Literature on the radio. We remember the scary stories of Juan José Plans.

Literature on the radio

On the 13th, the World Radio Day. I will not let the month end without this memory of how lradio and literature have always maintained an excellent relationship. There has never been a lack of specific programs or sections in the most important of any chain. The last straw would have been to have a station or a thematic channel of its own. Today I want to evoke those mythical dramatizations of horror stories directed by the journalist, writer and broadcaster Juan José Plans, who died on a day like today in 2014.

I listened to them in 1996, in a first project that was Supernatural. First in London, through Radio Exterior. And later, in 1997, with its format already RNE Stories. There was more than one night of chills in that hostel where he lived four steps from Highgate Cemetery in the Hampstead neighborhood. They were great selections of works of Poe, HG Wells, Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde, Jules Verne and many more. The memory goes.

 RNE Stories and Juan José Plans

Stories o RNE Stories It was a program of National Radio of Spain that offered sound dramatizations of the greatest works of world literature. They played especially the genres of horror, mystery, suspense, science fiction and adventure. The dramatization was interspersed with references to the life and work of the authors. There was also talk of times in which those stories were written or developed and of the places in which they were set. In addition, comments were also added about their theatrical and film adaptations.

In front was Juan Jose Plans, (Gijón, 1943 - February 24, 2014). This writer, journalist, screenwriter and radio and television host launched a first project called Supernatural, issued from March 6, 1994 to September 2, 1996. Then there was a hiatus and in 1997 it became RNE Stories. The first space was dedicated to the Henry James classic, Another twist.


There were seven stages from Supernatural until the last broadcast in 2003. They were programs almost an hour duration, recorded on the Radio House in Prado del Rey (Madrid). They were issued from 1:05 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. from Sunday to Monday and without advertising spots. This is how they began:

Radio 1 of Radio Nacional de España presents ... Stories of terror, adventure, suspense, science fiction ... A program written and directed by Juan José Plans.

And then the introduction by Juan José Plans about the story that was going to be broadcast. Sometimes they could be told in a single program, either a single full-length story, or two or more short stories in a single program. Or what was more common: dividing a long story into two or more parts that were broadcast in consecutive weeks. In that case, there was always a brief summary of what happened.

Stories and authors

There were many authors whose stories were dramatized by a magnificent team of voice actors and technicians. All achieved the perfect recreation between music and sound effects. And among all those authors the most "terrifying" stood out. Remembered are those of The case of Mr. Valdemar by Edgar Allan PoeCarmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, and those of the cycle dedicated to Robert Louis Stevenson, The body thieves y Olalla.

I particularly prefer these two: El vampiro by John Polidori (or The Irresistible Lord Ruthven, as he was presented in the tale), and The lair of the white worm by Bram Stoker.

Afortunadamente all these programs, thanks to these new current technologies, they have been recovered in sound files that can be heard here!.

Now programs

There is still plenty to choose from and where quite a few genres play. To name a few we have:

  • In RNE they have Around the World in 80 books y Sound fiction, where horror classics like Dracula o The Exorcist.
  • In the SER is Black and criminal.


Do not miss these programs that entertain, entertain and make you learn. Master Plans will surely continue to like them.

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