The Beautiful Artwork of Koichi Murai

I am incredibly fortunate to be friends with Koichi Murai, a master of the art of Japanese Calligraphy and ink artwork.  He is a soft-spoken, humble young man with an immense talent and unique style.  He is living back in Japan after being in the UK for some time, and has been working tirelessly as a volunteer clearing up the most damaged parts of the country following the Tsunami/Earthquake.  As a master of calligraphy, he creates stunning ink on ricepaper works, using traditional techniques and tools.  He also uses these traditional crafts to create incredible works of art, many themed around Samurai and Bushido, but he can turn his hand to anything.

I wanted to introduce you to Koichi-san and some examples of his unique artwork and recommend him to you if you are looking for something personal and beautiful.  His artworks are bespoke and incredibly well priced, and make great gifts for yourself or some very lucky friends and family.

Here’s a gallery of some of his works, and if you’d like to learn more about getting one of these pics or something unique, please drop me a line and I’ll be happy to put you in touch with him.  You can also join his facebook page by CLICKING HERE

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LEGO Mechas!

It is no shock to anyone that I am a massive LEGO fan.  We have a heck of a lot of it at our house (and no, we don’t have kids!)  I’ve always loved the versatility of the stuff, but in recent years my appreciation has moved more towards the accuracy and cleverness of the licensed kits (Star Wars, POTC, etc…)  But something was always missing for me…why no Japanese or Anime themed LEGO?  There are tons of fan-built mechas on the internet, so why had LEGO not gone down this route?

So imagine my joy at discovering LEGO had gone down this route, just a few years ago, with their EXO-FORCE range!  I never saw these sets released in the UK, but I may have just missed them.  But wherever they DID come out, they are quite simple the VERY FINEST LEGO SETS EVER!  Oh yes, they are incredible.  Superbly designed, beautiful concepts, well-balanced with fantastic articulation and playability factor.  The anime styled mini-figs are ace, but the mechas are the real deal.  Some even come with light-up bricks that channel red light through to the cockpits and guns.  So…fracking…cool.

But don’t take my word for it, here’s a few snappy snaps of the three new Exo-Force mechas we now own.  They seemed quite at home in our Japanese themed garden 🙂

 

2011 – A Year In Audiobooks

So, 2011 comes to a close, and as we wave bye bye I thought I would look back at what this year has meant for me as an audiobook producer, editor and publisher.  The most exciting thing was the launch of Ladbroke Audio, with Tanja (my fiance)…a dedicated audiobook production company that seems to be doing great business already. The saddest thing was the death of the lovely Elisabeth Sladen, who I had had the honour of producing several times for SJA audiobooks.  A massive thank you to PAUL KENT & MERILYN HARRIS for stepping in to help produce a few of the titles when I fell ill or was too busy elsewhere.  Also mahoosive thanks to MICHAEL, KATE, JESS, JEN, CLAIRE, EMMA and all the gang at AudioGO for keeping us in employment and being such good friends.  Big thanks to our friends SEB, KAYV, SAM & the gang at SNK Studios, our partners in crime for 99% of all the audios we produce. And a big thanks to the team at Random House Audio for taking a chance on us this year…we look forward to more audio grooviness with you in 2012.

It has been a bumper year for titles, so let’s dive in to the chewiness:

ALL ALIENS LIKE BURGERS by RUTH WHEELER – Read by DEBBIE CHAZEN – UNABRIDGED – Spokenworld Audio

Young, polite and intelligent Tom Bowler has barely ever ventured out of the small English town where he grew up. So when he applies for a job in a fast food restaurant at a “local” service station during his gap year he is rather surprised to discover that the vacancy is in fact based on Truxxe, a planetoid stationed between local galaxies Triangulum and Andromeda. Hes surprised further still to find himself becoming friends with a purple alien and that he has strange feelings for his android supervisor, Miss Lola. Tom soon discovers that Truxxe has many hidden secrets – just what makes it so special? And why is its terrain so rich and varied that it can be used for fuelling such a diverse variety of intergalactic spacecraft? What are the Glorbian space pirate brothers Schlomm and Hannond plotting? And just what is it that they put in those burgers?

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BEHIND THE BLACK DOOR by SARAH BROWN – Read by SARAH BROWN – UNABRIDGED – Random House Audio & AudioGO Ltd

Today, Gordon’s words are simple and heartfelt. He promises, as his own school motto said, to do his utmost. I know that the same will go for me, too. We turn to the door, greeting the policeman on duty. It is time to play our part in contributing to what happens next in government and a new life behind the black door.’  In this personal memoir about life at 10 Downing Street, Sarah Brown shares the secrets of living behind the most famous front door in the world. Sarah gave up a successful career in business to serve the country and champion countless charities at home and abroad. A passionate campaigner for women and children, she mobilised hundreds of thousands of people through her early adoption of Twitter where her legion of followers engaged with her on everything from repression in Burma to diversity in British fashion.  If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to travel with special branch, pack for a photo call with supermodels or pause a speech in front of hundreds when the autocue fails, it’s all here – from what to do when the school play clashes with a visit to the White House to what it feels like to support the man you love as he takes tough decisions to stave off global financial meltdown… Intimate, reflective, surprising and funny, ‘Behind the Black Door’ takes us backstage to reveal what it’s like to be an ordinary woman, wife and mother in extraordinary circumstances.

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DOCTOR WHO: THE GLAMOUR CHASE by GARY RUSSELL – Read by ARTHUR DARVILL – UNABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

An archaeological dig in 1936 unearths relics of another time… And – as the Doctor, Amy and Rory realise – another place. Another planet.  But if Enola Porter, noted adventuress, has really found evidence of an alien civilization, how come she isn’t famous? Added to that, since Amy’s been travelling with him for a while, why does she think the Doctor is from Mars?  As the ancient spaceship reactivates, the Doctor discovers that nothing and no-one can be trusted. The things that seem most real could actually be literal fabrications – and very deadly indeed. Who can the Doctor believe when no one is what they seem? And how can he defeat an enemy who can bend matter itself?

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SEX LIFE by DR PAMELA STEPHENSON CONNOLLY – Read by DR PAMELA STEPHENSON CONNOLLY – UNABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

When did your sexual experiences start? Are you having more virtual sex than real sex? Can you have too much or not enough sex? What exactly is ‘normal’?  Bestselling author and leading sex therapist, Pamela Stephenson-Connolly takes us on an eye-opening journey to explode the myths and answer the embarrassing questions we’ve always wanted to ask about sex and our insatiable appetite for it.  Drawing on hundreds of intimate interviews with ordinary people of all ages, appetites and backgrounds, Stephenson-Connolly reveals how the ever-present sexual force in each of us evolves throughout our lives, from our first months in the womb up right until our nineties. She also shows that there is no such thing as ‘normal’ and that anything goes when it comes to sex as long as it is safe, sane and consensual. The result is an intimate portrait of our sexual selves that dispels the myths, guilt and mystery surrounding sex and our sexual urges.  Read by the author with Katherine Fenton, Tania Rich, Simon Shepherd and Bill Wallis. Hugely informative, always entertaining and at times shocking, this is arguably one of the most enlightening books on sex ever published.

