WILLIAM THIRSK-GASKILL I am pleased to report an interesting first radio play by William Thirsk-Gaskill, "Escape Kit", broadcast 5 Nov 2019 and now on Listen-Again.
It stars Will Taylor, Reginald Edwards, Verity Kirk, Patrick Knowles, Tanya L Dee and David Shaw-Parker; producer was Clive Brill, for Brill Productions.
YOUTUBE Alistair W tells me that two of the main Youtube channels which have been posting BBC copyright radio drama material have been closed down because of multiple copyright violations. It is frustrating for the non-collector, and for the writers and production teams, that radio drama is often ephemeral; once it's gone it's gone, unless it's repeated on radio 4 Extra ... but this doesn't get over the fact that posting copyright material which you do not own is illegal.
I note also that a lot of the more recent material which was on the Internet Archive, again posted in breach of copyright and performing rights rules, has been made inaccessible.
20 Sep 2019
BETTY DAVIES Ned Chaillet's detailed record of Betty Davies' life is now on Wikipedia. Search for Betty Davies (radio).
18 Sep 2019
NEW PAGES A new page is online for the West Indian writer Sam Selvon, and a big update to the page for Helen Perry, radio producer. Mary Peate's page is in progress.
10 Aug 2019
T.D.WEBSTER I have been contacted by David Webster, who informs me that his father Tom died recently, aged 87.
Tom had a successful career in Education. He was a teacher and latterly a headmaster; first in Lincoln, then in Nottinghamshire.
Whilst teaching he found time to write a large number of first-class radio plays, twenty-eight of which were broadcast; an amazing achievement.
He expanded one of the plays into a novel about five years ago - 'Send in the Clown'. This is available through Amazon - an excellent read.
Tom talked to me a while ago about doing another novel, but time constraints (caring for his wife) prevented him.
He will be much missed.
9 Aug 2019
AUDIO DRAMA AWARDS 2020 - CALL FOR ENTRIES: It's that time of year again - getting ready for the next set of audio drama awards.
Please apply before 6 Oct 2019 with all supporting materials. Details on the links. There is a small fee for the Tinniswood but the Imison is free.
TINNISWOOD AWARD Best original script; £3000 prize sponsored by the ALCS:
IMISON AWARD Best original script by a writer new to audio drama; £3000 prize sponsored by the Peggy Ramsay Foundation:
31 Jul 2019
NEW PAGES A page for Adrian Penketh's radio plays is now online, and one for Michael Chaplin.
27 Jul 2019
DATA COLLECTION It looks like I will have to cease collecting data for visitor numbers. The counter I am using (Pl**k) has become erratic and unreliable since June.
27 Jul 2019
STEPHEN THORNE I am very sorry to report that Stephen Thorne, the well-known radio actor, has died. He was famous the world over for his appearances in BBC radio drama. He played Uncle Mort in Peter Tinniswood's Carter Brandon stories, but he appeared in countless one-off radio plays, frequently as the voice of authority in a bewildering world, where his voice was instantly recognisable.
My friend DC has written this short appreciation:
Stephen Thorne had one of radio's most easily distinguishable voices. Including repeats he appeared on Radio 3 and Radio 4 on one thousand, two hundred and thirty-two occasions. He also appeared many times in BBC7 and R4X repeats. I wonder if newspaper obituaries will make any mention of any of them.
He first appeared in a Saturday Night Theatre production in August 1963, as Stubbs in 'No Highway' by Neville Shute. His first Radio 3 part was as Secretary in 'Thought to be Writ by Shakespeare', an anonymous work adapted by Raymond Raikes.
Throughout his career on radio he worked with a vast range of stage, radio and television actors, his powerful, fruity, sonorous voice adding weight to every production he appeared in.
His final appearances seem to have been as Don Fernando in Pierre de Corneille's play 'El Cid' for Radio 3 on 21 May 2017 and, on Radio 4, as Inspector Lestrade in 'The Eyes of Horus', in one of the Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes in 2009.
Stephen Thorne will be remembered by radio listeners as an actor of standing and integrity; an actor of great ability in the art of radio acting and as an actor who made a huge contribution to the now almost-lost pleasures of British broadcasting.
He was born in 1935.
