Radio Plays, 2019

ex-R4 forum/ 'beebotron' / R3 drama forum /

4 Jan: Deceit, Desire and the Viking Helmet
By John Hegley, comedian and poet. A surreal and tragi-comic love story, with songs and poems. "John Shuttleworth" (Graham Fellows) is in the cast. The story is inspired by an Anthony Thwaite poem. Background action is provided by the football-playing children and members of the audience. Recorded in the Lowry Centre, Manchester. John: John Hegley, Mr. Cooper: Graham Fellows, Mrs. Cooper: Alison Belbin. Producer: Anne Edyvean. Rpt.

5 Jan: Saturday Play - The Canterbury Tales, 2
By the cast of The Archers, dram. Nick Warburton. The tales are set within the frame of the performance in David Archer's barn. Tellers of the Tales: Felicity Finch, Timothy Bentinck, Carole Boyd, Charlotte Martin, John Rowe, Simon Williams. THE PARDONER'S TALE: James Cartwright, Ian Pepperell, Barry Farrimond, John Rowe and Charlotte Martin. THE FRIAR'S TALE: Simon Williams, Timothy Bentinck, Ian Pepperell, Felicity Finch. THE FRANKLIN'S TALE: Barry Farrimond, James Cartwright, Annabelle Dowler and Charlotte Martin, THE BAILIFF'S TALE: Timothy Bentinck, Barry Farrimond, Ian Pepperell, Felicity Finch and Annabelle Dowler. Producer: Alison Hindell. Director: Kim Greengrass. 60m.

12 Jan: Saturday Play - Riot Days, 1
By Maria Alyokhina; her account of her activism, trial and imprisonment as part of the Russian feminist punk protest group Pussy Riot. Part 1 of 2; conclusion tomorrow. Maria: Katie West,Nadya: Kerry Gooderson, Katya: Kathryn Drysdale, Petya: Cameron Percival, Lena: Alexandra Meyrick, Olga: Roslyn Hill, Violetta: Clare Corbett, Investigator and Judge: Ronny Jhutti, Oksana: Lucy Doyle, Bass Player and Beautician: Saffron Coomber, Prosecutor: Tony Turner, Major: Michael Bertenshaw, Prisoner: Alexandra Constantinidi, Guards: Carolyn Pickles and Jeanette Percival. Producer: Emma Harding.

13 Jan: Classic Serial slot: Riot Days, 2
By Maria Alokhina; conclusion. Production team: see above.

14 Jan: Into the Maze, 1
By Ayeesha Menon. Thriller set in London, Riyadh and Mumbai, exploring problems faced by women when it comes to sexual assault and personal freedom. Hotel worker Saira is raped by a rich Saudi guest. It throws her life, and that of her sister, into chaos. Jamila: Maya Sondhi, Saira: Aysha Kala, Najma: Fatima Adoum, Majid: Silas Carson, Zafar: Amir El-Masry, Purab: Ronny Jhutti, Clare: Clare Corbett, Sharon: Jeanette Percival, Andy: Lewis Bray, Ms. Morgan: Carolyn Pickles, John McKinley: Tony Turner, DC Price: Alexandra Constantinidi, Officer Megan: Lucy Doyle, Barfly: Christopher Harper, Fisher: Waleed Elgadi, Wheeler: Sam Dale, Jamila's boss: Waleed Elgadi, Guide: Ronny Jhutti, Judge: Sam Dale, Colleague: Christopher Harper. Producer: Emma Harding. Research consultant: David Rhodes, Doughty Street Chambers.

15 Jan: Into the Maze, 2
Jamila decides to use her vlog to bring her sister's rapist to justice, but someone wants to silence her.

16 Jan: Into the Maze, 3
Conclusion. Clare confronts Najma about the true identity of Saira's rapist. Production details: see 14 Jan.

17 Jan: Torch no. 1
By David Pownall. Broadcast to mark the 50th anniversary of the year when Russian tanks invaded Czechoslovakia. Rpt from Jan 2009. Jan Palach set himself on fire in the centre of Prague 50 years ago. He was not a fanatic or a terrorist. The play explores Palach's state of mind and asks why he did it. Indie production (Pier). Karl Davies stars as Palach; produced by Martin Jenkins.

18 Jan: The Ethical Hacking Bureau
By David Leddy. Barbara recently thought that her Tory grandee husband was having an affair. With the help of her Zumba teacher she hacks his phone, only to discover he wasn't. But it doesn't end there; next she starts to investigate her son-in-law, an MP. She encounters something more serious. Barbara: Patricia Hodge, Lucinda: Anita Vettesse, Nicky: Sarah Niles, Tom: Robin Laing, Celine/Kapoor/Miss Simmonds: Maryam Hamidi, Mr. Hooper: Finlay Welsh. Producer: Kirsty Williams.