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THE CAPTURE OF CERBERUS/THE INCIDENT OF THE DOG’S BALL by AGATHA CHRISTIE – Read by DAVID SUCHET – UNABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

Two recently-rediscovered Hercule Poirot short stories by Agatha Christie, read by David Suchet.  In 2004, a remarkable archive was unearthed at Agatha Christie’s family home, Greenway – 73 of her private notebooks, filled with pencilled jottings and ideas. Hidden within this literary treasure trove were two rare, never-before-published short stories, discovered by archivist John Curran and published in his book ‘Agatha Christie’s Secret Notebooks: Fifty Years of Mysteries in the Making’.  ‘The Capture of Cerberus’ was intended to be the twelfth in her collection of Poirot stories, ‘The Labours of Hercules’, but she eventually rewrote it, keeping only the title. In this first, original version, Poirot is holidaying in Geneva, trying to take his mind off the impending war. But a chance meeting with an old acquaintance leads to an investigation involving a Nazi dictator and an enormous hound… ‘The Incident of the Dog’s Ball’, probably written in 1933, was reworked as the novel ‘Dumb Witness’ (1937) with a different murderer and motive. In it, Poirot receives a letter from an elderly lady, written two months before and asking for help. Now she is dead, and Poirot is convinced that her beloved terrier Bob holds the key to her death…

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THE JUST SO STORIES by RUDYARD KIPLING – Read by DAVID WARNER – ABRIDGED – Spokenworld Audio

Have you ever wondered how it is that the moon pulls the tides (instead of a crab who was taller than the smoke of three volcanoes), or the reason why the elephant’s nose is so long? Find out as Rudyard Kipling’s classic children’s stories are brought to vivid life in this enchanting  production first performed at the Pleasance Theatre in Edinburgh in August 2011. The perfect show for children aged 4+ and for adults of all ages. In this all-new audio adaptation of the smash-hit theatre show, legendary actor DAVID WARNER lends his voice to five of Kipling’s finest fare, while the Red Table Theatre cast perform five of their unique songs from the live show (in all-new recordings made especially for Spokenworld Audio).

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HOPE & GLORY: THE DAYS THAT MADE BRITAIN by STUART MACONIE – Read by STUART MACONIE – UNABRIDGED – Random House Audio & AudioGO Ltd

‘These were the days that made us, and these are the day trips to find them. Should we do a flask? And are you sure you’ll be warm enough in that coat?’  In ‘Hope and Glory’ Stuart Maconie goes in search of the places, people and events that have shaped modern Britain. Starting with the death of Queen Victoria, to the Battle of the Somme and the General Strike, and on to the docking of the Empire Windrush and Bobby Moore raising the Jules Rimet trophy, he chooses a defining moment in our nation’s story from each decade of the last century and explores its legacy today.  Some were glorious days, some were tragic, or even shameful, but each has played its part in making us who we are as a nation. From pop stars to politicians, Suffragettes to punks, this is a journey around Britain in search of who we are.

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DAVE GORMAN VS. THE REST OF THE WORLD by DAVE GORMAN – Read by DAVE GORMAN – UNABRIDGED – Random House Audio & AudioGO Ltd

Remember when you were a kid, and you used to go round to a friend’s house to see if they were playing? Well, as adults we’re not supposed to do that. Which is a shame… because Dave Gorman likes playing. He REALLY likes games. So he knocked on the biggest door you could ever imagine – the internet – and asked 76,000 people if they fancied a game. This is the story of what happened next.  Dave was up for anything and gamely played them at whatever they chose. He played some classics – Monopoly, Scrabble, dominoes and cribbage. He played many games he’d never heard of before – Khet, Kubb, Tikal or Smite anyone?  He played board games and physical games. He’s thrown sticks, balls, frisbees and darts. He’s rolled dice and he’s drawn cards.  From Liverpool to Hampstead and from Croydon to Nottingham, Dave travelled the length and breadth of Britain meeting strangers in strange places – their homes, at work, in the back rooms of pubs – and getting some hardcore game action. From casual players to serious game geeks, from the rank amateur to the world champion, he discovered a nation of gamers more than happy to welcome him into their midst.  He’s travelled all around the country and met all sorts of people – and it turns out us Brits are a competitive bunch! And it seems that playing games can teach you a lot about what makes the British tick. Of course, Dave hasn’t been keeping score. Much.

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RUSSIA: THE WILD EAST (Part 1 – Eps 1-25) – Written & Presented by MARTIN SIXSMITH – RADIO SERIES – BBC Radio 4 & AudioGO Ltd

The first 25 episodes from the landmark BBC Radio series. Martin Sixsmith brings his firsthand experience of reporting from Russia to this fascinating narrative, witnessing the critical moment when the Soviet Union finally lost its grip on power. Power struggles have a constant presence in his story, from the Mongol hordes that invaded in the 13th century, through the iron autocratic fists of successive Tsars. Ivan the Terrible, Catherine the Great, Peter the Great – all left their mark on a nation that pursued expansion to the East, West and South. Many Tsars flirted with reform, but the gap between the rulers and the ruled widened until, in 1917, the doomed last Tsar, Nicholas II, abdicated. The first part of Sixsmith’s history ends with Lenin and the Bolsheviks forcing through the final Revolution and paving the way for the Communist state. Eyewitness accounts and readings from Russian authors and historians, from Pushkin to Solzhenitsyn, enhance this fascinating account, as well as music taken from a wide range of Russian composers including Glinka, Tchaikovsky, Borodin and Shostakovich.  Martin Sixsmith traces Russia’s turbulent 1000-year history from its founding to the Revolution.

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DOCTOR WHO: HUNTER’S MOON by PAUL FINCH – Read by ARTHUR DARVILL – UNABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

‘There’s no end to the horror in this place – it’s like Hell, and there are devils round every corner.’  On Leisure Platform 9 gamblers and villains mix with socialites and celebrities. It’s a place where you won’t want to win the wrong game. With Rory kidnapped by a brutal crime lord, the Doctor and Amy infiltrate a deadly contest where fugitives become the hunted. But how long before they realise the Doctor isn’t a vicious mercenary and discover what Amy is up to? It’s a game that can only end in death, and time for everyone is running out. Read by Arthur Darvill, ‘Hunter’s Moon’ features the Doctor, Amy and Rory, as played by Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill in the spectacular hit series from BBC Television.

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DOCTOR WHO: TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL by JONATHAN MORRIS – Read by CLARE CORBETT – UNABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

‘The past is like a foreign country. Nice to visit, but you really wouldn’t want to live there.’  In 2003, Rebecca Whitaker died in a road accident. Her husband Mark is still grieving. He receives a battered envelope, posted eight years ago, containing a set of instructions with a simple message: ‘You can save her.’  As Mark is given the chance to save Rebecca, it’s up to the Doctor, Amy and Rory to save the whole world. Because this time the Weeping Angels are using history itself as a weapon.  Read by Clare Corbett, ‘Touched by an Angel’ features the Doctor, Amy and Rory, as played by Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill in the spectacular hit series from BBC Television.