28 May 2019
AUDIO DRAMA FESTIVAL, GOLDSMITHS 11-12 May Ian Johns has sent an interesting report from the Goldsmiths Audio Drama Festival. Click on the link to read it. Audio drama festivals are great fun; they give people the opportunity to meet other enthusiastic listeners and the production teams for many of the items under discussion.
I hope this event at Goldsmiths will appear regularly on the calendar.
Many thanks to Ian for compiling his report.
3 May 2019
GEOFF NORCOTT Geoff Norcott has been appointed to the BBC's diversity and inclusion panel.
Amongst the members of the panel are four who represent women, young people, ethnic communities and LGBT. The group minitors the BBC's output and its purpose is to ensure it is suitable for all sections of society.
Geoff's appointment follows a period when BBC comedy output has been criticised by many people as being too left-wing. Geoff shares this view, remarking in 2017 about the comedy world's commentary on Brexit. Comedians appearing on the BBC were almost completely opposed to it. He pointed out that a 50-50 vote in the country had not been represented as such on the small screen (or on the radio - Ed.).
He worked as a teacher before becoming a stand-up comedian. He is Britain's first openly Conservative comedian; a Leave voter who jokes about his views in his routine. He is on Youtube; his material is a refreshing change from the BBC's normal comedy output.
3 May 2019
GOLDSMITHS AUDIO DRAMA FESTIVAL
You are invited to the Goldsmiths Audio Drama Festival 2019, sponsored by Audible.
This is a two-day celebration of audio drama in the UK with two well known guests of honour- playwright Roy Williams and BBC producer Jeremy Howe.
The festival will feature talks, panel discussions, live performances, and examples of audio from the BBC, indies and podcasters. By bringing together people from all areas of the industry: listeners,programme makers, writers and educators, we hope that the festival will be of interest to all who hear or make or write radio drama.
Saturday 11 May & Sunday 12th May, 9.30am-5.30pm, LG02 Professor Stuart Hall Building, Goldsmiths, University of London,
New Cross, SE14 6NW.
If you click on this Eventbrite link you can see the full schedule of events and also RSVP. registration link
The event is free to attend but spaces will fill up so please register if you'd like to come.
Rosie Lumley/Goldsmiths Audio Drama Festival Team
Note from ND: Festivals like this are a lot of fun. If anyone reading this is within range and likes radio plays, GO! You'll meet writers, producers etc and have a great time.
3 May 2019
UK INTERNATIONAL RADIO DRAMA FESTIVAL - AUDIENCE AWARD The Audience Award was won by the Georgian entry, TRAVELLING IN AFRICA, by Nugzar Shataidze; adapted and directed by Zurab Kandelaki. (36m) This is a play about the refugees from Abkhazia, who had to leave their homes, described by a 12-year-old boy who is trying to find his father. There is a short episode within the play in Abkhazian. First broadcast 26 May 2018, Georgian Radio Drama. Language: Georgian.
My rough notes about the drama, written immediately after hearing it, read as follows: "A child refugee play; the child hitches a lift in lots of ways; good pace; sensitive use of piano music and sound effects. A good 'feel' to the story. Excellent piece of work."
3 May 2019
A note from the director:
I want to say a lot of thanks to you - It is very important for the future of Georgian Radio drama “TRAVELLING IN AFRICA” success of our play. For our team this is very good motivation for new inspiration and new radio plays. This year on the radio festival there were a big number of really interesting radio plays. This fact shows, and I’m very glad to realize it, that the genre of radio drama is still actual and alive. So nice that the storyline of our radio drama,very sensitive and painful theme for us, (as you know the part of my country - Georgia is occupied), was so familiar for audience of different nationalities.
Many thanks to the people who organized this festival – so important for radio drama genre.
With kind regards, from all my team
Travelling in Africa by Georgian Public Broadcasting won the 2019 Audience Award.
21 May 2019
JEROME K JEROME: RADIO 4 EXTRA R4X is broadcasting "The Dancing Partner" by Jerome, of 'Three Men in a Boat' fame; story from 1893 adapted by Michael and Mollie Harwick. When a group of young women complain about a lack of dance partners, a toymaker gets creative. With Shirley Cooklin, Sheila Grant and Patricia Clapton. First broadcast 15 Jan 1963 as a Thirty Minute Theatre. James Hayter and members of the BBC Drama Rep. Signature tune by Ron Grainer. Special effects by the Radiophonic Workshop. Music arranged and conducted by Denys Darlow. Producer: Charles Lefeaux.
