R4 Drama 2021

I'm typing these entries out, summarising them from RT, removing spoilers and editing / adding notes where necessary. Typos are gradually being removed. The page is generally updated at the end of each month.

To locate a play, use Control-F which will bring up a search box. The page lists afternoon dramas including Sat-Sun. (Saturday Drama and Classic Serial). .........ND

Note that the 'Classic Serial' slot on Sunday afternoons is no longer described as such in the Radio Times. However I am still using the term so people can navigate the page more easily.

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1 Jan: Hashtag Love
By Peter Souter, rpt. from 14 Feb 2017. Romantic comedy set behind the fictional scenes of The Archers. The drama reports and reacts to listeners' social media comments as it tells the story of an unravelling romance, with the audience steering the story line. With Ruth Jones and Stephen Tompkinson. Sound: Nigel Lewis, Producer: Alison Hindell. BBC Wales.

2 Jan: Saturday Play - The Anansi Boys,6
By Neil Gaiman, rpt. Mythical fantasy about the trickster god Anansi and his son Fat Charlie. Rpt. from Xmas Season 2017; last part.Cast of the series includes Earl Cameron, Tanya Moodie, Adjoa Andoh, Joseph Marcell, Jacob Anderson, Lenny Henry, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Sheila Atim, Pippa Bennett-Warner, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Cecilia Noble, Angela Wynter, Ariyon Bakare, Julie Hesmondhalgh, Danielle Vitalis, Ronke Adekoluejo, Clifford Samuel, and Tayla Kovacevic-Ebong. Adapted by Dirk Maggs; Sound Design ..... Wilfredo Acosta, Producer ..... Allegra McIlroy.

3 Jan: Classic Serial slot: Passenger List, 6 - The White Matchmaker
By John Dryden. The wreckage, a missing passport, an unexpected call... Atlantic Airlines flight 702 has disappeared mid-flight between London and New York with 256 passengers on board. Kaitlin Le, a college student whose twin brother vanished with the flight, is determined to uncover the truth. Kelly Marie Tran, Patti LuPone, Colin Morgan and Rob Benedict star in this mystery thriller. Kaitlin ..... Kelly Marie Tran, Gavin ..... Carl Prekopp, Laura Jones ..... Heather Craney, School Secretary ..... Anjli Mohindra, Professor Marshal ..... Richard Doyle, Homeland Security Man ..... Briggon Snow, Homeland Security Woman ..... Alex Brown Marshall, Murphy ..... Tesse Auberjonis, Mai (Kaitlin’s Mother) ..... Elyse Dihn, Hassan ..... Raad Rawi, Kirsty ..... Julie Adamo. Created by John Scott Dryden. Script Editor, Mike Walker. Casting, Janet Foster. US Producer, Julia Thompson, assisted by Julia Adamo. UK Producer, Emma Hearn. Editing, Sound Design & Music by Mark Henry Phillips. Directed by Lauren Shippen & John Scott Dryden. Executive Producers: Lauren Shippen & John Scott Dryden. Executive Producer for Radiotopia, Julie Shapiro. Indie (Goldhawk, for Radiotopia/PRX and BBC Radio)

4 Jan: You & Me
By Dan Rebellato. A two-hander about the predatory behaviour of men. The story involves marital infidelity, exposing more and more lies, but Robert Lonsdale plays the woman and Racheal Ofori plays the man. The role reveral has a curious effect in how we perceive the dialogue. The drama begins at the actual recording. After doing part of the first scene, the actors stop and decide they want to swap roles. Naomi……..Racheal Ofori, Tom…………Robert Lonsdale, Nick …….Chris Jack, Polly………Polly Thomas, Dan……Dan Rebellato, Director/Producer……. Polly Thomas, Recording engineer…..Louis Blatherwick, Sound design/Producer….Eloise Whitmore, Executive Producer…………..Joby Waldman. Indie (Naked productions). Recorded remotely, actors in their own homes.

5 Jan: Release
By Matt Hartley. Aimee's dad has been in prison since she was 8, for murder. Now she is 17. He's been released. She has grown up with her aunt, believing that her father is a monster who killed her mother. Slowly she has to make a reassessment. Aimee - Saran Morgan, Olly - Richard Harrington, Sian - Siwan Morris, Kyle - Kyle Lima. Directed by John Norton. BBC Wales.