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DOCTOR WHO: SERPENT CREST – TSAR WARS by PAUL MAGRS – Starring TOM BAKER – FULL CAST – AudioGO Ltd

Tom Baker stars as the Fourth Doctor in the first of five thrilling brand new adventures, with Susan Jameson as Mrs Wibbsey. In a distant galaxy, the Tsar and Tsarina rule over the Robotov Empire from the safety of their palace, whilst human workers tend the power plants on satellite moons.  When the Doctor arrives with Mrs Wibbsey, his identity is immediately mistaken, and the Tsarina believes that her old ally, Father Gregory, has returned. But when the Palace comes under attack, the Tsar suspects him of treachery.  Meanwhile, Mrs Wibbsey discovers that dark secrets are lurking in the shadows of one satellite moon. Far more than mere human rebellion is being planned, and Father Gregory is not operating alone. His actions will set off a chain of events with long-lasting consequences for the Doctor and Mrs Wibbsey…

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DOCTOR WHO: SERPENT CREST – THE BROKEN CROWN by PAUL MAGRS – Starring TOM BAKER – FULL CAST – AudioGO Ltd

Tom Baker stars as the Fourth Doctor in the second of five thrilling brand new adventures, with Susan Jameson as Mrs Wibbsey.  The year is 1861, and the Doctor and Mrs Wibbsey find themselves in the right place at the wrong time. At the rectory they encounter the ill-tempered Reverend Dobbs and his young ward Andrew, whose paper faces hide whatever horrors lie beneath. Tutoring him is one Mr Bewley, whom Mrs Wibbsey is startled to recognise.  In Hexford Woods, the Doctor uncovers a secret which Andrew and his friends have been keeping. As the truth begins to emerge about the rectory’s occupants, it also becomes clear why so many people have disappeared from the village. Unless the Doctor and Mrs Wibbsey can help, the whole village will soon be terrorised by a child’s imagination…

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DOCTOR WHO: SERPENT CREST – ALADDIN TIME by PAUL MAGRS – Starring TOM BAKER – FULL CAST – AudioGO Ltd

Tom Baker stars as the Fourth Doctor in the third of five thrilling brand new adventures, with Susan Jameson as Mrs Wibbsey.  Trapped underground, the Doctor and Mrs Wibbsey encounter a small boy who claims to be Aladdin, in search of a fabled lamp. He joins them on their own quest, to find a power source in this weird domain and switch it off.  Many obstacles lie in their way. Vast rooms stuffed with exotic items give way to torch-lit tunnels and deadly precipices. Creatures of mythical proportions lie in wait. Peculiar atmospheres take their toll on them. Perhaps strangest of all, the Doctor’s multi-coloured scarf appears to take on a life of its own…  As friends are separated and uneasy alliances are formed, the strange environment attempts to claim them. Will the Doctor and Mrs Wibbsey ever get back to Hexford? And will Aladdin discover who he really is?

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DOCTOR WHO: SERPENT CREST – THE HEXFORD INVASION by PAUL MAGRS – Starring TOM BAKER – FULL CAST – AudioGO Ltd

Tom Baker stars as the Fourth Doctor in the fourth of five thrilling brand new adventures, with Susan Jameson as Mrs Wibbsey, Richard Franklin as Mike Yates, and David Troughton as the Visitor.  It’s been many months since the Doctor was in Hexford, and Mrs Wibbsey keenly feels his absence. As her grave suspicions about her new neighbour grow, she is in danger of becoming ostracised from village life. When Mike Yates turns up at Nest Cottage with a visitor in tow, Mrs Wibbsey’s life is turned even further upside down. Why has this strange new fellow appeared – and can he really be who Mike thinks he is?  With UNIT watching the skies, and a strange forest growing daily around the village perimeter, it comes as little surprise when an enormous spaceship slides into view and dominates the skyline. Who is watching Hexford, and what do they want? Never has Mrs Wibbsey needed the Doctor more. But can she cope with two…?

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DOCTOR WHO: SERPENT CREST – SURVIVORS IN SPACE by PAUL MAGRS – Starring TOM BAKER – FULL CAST – AudioGO Ltd

Tom Baker stars as the Fourth Doctor in the fifth of five thrilling brand new adventures, with Susan Jameson as Mrs Wibbsey, Richard Franklin as Mike Yates, and David Troughton as the Visitor.  It has been three months since the Hexford catastrophe, and Mike Yates is trying to show strength of leadership to the villagers. But with morale low and supplies running out, it is increasingly difficult to keep his own hopes up. Unless somebody finds them soon, the future looks bleak.  So when the TARDIS materialises on the village green, it seems that help has arrived at last. But with two Doctors apparently at large, there is still the small matter of what was buried under Nest Cottage – not to mention who is clamouring to break through the protective force field. Soon Hexford is under siege once again, and this time an ancient hunger will be sated. Time has run out for the keepers of the Skishtari egg…

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RUSSIA: THE WILD EAST (Part 2 – Eps 26-50) – Written & Presented by MARTIN SIXSMITH – RADIO SERIES – BBC Radio 4 & AudioGO Ltd

Martin Sixsmith continues his history of Russia, from the tumultuous events of 1917 to the country’s re-emergence as one of the world’s most powerful nations.  After the whirlwind of the revolution, the Bolsheviks struggled to consolidate their victory. To rescue the economy and save the regime, Lenin made concessions to the people. But after his death, Stalin introduced forced collectivisation and industrialisation, condemning the Soviet people to conditions worse than those experienced under the Tsars. Nikita Khrushchev reversed the worst excesses of Stalinism, and in 1985 Mikhail Gorbachev embarked on radical reforms of the communist system – unleashing unforeseen consequences that swept him from power and destroyed the USSR.  Martin Sixsmith brings his firsthand experience of reporting from Russia in the 1980s and ‘90s to his narrative, witnessing the critical moment when the Soviet Union lost its grip on power. He asks if the recurring patterns of Russian history can help us understand what has happened since 1991, when the promise of Western-style democracy aroused so many hopes for change.  Eyewitness accounts, archive recordings and personal testimony enrich his narrative, as well as readings from Russian authors and historians such as Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Vasily Grossman, plus music by Stravinsky, Prokofiev and others.  The final 25 episodes from the landmark BBC Radio series.

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THINGS I COULDN’T TELL MY MOTHER by SUE JOHNSTON – Read by SUE JOHNSTON – UNABRIDGED – Random House AUdio & AudioGO Ltd

‘There was a lot that we kept from my mother. My dad would say to me as a teenager “Don’t tell your mother.” We couldn’t face the disapproval.’  Sue Johnston always seemed to be disappointing her mother. As a girl she never stayed clean and tidy like her cousins. As she grew older, she spent all her piano lesson money on drinks for her mates down the pub, and when she discovered the Cavern she was never at home. The final straw was when Sue left her steady job at a St Helens factory to try her hand at that unsteadiest of jobs: acting.  Yet when Sue was bringing up her own child alone, her mother was always there to help. And playing her much-loved characters Sheila Grant and Barbara Royle – although her mum wouldn’t say she was proud as such, she certainly seemed to approve. And in her mother’s final months, it was Sue she needed by her side.  The relationship with your mother is perhaps the most precious and fraught of any woman’s life. When she began writing, Sue set out to record ‘all the big things, and all the small things. Everything I wanted to tell my mother but felt I never could’. The result is a warm, poignant and often very funny memoir by one of Britain’s favourite actresses.

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THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE MULTIPLEX by MARK KERMODE – Read by MARK KERMODE – UNABRIDGED – Random House Audio

In It’s Only a Movie, the incomparable Mark Kermode showed us the weird world of a film critic’s life lived in widescreen. Now, in The Good, The Bad and The Multiplex, he takes us into the belly of the beast to ask: ‘What’s wrong with modern movies?’  If blockbusters make money no matter how bad they are, then why not make a good one for a change? How can 3-D be the future of cinema when it’s been giving audiences a headache for over a hundred years? Why pay to watch films in cinemas that don’t have a projectionist but do have a fast-food stand? And, in a world in which Sex and the City 2 was a hit, what the hell are film critics for?  Outspoken, opinionated and hilariously funny, The Good, The Bad and The Multiplex is a must for anyone who has ever sat in an undermanned, overpriced cinema and asked themselves: ‘How the hell did things get to be this terrible?’

