The prince himself sounded worryingly peculiar, like an extra from `Allo Allo'
A TALL youth, he was, said the woman, and his shirt not very clean, but still, "A felt ma hairt swail ta ma verrra throot". These are great days for Scotland. Not only has the Edinburgh Festival (and the heat) had record crowds swooning, but every Jacobite hairt has been swailing to the memory of the '45, for this week sees the 250th anniversary of The Year of the Bonnie Prince (R2).

Bonnie Charlie is an impossibly romantic figure. In truth he was an impossible man: vain, wilful and deeply melancholic, he needed a bottle of brandy a day simply to keep him going. Yet the soaring hopes of his followers have left a legacy of nostalgic regret, immortalised in the beautiful, yearning air "Will ye no come back again?". That song, and others, graced Donald Campbell's elegant and informative documentary. One, in particular, provided a repeated refrain, rhyming the hopeful laddie with the land of his daddy, and ending with the terrible truth: "A far better man than ever he was lies out in the heather in his tartan plaidie".

Resisting the sentimentality of the "Skye Boat Song", the narrative followed both dream and disaster. The Prince himself sounded worryingly peculiar, like an extra from 'Allo, 'Allo with a touch of Cardiff, but it had nothing to do with the actor's name. Finlay Welsh was just doing his best to reproduce the accent of a man who grew up far away from the land of his daddy, surrounded by foreigners. Welsh appeared in another entertaining piece by Donald Campbell. In The Sisters of the Sciennes (R4), Anthony Donaldson as the wounded King V of Scotland produced a royal voice that was, reassuringly, almost exactly like our own none- too-bonnie Prince Charlie's. Welsh played a doctor desperately trying to discover a cure for the plague: the nuns had developed a cordial which seemed to help, but it was only when one of them thought to add yarrow to the brew that the fever subsided.

Don't knock it: you never know when a sprig of yarrow could come in handy. There is an ancient Sanskrit remedy for schizophrenia that uses a Himalayan herb which is still thought efficacious for treating this terrible condition, touchingly defined by those old Indian healers as "chronic shade-seeking". Patients seeking shade in the intensive therapy unit of Manchester's Withington Hospital were spotlit in Sound Mind (R4), a series about how we treat mental illness today. A man was due for an injection he didn't want. "You three restrain me?" he shouted. "You're only little nurses. Piss off, the lot of you!". Just as we felt we shouldn't be eavesdropping, we were told that he was the nursing officer, training recruits in the treatment of violent patients.

Unlike many other "civilised" countries, we no longer use straitjackets and manacles, preferring the chemical cosh of a fast- acting drug. The doctor in charge was infinitely kind, infinitely sad, recommending that we should read Dostoevsky if we wanted to understand something of the suffering of these people - whose minds, he said were not split so much as shattered.

If fiction fails, we could try philosophy. But there's not much help to be found in Plato or Descartes if you believe yet another Scot, Dominik Diamond. His series Philosophy Figures (R4) is relentlessly jokey. Plato is there only to help him decide whether or not Pamela Anderson is truly beautiful. As for Descartes, he existed (probably), only to offer an excuse for naff T-shirts saying I'm Pink Therefore I'm Spam, and to ask profound questions such as is there a God and why do flares keep coming back into fashion. The World Service did much better last year with Philosophers in a Nutshell.

Back in Edinburgh, Paul Allen presented a whirling Kaleidoscope (R4) from the sweltering Pleasance Theatre. With a record number of reviews and snippets of performance, he sounded like a one-man show himself, tossing in comic asides and muddling up the King's Theatre with the King's Head. Was it an obsession with royalty or just a desperate heat-induced thirst?

The weather has sent everyone slightly mad. The traffic news warned of a goat wandering aimlessly near Banstead and The Archers (R4) were flummoxed by the drought. Written long ago, the story is lumbered with a normal English summer, the cast sheltering under macintoshes in drenching rain. You suspect that one little sentence has been added later, many times, in a doomed attempt at verisimilitude. Every complaint about downpour is followed by a desperate rejoinder: "Oh, it's only a shower". Try telling that to Severn Trent Water Ltd.

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