Classic Serial on BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio 4, 14 April 2013
Clive Brill's production conjured up a brutal world of warring clans and self-interested nobles, in a world perpetually threatened by invasion by the English. King Robert (Clive Russell) tried his utmost to enforce his authority, but even the most draconian threats failed to restore order for any length of time.
Beautiful glover's daughter Catherine Glover (Morven Christie) was thrust headlong into this world, and tried her best to survive. Faced with an agonizing decision of whether to marry the man she loves, or retire from the world and dedicate herself to a religious life, she tried her best to forge out an existence for herself. But that was no easy task in an overwhelmingly patriarchal world where she was often objectified; functioning as nothing more than a butt for the male characters in the adaptation. Whatever inadequacies they might possess were displaced on to her; she took the blame for everything, so to speak.
It is a testament to her strength of character that she not only emerged unscathed through this ordeal, but ended up by achieving her wishes. As Walter Scott, David Tennant quite clearly sympathized with her; whenever he described her actions, his tones assumed a softness that contrasted starkly with the way in which he depicted the barbarous world of fourteenth century Scotland. She clearly served as an example to others for her fortitude.
This was the first in a triple bill of Scott adaptations; with its combination of suggestive sounds - including occasional echoes and convincing vocal characterizations, it proved enthralling listening.