Using the vocal talents of a couple of the cast of Parch (one of my favourite programmes) to bring to the radio an adaptation of a work by the author of A Man Called Ove (one of my favourite books) was pretty much guaranteed to be pleasing to me. And so it proved as, over two parts, we had the story of Britt-Marie, who needs purpose in her life and seeks to find it in the forgotten and forgettable town of Borg.
Part of the Reading Europe season, Britt-Marie Was Here, drew our heroine, voiced by Pippa Haywood, to Borg in reaction to the failure of her marriage to Kent. Britt-Marie makes lists of things to do. She buys only one brand of window cleaner. She does not understand what it means to support Tottenham Hotspur. You would not be surprised to learn that by the end of the book she has seen the light on Kent, has done things not on the list, cleaned windows using a generic brand, and has a fuller idea of what each team in the Premiership represents to people in Sweden who support them. So whilst, in a general sense, there was nothing too surprising going on there were details and moments that were rather well done, and the dialogue (and, unusually, narration) was clever and fun throughout. The adaptation by Charlotte Jones was sparky and human. And rarely has a 14-1 defeat sounded so glorious.
There’s a lot to find annoying about radio drama and Britt-Marie Was Here won’t really have changed anyone’s mind on that but, as an example of the type, there won’t be many better examples this year. And that’s finer praise than it sounds now I’m reading it back. Maybe, like Britt-Marie, I need to find my own Borg and work out how to express myself more clearly.