HEDLEY'S LIMERICKS A limerick from my friend Hedley:
A writer from Russia called Chekhov
Shouted: "Look, I may well break the neck of
The next actor who whines
'I've forgotten my lines' -
That's my new play you're making a wreck of!"
25 Dec 2020
RADIO DRAMA REVIEW The December radio drama review is now online - see main Radio Plays page.
23 Dec 2020
MARINA CALDARONE A page has been compiled for Marina Caldarone. Go to the main radio page and then click the PRODUCER link. Marina has produced many plays on radio 4, two on radio 3, some on World Service, and a very large number of episodes of "The Archers". Her latest one-off play was Break of Day by Colette, dram. Nicholas McInerny.
19 Dec 2020
WHERE THIS SERVICE WILL ... I have done an update to the Katherine Jakeways page, prompted by the recent repeats from her excellent occasional series "Where This Service Will........ (Terminate, Continue, Connect, Separate, Depart). I cannot recommend these highly enough. Rosie Cavaliero and Justin Edwards star. Do not miss - they're still online on BBC Sounds (listen-again). All are produced by James Robinson.
LUCY GANNON Stephen Shaw tells me that Lucy Gannon's Christmas play "Angels at Partridge Cottage" from 1988 is being repeated on R4X at 10am, Christmas Day. This is a real treat; do not miss.
11 Dec 2020
NEIL BRAND Radio play writer and composer Neil Brand was on R4 on 8 Dec, in the programme on Soul Music; this is now on listen-again. He also got a mention in the DT in the television schedules: Sat 5 Dec: "The Sound of TV with Neil Brand" as the host for a trawl through the 'idents' and jingles popular on television - exploring the art and craft of the TV theme tune.
8 Dec 2020
THE LEFT-HANDED SLEEPER Looking at the new Radio Times, I see that The Radio Circle's recording ofTed Willis's thriller (5 x 30m) begins on 30 Nov.
...later note - this is being well-received by listeners.
24 Nov 2020
BBC BIAS AND THE LICENCE FEE On this week's NCFNewspeak, former BBC journalist Robin Aitken returns to the New Culture Forum to argue that BBC bias now colours all of its news output, placing the once-impartial institution firmly on the political spectrum.
My personal view - I would hate to see the licence fee abolished, because the corporation does many things extremely well. Its drama output is superb, for example. However, it is publicly funded and supposed to be impartial. If it does not address some of these issues, and make strenuous efforts to regain its impartiality, its funding is unlikely to remain secure.
19 Nov 2020
DAVID ASHTON David Ashton writes: "My seven wee tales come out under David Ashton or McLevy short stories, as audio downloads on 19th November at any of the major audiobook retailers – Audible/Amazon, Apple iBooks, Google and Kobo. Dulcet tones immortalised!
A guid wee stocking filler?"
These will be excellent. Put them on your Christmas list.
17 Nov 2020
NEVILLE TELLER Neville's "Poisoned Chocolates Case" from 1984 was repeated on Radio 4 Extra on 14 Nov and is now available on BBC Sounds and listen-again.
16 Nov 2020
MATTHEW BROUGHTON & 'TRACKS' Harry Turnbull has recently met up with Matthew Broughton, creator of medical mystery thriller 'Tracks'. This popular programme is currently in its fifth and final series, broadcast on Monday afternoons and also available (along with the episodes of the previous series) on the BBC Sounds website. Matthew talked about how the series arose and how it's developed since then. See Matthew Broughton interview .
15 Nov 2020
UK INTERNATIONAL RADIO DRAMA FESTIVAL Entries are now sought for the 2021 UKIRDF, to be held in Canterbury in March 2021. Fingers crossed that the China virus is under control by then and that the infection rate is low enough for life to return to normal. Meanwhile today we re-enter lockdown for a month. Details of our current online festival are given here.
5 Nov 2020
BBC SOUNDS and BGT For some time now, Jane Anderson has been reviewing podcasts and other programmes which live on the BBC Sounds website.One which caught my eye this week involves Jess Robinson, who made such an impression on 'Britain's Got Talent' (BGT). Here's part of what Jane said about her: "This is as close to a proper, full-on entertainment show as you can get........ comedy actress, singer and impressionist Jess Robinson holds it all together with her impressive range of talents." She can be heard at play.acast.com.
