne
Produced by Lisa Osborne
A Sweet Talk production for BBC Radio 4.

9th June 2018 at 2.30pm-3.30pm.
Produced by Judith Kampfner and Steve Bond
A Corporation for Independent Media production for BBC Radio 4.

The Double
10th June 2018 at 3pm-4pm.
Produced by Gemma Jenkins for BBC Radio 4.

First World Problems
11-15th June 2018 at 2.15pm-3pm.
Produced by Jonquil Panting for BBC Radio 4.

18th June 2018 at 2.15pm-3pm.
Produced by James Robinson for BBC Radio 4.

Forward Presence
19th June 2018 at 2.15pm-3pm
Produced by Eoin O’Callaghan
A Big Fish production for BBC Radio 4.

20th June 2018 at 2.15pm-3pm
Produced by Gilly Adams for BBC Radio 4.

You can normally back-listen to the content for a while online over at https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b02v1q2n


Colonel Frog is a long time science fiction and fantasy fan. He loves reading novels in the field, and he also enjoys watching movies (as well as reading lots of other genre books).

2 thoughts on “BBC hates sci-fi a little less, with Dangerous Visions.

  • There’s nothing worse than that high-brow condensation. Makes your eyes wet.
    Thanks for the information, Colonel. Great as usual.

  • It’s enough to make a grown Fan cry, Eamonn!


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