Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere feat. Benedict Cumberbatch comes to BBC Radio 4 in March

News Louisa Mellor 21 Feb 2013 - 08:37

The new radio adaptation of Neil Gaiman's 1996 TV series and novel is starting on BBC Radio 4 on the 16th of March...

It's not often we have cause to report on the BBC Radio 4 schedule, fine institution though it is, what with The Archers, Farming Today, and Woman's Hour rarely intersecting with the world of all things geek (saying that, the comedy serials have plenty of sci-fi and fantasy form). So it's with great pleasure then, that we urge you to tune in on Saturday the 16th of March to the hour-long first part of Neverwhere, adapted from Neil Gaiman's 1996 BBC series and subsequent novel. News of the adaptation arrived last year, but it's only now that the official broadcast date has been confirmed.

It being a Gaiman story is justification enough to make a point of listening, but add to that the cast assembled for Dirk Maggs' adaptation, and it would just be rude not to. James McAvoy is voicing Richard Richard Mayhew Dick, with The Fades' Natalie Dormer as Door, Homeland's David Harewood as the Marquis, Sophie Okenedo as Hunter, Anthony Head as Croup, joined by David Schofield as fellow henchman Vandemar, Christopher Lee as Earl of Earl's Court, Bernard Cribbens as Old Bailey, and oh, just Benedict Cumberbatch as the Angel Islington. Neil Gaiman is also said to be voicing a couple of parts. The full cast is available to see, here

After the hour-long opening episode, Neverwhere, which for the uninitiated, tells the story of a Scot living in London who falls in with a crowd of fantastic characters living underneath the city in London Below, will continue in five half-hour instalments on Radio 4 Extra starting on Monday the 18th of March. Non-UK fans will be able to listen on BBC iPlayer's worldwide replay function.

Radio Times

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what an incredible cast! wish they'd option this and make a proper big feature out of it, or perhaps a new HBO miniseries- it deserves the full adaptation it almost got!

What the hell. Why is that every site is calling it a Cumberbatch project when he's just one of the characters, and not even the main one! James McAvoy plays Richard, he's in every scene of the book and it's not even mentioned in the title of this article. I know that sites want hits, but to wrongly focus in one actor who's just part of an assemble to get them is ridiculous.

Why the "oh just Benedict Cumberbatch!", as if he's the only notable one in this amazing cast? Pathetic. Cumberbitches are taking over everything; it's scary.

Radio4 has some excellent plays, (ofteb repeated on 4Extra)
Listen out for Old Harrys Game, multiple Terry Pratchetts, Hitchhikers Guide and more.

Often they lead to TV remakes, often radio version is better, (better pictures on the radio!).

Plenty for science/history and tech geeks as well. In Our Time, Discovery, Thinking Allowed and much much more.

Check out podcasts

No need to be so churlish McAvoy fans. James has plenty of films out this year so you'll get plenty of pr

Radio 4 has plenty of great shows. Cumberbatch's Cabin Pressure series is a must. John Finnemore is a great comedy writer and the series is well worth checking out.

Two things. One, we've said it features Benedict Cumberbatch, not that it's a Benedict Cumberbatch project. Secondly, anything that draws attention to a project like this is worth pushing, in my view. It's not really about hits: it's about making sure as many people as possible know that Neverwhere is on Radio 4 next month. If Benedict Cumberbatch's name helps that happen - as it does - then all the better. It helps that he's both a popular, and bloody good, actor. - Simon

That's not the case. It's the unfair treatment James has been receiving from this site and others, as if he's just some "cast" to Cumberbatch's "amazingness".

Also, Cumberbatch has a good deal of films out too, so what's your point? I wasn't talking about "films being released", I was talking about this specific project.

And James McAvoy is what, a nothing actor? He's pretty popular too, and an actor with many Oscar-nominated movies, not counting Baftas and Golden Globes. He has five films being released this year and is playing Macbeth in London to rave reviews. The difference maybe is that he doesn't have a crazy cult following like Cumberbatch. So it's obvious you're counting on the hits based on this. What a shame.

Calm down. The crazy cult following, like you call it, will listen and realise that McAvoy is the main character, just like for Cabin pressure. And yes a site like Den of Geef needs visitors and Cumberbatch is hugely popular. No one is insulting James McAvoy or saying that he's not a great actor.

He's being insulted when the article's title doesn't even refer to him. I wonder how Cumberbatch fans would feel if it was the opposite.

You're obviously entitled to your opinion, and I respect that. I'd still suggest that the most important thing of all is that the radio show gets as much exposure as possible. Hence, this article. That's no slight to James McAvoy's clear awesomeness at all. - Simon

Seems that Blue3 is worshipping at the alter of James McAvoy by the way he/she is carrying on about this article. Sheesh! Chill out already.

And it seems you have problems reading and interpreting. Because this is not about worshipping anyone; all I'm asking for is that McAvoy gets the credit he deserves for this project. The way Cumberbatch was singled out while the actor who is the PROTAGONIST isn't even mentioned in the title is absurd.
You know what, it would be really nice to see an article about Sherlock as "Mark Gatiss and cast returns". The fans of the main actors would be really cool about it, right?

its funny how people are freaking out that they mention Benedict Cumberbatch in the headline and not James McAvoy. Its entertainment people! one minute someone is hot news and then they move on down the bench for someone new. i guess no one remembers a little movie called "Atonement", starring James McAvoy as the lead male and, oh Benedict Cumberbatch as a very minor character. This is the industry people! Get over it.

You're right: it's not about worshipping anyone. It's surely about getting as many people as possible knowing about a Radio 4 broadcast next month.