Speaking of BGT: there are other performers who have transferred from Simon Cowell's well-known show to Radio 4 / BBC Sounds. I've heard Malawian comedian Daliso Chaponda on the 6.30 comedy slot, along with Lee Ridley, aka the Lost Voice man, who appears in "Ability", which is semi-autobiographical and now in its third series. Like his sitcom creation, Lee has cerebral palsy and can only speak via an app on his computer. He is the first well-known comedian to use a communication aid. His writing partner for the series is Katherine Jakeways.
4 Nov 2020
RADIO 4 EXTRA Our (The Radio Circle's) recording of Ted Willis's serial will be aired in late November on R4X, starting on 28 Nov. The title is 'The Left-Handed Sleeper', 5 x 30m.
27 Oct 2020
R4 AFRICAN TRILOGY REVIEWED Harry Turnbull has reviewed radio 4's recent 'African trilogy' , which is available on listen-again. Anyone catching up with the productions will acquire a real knowledge of time, place and history. Highly recommended.
19 Oct 2020
MISSING PLAY Does anyone have a copy of the Colin Watson play "Hopjoy was Here" (Saturday Night Theatre) from the early 70s? If so, please send me an email. Thanks.
7 Oct 2020
RADIO 4 EXTRA The Radio Circle has asked us for a recording of an early Ted Willis serial. We have supplied it, and it is hoped that this will be aired later this year.
CHANGE OF DIRECTION? The BBC's new director-general, Tim Davie, is planning to reduce left-wing bias in comedy shows. He sees the output as one-sided and in need of change. Comedy shows will be told to book guests with a wider range of view on issues such as Brexit, and the London-centric left-wing view of the world will be given less emphasis.
In 2018, Andrew Neil described 'The Mash Report' as being self-satisfied, self-adulatory unchallenged left-wing propaganda. Nish Kumar, the show host, was booed off stage at a Lord's Taverners charity lunch when the audience disagreed with his views on Brexit. Let us hope for a more balanced menu when the changes are introduced. The BBC needs to heed the views of the 50% of the country who have not been to university, the voices of rural Britain, and voices from outside the middle class and outside the M25.
1 Sep 2020
PIANO MUSIC A few people have asked to hear some of my piano music. This is now online on Youtube and links to the discs can be found on the main radio page. Most of it is by lesser-known composers like Matheson, Storace, Pasquini, Nichelmann, etc. Feel free to leave comments and suggestions for future recordings on the youtube pages.
1 Sep 2020
A RARITY: RADIO DRAMA MENTIONED ON 'FRONT ROW' How curious - a very rare event. Radio drama was mentioned on 'Front Row' last night, 26 August 2020.
"The Lie", a previously unperformed play by Agatha Christie has been adapted for radio. "A very personal 1920s domestic drama which lay unread until discovered by drama director Julius Green and which he has turned into a radio play for radio 4 this weekend. Julius joins Tom Sutcliffe to tell us about "The Lie" and how it came to be abandoned and then rediscovered."
27 Aug 2020
IMISON AWARD It's that time of year again - to put your play in for the Imison Award - for the best original script by a newcomer to radio drama. More details on our Imison page.
26 Aug 2020
MARILYN IMRIE I am sorry to report that Marilyn Imrie has died. Catherine Czerkawska has written a tribute to her, which is on her own blog and also on this website.
24 Aug 2020
HARRY TURNBULL REVIEWS I have been contacted by Harry Turnbull who is now writing some radio play reviews for us, of recently-broadcast material. For now, you can see them on the radio play notes page for 2020. The intention is that they will eventually go onto a separate 'Harry Turnbull" page if he decides to do this regularly and long-term. Many thanks, HT.
20 Aug 2020
BOOKER PRIZE LISTING, PART 2 Alistair Wyper has finished his listing of Booker Prize winners (and those shortlisted) which have been adapted or dramatised for radio. His listing is here:
Part 1 ..........
28 Jul 2020
TEST MATCH SPECIAL - THE OPERA I was pleased to hear today on TMS that two musicians have written an opera based on Test Match Special called 'Full Tosca". An aria to Aggers was performed, and it was first-rate. It seems that the opera has already been recorded and lasts about 30 minutes. I hope it soon becomes available - it sounds great fun.
25 Jul 2020
MICAH CLARK This is another of our recordings which went out recently on Radio 4 Extra (starting 7 Jul 2020); now available on the BBC website. A five-part serial by Arthur Conan Doyle set in the late 1600s. Original broadcast April 1985; dram. Constance Cox; producer David Johnston. Another Radio Circle recording, "Exit Lines", by Reginald Hill, a thriller from 1990, will be broadcast soon.
