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Just when you thought it was safe to enjoy memories of summer

By: stagedoorscribbler - September 10, 2018

Henry Goodman

It looks as though the hottest summer on record is finally over. The weather is still rather pleasant but the balmy pleasures of high-season are fast becoming little more than a memory.

For most of us that memory will be positive - sunbathing, swimming and barbecues and picnics with friends and family. We are also of course very aware of the downside, the very real threat posed by climate change and extreme weather patterns.

But as we struggle to cut our carbon footprint and curb the excesses that have put our planet in jeopardy we also accept with a smile the short-term bonus of mankind’s reckless behaviour - long, hot days on the beach.

Ironically one of the great pleasures of this summer was the serialisation by BBC Radio 4 of a story based on exactly that - long, hot days on the beach and the commercial power wielded by the usually natural phenomenon of  good weather and the seaside.

The story of course was Peter Benchley’s classic 1974 novel Jaws and it was brilliantly read by sometime Clive Conway Productions performer Henry Goodman.

Although it is still best known from Steven Spielberg’s multi-Oscar winning 1975 film, the book has sold more than 20 million copies.

Yet somehow award-winning actor Goodman breathed new life into the tale of the police, newspapers and civic heads at a Cape Cod beach and their reaction to an attack by a killer shark. At first they try to deny it, fearing that holidaymakers will be scared off but then mount a hopeless attempt to kill the biggest Great White anyone has ever seen.

Superb stuff, beautifully descriptive and containing elements left out of Spielberg’s film. Best of all you can still catch it on BBC iPlayer for the next three weeks.