19 Jan: Saturday Play - The Double
By Dostoyevsky, dram. Jonathan Holloway. A lonely civil servant is driven to madness when his life is stolen by a doppelganger. The scene is changed in this adaptation; we're in a steampunk version of St. Petersburg, and there are intrusions from the 21st century along with a cyber-weapon. Golyakin and his doppelganger: Joseph Millson, Andrei: Sean Murray, Dr. Rutenspitz: Elizabeth Counsell, Klara / Needles: Kerry Gooderson,. Marmeladov: Lauren Cornelius, Raskolnikov: Joseph Ayre, Fatboy: Ryan Whittle, Maitre d': Ryan Early. Producer: Gemma Jenkins.

21 Jan: 19 Weeks
By Emily Steel. The story of a woman whose life is in utter turmoil; she is pregnant but there is a suspicion that the child may have Down's Syndrome. Gradually the odds get shorter. Eva Myles as Emily, with: The Doctor:Vanessa Hehir, social worker: Mufrida Hayes, sonographer: Kali Hughes, Frank: Milo Robinson. Producer: Helen Perry. Eva Myles received the Audio Drama Award for Best Actress for her outstanding performance in this play.

22 Jan: County Lines
By Amelia Bullmore, rpt. from June last year. A young black woman sits opposite a middle-aged white woman on a train. Neither of them is what she seems. Joy: Brid Brennan, Umi: Tamara Lawrance, with Sean Murray as the steward, Ryan Early, Nahel Tzegai, Ryan Whittle and Lauren Cornelius. Producer: Mary Peate.

23 Jan: Spike and the Elfin Oak
By Ian Billings, rpt. First-class comic fantasy inspired by Spike Milligan's attempts to preserve the Elfin Oak in Kensington Gardens fifty years ago. Spike: David Threlfall, young Spike: Charlie Brand, Norma Farnes: Kerry Gooderson, Laura: Rosie Boore, Sile: Charlotte Emmett, Mother Superior: Georgie Glen, park keeper: Luke Bailey, Mrs. Grumples: Lauren Cornelius, Groodles: Ryan Early, Huckleberry: Clive Hayward, George: Neil McCaul, council boss: Philip Bretherton, vandal: Rupert Holliday Evans, man with dog: Ghazanfar Hyder. Producer: Gemma Jenkins. David Threlfall won the Best Actor in a Radio Drama award for his extraordinary performance as Spike, and the play reached the finals (down to the last 3) for the Imison Award 2019.

25 Jan: Hello Caller
By Jonathan Holloway. A good example of a play which works best on radio. Decommissioned telephone boxes reveal their secrets; a myriad of voices in trapped phone calls. Very spooky. Annette Badland, Luke MacGregor, Sean Murray, David Reakes and Alex Tregear supply the voices. Producer: Alison Crawford.

1 Feb: Suspicious Minds
By Tom Fowler. A time-travelling fantasy, with the settings ranging from the Titanic to Ancient Rome. Mark is trying to repair a troubled relationship with his unfaithful partner so he books the trip of a lifetime involving visits to different periods of history, but without the ability to change known events. Will it work? Fran: Susannah Fielding, Mark: Tom Motherdale, Simon: Christopher Harper, Duchess: Lucy Doyle, Duke: Tony Turner, Ada: Carolyn Pickles, Greg: Ronny Jhutti. Producer: Sasha Yevtushenko.

4 Feb: Tumanbay, 1
Series 3 of John Dryden's historical saga, co-written with Mike Walker, inspired by the Mamluk slave rulers of Egypt. The city is recovering from a brutal occupation of the city by the followers of Maya, with Manel now ruling. Gregor: Rufus Wright, Manel: Aiysha Hart, Cadali: Matthew Marsh, Bavand: Peter Polycarpou, Alkin: Nathalie Armin, Herod: Amir El-Masry, Heaven: Olivia Popica, General Qulan: Christopher Fulford, Frog: Finn Elliot, Matilda: Humera Syed, Akiba: Akin Gazi, Selim: Farshid Rokey, Spider: Yusuf Hofri, Librarian: Antony Bunsee, Cafe owner: Muzz Khan, Deiner: Vivek Madan, swords trader: Nadir Khan. Producers: Emma Hearn, Nadir Khan and John Dryden. Director: JD.

    An 8 x 45m epic; return of the popular series begun several years ago. The nearest radio will get, I suspect, to TV's "Game of Thrones".

8 Feb: Control
By Adrian Penketh, rpt. A play about dramatic events in the world of air traffic control. Rob: Robert Emms, Megan: Michelle Terry, with Priyanga Burford, John Bowler, John Dougall, Karen Bartke, Gavi Singh Chera, Nick Murchie, Luke MacGregor. Producer: Emma Harding.

