Annie McCartney Radio Plays

Annie McCartney has written twelve afternoon plays and three comedy drama series "Two Doors Down" for Radio 4. She has also done work for television (BBC Northern Ireland Drama), has appeared as an actor in many radio plays including some of her own, and is a novelist. Her website is at www.anniemccartney.com/ also an interesting interview with Annie about her latest work ; click on the link

Her work so far:



SERIES for Radio
TWO DOORS DOWN Series One - 4 episodes 2001, Series Two - 4 Episodes 2002, Series Three - 4 Episodes 2003.
RUSH - 2 Episodes 2008.

Desire Lines 2001
Your Cheatin’ Heart 2005 (this one is great fun - ND)
Two Doors Down 2007

Annie McCartney writes .....

I had my first experience of radio drama as a first year student at Queen’s. I was “spotted” in a Dramsoc production and offered a part – well, four lines - in a play directed by the legendary Ronnie Mason. Several luminaries of the acting scene were in the cast - Margaret D’Arcy, JG Devlin, Harold Goldblatt and Kitty Gibson. When I remarked that I hadn’t a lot to do, Harold Goldblatt told me not to mind because line for line I was probably the highest paid member of the cast.

I went on to work in schools programmes for many years after that, with Sam Hanna Bell, Tony McAuley, and Douglas Carson. I was also lucky to work on a fairly regular basis with countless producers in radio drama, in plays by writers like John McGahern and Stewart Parker. I always loved the medium. Therefore when I turned from an acting career in 1998 and decided to write, it seemed fitting that my first efforts should be for Radio 4. I began with short stories and eventually plucked up the courage to move to afternoon plays. These were set in the Home Counties, Radio 4’s traditional listening ground, and were produced by Eoin O’ Callaghan. To date I have written eight plays and three series.

It took me a while to set any of my work in Northern Ireland but my last play Every Breath You Take and my series Two Doors Down are both set here. I worked very closely on both these with Tanya Nash. It is a tough but satisfying experience watching an idea slowly evolve into a drama. I am always humbled by the way actors bring characters from one’s imagination so fully to life. Only an organisation like the BBC could allow producers – and I have been fortunate in having the best – to devote the time and patience to work with writers who are literally learning the craft as they go along. ....summarised from BBC Northern Ireland website - N.D.


For RTE; winner of RTE P.J.O'Connor Award. March 1994.

R4, 1415, 27 Jul 98; rpt.25 Oct 99. A mother faces a dilemna when tests for a bone marrow transplant reveal that her husband may not be the father of her child. With Amanda Root, Kenneth Cranham, Ellie Beavan; dir. Eoin O'Callahagn.

GO ASK ALICE....2000
R4, 1500, 29 Jan 00; Saturday Play, 60m, rpt. 27 Sep 02. Alice, an asthma sufferer, starts angling for attention. Nothing unusual in that, but before long her parents realise their lives are starting to come apart. With Ellie Beavan, Georgie Alexander and Amanda Root; dir. Eoin O'Callahagn.

R4, 1500, 29 Apr 00, Saturday Play; rpt. 22 Sep 03. Following her regression therapy, Susan Sinclair accuses her brother of having abused her as a child. The family's reaction is predictable, but in this case, perhaps there is no smoke without fire...with Samantha Bond, Ron Cook, Sophie Thompson. Dir. Eoin O'Callahagn. Rpt. 6 Apr 01.

R4,15 Jun 01; four young women invite a clairvoyant to read their palms. With Saskia Wickham, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Lizzie McInnerney, Marcella Riordan. Dir. Eoin O'Callahagn.

R4, 31 Oct 02....Meredith is a young widow, grieving for the husband she lost in a road accident. Unexpectedly a "twin" brother appears at her door and  gradually to the consternation of her friends and widowed father, establishes himself firmly in her life. Is he telling the truth? Or indeed is he an impostor taking advantage of Meredith? With Rebecca Sayer, Tracy Ann Oberman, Rebecca Front. Director Eoin O Callaghan.

A woman's marriage has disintegrated after a family tragedy. She meets another man, and they get on famously, and a happy ending is anticipated. But there are some surprises in store. With Emma Fielding and Robert Glennister, Lizzie McInnerny, Mick Garner, Andrew Alston, Frances Jeater, Lewis Aaltonen, Juliet Aaltonen. Director Eoin O'Callaghan.

