Mortal (Radio Series)
In Mortal I found out which whales experience the menopause. You’ll have to listen to find out and why that might be an environmental issue
Written by Robin Ince in The Big Issue on May 10th, 2021
Bridget Christie’s new show, Mortal, is all about our journey to death, a four-parter that will eventually lead you across the River Styx. It is a sublime piece of work that is strange, funny and wonderfully visual. Each episode starts with MeYou (or as she calls it YouMe), Bridget’s ghost. It is a traditional double act partnership, even though they are not usually between the living and the dead. YouMe is a jovial and facile character to Bridget’s more serious-minded living self. We eavesdrop on Christie’s thoughts as she wanders through the park or fills the washing machine. We experience the process of someone working out what they might think – it is the creative process in action, but so well put together that it is always engaging.
The documentary reality of Christie dealing with her daily life while her mind travels to places of absurdity and surrealism works perfectly in showing the two worlds we live in. Our hands might be untangling a pair of pants caught in the sheets after a spin cycle, but our mind is pondering goat men living within the sewers (that’s me, not Christie). It is daft and serious, something that Christie has shown an innate skill for since her breakthrough show A Bic For Her, in which she said of herself: “I am to Simone de Beauvoir what Horrible Histories are to Simon Schama.” Like Horrible Histories, this is wonderfully entertaining, and you’ll have learned something interesting at the end (my son’s knowledge of syphilitic kings who exploded after they died was particularly impressive when he was eight).
In Mortal I found out which whales experience the menopause. You’ll have to listen to find out and why that might be an environmental issue. Mortal is not like anything else you’ll hear at 6.30pm on Radio 4. It is a wonderful example of artist and producer working together too, the sort of show that you listen to and then go straight back to BBC Sounds to listen to again. It is all enveloping and delightful company to keep.