BBC Radio this week: Stream comedy, drama and music documentaries

Click the links to stream the following shows:

Dusty Springfield at the BBC Johnnie Walker introduces a portrait of the queen of white soul, from the BBC archives.


The Casbah: Birthplace Of Merseybeat celebrates the somewhat neglected and hugely significant venue where The Beatles enjoyed a residency prior to their later and more often recognised success at the Cavern Club. The documentary is presented by original Beatles' drummer Pete Best.

The Thrill of it All: Roxy Music Jarvis Cocker celebrates Roxy Music and reflects on their legacy.

A Little Twist of Dahl Five darkly comic tales by the master of the bizarre: Roald Dahl. Starring Charles Dance. 

Agatha Christie: The Dressmaker's Doll A creepy doll with a mind of its own causes alarm along London's catwalks. Mike Walker's revamped whodunnit with Juliet Aubrey.

Doctor Who The journey home for Christmas leads to major revelations for the Time Lord's companion.

The Goon Show Driving a piano on the Great North Road, Neddie must seek Bloodnok's assistance. From 1958.

Journey to the Center of the Earth Ancient runes spark a geologist's exploration of an impossible realm. Jules Verne's adventure stars Nathaniel Parker.

Lewis Carroll's Adventures in Russia Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) only went abroad once, but the trip inspired a sequel to 'Alice in Wonderland'.

Modesty Blaise: A Taste for Death Peter O'Donnell's hero takes on a mission involving a young girl with ESP, a desert location and a villain intent on murder.

Patricia Highsmith: The Cry of the Owl Patricia Highsmith's intriguing tale of obsession, starring John Sharian.

A Year in the Life: Beatles 1962 Roger McGough narrates the pivotal breakthrough year for the mop-topped Fab Four.

Vicki Wickham's 60s A first-hand account of the sixties from Vicki Wickham, who edited Ready Steady Go!

Review: Donald Duck - A Christmas for Shacktown

What a nice way to spend my holiday break: reading this new volume in Fantagraphics' ongoing re-publishing of the great Carl Barks' Donald  Duck and Uncle Scrooge comics.

The title story, of course, has a Christmas theme and a number of the other stories also feature a holiday and winter setting, making it perfect for this time of year.

But, then, anytime is perfect for Barks. He was the perfect cartoonist. He was so good at nearly everything: Humor, adventure, dialogue, visual storytelling, plot, lovely artwork, etc. He could do wonderfully funny one-page humor strips or 30-plus page adventure stories with equal aplomb.

This volume features some great stuff: The heartwarming title story, in which Donald and his nephews run themselves ragged trying to get cheap old Uncle Scrooge to donate a few bucks to the needy, the debut of Scrooge's money pit, and a couple of great adventure-quest stories: "The Golden Helmet" and "The Gilded Man."

This stuff is so much fun and stands up very well. My 9-year-old daughter had a great time breezing through it, too.

It's also the best value among the current treasure trove of comic and comic strip reprints. For under $20 (online), you get a lovingly designed hardcover featuring 200-some pages of Barks comics in fabulous color on durable, non-shiny pages. Plus, there's a nice overview of stories, placing them in historical context and a bio of Barks in the back. I love DC's Archives and Marvel's Omnibus volumes, but I wish their reprints were more like this.

Don't miss this opportunity to collect the Complete Barks!

Video find: Paul McCartney and band, outdoor rehearsal

The real-life model for Superman?

Interesting story in the New York Times:

In 1945, some seven years after he had been regularly illustrating Superman adventures written by his partner, Jerry Siegel, Shuster encountered a young man who looked exactly like the Superman character as he imagined him. He asked the man, named Stanley Weiss, if he could draw him, resulting in some sketches that have gone largely unseen for nearly 70 years, as well as some insights into the origins of this long-lived American champion.

"Blandings" mini-series on way from BBC

Good news for fans of P.G. Wodehouse and British comedy, the BBC has a six-part mini-series in the works based on his "Blandings" books. Hopefully, it'll get picked up by PBS in the states.

The series, occupying a BBC1 Sunday evening slot from January, represents the biggest commitment to adapting Wodehouse's work for television since ITV's 23-episode Jeeves and Wooster, starring Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry, in the early 1990s. It also takes the public obsession with the prewar and the posh into entirely new terrain.

Forever in search of peace and quiet, Lord Emsworth spends most of his life under siege from members of his unlovable household, who will be played by an all-star cast including Jennifer Saunders, Jack Farthing and David Walliams.

And in an echo of Downton Abbey, which is filmed at Highclere Castle, the Berkshire home of Lord and Lady Carnarvon, the show was filmed at the 400-year-old Crom Castle, near Newtownbutler in Northern Ireland, home of Lord Erne.

New comics Jan. 2, 2013: Complete Dick Tracy 14; Wally Wood - Woodwork; Nova Classic vol. 1; Flash Gordon!

Click the links to order discounted items from Amazon.

Complete Chester Gould's Dick Tracy Volume 14

Woodwork: Wallace Wood 1927-1981

Nova Classic - Volume 1

Flash Gordon: The Tyrant of Mongo: The Complete Flash Gordon Library 1937-41

Video find: Pink Floyd - Point Me at the Sky promo

Preview of Fantagraphics' Barnaby by Crockett Johnson Vol. 1

As a fan of Crockett Johnson's children's books, such as "Harold and the Purple Crayon," I've been looking forward to this one for a long time: A collection of Johnson's newspaper strip, Barnaby, from the excellent folks at Fantagraphics.

You can get a preview and some behind-the-scenes details on the first volume, out in March or April, here.

Trailer for Doctor Who season 7, part 2

New music releases Jan. 1, 2013: Beatles; Psychedelic Sound of Memphis; John Cale; Flamin' Groovies, more!

Click the links to order discounted CDs, LPs or downloads from Amazon.

The $100 Guitar Project by Various Artists

Early Years - The Beatles

Feeling High: The Psychedelic Sound Of Memphis

Helen of Troy - Paper Sleeve - CD Deluxe Vinyl Replica by John Cale

Flamingo - Paper Sleeve - CD Deluxe Vinyl Replica by The Flamin' Groovies

Teenage Head - Paper Sleeve - CD Deluxe Vinyl Replica by The Flamin' Groovies

Supersnazz - Paper Sleeve - CD Deluxe Vinyl Replica by the Flamin' Groovies

Church of Anthrax - Paper Sleeve - CD Deluxe Vinyl Replica by John Cale and Terry Riley

Jerk & Twine: The Complete Chess Recordings by Jackie Ross

DVD and Blu-ray new releases 1/1/13: Cosmopolis; Being Human season 2

Click the links to order discounted DVDs or Blu-rays from Amazon.


Being Human: The Complete Second Season