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DOCTOR WHO: PARADOX LOST by GEORGE MANN – Read by NICHOLAS BRIGGS – UNABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

‘The Squall feed on psychic energy. They spread like a plague and if they are not stopped they will strip the Earth clean…’  London 1910: an unsuspecting thief finds himself confronted by grey-skinned creatures that are waiting to devour his mind. London 2789: the remains of an ancient android are dredged from the Thames. When reactivated it has a warning that can only be delivered to a man named ‘the Doctor’.  The Doctor and his friends must solve a mystery that has spanned over a thousand years. If they fail, the deadly alien Squall will devour the world…  Read by Nicholas Briggs, this is a thrilling adventure featuring the Doctor, Amy and Rory, as played by Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill in the spectacular hit series from BBC Television.

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DOCTOR WHO: BORROWED TIME by NAOMI A ALDERMAN – Read by MEERA SYAL – UNABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

‘You want more time Mr Brown, of course you do. We all want more time. Let me make you an offer…’  Andrew Brown never has enough time. No time to call his sister, or to prepare for that important presentation at the bank where he works. The train’s late, the lift jams. If only he’d had just a little more time. And time is the business of Mr Symington and Mr Blenkinsop. They’ll lend him some – at a very reasonable rate of interest.  Detecting a problem, the Doctor, Amy and Rory go undercover at the bank. But they have to move fast to stop Symington and Blenkinsop before they cash in their investments.  Read by Meera Syal, this is a thrilling all-new adventure featuring the Doctor, Amy and Rory, as played by Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill in the spectacular hit series from BBC Television.

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SAPPHIRE BATTERSEA by JACQUELINE WILSON – Read by FINTY WILLIAMS – UNABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

Finty Williams reads this warm, funny and moving sequel to Jacqueline Wilson’s hugely acclaimed ‘Hetty Feather’.  Hetty Feather was given her name when she was left at the Foundling Hospital as a baby. But she always longed to be named after her incredible sapphire-blue eyes. When she is reunited with her mother, she hopes her new name, Sapphire Battersea, will also mean a new life. But things don’t always go as planned…  Follow the twists and turns of Hetty’s adventures as she begins work.  She longs to be reunited with her dear Jem, but also finds a new friend, Bertie the butcher’s boy. Despite her hopes for the future, Hetty’s life seems likely to take a darker path. Can she cope with the trials ahead?  A fantastic story set in Victorian times that Jacqueline Wilson fans will adore.

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THE SHADOW OVER INNSMOUTH by HP LOVECRAFT – Read by RICHARD COYLE – ABRIDGED/RADIO SERIES – BBC Radio 4 Extra & Spokenworld Audio

The perfect HP Lovecraft title to follow on from 2010’s “At The Mountains Of Madness”, and the only HPL title not to appear in a periodical! Perfect also because it is split in to 5 distinct chapters…ripe for abridgement in to five half hour episodes! “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” tells the first-person story of a young historian, Robert Olmstead, who, while investigating his family genealogy in New England, is intrigued to learn about a hated and mysterious fishing-town called Innsmouth. When he visits he finds the place to be run-down and near-deserted, with a cult-like religion and a strange, degenerate population. His investigation soon turns in to a race to escape the town and the the evil creatures he sees emerging from the sea.  “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” was written by HP Lovecraft in 1931 and is the only one of his works of fiction not to have initially been published as part of a periodical. It continues HPL’s Cthulhu Mythos, featuring townspeople worshipping the elder sea god Dagon and mentioning the mysterious Shoggoth creature of his other works. This 2011 adaptation comprises 5 episodes, originally aired on BBC Radio 4 Extra, once again read by the superb RICHARD COYLE and featuring music by acclaimed composer JON NICHOLLS. The series is offered here in exclusive EXTENDED EDITIONS. You will find an additional 30 mins of mystery-filled audio within these five episodes!

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DARK MARKET by MISHA GLENNY – Read by MISHA GLENNY – UNABRIDGED – Random House Audio & AudioGO Ltd

The benefits of living in a digital, globalised society are enormous; so too are the dangers.  The world has become a law enforcer’s nightmare and every criminal’s dream. We bank online, shop online, date, learn, work and live online. But have the institutions that keep us safe on the streets learned to protect us in the burgeoning digital world? Have we become complacent about our personal security – sharing our thoughts, beliefs and the details of our daily lives with anyone who cares to relieve us of them?  In this fascinating and compelling book, Misha Glenny, author of the international bestseller ‘McMafia’, explores the three fundamental threats facing us in the 21st century: cyber crime, cyber warfare and cyber industrial espionage. Governments and the private sector are losing billions of dollars each year, fighting an ever-morphing, often invisible, often super-smart new breed of criminal: the hacker.  Glenny has travelled and trawled the world. And by exploring the rise and fall of the criminal website DarkMarket, he has uncovered the most vivid, alarming and illuminating stories. Whether JiLsi or Matrix, Iceman, Master Splynter or Lord Cyric; whether Detective Sergeant Chris Dawson in Scunthorpe or Agent Keith Mularski in Pittsburgh, Glenny has tracked down and interviewed all the players – the criminals, the geeks, the police, the security experts and the victims – and he places everyone and everything in a rich brew of politics, economics and history.  The result is simply totally absorbing. DarkMarket is authoritative and completely engrossing. It’s a must-have for everyone who uses a computer: the essential crime guide for our times.

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DIARY OF A DOG WALKER by EDWARD STOURTON – Read by EDWARD STOURTON – UNABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

Edward Stourton’s columns, recording his regular excursions with Kudu, the Springer spaniel, appeared fortnightly in the Telegraph from May 2009 until September 2010. They form the basis for this witty, charming and revealing book of canine musings. Ed’s focus might momentarily seem trivial, but his canvas proves to be immeasurably wide. Kudu’s small trips to the park offer big insights into romantic attachment, warfare, guilt and depression, honour and heroism, our sense of duty, beauty and the hard facts of life’s pecking order.

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MAY I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE? by JAMES CORDON – Read by JAMES CORDON – UNABRIDGED – Random House Audio

As far back as he can remember James Corden has only ever wanted to be in one place: in front of you, doing something to make you laugh, cry, shout, or giggle uncontrollably. At the age of 4, he grandstanded throughout his baby sister’s christening, standing on a chair in front of the whole congregation, pulling faces and cracking everyone up. Despite himself, the vicar was impressed. And from then on he couldn’t get enough of the spotlight, even when it always seemed to avoid him. Throughout his teens, he and his Dad trudged up and down towards London, getting closer and closer to landing a gig, only to be told ‘No’ at the last stage. But he never gave up and soon found his whole life turned upside down and inside out by his experience as one Alan Bennett’s History Boys. From that moment forth, he’s never looked back.  May I Have Your Attention Please? is the warm, cheeky, surprisingly honest and hilarious story of one of our most popular comedy talents. From his antics as one of the founding players of his high-school’s first ever rugby team to gaining recognition in the West End, to nationwide fame as the loveably loud Smithy in the award-winning Gavin and Stacey, this is a tenderly told story of what it’s like to try, try and try again and – happily – get there in the end.