We love James McAvoy (his performance in The Last King Of Scotland remains criminally underrated), but there's little denying that Benedict Cumberbatch's name will get more people knowing about the project beforehand. Which, at this stage, is surely the aim.

We'll have more on this take on Neverwhere shortly once we've heard it. - Simon

Exactly! I'm only here & excited about Neil Gaiman... and David Harewood. (brothers need to eat too)

Yes! Yes! Yes!

Absolutely. This is the way SEO works.

Hence some sites endless fawning
Christopher Nolan articles. "Why the Dark Knight Rises has actors in
it." or "10 things you already know about Christopher Nolan in a
slightly different order"

Other way around - it started as a BBC mini series that Gaiman adapted into a book.

It's a shame Lenny Henry didn't get more credit for this. Neverwhere was a joint production by Henry and Gaiman, yet only Gaiman seems to get any credit for it. There are startlingly few black folks involved with fantasy & comic culture, and it is rather worrying that journalists try to further bury what few exist.

Lenny Henry has an excellent track record with radio drama & comedy; his sitcom series "Rudy's Rare Records" is an absolute joy (with the vibe, and some of the cast, of the classic Channel 4 sitcom "Desmonds"). Furthermore his radio documentary series, and subsequent radio play, about his approach to Shakespeare's Othello, was superb.

You said it all - Cumberbatch in a very minor role in Atonement. Why would anyone mention him? But it's not the case here. James McAvoy IS the protagonist. The lack of mention is absurd and unfair, because he's not playing a minor role at all. Actually, the headline should have mentioned Natalie Dormer too, who has the other protagonist role alongside James; not Cumberbatch.

Plus we are talking about an internationally famous actor here, who will be headlining Danny Boy's next film, not a somebody who "moved down the bench".

So you just assumed that James McAvoy being the protagonist won't get people to listen to the broadcast. How sad that you believe that only one actor, just because he's in a successful TV series, is capable of bringing multitudes, but another incredibly good actor isn't probably "popular" enough to make people listen.

Anyway, this is your site and there's nothing I can do. Or maybe I can, alogside other McAvoy fans - retweet only news from sites which give a well deserved spotlight to James in this particular project. You may believe that "getting as many people as possible knowing about a Radio 4 broadcast" is more important. Fair enough. For me, acknowledging a wonderful actor who put a lot of effort into this production is what matters the most.

You said: "You may believe that "getting as many people as possible knowing about a Radio 4 broadcast" is more important."

My answer: absolutely definitely yes. Don't you? Afterwards? Whole different story. Then we can digest it, and give people the credit they deserve.

You said: "So you just assumed that James McAvoy being the protagonist won't get people to listen to the broadcast"

My answer: I'm not sure where I've even come close to saying that. Instead, I said that Benedict Cumberbatch will get more people knowing about the project. I'd still argue that's true.

I'm genuinely sorry you've assumed that we're all some kind of James McAvoy haters here, but it couldn't be further from the truth. That said, from your posts, I'm not sure we're anywhere close to meeting in the middle here. Appreciate the feedback nonetheless. - Simon

We have a very finite space for a headline, sadly.

I for one am incensed that Johnny Vegas, who is also in the cast for Neil Gaiman AND LENNY HENRY'S Neverwhere, does not merit equal billing with Cumberbatch and McAvoy by this "so-called" website.

Johnny Vegas is the star of numerous successful stand-up shows and Shooting Stars and Ideal and those brilliant Tea adverts with that monkey and much much more, though admittedly he has not yet been in any of Danny Boy's films (there's still time Johnny!) and yet you don't even even mention him once, let alone in the headline. IN fact, there are over 18 members of the cast, not to mention the crew and sound technicians and you don't list them all, so we can only assume you think that Benedict Cumberbatch farted this project ready-made out of his sacred arse. Johnny Vegas - a brilliant comedian and man - is obviously nothing to you people and you evidently wish he was dead. Shame on you all.

And I never said DoG hated McAvoy. I was just asking for the credit he is due. But everything has turned into a big popularity race these days, it seems.

The irony of this is I think we're actually on the same side. We both want people to listen to Neverwhere, to appreciate the skills and talents involved. We both like the cast. We both like the project.

You didn't say we hated James McAvoy granted, that just felt a little like the tone of what you were saying. Shall we shake hands and have a virtual coffee now? - Simon

No no, i know that! I mean, if the original series had been able to be carried out with higher production values/had some of the book content, which was largely stuff that had to be cut for budget from the miniseries.

Ah ok - yeah I get your now. Radio is better than TV though as you can create any special effect you like in your mind without having to rely on what is 'technically' possible.

I'll call it a truce. Still not happy with the fact that an amazing actor like McAvoy doesn't deserve a headline, but I'll wait for future Neverwhere news from DoG.

Woman's Hour plays a significant role in the phenomenon which is Sir Terry Practchett, don't overlook it. His first few books had pretty much gone un-noticed, but it was the Woman's Hour serialisation of 'The Colour of Magic' which brought it to wider attention. I've always wondered if they thought the author was really Theresa.

This is a geek site. Cumberbatch has more geek cred than McAvoy.

Well, good for him. He's so ugly and annoying, nice he found a niche in pop culture.

He's definitely not uglier than immature people like you and obviously the industry offers plenty of roles outside geek-sphere to him.

I'm practically suicidal that Bernard Cribbens name isn't mentioned higher in the cast list. I mean, he helped beat the Daleks, people? I'm willing to write several essays about this unless I get my way. Actually, I've lost interest now. Katanga my friends.

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