The Emily Brontë Song Cycle: wandering in the wuthering heights

Folk band the Unthanks and Adrian McNally have made an audio soundtrack pairing music with the writer’s poems as the listener walks the landscape of West Yorkshire. What is it like?

It begins with a flock of birds taking raucous flight; and even though there are no crows to be seen above the heather-flecked moors around the Brontë Parsonage at Haworth, it’s difficult to discern whether this is reality, or a fantasy. I’m immersed in the latest heritage project dedicated to the literary family: a unique audio experience that combines Emily’s poetry, folk music and West Yorkshire’s grand landscape to produce something quite incredible.

The Emily Brontë Song Cycle, an audio production pairing Emily’s poems and music by folk group the Unthanks, was commissioned by the Brontë Society, which runs the sisters’ old family home the Parsonage as a hugely successful museum. The last couple of years has seen a number of Brontë bicentennial anniversaries; this year marked marked 200 years since the birth of Emily, best known for her only novel, Wuthering Heights. Continue reading


Sad, saucy and seductive, the Beeb’s non-Musical take on Les Mis is a hit

Les Miserables on BBC
Les Miserables on BBC

Gloomy French genius Victor Hugo’s grand masterpiece isn’t called Les Happychaps for a good reason.Les Miserables (BBC1) opened with an aerial shot of the carnage after the Battle of Waterloo, as ravens pecked the flesh of corpses and the thief Thenardier (Adeel Akhtar) dodged about stealing purses and gold teeth.Akhtar played it for laughs – and for the next hour, that blood-soaked battlefield was about as light-hearted as things got. Continue reading

A Faraway Back of Beyond Place

A musical drama about a young musician’s quest to find the truth about her family. The drama stars much loved iconic Scots actor Bill Paterson and, in her first appearance in a radio drama, the award winning folk musician Karine Polwart.

As BBC Radio 2 Folk Singer Of The Year 2018, Karine Polwart is a multi-award-winning Scottish songwriter and musician, as well as a theatre maker, storyteller, spoken-word performer and published essayist. Her songs combine folk influences and myth with themes as diverse as “Donald Trump’s corporate megalomania”, Charles Darwin’s family life and the complexities of modern parenthood. She sings traditional songs too and writes to commission for theatre, animation and thematic collaborative projects. Karine is six-times winner at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, including twice for Best Original Song.


Tommy … Bill Paterson
Lucy … Karine Polwart

Listen at: BBC Radio 4 – A Faraway Back of Beyond Place

Robert Louis Stevenson: a pioneer of the written word 

Robert Louis Stevenson is widely regarded as one of the greatest writers to come out of the flourishing Scottish literary scene. His burst of work during the early 1880s encompassed some of the most timeless prose ever written, with the likes of Treasure Island, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Kidnapped being […]

Continue reading at the Scotsman: Robert Louis Stevenson: a pioneer of the written word – The Scotsman