6 Jan: The Republicans: Ronald Reagan - Death Valley Days
45m. By Jonathan Myerson. Rpt. from 2018. It's 1963 and Ronnie Reagan is working as the host of Death Valley Days, a TV show. One day he is approached by the Republican Party with an offer. The drama is framed as an episode of the TV show. Reagan wonders about the possibility of a president with no political experience. (summarised from David Crawford's review in RT, 2018). Can't find any other radio play about Ronald Reagan - a good choice of subject.-Ed. Reagan: Kerry Shale, Nancy Reagan: Madeleine Potter, Maureen Reagan: Samantha Dakin, Barry Goldwater: Corey Johnson, Richard Nixon: Jonathan Hyde, Cliff White: Joseph Balderrama, Lee Edwards: Ryan Whittle, Holmes Tuttle: Stephen Hogan. Producer: Jonquil Panting.

7 Jan: Republicans: Richard Nixon: Searchlight Has Left the Building
By Jonathan Myerson, rpt. from 13 Oct 18. Shortly after announcing the invasion of Cambodia, insomniac Richard Nixon confronts student protesters outside the Lincoln Memorial at 4 o'clock in the morning. Closely based on the accounts of those who were there. Student protests have ignited across the US, with National Guardsmen shooting four dead at Kent State University. Richard Nixon: Jonathan Hyde, Manolo Sanchez: Joseph Balderrama, Arnold Hutschnecker: Jack Klaff, Carrie Moore: Ellen Thomas, Bob Haldermann: Aaron Vodovoz, young Richard Nixon: Rupert Simonian, Hannah Nixon: Emma Handy, secrret serviceman: Ryan Whittle, syudent: Saffron Coomber. Producer: Jonquil Panting.

8 Jan: The Republicans: Gerald Ford: Fascist Insect
By Jonathan Myerson, rpt. 1975. After Nixon’s resignation, President Gerald Ford is fighting for his political survival. But the country is in chaos - and his party is disintegrating. Challenger Ronald Reagan is attacking in weekly radio broadcasts: “Make America Great Again” is his big catchphrase. Saigon has just fallen, the Panama Canal is threatened and détente looks like a sell-out. There’s political fervour on the streets. Patty Hearst, kidnap victim, seems to have turned terrorist. Sara Jane Moore . . . Sian Thomas, Gerald Ford . . . Nathan Osgood, Betty Ford . . . Barbara Barnes, Bob Hartmann . . . Daniel Betts, Jerry terHorst . . . Kerry Shale, Benton Becker . . . John Macmillan, Bert Worthington . . . Philip Desmeules, Richard Nixon . . . Jonathan Hyde, Detective Callaghan . . . Stephen Hogan, Kat . . . Emma Handy, Lud . . . Sean Murray, Producer. . . Jonquil Panting.

9 Jan: Saturday Play: Call for the Dead
90 dramatisation by Robert Forrest of John le Carré's first novel, rpt. from 2009. It's London in the late 1950s and George Smiley is engaged in the routine job of security vetting. When a Foreign Office civil servant commits suicide not long after being cleared of Communist sympathies, Smiley investigates and uncovers a deadly conspiracy with its roots in his own wartime past. George Smiley ...... Simon Russell Beale, Inspector Mendel ...... Kenneth Cranham, Elsa Fennan ...... Eleanor Bron, Ann Smiley ...... Anna Chancellor, Peter Guillam ...... Richard Dillane, Maston ...... James Laurenson, Dieter Frey ...... Henry Goodman, Adam Starr/Mundt ...... Sam Dale, Ludo Oriel ...... Janice Acquah, Nursing Sister ...... Caroline Guthrie, With Benjamin Askew and Jonathan Tafler. Producer Patrick Rayner.

10 Jan: Classic Serial slot: Low - David Bowie
By Sean Grundy, rpt. Inspired by the chaotic life of David Bowie during the making of the Low album released in 1977. The play looks into the mind of David Bowie during his years in Berlin. After leaving LA, which he later said had brought him to the edge of sanity, Berlin influenced his recovery and inspired him to create this well-known album. Bowie: Daniel Weyman, Iggy Pop: Kerry Shale, Tony Visconti: Martin Sherman, Roy Martin: Tom Alexander, Rony Haag: Scott Capurro, Coco: Laurel Lefkow, Angie: Helene Maksoud, Zowie Bowie: James Morley, Brian Eno: Wilf Scolding. Producer: David Morley; director: Dirk Maggs. 57m. Indie (Perfectly Normal).