CLICK HERE TO BUY DIRECT FROM AMAZON/AUDIBLE

BRUNG UP PROPER by JASON MANFORD – Read by JASON MANFORD – UNABRIDGED – Random House Audio

Jason Manford is firmly established as one of the country’s favourite stand-ups and is up there with the best northern comedy legends. His career began one night in a pub in Chorlton when a comedian didn’t arrive for his set and Jason, the 17-year-old glass collector stepped in to fill the gap. From that point on he’s never looked back, until now that is….  This is the story in his own words of everything that lead up to that fateful moment – a colourful tale of growing up with lots of family and not enough money, of getting by and sticking together. It is a story of his shameless extended clan of wayward uncles and singing nans and a gobby little knobhead at the heart of it all called Jason. Featuring rock-hard great granddads, doting grandparents, pub-crooning nanas, football-mad dads, pet-obsessed mums, more dodgy uncles than you can shake a stick at, failed exams, dead-end jobs, paper rounds, prostitutes, shocked priests, manslaughter, winning goals, sudden losses, replica shirts, chip-fat incidents, scary pubs, pet meat, fighting Gandhis, cancelled Christmases, Sir Oswald Mosley, flooded tents, call centres, circumcision, puppy love, friends for life, difficult girlfriends, gigs from hell, heart break and, finally, true love….  With his laugh-out-loud tales of coming of age, Jason shows he’s a generous storyteller and as natural an observer as he is on stage.

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THE TALES OF MAX CARRADOS by ERNEST BRAMAH – Read by ARTHUR DARVILL – ABRIDGED/RADIO SERIES – BBC Radio 4 Extra & Spokenworld Audio

The tales of Max Carrados lie squarely in the classic English detective tradition, told in plain though polished prose. Max is an omniscient blind amateur detective with a wry sense of humour. Arthur Darvill reads five of his brings five of his finest adventures to life.  Max Carrados featured in a series of mystery books that first appeared in 1914. Carrados featured alongside Sherlock Holmes in the “Strand” magazine in which they both had top billing. The character often boasted how being blind meant his other senses were heightened. The author Ernest Bramah excelled in his detailed writing and uncovering of clues. The beneficiary of a large inheritance from an American relative, Carrados is foremost a gentleman who undertakes sleuthing only as an avocation. Though equipped with a keen observer in the perfect manservant Parkinson, the blind Carrados does not merely sit around deducing: he makes his own observations with ears, nose and fingertips. Carrados makes a point of noticing what others don’t, in his case precisely because, as he says, “I have no blundering, self-confident eyes to be hoodwinked.” Instead he uses careful deduction, his four other senses, and the well-trained eye of his manservant. Carrados’ friend Carlyle, a private investigator, serves as his Watson – he is just dense enough to require an explanation of how Carrados has solved each crime. Ellery Queen calls this first volume of his adventures, “One of the ten best volumes of detective shorts ever written!

CLICK HERE TO BUY DIRECT FROM SPOKENWORLD AUDIO

DOCTOR WHO: THE STEALERS OF DREAMS by STEVE LYONS – Read by CAMILLE CODURI – UNABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

In the far future, the Doctor, Rose and Captain Jack find a world on which fiction has been outlawed. A world where it’s a crime to tell stories, a crime to lie, a crime to hope, and a crime to dream.  But now somebody is challenging the status quo. A pirate TV station urges people to fight back. And the Doctor wants to help until he sees how easily dreams can turn into nightmares.  With one of his companions stalked by shadows and the other committed to an asylum, the Doctor is forced to admit that fiction can be dangerous after all. Though perhaps it is not as deadly as the truth.  Read by Camille Coduri, this is a gripping adventure featuring the Ninth Doctor as played by Christopher Eccleston, together with Rose and Captain Jack as played by Billie Piper and John Barrowman in the hit series from BBC Television.

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TORCHWOOD: LONG TIME DEAD by SARAH PINBOROUGH – Read by INDIRA VARMA – UNABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

Indira Varma reads this thrilling Torchwood adventure – a prequel to ‘Torchwood: Miracle Day’.  Cardiff Bay. The government has ordered the excavation of the wreckage of a secret underground base. DCI Tom Cutler is watching from a distance, fascinated by the process. There are people in his dreams. People he feels he should know.  The disbanded Torchwood Institute spent a century accumulating non-terrestrial artefacts and catching aliens. Who knows what – or who – might still be intact down there. But by the time they find the first body, Suzie Costello is long gone.  Based on the hit series created by Russell T. Davies, ‘Long Time Dead’ is a prequel to ‘Torchwood: Miracle Day’, starring John Barrowman and Eve Myles as Jack Harkness and Gwen Cooper. It features Suzie Costello, as played by Indira Varma.

CLICK HERE TO BUY DIRECT FROM AUDIOGO

DOCTOR WHO: THE SILENT STARS GO BY by DAN ABNETT – Read by MICHAEL MALONEY – UNABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

Michael Maloney reads this original adventure by Dan Abnett, featuring the Eleventh Doctor, Amy and Rory.  For centuries the Maintainers have worked. With no help from other worlds, they subsist on the food they can grow and that’s little enough. But their purpose, their whole life, is to maintain the machines that will one day make their world as habitable as old Earth. Life used to be hard. Now as crops fail, livestock sicken, and the temperature drops, it’s becoming impossible. This year’s Winter Season Feast won’t be the usual celebration. It’s no time for optimism or hope – or to welcome unexpected guests. The Doctor, Amy and Rory find a society breaking apart – and then the Doctor’s old enemies the Ice Warriors make their move. With the cold-hearted threat of invasion, the real battle for survival begins. Or does it? The Doctor suspects that behind everything lies a deadlier, even more chilling danger…  A thrilling adventure featuring the Doctor, Amy and Rory, as played by Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill in the spectacular hit series from BBC Television.

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ELISABETH SLADEN: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY by ELISABETH SLADEN – Read by CAROLINE JOHN – UNABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

Caroline John reads the captivating autobiography of Elisabeth Sladen, with a foreword by David Tennant and a postscript by Brian and Sadie Miller.  When Elisabeth Sladen first appeared as plucky journalist Sarah Jane Smith in the 1973 ‘Doctor Who’ story ‘The Time Warrior’, little did she know her character would become one of the most enduring of the series’ long history, and one of the all-time favourite companions. She left the TARDIS in 1976, but reprised the role of Sarah Jane many times, as well as touring the world of ‘Doctor Who’ fandom. So when Russell T. Davies approached her to star in ‘The Sarah Jane Adventures’, how could she refuse? This warm, witty autobiography, completed only months before Elisabeth died in April 2011, tells her remarkable story, from humble beginnings in post-war Liverpool, through an acclaimed theatrical career, to ‘Coronation Street’, ‘Some Mothers Do ’Ave ’Em’ and the furthest reaches of the Universe. A unique, insider’s view of the world’s longest-running sci-fi series, Elisabeth’s memoir is funny, insightful and entertaining and a fitting tribute to a woman who will be sadly missed by millions. Caroline John, actress and friend of Elisabeth Sladen, played companion Liz Shaw in ‘Doctor Who’. David Tennant was the Tenth Doctor in the hit BBC TV series. Brian and Sadie Miller are Elisabeth Sladen’s husband and daughter.