9 Feb: Saturday Play - Pandora's Box
By Katie Hims. The drama goes in search of Wedekind's 'Lulu' - older readers may remember the famous radio production by Martin Esslin in 1975. Lulu is every man's erotic fantasy, and therefore, worst nightmare as well. Wedekind and Lulu: Kate O'Flynn, Justin/Aiwa: Joseph Ayre, Simone/Geschwitz: Ayesha Antoine, Kerry: Kerry Gooderson, Dr. Schoen: Tony Turner, Schigolch: Michael Bertenshaw, Piani: Ronny Jhutti, the kind-faced man: Christopher Harper, Rodrigo: Don Gilet, Dr. van Zarnikov: Sam Dale, Charlotte: Franchi Webb. Producer: Toby Swift.

10 Feb: Classic Serial: The Door in the Pillow
By F.C.Boyce; a play about dementia. He weaves its impact into a ghost story. Annie's fractured sense of the world is held together by stories. Her daughter Terri starts to wonder where the tales are coming from. Annie: Anne Mitchell, Terri: Samantha Spiro, Bernie: Carolyn Pickles, Eric: Tony Turner, Father Burns: Don Gilet, soldier: Chris Harper, children: Grace Doherty, Eviee Lavery,and other roles performed by Saffron Coomber, Jeanette Percival and Alexandra Constantinidi. Producer-Director: Allegra McIlroy.

    As people's lives get longer due to medical advances, the incidence of dementia and Alzheimer's disease among the population rises rapidly. It is distressing and, so far, incurable. There can be very few families whose lives remain untouched by dementia.

14 Feb: The Love Test
By Brian Coyle. Valentine's Day comedy about meeting the perfect partner. Kate, a journalist, is writing an article about a pshchological test capable of saying when you've met the perfect partner. She tries it herself. Kate: Kate O'Flynn, Sam: Carl Prekopp, Mark: Stephen Hogan, Sarah: Deborah Findlay, Gerri: Samara MacLaren. Producer: Bruce Young.

16 Feb: Saturday Play: China Towns,1
New series of 11 episodes. A reinterpretation of the "Five Town" novels by Arnold Bennett, set in the Stafforshire Potteries, dram. Shaun McKenna and Lin Coghlan. It is the middle of the Industrial Revolution. Edwin Clayhanger leaves school with dreams of becoming a painter, but his father refuses to tolerate such an idea. Ephraim: Neil Dudgeon, Darius: Tim McInnerney, Edwin: Cameron Percival, Auntie Hamps: Carolyn Pickles, Big James: Ian Conningham, Constance: Bryony Hannah, Sophia: Alexandra Constantinidi, Mrs. Baines: Clare Corbett, Mr. Povey: Lewis Bray, with Michael Bertenshaw, Tony Turner, Christopher Harper, Don Gilet, Saffron Coomber, Jeanette Percival and Evie Killip. Producers: Marion Nancarrow and Gemma Jenkins. Director: MN.

7 Mar: First Do No Harm - Elaine
By Al Smith. Drama about the NHS. I think fictional but the RT doesn't make it entirely clear whether this is a drama-documentary. Elaine Newton's husband died whilst under NHS supervision, but attempting to find exactly what led to the tragedy is like stirring a hornet's nest. Elaine: Rosie Cavaliero, Greg: Michael Bertenshaw, Rhys: Joel McCormack, Caz: Jade Croot, Niall: Joseph Ayre, Joy: Kelly Williams, Maggie: Clare Corbett, DJ: Don Gilet, Lenny: Sam Dale, Keith: Christopher Harper, Jane: Sarah Ovens, Dave: Ronny Jhutti, Martha: Franchi Webb. Producers: Jessica Dromgoole and Sally Avens. Director: JG.

12 Mar: Seven Five Zero Zero
By Adrian Penketh. A desperate pilot hijacks his own plane. Set in and around an airport. Steve: Don Gilet, Neil and Tanner: Shaun Mason, Megan: Katherine Press, Chris: Christopher Harper, Tim: Ronny Jhutti, Giles: Tony Turner, GG: Chetna Pandya, Prime Minister: Susan Jameson, Helen: Sarah Owens. Producer: Emma Harding.

15 Mar: Five Rachels
By Katie Hims. A play about the nature of memory. Rachel seems to have discovered memories she didn't used to have. She thinks the memories are from her past, but the doctor doesn't agree. She tries to work out what is happening to her. Rachel Ridley: Rachel Davies, Rachel2: Kika Markham, Dr. Jones: Michael Bertenshaw, girl in the newsagent's: Sarah Ovens, library customer: Christopher Harper. Producer: Allegra McIlroy.

