DECEMBER 2010 RADIO DRAMA REVIEW
This is now online. See 2010 reviews page. There's also a new article on broadcasting in Scotland, by Catherine Czerkawska, reproduced by permission. It originally appeared in the Scottish Review.
.... 23 Dec
ROSE TREMAIN'S NEW RADIO PLAY
Today's Daily Telegraph (15 Dec 10) contains a long article on page 25 by Rose Tremain about her new play. It's centred on Wallis Simpson, whose relationship with Edward VIII led to his abdication. The play will be broadcast on Radio 4 on Dec 28th 2010.
More reviews of favourite classic plays from Jim in Canada.
.... 12 Dec
Just completed: pages on Stewart Farrar , Dave Simpson and Allen Sadler , radio writers.
.... 6 Dec
RADIO DRAMA IN THE FIFTIES
Mike Lloyd in Portugal has sent another interesting article about radio drama, this time in the fifites, written by Jocelyne Tobin. Thanks Mike.
.... 28 Nov
DAVE SHEASBY SEASON
Mary Kalemkerian has organised a short 'Dave Sheasby Season' on radio 7, following his play on Remembrance Sunday, 14 Nov 2010. Here are some of the Sheasby plays broadcast / being broadcast. For dates and times, consult the BBC website or Radio Times:
R7, 14 Nov 2010. When schoolteacher Arthur Willis resolves to be a Conscientious Objector in the Great War, he finds it has a devastating effect on his life and family. Cast: includes Ian Dunn, Andrea Gascoigne, Joan Walker, Gavin Muir. Producer David Hunter.
THE REAL DENNIS TRUELOVE
R7. Fine Time Fontayne stars as Dennis, a bank employee who escapes his job to head off on an adventure, hoping the police don't catch him. First broadcast as a Womans Hour drama serial in June 1998, produced by David Hunter.
APPLE BLOSSOM AFTERNOON
R7.Horseracing drama. 1988. Produced by Tony Cliff.
R7.Marjorie's creative writing class has been running for years, but a newcomer arrives to shake things up. Heather Stoney, Graham Roberts, produced by Tony Cliff, first broadcast in August 1990.
R7.As mountaineers mourn a friend, a journalist speaks to his widow - and someone who was on the fatal climb. With Russell Dixon, Nigel Carrington, produced by Tony Cliff, broadcast December 1988.
THE AMAZING RATMAN STORY
R7.R4 23 Aug 2000; An old man has a tale to tell about a piper and a town plagued with rats, but unless it makes good television, no-one wants to hear it. Stars Bernard Cribbins, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Colin Salmon; dir. Pam Fraser Solomon.
FIVE SUMMERS AND JOHNNY
R7.A photo provokes vivid memories for Anne of an intense lost love story across the English Channel. Staring Susan Jameson, Ella Smith and James French; producer David Hunter, Dec 2005.
INCIDENT AT BOULONVILLIERS
R7.Three Second World War veterans return on a coach trip to Normandy and are forced to confront a difficult incident back in 1944 - and consequently their own "heroism". Cast includes Geoffrey Whitehead, David Hargreaves, Michael Mears and Ella Smith. Broadcast July 2009 , produced by David Hunter.
WORLD SERVICE DRAMA TO DISAPPEAR
The entire drama output on the World Service is going to disappear in March 2011.
The BBC World Service was and is a showcase for diverse drama productions including plays by authors from around the world.
This announcement, about cancellation of the entire output, is very bad news indeed.
.... 9 Oct
Writers' Guild / Society of Authors:
Response to the Axing of World Service Drama
We are dismayed to learn of plans to cease all BBC World Service drama output next March.
Radio drama is a unique way of supporting the work of British dramatists and encouraging the development of new writers, so any reduction in output would be worrying. In the case of the World Service, the loss would be particularly keenly felt because it broadcasts to communities which otherwise have little or no exposure to drama. Not only does the World Service broadcast very fine and widely acclaimed radio plays, it also stimulates awareness of British writers internationally and encourages interest in writing throughout the world.
It would be short-sighted to reduce the number of plays on the World Service. To contemplate abandoning its dramatic output entirely seems incredible. We ask for an immediate reversal of this drastic and potentially highly damaging decision.
Sent by the Radio Committee of the Writers' Guild and the Broadcasting Committee of the Society of Authors / reproduced by permission. 12 Oct 2010
JEREMY MORTIMER / PETER TINNISWOOD / IMISON
Big update of Jeremy Mortimer's page now done. Also note that Peter Tinniswood's last play, written just before his death, was broadcast on Thursday 7 Oct 2010; producer Gordon House.
The Imison and Tinniswood Awards were presented by Rose Tremain on 4 Oct 10 at the National Liberal Club, London; Alison and I were privileged to attend. The winners and a digest of what happened on the evening are given on the Imison and Tinniswood pages.
.... 8 Oct
New radio review, Sept 2010, is now online.
.... 30 Sept
I have compiled a page on the radio plays of Arnold Hill, from information sent to me by Alan Hill, in Canada. He was a prolific playwright in the fifties and sixties. Does anyone have any recordings?
.... 15 Aug
Andrew Rissik's page was accessed more than that of any other writer during August. Top three were: Andrew (181 visitors), Nick Warburton (155), Mike Walker (101). As has been said before, the figures vary wildly from month to month, depending on what has been broadcast on R4 and R7.