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DEATH COMES TO PEMBERLEY by PD JAMES – Read by SHEILA MITCHELL – UNABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

P. D. James masterfully recreates the world of Pride and Prejudice, and combines it with the excitement and suspense of a brilliantly-crafted crime story.  The year is 1803, and Darcy and Elizabeth have been married for six years. There are now two handsome and healthy sons in the nursery, Elizabeth’s beloved sister Jane and her husband Bingley live nearby, and the orderly world of Pemberley seems unassailable. But all this is threatened when, on the eve of the annual autumn ball while the guests are preparing to retire for the night, a chaise appears, rocking down the path from Pemberley’s wild woodland. As it pulls up, Lydia Wickham – Elizabeth’s younger, unreliable sister – stumbles out screaming that her husband has been murdered.  Death Comes to Pemberley – inspired by P. D. James’s lifelong passion for the work of Jane Austen – is a distinguished work of fiction from one of the best-loved and most-read writers of our time.

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DOCTOR WHO: EARTHSHOCK by IAN MARTER – Read by PETER DAVISON – UNABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

Peter Davison reads this exciting novelisation of a classic Doctor Who adventure in which the Fifth Doctor encounters the Cybermen.  A group of palaeontologists have been savagely attacked while carrying out a study of fossilised dinosaur remains in an underground cave system on twenty-fifth century Earth.  A party of troopers and Professor Kyle, the only survivor of the attack, are investigating the deaths of her colleagues when they discover the Doctor and his companions at the site of the massacre. The time-travellers are immediately suspected. In trying to establish their innocence and find out who – or what – was responsible for the killings, the Doctor is confronted by an old enemy…  The Fifth Doctor himself, Peter Davison, reads Ian Marter’s complete and unabridged novelisation, first published by Target Books in 1983, whilst Nicholas Briggs provides the authentic voice of the Cybermen.

CLICK HERE TO BUY DIRECT FROM AUDIOGO

DOCTOR WHO – By MARK MORRIS – Details TBC – UNABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

Only just finished this one, so there are no details to share with you just yet.  But I can tell you that it is an exclusive 1 hr audio adventure, read by one of the stars of the 2011 DW Xmas Special!

COMING SOON

SPIRAL by RODERICK GORDON – Read by PAUL CHEQUER – UNABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

The Styx have surfaced… If you thought the Limiters were nasty, think again. This time it’s their females that provide the creepiest surprise. And all that stands in their way are Will and his friends – and a rag-bag team of retired commandos. It’s a smoking spiral of chaos…  The fifth fantastic adventure in the ‘Tunnels’ series for older children, from acclaimed authors Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams. Read by Paul Chequer.

CLICK HERE TO BUY DIRECT FROM AUDIOGO

WHY BE HAPPY WHEN YOU COULD BE NORMAL? by JEANETTE WINTERSON – Read by JEANETTE WINTERSON – UNABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

The shocking, heart-breaking – and often very funny – true story behind Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit.  

`Vivid, unpredictable, and sometimes mind-rattling memoir… This book… which had been funny enough to make me laugh out loud more times than is advisable on the No 12 bus – turns into something raw and unnerving’ —-Julie Myerson, the Observer

`This is certainly the most moving book of Winterson’s I have ever read… but it wriggles with humour… At one point I was crying so much I had tears in my ears. There is much here that is impressive, but what I find most unusual about it is the way it deepens one’s sympathy, for everyone involved’ —-Zoe Williams, the Guardian

`In the 26 years since the publication of her highly acclaimed first novel, Oranges are Not the Only Fruit, Jeanette Winterson has proved herself a writer of startling invention, originality and style. Her combination of the magical and the earthy, the rapturous and the matter-of-fact, is unique. It is a strange and felicitous gift, as if the best of Gabriel Garcia Marquez was combined with the best of Alan Bennett… This remarkable account is, among other things, a powerful argument for reading… This memoir is brave and beautiful, a testament to the forces of intelligence, heart and imagination. It is a marvellous book and generous one’ —-Cressida Connolly, the Speactator

`Both inspiring and appalling, its cruellest details only made digestible by the restrained elegance of Winterson’s prose’ —-Fiona Sturges, Independent on Sunday

COMING SOON

THE BEE-MAN OF ORN & OTHER FANCIFUL TALES by FRANK R STOCKTON – Read by NEIL GARDNER – UNABRIDGED – Spokenworld Audio

A series of 9 fantastical tales from Frank R Stockton, including “The Bee-Man of Orn”, “Old Pipes & The Dryad”, “The Griffin & The Minor Cannon” and “Christmas Before Last”.  Released weekly over 9 weeks to build up a complete collection.

CLICK HERE TO BUY DIRECT FROM SPOKENWORLD AUDIO

THE CHIMP PARADOX by DR STEVE PETERS – Read by DR STEVE PETERS – UNABRIDGED – Random House Audio & AudioGO Ltd

Personal development book by Dr Steve Peters, the British Cycling team’s psychiatrist, in which he shares his phenomenal mind management programme for the first time.  Do you sometimes behave irrationally or impulsively? Do you face some situations with fear and trepidation? Do feelings of self-doubt consume everyday activities?  Leading Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr Steve Peters, knows more than anyone how impulsive behaviour or nagging self-doubt can impact negatively on our professional and personal lives.  In this, his first book, Steve shares his phenomenally successful mind management programme that has been used to help elite athletes and senior managers alike to conquer their fears and operate with greater control, focus and confidence.  Seemingly complex concepts are made simple with the use of memorable analogies — such as the ‘chimp’, that seemingly irrational and impulsive being that inhabits our minds — and real-life case studies. Never before will you have had such a deep and clear understanding of your own behaviour and natural responses to certain people or situations.  This knowledge, combined with simple techniques that can be easily incorporated into daily life, will help you to control your emotional impulses and reach your full potential, leading to success at work and a happier, harmonious home life.

COMING SOON

WHAT KATY DID by SUSAN COOLIDGE – Read by LORELEI KING – ABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

Gangly, quick-tempered Katy always means to be beautiful and beloved and as good as an angel one day, but meanwhile her resolutions somehow get forgotten or go horribly wrong. Until, one terrible day, the swing breaks… But it is still a long, eventful time before Katy learns to be as loving and patient as her beautiful, invalid Cousin Helen.

COMING SOON

JAPANESE FAIRY WORLD: STORIES FROM THE WONDER-LORE OF JAPAN – Read by VARIOUS – UNABRIDGED/CHARITY – Spokenworld Audio

The recent devastation in Japan caused by the earthquake and tsunami has shocked the world. We at Spokenworld Audio, alongside our friends and partners at Ladbroke Productions (Radio) Ltd are unashamed Japon-ophiles…we just love the place, the people and the culture. We have some great friends in Japan, and we felt it was important that we do what we could to help out.  JAPANESE FAIRY WORLD, STORIES FROM THE WONDER-LORE OF JAPAN has been produced by Neil Gardner at Ladbroke Productions in just a few days, with the incredible kind help and talents of many of the UK and US’s finest Voice Over artists. With beautiful music donated by Jon Nicholls and Seb & Kayvan at SNK Music (and additional music from AKM Music). Within you will find 25 short-stories from the rich heritage of Japanese folk-tales. From demons and gods, to the creation of the Earth and the naming of mountains.

