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BBC Radio 2 goes over to the Darkside next week Print E-mail
Written by Matt   
Sunday, 18 August 2013

Sir Tom Stoppard with Darkside cast (photo: BBC)At the end of March, we told you about BBC Radio 2 helping to mark the 40th anniversary of Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon album by airing an hour-long audio drama by award-winning playright Sir Tom Stoppard. Darkside, which is airing at 10pm on August 26th, will incorporate music from the album as part of its "fantastical and psychedelic" story. Actors Bill Nighy and Rufus Sewell are amongst the cast.

Sir Tom, 75, a huge Pink Floyd fan, revealed that the idea was first mooted by a friend in 1973, but it took him four decades to come up with a suitable story. "(I thought) yes, I definitely want to do that but had no idea for a long time what I would do. Finally, I found some time and sat down and listened to the album for the thousandth time and picked up from the beginning and kept going. This is more or less, I think, the first time anything like this has been done on radio."

In an interview with Sir Tom in today's Sunday Times Culture magazine, he reveals that he gradually began to work out a way forward in his head, helped by friendships with Roger Waters, Dave Gilmour and Nick Mason, talking mainly with Waters about the project. "The album lasts 40 minutes and, as I was to write a play of one hour, I had to work out a way of how to include all their music while developing characters and dialogue," he explained to The Sunday Times. "This means the album is in a way an underscore over which I’ve placed my play. It was a bit like doing a graphic novel for radio, where I was filling my words into the balloons or bubbles."

Back in March, the BBC noted that David Gilmour 'has already read the script and given the play his seal of approval, describing it as "fascinating. I can't wait to hear it come to life with the great cast performing it and our music woven into it. I can't think of a better way to celebrate The Dark Side Of The Moon's 40 year anniversary."

Stoppard has prior experience blending the world of Floyd with drama - in 2006, he wrote Rock'n'Roll, a stage play inspired by Syd Barrett. This was adapted for a performance on BBC Radio 3 in 2007, and in 2008, toured regionally in the UK.

To help make the evening even more special, BBC Radio are complementing Darkside with more programming either side of the show. Radio 2 and BBC 6 Music will be simulcasting a unique show that will put the audience in control of the music across both networks for two hours, as they collaborate online to pick the tracks. Now Playing will provide the perfect build up to the evening.

Then, following the broadcast of Darkside, at 11pm, there's another chance to hear the truly fascinating The Record Producers - Pink Floyd Special, which concentrates on the Floyd's music from the late 60s through to the mid-70s, and features David and Nick alongside original multi-track recordings of some of their best work from this period.

Also, on the night of broadcast, visitors to bbc.co.uk/radio2 will be able to watch a specially commissioned animation by Aardman to accompany the drama, creating a unique, immersive audio-visual experience.

 
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