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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. I've called it 'Calm Piano Music Collection'. Most of it is by lesser-known composers like Matheson, Storace, Pasquini, Nichelmann, etc.
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
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.