CLICK HERE TO BUY DIRECT FROM SPOKENWORLD AUDIO

BBC ARCHIVE VOICES: MARGARET THATCHER – ARCHIVE AUDIO SERIES – AudioGO Ltd

In interviews ranging from 1975 to 1990, Margaret Thatcher talks about being a woman in politics; managing men and women; her response to the media attacks she received in the early days of her career, and the importance of wearing the right clothes. She also recalls her memories of home, including working in her father’s grocery shop; the radio and TV programmes she enjoyed (including ‘The Two Ronnies’) and following sports like cricket and tennis. Also mentioned are the time she met her husband Denis; her worries about her son Mark when he went missing in the Sahara desert; her interest in science, and her love of porcelain and sculpture. Lastly, she discusses her stamina and her worst moment as Prime Minister (during the Falklands War). BBC Archive Voices: shining a light on the icons of our time. BBC Archive Voices features interviews with some of the key figures from the fields of entertainment, sport, politics and literature – many of which haven’t been heard since their original transmission. This is a unique window into the past and is a chance for us to hear those who contributed to the richness of our cultural heritage. With access to the entire archive of BBC Radio and television, we can now witness some of the most lively, entertaining and informative encounters in BBC broadcasting. Due to the age and nature of this archive material, the sound quality may vary.

CLICK HERE TO BUY DIRECT FROM AUDIOGO

BBC ARCHIVE VOICES: NOEL COWARD – ARCHIVE AUDIO SERIES – AudioGO Ltd

In interviews ranging from 1960 to 1972, Noël Coward talks about being a legend; whether he is a cynical writer; his early days in acting and about his early reputation for upsetting fellow actors on stage. He also discusses acting with Laurence Olivier; his affection for the Navy; his film-making; his knighthood, and writing ‘Private Lives’ for his friend Gertrude Lawrence. BBC Archive Voices: shining a light on the icons of our time. BBC Archive Voices features interviews with some of the key figures from the fields of entertainment, sport, politics and literature – many of which haven’t been heard since their original transmission. This is a unique window into the past and is a chance for us to hear those who contributed to the richness of our cultural heritage. With access to the entire archive of BBC Radio and television, we can now witness some of the most lively, entertaining and informative encounters in BBC broadcasting. Due to the age and nature of this archive material, the sound quality may vary.

CLICK HERE TO BUY DIRECT FROM AUDIOGO

BBC ARCHIVE VOICES: TERENCE RATTIGAN – ARCHIVE AUDIO SERIES – AudioGO Ltd

This fascinating collection of archive interviews with the acclaimed playwright, whose centenary was celebrated in 2011, begins in 1969 with a radio appearance on Out This Week. It culminates with an interview for Kaleidoscope in 1977, recorded a few months before his death. Inbetween are several major radio features on Rattigan’s life and work, in which he discusses the craft of playwriting, the state of commercial theatre, comparisons with Coward and Pinter, his famous ‘everywoman’ character Aunt Edna, and several of his plays in detail including Flare Path, Cause Celebre, French Without Tears, The Winslow Boy and The Deep Blue Sea.

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BBC ARCHIVE VOICES: ROALD DAHL – ARCHIVE AUDIO SERIES – AudioGO Ltd

In interviews ranging from 1972 to 1989, Roald Dahl talks about writing for children; his medical inventions to aid his ailing son and wife (the actress Patricia Neal) when they were seriously ill, and writing his short stories. He also covers his school days; military service; writing for films (including ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’) and the link between cruelty and laughter. BBC Archive Voices: shining a light on the icons of our time. BBC Archive Voices features interviews with some of the key figures from the fields of entertainment, sport, politics and literature – many of which haven’t been heard since their original transmission. This is a unique window into the past and is a chance for us to hear those who contributed to the richness of our cultural heritage. With access to the entire archive of BBC Radio and television, we can now witness some of the most lively, entertaining and informative encounters in BBC broadcasting. Due to the age and nature of this archive material, the sound quality may vary.

CLICK HERE TO BUY DIRECT FROM AUDIOGO

BBC ARCHIVE VOICES: GLENDA JACKSON – ARCHIVE AUDIO SERIES – AudioGO Ltd

This fascinating collection of archive interviews with the renowned actress and MP begins with a radio interview in 1970 and runs through to a guest appearance on Desert Island Discs in 1997. Along the way Glenda Jackson appears on numerous programmes including Parkinson, In The Psychiatrist’s Chair and Start the Week, during the course of which she discusses her background and early years, women in theatre, and her journey from being a highly successful actress to becoming a Member of Parliament (and Minister of Transport). In A Chance to Meet… and In The Hot Seat she faces the questions of an invited audience and discusses a wide range of topics.

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BBC ARCHIVE VOICES: ALFRED HITCHCOCK – ARCHIVE AUDIO SERIES – AudioGO Ltd

In interviews ranging from 1955 to 1980, Alfred Hitchcock talks about the time he was locked in a police cell when he was a child and being typecast as a director of thrillers. He also discusses his early films; the advent of ‘talkies’; planning ‘Psycho’; American audiences; cinema techniques; horror films, and the influence of real crimes. He considers the difference between making films in America and Britain; the importance of lighting; his female leads, and being a practical joker. As well as critics, he also touches on avoiding clichés; murder in film; film editing and music; ‘The Birds’; the star factor in actors, and making comedies. BBC Archive Voices: shining a light on the icons of our time. Due to the age and nature of this archive material, the sound quality may vary. BBC Archive Voices features interviews with some of the key figures from the fields of entertainment, sport, politics and literature – many of which haven’t been heard since their original transmission. This is a unique window into the past and is a chance for us to hear those who contributed to the richness of our cultural heritage. With access to the entire archive of BBC Radio and television, we can now witness some of the most lively, entertaining and informative encounters in BBC broadcasting.

CLICK HERE TO BUY DIRECT FROM AUDIOGO

BBC ARCHIVE VOICES: BRIAN CLOUGH – ARCHIVE AUDIO SERIES – AudioGO Ltd

In interviews ranging from 1972 to 2000, Brian Clough talks about ‘the real Brian Clough’ – how he is perceived by other people; his bluntness and forceful opinions, and what makes him a good football manager. He also discusses the prospect of becoming an MP; his dream job; football hysteria and hooliganism; his childhood and mother’s death; and being imitated by Mike Yarwood. He considers what people may say about him after his death; buying football players and having managerial ability, as well as sport on TV; leaving Nottingham Forest, and his very public falling out with Peter Taylor. BBC Archive Voices: shining a light on the icons of our time. BBC Archive Voices features interviews with some of the key figures from the fields of entertainment, sport, politics and literature – many of which haven’t been heard since their original transmission. This is a unique window into the past and is a chance for us to hear those who contributed to the richness of our cultural heritage. With access to the entire archive of BBC Radio and television, we can now witness some of the most lively, entertaining and informative encounters in BBC broadcasting. Due to the age and nature of this archive material, the sound quality may vary.

CLICK HERE TO BUY DIRECT FROM AUDIOGO

**************************************************************************************

It was also a pretty big year for my radio production company, Ladbroke Productions (Radio) Ltd…but to list all those programmes would make this the world’s longest blog post ever!  Suffice to say, I am extremely proud of the international awards we won for some of our programmes, grateful to all of the producers, presenters, writers, actors and others who helped make another fine year of radio entertainment.  Huzzah!

2012 brings with it several new audiobooks already, plus a whole heap of new Archive Voices projects.  On the radio front we have over 10 new progs and series in the pipeline.  Over at Spokenworld Audio we are looking forward to a rebuild of the back-end of the online store, a massive increase in titles (fingers crossed for a tidy wee deal with our chums at AudioGO) and some very exciting new audiobook titles from our own production stable.

