The following blog will have Spoilers for The Ipcress File BBC Radio Four Extra audio drama starring Ian Hart and spoilers for the book and the flim of the same name.
Before we start a little background on the audio drama itself frist broadcast on Sunday 23 Oct 2011 at 1:30 pm in the afternoon on the BBC Four Extra station its 1 hour 30 minutes long and uses the same opening song as the flim written by John Barry. Unlike the book and DVD flim its not split into chapters just one continuous story. But I am going to split into three blogs each at the 30 min point in the audio file so as not over welm you. This one will end 32 mins in the second at 62 mins and the last to end of the flim
The Story- It opens with Ian Hart, The agent/spy waking up and talking about the bad London weather, and if he only listened to his mother a lot of people would be alive today. The flim song kicks in and the cast it read out. He tells us about the cab ride to the war office then his meeting with the Major Ross just like the book and the flim talk about his army file, Ross here is played by James Laurenson it plays out a little flim but Ross gives the agent a little more background on Dalby little band of men.Ross doesn’t go with him but ask him how he feels about bass bands.
The Agent gives us a run down of the Dalby bulding even the names on the door plate match the flim, the frist person he meets is Chico (Jamie Bamber) in the background there is sound of a brass band. The brass band is a childhood memory for the spy his father was a coal miner, he makes a joke about hin now brending wipits but really runs a second hand book shop.
Chico takes him see Alice (Rachel Atins) who in turn gives him a mug of coffe for Dalby (Jonathan Coy) he gives Dalby the mug who says “I am sure you’ll love it here” the spy says “I have a pure heart and a clean mind…I will a loyal, dilgent employee I will endeavor each day to be worthy of the trust my employer puts in me” Dalby’s anwer is “I make the jokes”
Outside the band play ‘Abide with Me’ and Dalby’s reaction is well they do, Dalby tells the spy all about his job which is to find a biochemist code name Raven. The Home Office will be Dalby’s det if they can find him, the spy comes up with a story of what could happening.
But in truth a man called Jay (Peter Marinker) had Raven and the simple job is to buy Raven back, no questions asked, Jay is in the coffee house down the street. So off the spy goes. Jay is there after tea and apple strudel the spy walks over to Jay and gives him a made up name. Jay to gives a made up name they both know its a game, they go a strip club and the spy is told to wait and as he does he gives each of the dances new names pointing out the real personalty. Three girls later he’s still waiting so he goes and takes a look around, he finds himself up stairs though a mirror he sees Raven laying on a table.
Just like the book he throws a typewirter though the mirror and ripps his trousers, Police raid the happenes to, and the spy calls HQ Dalby has another job for him, the spy tries to tell him about ripped trousers (this becomes a running gag) but Dalby cuts the call, Now with new papers Alice drops him off at the airport.
To Beirut he goes flying frist class, he sees Ross walking around the airport. Dalby has given him a few grenades and at 3:30 am he’s sat looking down at a road wating for Raven in the on comming car, it stops being a game when Dalby what’s him to stop the ‘backup’ car, yes it the CIA they brough Raven from Jay. Raven is fine so Dalby takes him to a safe house and to a man called Adem (Raad Rawi) Here they cut out the four pages of history to a simple timeline for Adem and conrol behaviour.
The spy ends up talking in a funny voice, Adem then takes Dalby and Raven away in helicopter, when the spy gets back to London there is nothing just footprints in the sand as they still look for Jay, just as the book Dalby gives the spy conrol of the office and the IBM computer.
Chio has an idea about what’s going on when there is call from the police at Shoredich they have picked up a man on the office watchlist, the spy and Chio head to the station, the man is dead and just like the flim the same music kicks in.
30 min end at ponit
What I think- This is a lot more of a living experience with the Spy, telling you what has happened, Then living it all over again when he interact with each member of this very small cast, There are few quick shorthand sequences to make you aware that spy is a working class exarmy officer and the music from the flim is used to drive home the same points. But also sound is used to which makes the whole a less passive experience.