Jump to content
GBSteve

The Case of Charles Dexter Ward

Recommended Posts

GBSteve

There's also most no detail about this, barring a short trailer, but it seems like a modern day adaptation on the BBC. Available as a podcast from Monday week (3/12/18)

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06spcbl

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
cjearkham

The case of Marles Rexter Cord, surely.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
PoC

BBC Radio 4: The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, available from Monday, 3rd December (via the link from @GBSteve, above). Audio trailer available there now.

 

bbc-r4-charles-dexter-ward-2018-trailer.m4a

 

Described as the err...  "...Lovecraft locked-room classic".

 

– and an associated R4 article (with more audio):

 

Seven surprising ways H.P. Lovecraft influenced our pop culture

 

Quote

As the podcast The Case of Charles Dexter Ward puts a terrifying modern spin on cult author H.P. Lovecraft's classic novel, we look at the surprising ways his twisted imagination still affects our lives. He may have died in poverty and relative obscurity in 1937, but Lovecraft's legacy and reputation continues to grow. Various facets of popular culture have adopted his ideas, characters and plot-lines, using them in a variety of surprising ways, from hip hop to video games. Here’s just a few…

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
RogerBW

A bit unlike the BBC to broadcast a thing saying "if you like this, come to our [third party] web site and give us money"… but I've enjoyed part 1.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Galbraith

I've been working my way through - it's a really good modern adaptation. It's by the same guy who did the Mythos show last year, and a few other really good atmospheric semi-horror shows as well. The sound effects are something else.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ursca
On 04/12/2018 at 19:12, RogerBW said:

A bit unlike the BBC to broadcast a thing saying "if you like this, come to our [third party] web site and give us money"… but I've enjoyed part 1.

 

I believe that's part of the conceit - it's supposed to seem like a real podcast, so there's an 'advert' at the beginning.

 

As far as I can tell, 'Red Hook Stories' doesn't exist, it was produced by 'Sweet Talk Productions'.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
RogerBW

Fair enough! An entity of that name does seem to have a web site, but it was last updated some years ago.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
RogerBW

My blog review:

 

2018 audio drama, adapted in ten parts by Julian Simpson from the story by H. P. Lovecraft. On 6 March 2017, Charles Ward vanished from a secure psychiatric hospital in Providence. Two podcasters, looking for mysterious stories, dig into what happened.

 

This is, of course, based on the story from 1927 (first published in 1941); but not only has it been updated both to a modern setting and to a format of podcast narration and audio recordings from various sources, it's been expanded. The original story starts with Ward and goes as far as his ancestor Joseph Curwen, but that's about it. This iteration makes Curwen a coven and cult leader in the 1960s and 1970s; but more importantly, even though it's converting 50,000 words into about four hours of audio which one would expect to have very roughly the same spoken word count, it expands the cast as well as the scope of the esoteric events. There are connections in all directions, and as the investigators follow them it becomes increasingly apparent that this is a much bigger story than they're equipped to cope with.

 

That kind of environment tends to make any ending unsatisfying, and it's the weakest thing here too. Without going into details, while it's certainly more downbeat than Lovecraft's straightforward approach that all is dealt with and life can return to normal, it's unfortunately open-ended. Still, given what had gone before (which does work rather well), it's hard to see how this could have been corrected.

 

The key points of the story are here: the things in the pits, the incantation and the dust, Charles's last conversation. The essential saltes as such are missing, perhaps because that would have pulled the story too far in the direction of Herbert West. This is a related story, but not the same, as the original, and since we still have the original I don't regard this as a problem; indeed, it's good to get some surprises rather than a straight adaptation.

 

Production is very effective, in particular with the leads gradually sounding less confident and more fraught as matters progress. Everyone does a good job of having a distinctive voice; there's never significant doubt about who's who, even with a much larger cast than the original story. Audio effects are played with a light touch, though occasional bursts of music – reasonable as part of the podcast format at the start of the series – sound inappropriately cheerful towards the end.

 

If like me you're a fan of the original story but don't mind seeing what other minds can do with the core idea, I highly recommend this production. The Case of Charles Dexter Ward is available via the BBC. (If you don't have get_iplayer, you can apparently download it via the BBC Sounds app.)