And my 2012 New Year resolution – reply to emails faster and get the businesses sleeker and more profitable.  Hire talented people and friends and grow the businesses.  Have fun and be creative.

And my 2012 wish – to get to produce and/or edit audios for Big Finish.  Nick and I have talked about it, so I just need to make it happen…fingers crossed!

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ONE AND ALL…and thanks for continuing to support, RT and share our audio work.  Now get out there and buy some of it too 😉

Neil Gardner & Tanja Glittenberg (& the audio-editing kitty-cats), Dec 31st 2011

Audiobook for Japan 2011

The recent devastation in Japan caused by the earthquake and tsunami has shocked the world. We at Spokenworld Audio, alongside our friends and partners at Ladbroke Productions (Radio) Ltd are unashamed Japon-ophiles…we just love the place, the people and the culture. We have some great friends in Japan, and we felt it was important that we do what we could to help out.

JAPANESE FAIRY WORLD, STORIES FROM THE WONDER-LORE OF JAPAN has been produced by Neil Gardner at Ladbroke Productions in just a few days, with the incredible kind help and talents of many of the UK and US’s finest Voice Over artists. With beautiful music donated by Jon Nicholls and Seb & Kayvan at SNK Music (and additional music from AKM Music). Within you will find 25 short-stories from the rich heritage of Japanese folk-tales. From demons and gods, to the creation of the Earth and the naming of mountains.

 

Over 3.5 hours of fabulous audiobook readings!

 

100% of the money raised from the sale of this unique audiobook will be donated by Spokenworld Audio and Ladbroke Productions to the RED CROSS JAPAN TSUNAMI/EARTHQUAKE APPEAL. We will even donate the VAT as well!

We encourage you to purchase the complete audiobook, but if you would prefer to, you can also buy each story individually (a slightly more expensive option!). The complete set comes as a zipped folder containing the 25 stories plus an introduction and end credits…all as high quality stereo 192kbps mp3 files…ready for importing into iTunes or on to an mp3 player of your choice!

Before we get to the list of stories, let us tell you the incredibly generous readers who gave their time, talent (and studios!) to make this project a reality. If you are a producer/director, please take it from us, these people are fantastic and well worth hiring:

 

RAMON TIKARAM (yes, Ferdie from This Life…ace!)

NATALIE COOPER (who also helped organise the voices…what an angel)

PETER DICKSON (the voice of X-Factor and so much more, buy his app at www.myruddyvoice.com)

PATRICK LUNT (legendary voice over!)

MARIAN KEMMER

CHRISTOPHER KENT

CLAIRE LACEY

MARTY PERRETT (check out his superb podcast ‘The Boxroom’ – subscribe in iTunes)

HELEN QUIGLEY

MARK TAYLOR

KATY MAW

TAFF (he promises us he has a surname, but it is on a ‘need to know’ basis apparently!)

RACHEL ASHLEY

GEORGE WASHINGTON III

FRAN McCLELLEN

JUSTIN BARRETT

JULIE BERRY

PHILIP BANKS

NEIL GARDNER

 

The cover art was created by Tanja Glittenberg.

 

How To Buy Audiobook for Japan 2011

 

OK…so let’s get to the audiobook stories…click HERE to visit the Spokenworld Audio site and purchase either the entire collection or individual stories.

Please Note: VAT is added automatically for those purchasing from the UK or EU countries. Spokenworld Audio and Ladbroke Productions will match the sum total of VAT as an additional donation to the appeal.

Many thanks for your support and please spread the news. We’d love to sell hundreds, if not thousands of copies and raise as much money as we can for the appeal.

 

Ponyo On The Cliff By The Sea

This is Ponyo

This is Ponyo (c) Ghibli/Disney

I am a massive Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli fan.  Spirited Away is my all time favourite movie, closely followed by My Neighbour Totoro.  These films bring such joy, beauty and warmth to the world, and they are an art form that is perfectly Japanese, with no competition from the West to dilute their uniqueness.

So I have just seen the latest Ghibli movie titled “Ponyo On The Cliff By The Sea” (aka “Gake no ue no Ponyo”)…it is a much simpler story than the recent spate of Ghibli films, and reminds me very much of the likes of ‘”Kiki’s Delivery Service”, “Totoro” and “The Cat Returns”.  The animation hasn’t taken any massive leaps forward, it is almost as if it has gone backwards a little, seeming much more hand-drawn and ‘cute’ rather than the sweeping CGI of “Spirited Away” and “Howl’s Moving Castle”.  But this is no bad thing, as the plot doesn’t require such Michael Bay moments, it is a far gentler, more spiritual film.  I have totally fallen in love with Ponyo, it is everything a Ghibli film should be – highly original, without competition, high adventure in a small setting, the world seen through the fascination of children, a message of friendship and companionship, and most of all, great characters in a beautiful setting.

Ponyo with her brothers & sisters

Ponyo with her brothers & sisters (c) Ghibli/Disney

The story follows a small strange looking aquatic creature (a mermaid) that lives with her father, an undersea spirit.  This creature decides it wants to see the world beyond its small home, and so steals away amongst some jellyfish.  However, the creature gets more than it bargained for as it is soon accidentally washed up upon the nearby shore and found by a small boy.  The boy saves the creature by putting it in a bucket of water, but then takes the creature to school with him.  The boy lives with his mother, in a house on the top of a marvelously steep hill overlooking a small port town.  He decides to call the creature Ponyo, and a friendship is soon formed.  However, her father is not happy with Ponyo’s disappearance and sends the waves crashing to shore to find and retrieve Ponyo.  But Ponyo doesn’t want to live with the spirit anymore, she wants to return to the shore and be with the little boy and his mother.  in escaping, Ponyo causes the spirit’s magical potions to mix and spill and these lead to the ocean growing ever larger.  Ponyo is also affected by the potions and gets the ability to turn herself into a little girl.  She quickly returns to shore to find the little boy.  But in the town all is panic as the oceans rise and rise, forcing people to flee.  Eventually there is nothing left but the ocean and the hill-top home of the little boy.  The boy’s mother heads out to try and rescue the townspeople and take them to safety, meanwhile the little boy and Ponyo remain in the house enjoying each other’s company.  But as time passes, the little boy gets worried about his mother, and with Ponyo’s help, and her magic, they head off into the ocean to find her.

Ponyo with the Spirit of the Sea

Ponyo with her father, Fujimoto (fantastic art by the talented nasou - click for link-through to nasou's site and work)

I won’t go any further as I don’t want to spoil the rest of the film.  Suffice to say their adventure is full of mystery and magic, which builds to a climatic ending of typical Ghibli proportions!

As yet, I’ve only seen the Japanese version with rather poorly written English subtitles.  If recent movies are anything to go by, the English cast and dub will be superbly chosen and no doubt extremely well acted.  I’m really pleased to see Ghibli and Miyazaki make this move to the earlier style of work, there is an innocence and wonder about Ponyo that started to go missing with the bigger CGI films like “Earthsea”.  I hope we get a few more like this over the coming years, mixed with some of the bigger-scope stories of course.

Ponyo as a little human girl

Ponyo as a little human girl (c) Ghibli/Disney

Hurrah for Ghibli, hurrah for Miyazaki and hurrah for Japanese animation.  “Ponyo On The Cliff By The Sea” is a first rate piece of entertainment.  As soon as it comes out, make sure you catch it, you won’t be disappointed 🙂

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