Robert Aickman: Strange Stories (BBC Radio)


Born in 1914, Aickman was the son of architect William Arthur Aickman and worked briefly with his father, a notable eccentric. The younger Aickman was a man of diverse interests (co-founder of the Inland Waterways Association and chair of the London Opera Society included) and did not publish his first stories until 1951, in the collection We Are For The Dark. Half the stories in that collection were written by Aickman and half of them by Elizabeth Jane Howard, his lover at the time.

Aickman would go on to publish 48 "strange stories", the term he would use for his own works. Although the grandson of horror writer Richard Marsh, (The Beetle -1897), Aickman never became a full-time writer. But his long-standing membership of the Society for Psychical Research and The Ghost Club is testament to his fascination with the occult, and his mystery stories constantly reshape time in unorthodox ways. Since he died in 1981, Aickman's reputation as a writer has grown.

Here, with a mix of radio documentary, readings and dramatic adaptation, we hope to give you a sense of Aickman's unique talent for the strange story. In FLAC (lossless) and Mp3.

2011-12-15 The Unsettled Dust: The Strange Stories of Robert Aickman (radio documentary)
Jeremy Dyson praises the supernatural stories of British author and conservationist Robert Aickman.

The screenwriter argues they should receive greater recognition for their contribution to literature.

Robert Aickman was the grandson of the prolific Victorian novelist Richard Marsh whose occult thriller The Beetle (1897) was in its time as popular as Bram Stoker's Dracula.

Aickman is best remembered today for co-founding the Inland Waterways Association, but his Grandfather's work influenced him to write around fifty so called "strange" stories involving the supernatural and macabre over a thirty year period starting in the late forties.

In recent years, The League of Gentlemen writer Jeremy Dyson has adapted Aickman's work into various forms of drama including BBC Radio 4 play 'Ringing the Changes' (included below).

By speaking with fans of Aickman and introducing students to his work for the first time, Dyson argues that Aickman's literary gifts have been undervalued and during his lifetime he should have received greater critical acclaim.

Producer: Stephen Garner
First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in December 2011.

2000-10-31 Ringing the Changes (radio drama)

"Gerald had told Phrynne that if they were to marry in June they couldn't honeymoon until October. He was all too aware of the perils of marrying a girl 24 years younger than himself, to add to them by taking a conventional honeymoon."

When Gerald and Phrynne arrive at their destination, it's a curiously deserted seaside resort, where the church bells ring ... and ring.... and ring.

A chilling Halloween special by Robert Aickman, dramatized by Jeremy Dyson and Mark Gatiss.

Gerald ...... George Baker
Phrynne ...... Fiona Allen
Narrator/Mr Pascoe ...... Mark Gatiss
Commandant Shortcroft ...... Michael Cochrane
Mrs Pascoe ...... Barbara Shelley

Music: Joby Talbot
Special sound design by 02
Director Pauline Harris
First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in October 2000.

2016-12-16 The Hospice (reading)
Maybury is driving home, he's lost, it's getting dark and he's running out of petrol.

BBC 6 Music's Gideon Coe reads Robert Aickman's teasingly elusive strange tale.

With a specially commissioned soundtrack by Vic Mars.

1987-01-01 Laura (from the BBC Radio series Ghost Story)
Over the years, a beautiful and seemingly ageless woman enters Andrew's life, then promptly disappears. Read by Joss Ackland and abridged by Richard Dunn.

Robert Aickman Stories read by Tim McInnerny

All five of the following stories are Sweet Talk productions for BBC Radio 4 Extra, produced by Karen Rose

1. 2019-08-19 Le Miroir
Celia, an aristocratic young Englishwoman, moves to Paris to embark on a career as an artist. But time shifts in the looking glass and entraps her.

2. 2019-08-20 Raising the Wind
So often, the boat is never where the owner wants it. It's Fillbrick's job to make sure it is. So often, the wind is never where you want it, unless you meet a sorceress.

3. 2019-08-21 The Fully-Conducted Tour
Take off your boots and shoes, and come this way.

4. 2019-08-22 The Coffin House
Jessica and Bunty, Land Army women, take refuge in a small wooden cabin. Or so they think.

5. 2019-08-23 Just A Song At Twilight
All their London friends said Lydia and Timo were mad. But when the dream takes hold...

  1. 1987-01-01 Laura [by Robert Aickman] (20.9Mb)
  2. 2000-10-31 Ringing the Changes [by Robert Aickman] (37.7Mb)
  3. 2011-12-15 The Unsettled Dust: The Strange Stories Of Robert Aickman (35.3Mb)
  4. 2016-12-16 The Hospice (34.9Mb)
  5. 2019-08-19 Le Miroir (16.5Mb)
  6. 2019-08-20 Raising the Wind (15.7Mb)
  7. 2019-08-21 The Fully-Conducted Tour (16.5Mb)
  8. 2019-08-22 The Coffin House (15Mb)
  9. 2019-08-23 Just a Song at Twilight (16.4Mb)

MP3 files hosted by archive.org.