.... 2 Aug
NEW RADIO DRAMA WEBSITE
I have just found out about a new radio drama site, www.radiodramareviews.com, containing Laurence Raw's Reviews. Four hundred of them so far, all on relatively recent material (2008 onwards).
.... 31 Jul
Jim's notes. Take a look. This can be accessed directly from the top of the RADIO PLAYS page. I will be adding items to this page as time permits.
.... 30 Jul
EMAILING THE SITE
I reply to emails within 24 hours whenever possible. If you email and do not receive a reply, it may be that I cannot reach you by email. I often have emails to hotmail accounts returned to me "undeliverable".
If you receive no reply, try using another email account, if you have one.
Natasha, if you are there .... the answer to your query, received 13 July: (my emails to you keep coming back) - the serial "Alexander" is by David Wade, and it was broadcast during 1993.
.... 15 Jul
I have been sent two interesting articles; one about Frederick Treves, and another about an operation in which he was caught up during World War 2 as a junior cadet officer in the Merchant Navy. This was Operation Pedestal , one of the most dangerous yet ultimately celebrated Allied convoys of all time.
.... 15 Jul
SHORT STORY ENTHUSIASTS
Writing by Sandi Johnson now added to the site.
I have now put online eleven of her short stories , a novella Not Quite Tijuana , and three factual pieces including a very touching 'Memory from Childhood'.
.... 21 Jun
POPULAR RADIO PAGES
Most visited radio writer pages in May were (1)Wally K Daly, (2)Nick Warburton, (3)R.D.Wingfield, (4)Mike Walker. The figures vary wildly from month to month, but there's a close relationship with what is broadcast on Radio 7.
The Radio Review for April 2010 is now online.
I also notice that Radio Jersey has four specially commissioned radio dramas on its website. These are well worth a listen.
Bob Thirsk has started compiling the R4 drama listings for 2010 and the first part of these will be put online soon. I have also begun pages on Ed Harris (of Porshia fame) and Ed Hime.
This is the name of the current Sony Digital Radio Station of the Year, which provides music, stories and entertainment for children under 10. It can be heard in London and the South-East. I will be giving it a try.
The most-visited author pages in the 30 days to 26 March were Andrew Rissik (160 visitors) and Nick Warburton (156).
CRITICS OF BBC DRAMA POLICY
Sir Tom Stoppard, Alan Plater and Lee Hall have all criticised publicly the recent cuts to BBC Radio 4's drama budget, especially the abolition of the Friday Play. The cuts will have a negative effect on young writers submitting to Radio 4, and will make virtually no difference to the BBC's outgoings.
Radio drama is far cheaper than shows hosted by highly-paid celebrities. The management knows this, and so do the listeners.
Neville Teller has recently commented on the lack of children's programming on BBC 7. This too needs sorting out, or young people will not be attracted to intelligent speech-based radio.
Neville Teller comments in the Daily Telegraph, 25 Mar 10, on the lack of children's programmes on radio. Children's programmes were part of the schedules for Radio 7 (BBC7) when the new digital station began in 2002. ....I wrote material for its two daily programmes, the 'Big Toe' and 'Little Toe' radio shows. But these sat uneasily in Radio 7's schedules. Listeners seeking archive drama were annoyed to find children's programmes.
Children's radio is now defunct. The hour of readings for older children, under the title 'Big Toe Books', is archive material from the backlist. No new programmes for children are being produced.
Neville goes on to say that the moment for a dedicated children's radio channel has arrived.
A RED CAR IN THE FOUNTAIN
Philip Corker, author of 'A Red Car in the Fountain', has written an interesting article for us about how he came to write this well-known play. See the page One Way to Write a Radio Play.
I have also compiled a page about his radio work . .....21 Mar
BERNIE CORBETT SPEAKS UP FOR RADIO DRAMA
I noticed in the Daily Telegraph on 19 Mar 2010 that the General Secretary of the Writers' Guild, Bernie Corbett, wrote in defence of Radio Drama and the imminent BBC cuts caused (in my view) by overspending in other areas. I am summarising his remarks here.
We have recently seen the abandonment of drama on the World Service, the cancellation of radio soaps, the imminent loss of the Friday Play, and the dumbing-down of the Woman's Hour drama slot into little more than dramatised narration between a couple of characters.
The reason for this is the BBC's policy that all departments must reduce expenditure by the same percentage. The savings in radio drama will be miniscule compared to the overspend on television programmes of doubtful value. A Friday Play can be made for the price of ten minutes of 'Strictly Come Dancing'.
The BBC should do what it does best - and one of its strengths is radio drama. This is enormously valuable, and helps many writers onto the first rung of the ladder in making careers in radio, tv and film. Cutting the radio drama budget makes no sense.
.....It is true that there is now slightly less drama on network radio, but that is part of a strategy to invest in quality rather than quantity. BBC radio remains the biggest commissioner of new radio-drama writing in the world.
....If you wish to comment on the article, please read the original on the DT website; not my precis. As for Alison Hindell's reply, I hope that it is not 'management-speak', and that 'quality rather than quantity' means what it says. - N.D.
BOB THIRSK LISTS - 2009
RHYS ADRIAN SEASON, BBC RADIO 7
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