Fiat Homo, A Canticle for Leibowitz on BBC Radio 4 Extra
BBC Radio 4 Extra, 26-30 November 2012
I reviewed the 1961 dramatized adaptation of this book recently (www.radiodramareviews.com/id1102.html). I am not sure whether fifty-one years have made a difference, but I found this Radio 4 Extra abridgment, read by
Nigel Lindsay, almost totally different in terms of tone and scope from the earlier version.
While the 1961 abridgment seemed to focus on Cold War anxieties, and the place of
religion in a world where it no longer seemed to have any relevance, McCarty's abridgment - at least from the evidence of
the first episode - resembled a descent into a hellish world, where everyday conventions of religion, civilization and social
order no longer assumed any significance. This descent seemed as much mental as physical: marooned in the Utah desert,
Brother Francis Gerard had to discover self-reliance, or at least to try and find some alternative means survival.
Whether he does so or not will be revealed in subsequent episodes. All I can
say at the moment is that Philippa Geering's production is spell-binding, with an extremely ingenious use of overlapping sound
complementing Lindsay's vocally nuanced reading.