11 Jan: Sparks
By Jessica Butcher, with original music by Anoushka Lucas, about dating, love, loss and grief. BBC blurb (edited slightly): "What do you do if you’re female and in your twenties and a feminist, but you also want to fall in love and maybe have a kid... you meet that someone..it’s perfect...then it's not.....the person you’d really like to talk to is your mum, but she died." Performed by Jessica Butcher and Anoushka Lucas; originally directed for stage by Jessica Edwards. Produced for radio by Emma Harding.

12 Jan: Lives in Transit
By Rosemary Jenkinson, based on a true story. Asha suffered rape and violence in Somalia at the hands of terrorists. She gives her few remaining dollars to a trafficker in the hope of getting to Ireland. But after years of failed asylum applications Asha’s troubles are still not over. Asha Suleman ... Raquel McKee, Thomas ... Jonathan Harden, Interpreter ... Farshid Rokey, Civil Servant ... Ainé McCartney The Landlord ... Tony Flynn, Yasmin ... Nimmy March, Producer ... Eoin O'Callaghan. BBC Northern Ireland.

13 Jan: Republicans: Ronald Reagan - Hanging By Our Thumbs
By Jonathan Myerson, rpt. from 12 Oct 2019. Set in 1987, during Reagan's second term. Congress investigates the Iran/Contra arms-selling deal. Congress is investigating evidence that the US has been selling arms to Iran illegally, and diverting the proceeds to fund Contra guerrilla fighters in Nicaragua, with the President’s knowledge. NATO Ambassador David Abshire is called in to get at the facts.Reagan: Kerry Shale, Bud McFarlane: Mark Heenehan, Fawn Hall: Janine Harouni, Oliver North: Paul Hickey, Admiral Poindexter: Peter Polycarpou, Nancy Reagan: Madeleine Potter, Abshire: Chris Pavlo, Don Regan: David Hounslow, Shultz: Sean Baker, Ed: Jonny Holden, Staffer: Rupert Simonian. Producer: Jonquil Panting. 45m.

14 Jan: George W Bush: A Higher Father
By Jonathan Myerson, rpt. It's now 2000. George W Bush is elected, narrowly, into the Presidency.He doesn't just follow in his father's footsteps. According to a US Marine, his political steps have been guided by a Higher Father, now exerting His influence on US politics. George W Bush: Joseph Balderrama, Sgt. Louella Harkrader: Melody Grove, Barbara Bush: Amanda Boxer, Laura Bush: Debbie Korley, Lee Atwater: Demetri Goritsas, Dick Cheney: Kerry Shale, Karl Rove: Chris Pavlo, Jeb Bush: Jonny Holden. Producer: Jonquil Panting.

15 Jan: Republicans: Donald Trump: This Isn’t Happening
By Jonathan Myerson, rpt. from Oct 2019; the political swings of the Republican Party in the USA. Trump said at a rally that he wouldn't lose voters even if he shot someone in Fifth Avenue. This is contrasted with the consequences of the day when he lost his temper on his Scottish golf course. Donald Trump and a driver: Lewis MacLeod, Ivanka Trump: Christy Meyer, Abraham Lincoln: William Hope, Richard Nixon and a councillor: Ian Conningham, Ray Cohn: Corey Johnson, young Donald: Josh Berry, Fred Trump and a caddy: Neil McCaul, Melania Trump: Jessica Turner, secret service agent and a reporter: Clive Hayward, Till girl and reporter: Sinead MacInnes. Producer: Jonquil Panting.

16 Jan: Saturday Play: Star of the Sea, 1
Star of the Sea by Joseph O’Connor dramatised for radio by Clare McGowan. It is 1847 and American journalist Grantley Dixon is investigating a murder on board the Star of the Sea. The ship is bound for New York and full of refugees escaping from Ireland. The Potato Famine has torn the country apart. The play shows us what effect the famine had on Ireland and its people. Grantley Dixon ... Kyle Soller, Lord David Merridith ... Johnny Flynn, Laura ... Georgina Beedle, Pius ... Rory Keenan, Mary ... Charlene McKenna, Captain ... Daniel Flynn, Leeson ... Carl Prekopp, David's father ... Stephen Critchlow, Doctor Mangan ... Niall Buggy, Nicholas Mulvey ... Kwaku Fortune, Jonathan ... Ronan Casey, Robert ... Alfie, Young Mary ... Joni Martin, Young David ... Hugo Mallon, Mary's mother ... Tallulah Bond. Dramatised by Claire McGowan. Director, Celia de Wolff. BBC Northern Ireland Production.