20 Jul 2020
COVID ISLAND DRAMAS Being kept under 'lockdown' is a bit like being trapped on a desert island. Isolation and not a lot to do. The UK International Radio Drama team decided to use the 'Desert Island Discs' format and to ask a guest to choose 8 favourite radio dramas, one tune and a favourite lockdown memory to keep forever.
This is the first episode, hosted by Jack Klaff. Guest is Nigel Deacon.
15-MINUTE DRAMA LISTING I can just about keep the afternoon play listings up-to-date, but don't have time to do the other parts of the drama output. If anyone feels like doing a listing for the website of the 15-minute dramas on R4 for 2020, please let me know. Perhaps someone is doing it already...
9 Jul 2020
EARL CAMERON I am sorry to report the death of Earl Cameron, at the age of 103. His career was mainly in film and television but he did a fair amount of radio work, including an appearance (aged 101, in Dec 2017)) in Dirk Maggs' production of Neil Gaiman's "Anansi Boys", as the dragon. Stephen Shaw has compiled a page which lists most of his radio appearances. See Earl Cameron listing
5 Jul 2020
UK ONLINE INTERNATIONAL RADIO DRAMA FESTIVAL
The Speak Softly Shop: A season of newly made shortform dramas from around the world. They are created as a response to the pandemic and are a powerful reminder of the versatility of audio drama as an art form. Covid 19 made us postpone the 2020 festival but it brought this extraordinary cycle of work:
The Speak Softly Shop is an international cycle of new short-form work inspired by the Covid-19 pandemic. We asked contributors to make a piece under 7 minutes which was in some sense a snap-shot response to their country’s experience. As much as nation to nation, they are a quiet word; person to person. Some came in over 7 minutes; but these recordings have all been about rule-breaking. Each has been made during the pandemic and under unusual secret recording conditions. They reflect the versatility and determination of producers and their teams who have had to work creatively and nimbly. We will be adding to the season as we go so come back often.
SWEDEN: Will It Last?
Produced by Dark Duck Studio, Sweden
Produced by International Arts Partnership, UK
Produced by Escuela de Radio TEA FM Spain.
GERMANY: Sprache Mein Stern
Produced by Radio Berlin Brandenburg, Bavarian Radio 2 and Deutschlandfunk Kultur 2020, Germany
BELGIUM: Everyone Everywhere
Produced by Le Collectif Wow, Belgium
Produced by Instituto Barlumen Italy.
GEORGIA: Note from JJ
Produced by Georgia Public Radio
WGGB AWARDS 2021 I am informed by Sarah Woodley of the WGGB that the awards, scheduled for early next year, have been cancelled because of the corona virus situation.
18 May 2020
RADIO LISTINGS BBC radio listings, one page per week, are here: https://www.radio-lists.org.uk.
26 Apr 2020
RADIO DRAMA MENTIONED ON FRONT ROW Gillian Reynolds interviewed briefly on Front Row tonight; she concluded her piece by pointing out to the presenter that Front Row doesn't really cover radio drama. He was somewhat taken aback, and had no reply.
"As Front Row begins a week of celebrating the joys of listening - to radio, podcasts, audiobooks, music and drama - radio critic Gillian Reynolds talks about the joys of entertainment for the ears.
Actor Kerry Shale discusses his radio drama, The Kubrick Test, which tells the true story of his encounter with one of cinema’s most influential figures. For many years, the great director’s methods were shrouded in mystery. So when, in 1987, a young actor gets an invitation to enter Kubrick’s hidden world, he leaps at it. And, of course, gets more than he bargained for. The Kubrick Test will be broadcast on Radio 4 on Wednesday at 2.15 pm."
6 Apr 2020
WEBSITE VISITORS Statistics seem to be working again, though intermittently.
Feb 15000; most-visited radio writers: M.Robson 268, R.Wingfield 75, Don Taylor 73, P.Tinniswood 67
Mar 14100; most visited radio writers: John Fletcher 175, Canterbury radio drama festival 173, R.Wingfield 80, J.Buchan 69
6 Apr 2020
JOHN TYDEMAN I am sorry to report that radio drama legend John Tydeman has died.
2 Apr 2020
HAMISH WILSON Catherine Czerkawska has written to me with the sad news that Hamish Wilson, radio producer, died on Thursday. She has written a tribute to her friend, who produced many of her plays.
