A Podcast to the Curious - The M.R. James Podcast show

A Podcast to the Curious - The M.R. James Podcast

Summary: A Podcast to the Curious is the only podcast dedicated to the weird fiction of M.R. James! Each episode your humble hosts Will Ross and Mike Taylor will be tackling a different M.R James story, proving a commentary on the story and discussing it's themes and form interlaced with readings. Along the way we hope to include discussion on stage, screen and radio adaptations of James' stories, information on James' life and interests as well as on the legions of authors who were inspired by him.

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 Episode 28 – After Dark in the Playing Fields | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 30:00

In this episode, talking owls. Yes, you heard me correctly. Talking owls. Has Monty completely lost his marbles? Mike and Will ask just that in this episode on ‘After Dark in the Playing Fields‘ by M.R. James. Readings by kind permission of grand panjandrum and actor Robert Lloyd Parry! The full reading of this story […]

 Episode 27 – There was a man dwelt by a churchyard | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 28:55

In this episode Mike & Will don their funeral garb and shuffle mournfully into ‘There was a man dwelt by a churchyard‘ by M.R. James. A big thanks to Robert Lloyd Parry for giving us permission to use readings extracted from his excellent CD ‘Curious Creatures: The Shorter Horror of M.R. James‘, available to purchase […]

 Episode 26 – A Neighbour’s Landmark | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 46:22

This episode it is the turn of ‘A Neighbour’s Landmark‘ by M.R. James to receive the critial going-over it deserves at the hands of Will and Mike. Thanks to Kirsty for the excellent readings! Show notes: ‘”They’ve got him! In the trees!” M.R. James and Sylvan Dread’ by Steve Duffy (Ghosts & Scholars) ‘So jarred […]

 Interview with A.N. Donaldson | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 33:58

This episode Mike and Will speak to the author A.N. Donaldson, whose debut novel ‘Prospero’s Mirror‘ features M.R. James as the main protagonist! In the novel M.R. James is summoned to Old College, Oxford to examine the inscription on an ancient mirror which may have belonged to the magician John Dee. Soon James finds himself […]

 Episode 25 – The Uncommon Prayer-book | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 53:44

This episode Mike & Will put on their golden pince-nez and crack the spine of ‘The Uncommon Prayer-book’ by M.R. James! Big thanks go to our reader for this episode, Debbie Wedge. Questions answered during this episode: Is M.R. James an anti-semite? Is Mr Poschwitz the Germanic Lovejoy? How much snakebite is too much snakebite? […]

 Episode 24 – The Haunted Dolls’ House | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 55:57

This episode Will and Mike delve into the toy box and pull out something truly horrible in the form of ‘The Haunted Doll’s House‘ by M.R. James! Show notes: Queen Mary’s Dolls’s House This story was written for a real dolls’ house, the one created by the architect Sir Edwin Lutyens for Queen Mary of […]

 Reading – ‘Sredni Vashtar’ by Saki | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 13:21

Due to illness we haven’t managed to record the next full episode yet, but in the meantime here’s a little something we hope you’ll enjoy, an exclusive reading of ‘Sredni Vashtar’ by M.R. James’s literary contemporary Saki (aka H.H. Munro). This reading was recorded specially for the podcast by Hamish Symington! Thanks Hamish! If you […]

 Episode 23 – The Fenstanton Witch | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 58:53

In this episode Will and Mike travel back in time to the early 18th century to examine some diabolical goings on in rural Cambridgeshire in M.R. James’s ‘The Fenstanton Witch‘. Show notes: Story Locations (Monty’s World) This story features many real-world locations, starting in King’s College Cambridge, and following Hardman and Ashe up the Huntindon […]

 Episode 22 – Two Doctors | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 47:01

This episode Mike & Will put on their thinking caps and puzzle their way through ‘Two Doctors‘ by M.R. James. Thanks to Kirsty for the excellent readings, and to Alisdair Wood for the great illustration to the left. Don’t forget to vote on which story you would like to see Stephen Gray and his crew […]

 Episode 21 – The Story of a Disappearance and an Appearance | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1:17:11

It’s Christmas Special time again! This year Will & Mike look at the one and only M.R. James story actually set during the festive season, ‘The Story of a Disappearance and an Appearance’. This episode also features a Christmas Bonus in the form of an interview with film director Stephen Gray whose new adaptation of […]

 Episode 20 – Speaker Lenthall’s Tomb | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 50:42

In this episode Mike and Will head up the road to Burford to take a peek inside Speaker Lenthall’s Tomb by M.R. James! Yes, it is another unpublished M.R. James manuscript fragment this week. The most complete version of this story is available in ‘Curious Warning: The Great Stories of M.R. James’ edited by Stephen […]

 Episode 19 – John Humphreys | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 49:19

This episode Mike & Will examine John Humphreys. No, not the newsreader, the unfinished story draft by M.R. James! The most complete version of the manuscript, as transcribed by Rosemary Pardoe, can be read online at the Ghosts & Scholars Website. Big thanks for the readings goes to Kirsty W… no wait, Kirsty Taylor! Also […]

 Episode 18 – An Episode of Cathedral History | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1:02:20

This episode Will & Mike slip into their cassocks, whip out their prayerbooks and head down to Southminster for ‘An Episode of Cathedral History’ by M.R. James. Questions answered in this episode: – When is a vampire not a vampire? – Do Lamia have hairy legs? – What length of skirt do Mike and Will […]

 Episode 17 – The Diary of Mr Poynter | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 53:52

This episode Mike and Will recoil in horror from some fearsome home furnishings in ‘The Diary of Mr Poynter’ by M.R. James. Big thanks to our reader for this episode, the mighty Paul Maclean (@ysdc on Twitter). You may know Paul from the ‘Call of Cthulhu’ RPG hub Yog-Sothoth.com and it’s Lovecraftian publishing wing InnsmouthHouse.com. […]

 Reading – Ghosts, Treat them Gently! | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 13:50

Mike is off on his honeymoon at the moment, so in lieu of a full episode Will provides a reading of and short commentary on an M.R. James essay ‘Ghosts – Treat them Gently!‘ which was originally published in the Evening News on 17 April 1931. In the essay Monty talks about what ingredients he […]


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