28 Mar 2019
REPORT: UK INTERNATIONAL RADIO DRAMA FESTIVAL Short extract from an interesting piece by Kate Chisholm in The Spectator, 30 Mar 2019:
As the ravens circle around Broadcasting House in London’s West End, presaging difficult times ahead for BBC Radio, with less money to play with at a time of increased competition from its commercial rivals, a very different kind of listening experience was on offer last week in an upstairs room above a café in Canterbury. The UK International Radio Drama Festival is in its fifth year, gathering dramas from across Europe and beyond for a week of intense and unusual audio, transmitted in 18 different languages. Thirty or so of us sat around as the plays were broadcast through a number of old-fashioned radio sets, listening to monologues, musicals, character studies, experimental sound art in Czech, German, Farsi, Spanish, Slovene, Serbian, Romanian, Russian and more.
How on earth can you follow what’s going on when you can’t possibly know what anyone is saying? Remarkably well: each play has an English translation which you can read word-for-word as the drama unfolds. (.........more...)
28 Mar 2019
IMPRESSIONS OF THE FESTIVAL I have put together a few notes about the festival, for those who are interested to read a little about European radio drama. Perhaps it will persuade some of you to come to the next festival in early 2020.
N.D. 24 Mar 2019
FESTIVAL INFORMATION My take on the festival, describing each drama and lots of other things about the five-day event is available here: CANTERBURY FESTIVAL
UK INTERNATIONAL RADIO DRAMA FESTIVAL - LISTENING SESSIONS Our venue is the Caffè Nero, 44 High Street, CT1 2SA. Join us 18-22 March in the cafe's space upstairs to listen to the best radio dramas in the world. Not sure how to get there? Check the MAP on the official festival website.
The café is a 10 minute walk from both Canterbury West and East railway stations, close to the beautiful Cathedral.
Everyone welcome, admission free.
6 Mar 2019
FESTIVAL GOES PAPERLESS The UK International Radio Drama Festival is the first major international radio drama
festival to go paperless. Each year, we print, transport and recycle 75000 sheets of
paper, providing listeners with access to English language translations of the
works being heard. The translations and texts are vital and ensure that everyone is able to
enjoy the plays to the full.
This year, our festival is breaking new ground and going paperless.
With the generous support of festival entrants, we are providing participants with e-readers,
pre-loaded with the scripts.
The e-readers will remain the property of the festival to protect authors’ rights
and to ensure quick and easy access to the translations.
3 Mar 2019
JURY CHAIRMAN, UK INTERNATIONAL RADIO DRAMA FESTIVAL I am pleased to report that Jonathan Keeble will be chairing the jury. Jonathan is well known to radio drama listeners; I can trace 580 of his appearances (1995-present) in plays and readings on R4, another 50 on R3, and 8 on World Service.
The fifth UK International Radio Drama Festival takes place in Canterbury from 18 – 22 March 2019.
The festival presents five days of live listening to radio/audio plays drawn from
19 different countries and presented in 15 different languages.
This year’s theme – celebrating our fifth anniversary – takes as its theme “your best
ever work” and has attracted over 60 entries ranging in length from a couple of minutes to a full hour. Entries come from national broadcasters and from independent producers and span a wide range of genres.
About the festival The Festival is the UK’s only radio drama festival. It is the only European festival of its kind to be
produced by an independent company rather than a national broadcaster. It is produced by
International Arts Partnership (Artistic Director Jonathan Banatvala) on a mission to bring audio
drama in a range of languages and cultural styles to a UK audience. We are proud that the
festival’s awards have predominantly been made to emerging international independent
The festival programme is selected from the 60+ entries. This year entries have been received
from: Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Iceland, Iran, Ireland,
Italy, Lithuania, Romania, Russia, Spain, Slovenia, Serbia, UK, USA .
The programme will be announced next week.
The festival will take place this year in Canterbury after four years in Herne Bay. It will run Monday to Friday 10 am to about 5pm apart from Wednesday afternoon. We will be announcing the chair of the jury shortly.
13 Feb 2019
MARK STEEL IN ABERYSTWYTH Excellent examination of this little Welsh town by Mark Steele - an object lesson in how to communicate with an audience: witty, erudite, and hilarious. One of our best performers. Well done, M.S.