2 Apr 2020
ONLINE UK INTERNATIONAL DRAMA FESTIVAL I am pleased to inform you that all of the dramas submitted for the festival are now online and will remaiun there for the duration of the coronavirus outbreak. I'm listening to one play a day - I recommend you do the same. translations are also online for those which are not in English. Happy listening!
1 Apr 2020
AUDIO DRAMA ON COMMUNITY RADIO Stephen Shaw has compiled another interesting article on radio drama - this time, about radio plays produced by Community Radio. The link for this is on the main Radio page.
23 Mar 2020
UK INTERNATIONAL DRAMA FESTIVAL The festival is postponed until the autumn, but some of the entries are being made available online. If you investigate the IRDF website (see main radio plays page for links) you will be able to hear these. We intend that the festival will run later in the year when this virus affair has gone away.
22 Mar 2020
SHOESTRING RADIO THEATRE Neville Teller has contacted me and writes.... "Could I just note that San Francisco-based Shoestring Radio Theatre airs a new production every Thursday - and mention modestly that next week it's my turn with Part 1 of my radio dramatization of "The Fall of the House of Usher" by Edgar Allan Poe. I warn sticklers for accuracy in classical adaptations that this version is a very loose one. I give my imagination free rein."
22 Mar 2020
HOST PLANET EARTH This early serial from the sixties will be repeated in March on Radio 4 Extra. This is one of our recordings, cleaned up by the crew at R4X. Note added later - this serial went out in early April. I noticed Nigel Anthony in the cast - one of his earlier performances.
8 Feb 2020
AUDIO DRAMA AWARDS The Audio Drama Awards (ADAs) are now out. See main Radio Plays page for the link. A number of the winning entries are now being repeated on radio 4 in the afternoons.
4 Feb 2020
TWO MORE ARTICLES Two recent articles on our Articles Index page. The first is by Alistair Wyper and it describes radio versions of Booker Prizewinners from 1969 to 1996. This is a work in progress and part 2 is being compiled.
The second is by Stephen Shaw and lists the radio drama output of University Radio, York.
RADIO 3 DRAMA, 1959 More early radio drama has been listed by Alistair Wyper. See the page at R3-listing-1959 . Not many of these plays survive as recordings, but Giles Cooper's 'Under The Loofah Tree' is in the BBC archive, along with the Hilda Tablet play " Musique Discrete", by Henry Reed and Donald Swann.
17 Jan 2020
DAVID BLOUNT More work has been done on the David Blount page.
17 Jan 2020
DAVID MORLEY A new page has been written for the writer and producer David Morley.
14 Jan 2020
SOMEONE DANGEROUS This excellent two-part thriller by Andy Mulligan, produced by Emma Hearn, is now on listen-again. Do not miss.
12 Jan 2020
RADIO 3 DRAMA, 1979 Ian Johns has completed the 1979 listing; it is very detailed and gives a nice insight into what the more serious drama listeners were hearing forty years ago, along with drama-related documentaries and short stories. See the page at R3-listing-1979 .
'The Clerks' by Rhys Adrian is one of the few recordings in the list to have survived. Barry Pike describes it like this:
"A two-hander, with a brief contribution at the end by a third, unwelcome presence. Freddie Jones and Hugh Burden are in cracking form as a pair of buoyant drop-outs, down but not out, sleeping rough, stealing from supermarkets and eking out their wine with cleaning fluid. They are former Foreign Office personnel, perhaps even M.I.5, haunted by memories and paranoid suspicion. Both highly articulate, they reminisce with relish, reconstructing for the listener a mad, unnerving world of spies and informers, of checks and data and dossiers. At the end they home in gleefully on the interloper, played by Gerald Cross, reducing him to gibbering in no time."
The play was repeated in Feb 2010 along with five other Rhys Adrian plays, on BBC Radio 7 (now known as Radio 4 Extra). Details of these are on the Rhys Adrian page.
11 Jan 2020
6th UK INTERNATIONAL RADIO DRAMA FESTIVAL This takes place in Canterbury again in 2020; five days, M-F, 23-27 March 2020. Venue is the Eastbridge Hospital. Keep the dates free in your diary! There is a website - a google search will find it. Look for radiodramafestival.org.uk
The festival brings diverse work from across the world, introducing a UK audience to the European tradition of radio drama often anchored in soundscape whilst celebrating our own more text based tradition. The festival provides a UK audience with the rare pleasure of listening to radio drama in other languages, supported by English language translations of the script. It also brings together work from national broadcasters with that of emerging independent producers.
It is organized by International Arts Partnership, a theatre producing company.