17 Jan: Classic Serial slot: Heart of Darkness
By Joseph Conrad, ad. Anita Sullivan, set in the 21st Century. Maya is an environmental scientist, sent into the heart of the Congo Rainforest after contact is lost with a research team. The story is reshaped and describes a world of deforestation and climate catastrophe. Maya…. Georgia Henshaw, Leon…. Peter Bankole, Blaise…. Jude Akuwudike, Daisy…. Ashleigh Haddad, Kurtz…. Stephen Hogan, The Commissioner…. Steve Toussaint, Script Consultant…. Ange Kasongo, Lingala Consultant…. Tracey Nyemba. Producer: James Robinson. BBC Wales.

18 Jan: Because I’m a Mother
By Caroline Bird. Marcie, an artist, takes a once-in-a-lifetime chance to make a show in New York about motherhood, but must leave her baby son behind in the UK for ten weeks to do so. While Marcie builds the giant installation which represents the culmination of 20 years' work, her wife Dawn is back home with their little boy. The couple’s relationship comes under strain. A two-woman relationship is as complicated as a man-woman partnership. Marcie - Jessica Hynes, Dawn - Sinead Matthews, Evalyn - Tracy Wiles, Lucy - Haley McGee, Podcaster - Kerry Shale. Other roles voiced by members of the cast. Studio Production by Michael Harrison Produced by Mair Bosworth for BBC Audio in Bristol.

19 Jan: Breaking Blake
By Barnaby Kay. George Blake, a member of MI6, passed secrets to the Russians and was sentenced to 42 years imprisonment. But after four years, he escaped from from Wormwood Scrubs. Many assumed, incorrectly, that the KGB was behind the break-out. George Blake.........Michael Maloney, Michael Randle..........Elliot Levey, Anne Randle...........Claire Rushbrook, Pat Pottle.........Tony Gardner, Sean Bourke...........Lloyd Hutchinson, Alim/Doctor............Walles Hamonde, Hawkins/Nice Barry........Ben Crowe, Boys............Kellan & Merryn Dowley, News reports..........David Holt, Secretary/Mum.......Freya James, Director .......Barnaby Kay, Sound Recordist and Designer ......David Thomas, Production Coordinator ........Sarah Tombling, Producer.......Karen Rose. Indie (Sweet Talk).

20 Jan: Safe from Harm
By Rhiannon Boyle. The story of Alys, a teacher and mother whose life unravels when a colleague is arrested for possessing indecent images of children. Alys ….. Sian Reece-Williams, Christian ….. Oliver Ryan, Ianto ….. Sion Pritchard, Mum ….. Rhian Morgan, Tyler ….. Alfie Ford, Taya ….. Nerys Stocks, Kyden ….. Iolo Reynolds. Sound design was by Catherine Robinson. BBC (Writersroom) Wales, produced by Helen Perry.

21 Jan: Domino
By Archie Maddocks. Three generations of men from one family play dominos. But this is more than a game - it is a struggle for power. A drama of long-buried resentments and dark secrets. Horsea.....Rudolph Walker, Quashie.....Paterson Joseph, Rico.....Stefan Adegbola, August.....Damian Lynch, Nurse/Resident.....Jane Whittenshaw, Produced by Emma Harding.

22 Jan: Islander
By Amy Draper. A two-hander for Kirsty Findlay and Bethany Tennick, who sing all the songs and perform all of the characters, while weaving, building and layering their voices to create an ethereal soundscape. This won the Musical Theatre Review’s 'Best Musical' Award at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2019. Conceived and directed for stage by Amy Draper.and Stewart Melton. Music and lyrics by Finn Anderson, for Helen Milne Productions. Produced by Pauline Harris. BBC Drama North.