 

https://blog.firedrake.org/archive/2018/12/The_Case_of_Charles_Dexter_Ward.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Frubgarde

Just finished listening to the final episode and have to say that I really enjoyed it:  In my view I don't think there are all that many points of contact with the original story; we certainly have lots of nods to it in terms of character surnames, and it certainly draws in other aspects of Lovecraftia.  By and large Simpson is riffing around the original premise but essentially telling a new story, cleverly drawing in a lot of twentieth century history and cultural references to provide the backstory.  

 

All in all a very nice piece of work.  I have consistently been impressed by Julian Simpson's work and the idea of presenting it all as a podcast is a clever one.  More please, Mr Simpson!

 

And now I am off downstairs to watch all the M R James adaptations I didn't stay up for last night.  Wonder and glory!

 

PB

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
cloud64

I started listening to this today, having given up on waiting for the Beeb to actually release it to the podcast feed. Oh the irony. Thoroughly enjoying it and finding it very bingeworthy. Sent the link to my players as it rings very true to an in-game investigation. Let’s just hope their expectations for NPC performances isn’t raised too much :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Nick Storm

For those in the colonies...'Beeb' is BBC ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
RogerBW

That's correct.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
cloud64
1 hour ago, Nick Storm said:

For those in the colonies...'Beeb' is BBC ?

 

Apologies, I was beings bit lazy there. ‘Beeb’ is indeed the BBC, generally an affectionate nick-name for the organisation. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
GBSteve

Here's a blog post by the author and director, Julian Simpson, in which he discusses rolling up characters, Call of Cthulhu style.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
cloud64
On 29/12/2018 at 00:06, GBSteve said:

Here's a blog post by the author and director, Julian Simpson, in which he discusses rolling up characters, Call of Cthulhu style.

 

Well, well. After listening to it last night I was wondering if the writer played RPGs. Good find GBSteve. It seems there’s a number of authors who game: George RR Martin (Game of Thrones), Graham Linehan (Father Ted, The IT Crowd, etc.), the writers of Stranger Things, and The Expanse was based on an RPG. Those are the ones that fall off the top of my head. I had a feeling Michael Moorcock played in the 70s, but it seems I was wrong, as this interesting quote of his thoughts on RPGs shows 

 

http://deltasdnd.blogspot.com/2015/03/moorcock-on-d.html

 

As Simpson states in his article, going with the dice when making characters can stimulate the creative juices and lead to more interesting personalities. I think Call of Cthulhu is particularly well suited to that as characters don’t have to be super heroes with high stats, something which can be easy or hard to get across to players depending on their RPG history, but that’s a discussion for another thread. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
GBSteve

Iain Banks also played Traveller according to a friend who asked him. Graham Linehan has played Trail of Cthulhu too. I've GMed for him.

 

Ah, the clincher.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
yockenthwaite

All the episodes can now be downloaded, either individually or via a podcast feed (RSS or iTunes etc).

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06spb8w/episodes/downloads

 

And this download should work from wherever you are in the world.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
GBSteve

I very much enjoyed this. There are two monologues in later episodes that would be useful for any player or keeper to listen to, in relation to cult motivations and the experiencing the mythos. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
cloud64
6 hours ago, GBSteve said:

There are two monologues in later episodes that would be useful for any player or keeper to listen to, in relation to cult motivations and the experiencing the mythos. 

 

Yes indeed, episode 7 is a good treatise on the motivation and behaviour of cultists. It can also be taken as a comment on the state of modern political and religious belief, if we’re being cynical. It put me in mind of this thread on cultists

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
PoC

An excellent series. Devil's Reef Trailer Park, anyone? 😉

 

Regarding Ashurbanipal's Library – you can visit it now at the British Museum.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
GBSteve

Slightly disingenuous about the lions, Ashurbanipal was standing behind a human shield and the lion had been wounded already. But nevertheless, a great exhibition to visit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
PoC

PR - hasn’t changed for thousands of years...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sign in to comment.

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...