After Callow's epicurean vowels, a little workout. Imelda Staunton cantered through Murder West One: Julie Enfield Investigates (Radio 4, Tuesday), equally at home belting out "I Will Survive" in a pub karaoke, grilling interviewees, and slotting in the requisite plot explication. Good acting and crisp direction hustled the brief but creaky plot along, with a classic final confrontation between the drugged and bound heroine and a devilishly suave villain - the excellent David Collings - about to remove her vital organs to finance his escape to Canada.
Cross Peggy Ramsay with Imelda Staunton and you might well produce Betty Boothroyd. Madam Speaker (Radio 4, Thursday) was a cosy fireside chat with the cocoa-and-Gauloises-voiced Head Matron, an ex-Tiller girl who relaxes by paragliding ("lovely and peaceful"). Despite the occasional gift of teabags and romantic music from American fans, she is never lonely as she watches the MPs in what she calls "my House", and is unflappable throughout their ghastliest hullaballoos. She has suspended the House only once: "that was on a Friday evening, when the Scots got rather difficult". Quite.
After the hurly-burly, a meditation on stillness and stature. Cyril Ramaphosa's description of Nelson Mandela (Out of Darkness: The Triumph of Nelson Mandela, Radio 4, Tuesday) serving cake and pouring tea on the day of his release from captivity, while outside the prison half a million people surged on a broiling, dizzy afternoon, encapsulated the humility of true greatness that places him at the head of the century. The "servant, not the prophet" of his people, Mandela retained immutable dignity through his 27-year incarceration and, to the astonishment of many, an abiding faith in reconciliation above all else. A long wait in the eye of the storm.Reuse content