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“I’m told it’s the largest adaptation the BBC have ever done…”
In this episode, I talk to Dan Rebellato, playwright, academic and lead writer on the first season of BBC Radio 4’s massive adaptation of Emile Zola’s twenty-volume Rougon-Macquart novels, titled Blood, Sex and Money, which starts this Saturday (21 November) and runs over nine consecutive days (initially).
The adaptation will eventually total twenty-seven episodes across three seasons (called Blood, Sex and Money, appropriately enough), and Dan has written episodes one, two and nine of the first run. He very kindly gave me a sneak preview of his episodes and talked to me about his role on the project.
Our conversation covers the challenges of adapting such an enormous body of work, why narrators can be boring, why no one in nineteenth century France speaks French, how to do action scenes in audio, the finer points of French naturalist literature (well, sort of) and much more.
The discussion becomes a little spoilerific in the final ten minutes or so, but Dan does give a warning about this when it happens, so listen out for that if you are concerned, and act accordingly. Otherwise, enjoy the interview and be sure to follow the serial over the next week. It’s pretty marvellous.
I also did another interview with Dan on the links between the theatre and globalisation (Based on his book, Theatre & Globalisation, 2009). That interview is now available as part of the December episode of The Global Lab, alongside interviews with Nick Hennegan on the London Literary Pub Crawl and Anna Brownsted on her site-specific theatrical experiences.
Thomas Oléron Evans, 2015