23 Jan: Saturday Play: Star of the Sea, 2
By Joseph O'Connor, ad.Claire McGowan. It is 1847 and American journalist Grantley Dixon is investigating a murder on board the Star of the Sea. The ship is bound for New York, carrying refugees from Ireland who have abandoned their country becuase of the Potato Famine. The ship is full of individuals each having a plausible reason for doing the killing. There are many characters for Grantley to choose from. Grantley Dixon ... Kyle Soller, Lord David Merridith ... Johnny Flynn, Laura ... Georgina Beedle, Pius ... Rory Keenan, Mary ... Charlene McKenna, Captain ... Daniel Flynn, Leeson ... Carl Prekopp, David's father ... Stephen Critchlow, Doctor Mangan ... Niall Buggy, Nicholas Mulvey ... Kwaku Fortune, Jonathan ... Ronan Casey, Robert ... Alfie Hurley, Young Mary ... Joni Martin, Young David ... Hugo Mallon, Mary's mother ... Tallulah Bond, Producer: Celia de Wolff. BBC Northern Ireland.

24 Jan: Classic Serial: Devils, 1
By Dostoevsky, dram. Melissa Murray. After years away from home, Nicholai Stavrogin returns to his home town bringing with him the radical ‘free-thinkers’ of Petersburg, intent on causing civil unrest. Stepan ..... Gary Lilburn, Mrs Stavrogina ..... Jane Whittenshaw, Nicholai ..... Joseph Arkley, Pyotr ..... Jonathan Forbes, Darya ..... Charlotte East, Virginsky ..... Ian Dunnett Jr, Krillov ..... Hasan Dixon, Shatov ..... Stefan Adegbola, Lisa ..... Cecilia Appiah, Marya ..... Georgia Henshaw. Directed by Carl Prekopp. Produced by Marc Beeby and Anne Isger.

25 Jan: The Interrogation, Series 8: Sandra
New series of the crime drama by Roy Williams. Today the detectives interview Sandra, a local vicar with a challenging family. D.I. Max Matthews ..... Kenneth Cranham, D.S. Sean Armitage ..... Alex Lanipekun, Sandra ..... Emma Fielding. Music - David Pickvance. Producer, Jessica Dromgoole. Director, Mary Peate.

26 Jan: The Interrogation, Series 8: Stephen
By Roy Williams. Stephen has been beaten up at school. The assailant is an excluded pupil, and Stephen is a teacher. But is that really why he's here? Max ..... Kenneth Cranham, Sean ..... Alex Lanipekun, Stephen ..... Joel MacCormack, Music - David Pickvance. Producer, Jessica Dromgoole. Director, Mary Peate.

27 Jan: The Interrogation, Series 8: Tanya and Natalie
Best friends Tanya and Natalie are the prime suspects after a spate of muggings and a brutal attack on an elderly man. Could these young women really be capable of such things? Max ..... Kenneth Cranham, Sean ..... Alex Lanipekun, Tanya ..... Kirsty J. Curtis, Natalie ..... Danielle Vitalis Music - David Pickvance. Producer, Jessica Dromgoole. Director, Mary Peate.

28 Jan: Voodoo Macbeth
By Sharon Oakes. In 1936, the newly-formed Federal Theatre Project’s Negro Unit decided to stage a production of Macbeth. The production was spectacularly successful: Voodoo Macbeth (q.v.) directed by Orson Welles. This drama records the impact of staging this production on both cast and director. Possibly Welles' greatest achievement. Orson Welles – Tom Bateman, Jack Carter – Ariyon Bakare, Edna Thomas – Clare Perkins, John Houseman – John Hollingworth, Abe Feder/John Barrymore – Tom Lawrence, All other parts – Adam Courting, Maggie Service, Lloyd Thomas. Produced by Gaynor Macfarlane.

29 Jan: Our Truth, Their Lies
By Hugh Costello. A reactive drama about the growing influence of conspiracy theories. Organised child sex abuse is coordinated by a cabal of global elites; vaccines are a form of disguised government control. So there you go. The story backtracks through 2020 as it follows Jen’s journey into the online conspiracy theory universe. A family is thrown into crisis as Michael and Louise try to make sense of Jen’s deranged view of the world. Jen: Monica Dolan, Michael: Nicholas Murchie, Louise: Macy Nyman, Luka: Matthew Aubrey, Newcaster/Bot: Jane Slavin Producer: Eoin O’Callaghan. Indie (Big Fish).

Compiled by Nigel Deacon / Diversity website

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