Here Be Dragons

Last year Janet Ellis examined why mermaids continue to hold such a fascination; now she turns her attention to a figure every bit as resonant with audiences down the generations - the dragon.

From the earliest days of story-telling the dragon has appeared across international cultures, occasionally a benign presence, as in the Chinese tradition, though most often a ferocious beast that lays waste to its enemies without a moment's hesitation.

More recently the dragon has become a favourite of children's programmes and books from Ivor the Engine" and "Noggin the Nog" to the "How to Train your Dragon" series of books - now turned into a major Hollywood film.

Its close resemblance to real life creatures and formerly dinosaurs lends the dragon a particularly interesting position among mythological beasts, and Janet hears from poet Simon Armitage who says that those reading medieval stories including those about dragons would most likely have believed in the real possibility of meeting up with the beasts out on the crusades - lending them a special degree of excitement.

She also speaks to Cressida Cowell the author behind the "How to Train..." books, as well as the co-creator of TV's Merlin which contains one of the most impressive dragon characters to appear in recent years, played with such relish by John Hurt.

"Here be Dragons" is a lively and informative ride on the back of one of the great stalwarts of the imaginative landscape.

Episodes

SeriesEpisodeTitleFirst
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20100422

Last year Janet Ellis examined why mermaids continue to hold such a fascination; now she turns her attention to a figure every bit as resonant with audiences down the generations - the dragon.

From the earliest days of story-telling the dragon has appeared across international cultures, occasionally a benign presence, as in the Chinese tradition, though most often a ferocious beast that lays waste to its enemies without a moment's hesitation.

More recently the dragon has become a favourite of children's programmes and books from Ivor the Engine" and "Noggin the Nog" to the "How to Train your Dragon" series of books - now turned into a major Hollywood film.

Its close resemblance to real life creatures and formerly dinosaurs lends the dragon a particularly interesting position among mythological beasts, and Janet hears from poet Simon Armitage who says that those reading medieval stories including those about dragons would most likely have believed in the real possibility of meeting up with the beasts out on the crusades - lending them a special degree of excitement.

She also speaks to Cressida Cowell the author behind the "How to Train..." books, as well as the co-creator of TV's Merlin which contains one of the most impressive dragon characters to appear in recent years, played with such relish by John Hurt.

"Here be Dragons" is a lively and informative ride on the back of one of the great stalwarts of the imaginative landscape.".

Genome: [r4 Bd=19930610]

by Stewart Love.

Frank James has been a dedicated old-fashioned teacher all his life, but educational changes make him redundant and he becomes apprehensive, aimless, lost and bewildered. He begins to question the value of his life's work.

Director Pam Brighton

Genome: [r4 Bd=19930610]
Genome: [r4 Bd=19941003]

by Stewart Love. Frank James has been a dedicated, old-fashioned teacher all his life, but educational changes make him redundant and he becomes apprehensive, aimless, lost and bewildered.

Director Pam Brighton Rpt

Genome: [r4 Bd=19941003]

Unknown: Stewart Love.

Unknown: Frank James

Director: Pam Brighton Rpt

Frank: Mark Mulholland

Robert: Tim Loane

Mary: Stella McCusker

Phyllis: Paula McFetridge

Reporter: Brenda Winter

07012015040720150720 (R4)

A baby monitor which opens up a terrifying world, an explorer who ventures into the unknown and a woman who longs to disappear into space - Josie Long hears about dreams, desires and darkness in unmarked territories.

On old maps, the uncharted areas - dangerous or unexplored landscapes - used to be marked with illustrations of sea serpents rising from the water or dragons stalking the land. Sometimes these areas would just be marked with a phrase, 'Here Be Dragons'. In this programme, Josie hears tales of modern exploration - from space travel to the insides of our bodies, from night terrors to new worlds.

Series Producer: Eleanor McDowall

A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4

The items featured in the programme are:

Baby Monitor

Produced by Peregrine Andrews

Dangerous Appetites

Feat. Joe Dunthorne

The Blue Nile

Feat. John Blashford Snell

The Call

Produced by Rikke Houd with Sheida Jahanbin.

FP20000225

By Louise Page.

Helen's job is getting her down, she has just been mugged on the streets of LONDON, her teenage daughter is unhappy at school, and television is an endless stream of grim news.

When husband Jack's firm relocates to Derbyshire, Helen sees an opportunity to live an idyllic rural life.

But all is not what it seems in the country.

With Janet Dale, Richard Derrington and Annabelle Dowler.

Director: Peter Leslie Wild