7 Feb 19
IMISON & TINNISWOOD AWARDS The results are out, along with the Audio Drama Awards. See the Imison / Tinniswood / ADA links on the main Radio Plays page. Lulu Raczka (pron. Ronchka) won the Imison and Oliver Emanuel the Tinniswood.
6 Feb 19
JEREMY HARDY Jeremy Hardy, who is a familiar and much-loved figure to all R4 listeners, has died aged 57 after a battle with cancer. This is very sad news. We send our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends. RIP Jeremy.
1 Feb 19
From Jeremy Corbyn: Jeremy Hardy was a dear, lifelong friend. He always gave his all for everyone else and the campaigns for social justice.
You made us all smile. You made us all think.
Rest in peace, Jeremy.
Extract from a letter in DT, 6 Feb 2019 JH was a self-confessed hard-Left activist and was given a regular platform on BBC comedy shows.
When Lady Thatcher was still alive, Hardy called on people to use her grave as a urinal. Perhaps it's a reflection on the relative approaches of Left and Right that no-one would dream of returning the compliment.
WEBSITE NUMBERS (VISITORS) 2019
Jan:16487 (Don Taylor 234, D. Spenser 171, Rodney Wingfield 140, Chris Russell 109).
There were also 387 visitors to the International Radio Drama Festival page. The Festival is taking place this year in Canterbury, 18-22 March 2019. The link for details is on the main Radio Plays page.
1 Feb 19
LADY FAUSTUS More vintage drama located by Andrew at Radio 4 Extra: Lady Faustus, by Michael Payne (1987). The town gossips have only one topic of conversation: the mysterious lady. The conjectures about her are limitless, but a young lieutenant finds that the truth about her is even stranger than the fiction. Now on listen-again.
25 Jan 19
IMISON & TINNISWOOD AWARDS The Imison and Tinniswood Awards will be announced in a little over a week.
For the Imison the plays shortlisted are: Spike and the Elfin Oak, by Ian Billings
Double Bubble, by Carl Cattermole
Of A Lifetime, by Lulu Raczka
For the Tinniswood, the shortlist is: When the Pips Stop, by Oliver Emanuel
Playing Dead, by Vivienne Harvey
Holbein's Skull, by Martyn Wade
Ian Billings' play about Spike Milligan was repeated on Wednesday and is now online on listen-again. I am expecting more of the above to be repeated soon; last year they broadcast the shortlisted plays shortly after the awards were announced.
25 Jan 19
IMISON AWARD: DOUBLE BUBBLE SHORTLISTED An interesting situation has developed with the Imison Award for newcomers to radio drama. A non-BBC play has made it into the last 3. The winner will be announced on 3 Feb. The drama is available on the National Prison Radio website and is by Carl Cattermole, with producer Andrew Wilkie.
The podcast website for this play reads: We’ve teamed up with the Stop Loan Sharks Campaign to produce an innovative, five-part micro-drama called DOUBLE BUBBLE. It’s written by, and also stars, Carl Cattermole, who himself spent time behind bars.
Double Bubble is English prison slang which means lending at a hundred percent interest. The play is based on the true story of Mark, who borrowed some money in prison to help his family out. The interest he owed was ‘double bubble’, plus any costs incurred for collection. By the end of the third month, Mark’s wife couldn’t afford the repayments and the children were suffering. When she refused to pay, things got really bad for her on the outside. And behind bars, there was nothing Mark could do to help.
Written and voiced by Carl Cattermole, produced by Katie Bilboa, mastering by Steve Wyatt, artwork by Imogen Shaw.
18 Jan 19
INTERNATIONAL RADIO DRAMA FESTIVAL, KENT The listening events for the festival (18-22 Mar 2019) will be in Canterbury this year. Keep an eye on the 2019 IRDF page for updates.
14 Jan 19
ANDREW DAVIES Prompted by a message from Clive Lever, I'm starting a page about the radio plays of
ANDREW DAVIES , who is a well-known screenwriter. His most recent TV work is the six-episode 'Les Miserables' currently being broadcast.
3 Jan 19
NEW WELSH WRITING AWARDS - CALL FOR ENTRIES Notification from Jo McCrum, Society of Authors:
These new awards are in two categories; £1K to the winners.
Aberystwyth University Prize for a Dystopian Novella (a dystopian novella with any theme or setting)
Rheidol Prize for Writing (a novella set in Wales or with a Welsh theme or setting)