    (......I only counted two Rachels - Ed. )

26 Mar: The Cairn
By Donna Franceschild. Set on the Kintyre peninsula. Two sisters are reunited when their ailing father approaches his death. They decide to construct a cairn for him, to the annoyance of the local Forestry Commission. Agim: Nebil Basani, Eilidh: Fiona MacNeil, Arlene: Olivia Morgan, Isla: Rosie Smith, Wilma: Gerda Stevenson, Alex: Paul Young. Producer: Kirsty Williams.

28 Mar: News From Nowhere
By Sarah Woods; an adaptation of a work by William Morris; rpt. from 2016. The story was first published in 1890. Will wakes up and finds he has travelled a century into the future; a world where poverty no longer exists and work is a pleasure. Woven into the tale is a romance. Will: Ron Cook, Ellen: Catrin Stewart, with Keiron Self, Claire Cage, Richard Nichols, Roger Evans, Kristy Phillips and Crystal Yu. Producer: Polly Thomas.

30 Mar: Saturday Play slot - Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead,1
By Tom Stoppard. Part 1 of 2. A new production. R and G are two minor characters from Shakespeare's Hamlet who are condemned to an existence in the wings, with no control over their destinies. Rosencrantz: Mathew Baynton, Guildenstern: Andrew Buchan, the Player: Toby Jones, Tragedian: Sam Dale, Alfred: Ronny Jhutti, Ophelia: Sarah Ovens, Polonius: Michael Bertenshaw, Hamlet: Parth Thakerar, Claudius: Don Gilet, Gertrude: Clare Corbett. Producer: Emma Harding.

31 Mar: Classic Serial slot - Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead,2
Conclusion. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern puzzle over the roles they are meant to play.

    This was reviewed in some detail by Jane Anderson in RT. It is a stage play adapted for radio; originally performed by the National Theatre, and there have been other radio productions (WS 1983, R3 1990, R3 2007. ) This is the play in which the action of HAMLET takes place largely off-stage, while the Prince's hapless school friends twiddle their thumbs and toss coins to pass the time. It was broadcast in 1978 with Edward Petherbridge as Guildenstern, repeating his stage performance for the National. This new production stars Mathew Baynton, Andrew Buchan and Toby Jones. Jane comments "I really struggled with this and am not convinced ....that it can ever work as well in audio form. It requires full-on attention or one is baffled, lost and confused within minutes'. This is exactly the effect it had on me; it was certainly interesting but I couldn't pretend to have followed it very well.

3 Apr: Ability
11.30am slot; return of the comedy drama series (4 parts) by Leed Ridley (Lost Voice Guy, winner of Britain's Got Talent 2018) and Katherine Jakeways. Matt, who has cerebral palsy and speaks via a computer, is still sharing a flat with his best mate, Jess. He's in love with her, but she's not in love with him. In the opening episode he introduces himself as a bloke who suffers from a terrible affliction - "I'm a Geordie". The programme was reviewed very favourably by Jane Anderson in RT. Matt: Lee Ridley, Bob: Allan Mustafa, Jess: Sammy Dobson, Matt's inner voice: Andrew Hayden-Smith. Producer: Jane Berthoud.

8 Apr: The Ferryhill Philosophers
By Michael Chaplin; new series. More moral dilemmas examined by an ex-miner and a philosophy lecturer. A man burdened with terrible guilt returns to Ferryhill to find forgiveness for his part in the death of a child. Joe: Alun Armstrong, Hermione: Deborah Findlay, Mark Comforth: John Bowler, Barry Hardwick: Trevor Fox, Kathy/Kylie: Jackie Lye, bus driver: Dean Logan, barmaid: Tracy Gillman. Indie: Catherine Bailey Productions; producer CB, director Marilyn Imrie. [This series is excellent and very thought-proking - it examines problems and incidents which many of us are likely to meet at some point - Ed.]

8 Apr: Ship of Lies (15m drama)
By Ron Hutchinson. Set in New York. Emma Heyer is a distressed young English woman who has travelled to the city to see if she can find out the final song played on the Titanic before it sank..... What she doeesn't realise is that her persistent research puts her own life in danger.... a conspiracy thriller. (.....summarised from Jane Anderson's review of the play in RT)

12 Apr: Read the Room
By Viv Groskop. Sally seems to have obtained a key role in an important movie trilogy. The producer insists on meeting her in his hotel before confirming the deal. This does not go smoothly. Sally Hall: Melody grove, Richard Donovan: Tim McInnerny, Kate: Dona Croll, Jack: Owen Findlay, Anna Kane: Rebecca Saire, Maddie: Katy Ellis. Producer: Eoin O'Callaghan.

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