‘Payback': Radio 4 play on The Yom Kippur War

September 15, 2012 at 3:50 pm (BBC, drama, Egypt, history, Jim D, Middle East, Syria, United States, USSR, war, wireless)

I’ve just been listening to Jonathan Myerson‘s ‘Payback’ on BBC Radio 4. It has a superb cast (including Henry Goodman as Kissinger, Peter Marinker as Nixon, Sara Kestelman as Golda Meir and Kerry Shale as Al Haig and Simcha Dinitz) and demonstrates considerable historical and psychological insight. It’s about the October 1973 ‘Yom Kippur War’ when Egypt and Syria launched an attack to recover the territories occupied by Israel in 1967, and very nearly succeeded. The play concentrates on the interaction between the war and Richard Nixon’s increasingly desperate efforts to fend off an investigation into Watergate and the release of the tapes. The behind-the-scenes negotiations/shadow-boxing  between Kissinger and the USSR (in the form of Soviet Ambassador Dobrynin)  is also dealt with very convincingly.


Yom Kippur War

Despite the deadly serious subject matter, there’s some grim humour in Myerson’s script, mainly provided by Nixon’s brilliantly scatalogical and scurrilous use of language, especially when describing enemies and fairweather friends.

The political repercussions of the Yom Kippur War were almost as vast as those of the 1967 War and are necessary for any informed understanding of the Middle East and, indeed, the world, today.

This is radio drama at its best. If you have an hour to spare (and if you haven’t – make one!), listen and learn. Or you can download it from here (Amazon, I’m afraid). Essential listening for anyone interested in recenty history and contemporary politics – or who just enjoys superb radio drama.

3 Comments

  1. Roger McCarthy (@RF_McCarthy) said,

    Excellent tip.

    As an alternative to paying Amazon for BBC podcasts I highly recommend Radio Downloader a brilliant free application that will automatically download whatever BBC radio shows (and RSS’d podcasts from for instance NPR) you specify and save them:

    http://www.nerdoftheherd.com/tools/radiodld/

    Thanks to this I never have to actually turn on a wireless set at all.

  2. Monsuer Jelly said,

    i may at some point tell you how to watch telyvision on the internet that means you can get bbc telly from anywhere in the werld. Furrens telly is REALLY FUCKKING SHIT.

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