R4, 6 Jan 04, 1415...a psychological thriller about a mother who tries to protect her family from a man who threatens to expose her past. Maura's son Ryan wins a recording contract as a singer in a television talent show. But then Maura receives an unexpected 'phone call from a man she met on holiday twenty years earlier and who says he could be Ryan's father. With Brid Brennan, Orla Charlton, Ivan Kaye, Alan McKee, Katy Gleadhill, Sarah Gordon, Hannah R. Gordon, Aine McCartney, Roger Jennings and Malchi Cush. Malchi sings one of his own songs, as Ryan, in this production. Directed and produced by Tanya Nash.

R4 December 19th, 2006... Martha is the epitome of Earth-mother; she runs a house dripping with genuine tea and sympathy and has four children whom she fusses over and loves deeply and a quiet husband Robert who patently adores her. Then a scurrilous book is published to a fanfare of publicity, Martha is suspected to be the author. Her denial is swift, and though many try to believe her, the "no smoke" rule clings. But if she didn't write it, then who is the author?  With Marcella Riordan, Mark Lambert, Lizzie Mc Innerney, Katy Gleadhill. . Directed and produced by Eoin O Callaghan

Update from Annie McCartney, Feb 2007:

I had a play broadcast December 19th, 2006, "Martha My Dear", directed by Eoin O Callaghan with Marcella Riordan, Mark Lambert, Lizzy Mc Innerney, Katy Gleadhill,  Robert Patterson  & Ali White. I also have a 2- parter for BBC7 which I am working on at the moment, and have had 3 series of Two Doors Down directed by Tanya Nash. Details of these are on my website: www.anniemccartney.com/

    Synopsis of MARTHA MY DEAR:

    Martha loves her home and children and she has a quiet husband Robert who adores her. Her personality attracts confessions out of even her normal reticent friends-she is a virtual repository for all the gossip all the heartbreak affairs and as a final touch all her neighbours trust her with the keys to their houses.

    There is however a modicum of smugness to Martha, and unbeknownst to all these confidants she off loads all the titbits to Robert in bed at night who seems to pay no attention. Robert is a busy man who spends most of his week on the train commuting to Dublin from rural Ballymurray and resentful of the endless parasites who he feels are sucking Martha dry with their neediness and leaving her time with him sullied. He wants Martha to move to Dublin, but she is reluctant, loving her garden, the schools and the large house which they could not hope to have in the overpriced city of Dublin.

    Then a book is published to a fanfare of publicity, part of the interest being that the writer has used a pseudonym. “Tea with Babette” contains characters who not only resemble closely Martha’s many friends and neighbours but the lives of these people are extremely salacious …the things they get up to the amount of philandering, the romps Zelda has with numerous married men, the fact that Gillian’s boyfriend leaves her for another man…

    Martha is suspected to be the author. Her denial is swift, and though many try to believe her, the "no smoke" rule clings. But if she didn't write it, who is the author?

1 Apr 08, afternoon play. A candidate for election to the newly formed Stormont Assembly is rattled when his wife and then his young son begin receiving anonymous voice and text messages, accusing him of hypocrisy on the issue of abortion. His party is pro-life, but though his wife disagrees with this in principle, she is not going to let a blackmailer destroy her family without first finding out the truth.

Laura ...... Karen Ardiff
James ...... Richard Dormer
Sean ...... Robert Patterson
Anna ...... Marcella Riordan
Elise ...... Julia Dearden
Patrick ...... Robbie Gilmore
Maxine ...... Anne Bird
Shop assistant ...... Katy Gleadhill

13 Sep 10; Afternoon Play. Kitchen comedy staring James Nesbitt as a talking fridge.

With two twenty-something children and a dubious boyfriend eating her out of house and home, Maggie, (Annie McCartney) is beginning to lose the will to live. She feels she has no one to talk to or listen. But all that is about to change when she hears a voice speaking to her from the corner of the kitchen. It seems that the only one who understands her predicament is her Fridge (James Nesbitt.) But unlike poor beleaguered Maggie, this fridge has got 'attitude' and is determined to help her get her life back on track...

Fridge.....James Nesbitt
Maggie.....Annie McCartney
Flora.....Marcella Riordan
Ben.....Mark Lambert
Xanthe.....Katy Gleadhill
Tom.....Jonathan Harden
Repair man.....Richard Orr
Director: Eoin O'Callaghan.

    Annie McCartney's latest radio play is a comedy: STARING INTO THE FRIDGE (R4, 1415, 13 Sep 10) A middle-aged woman lives with her children, but they hamper virtually everything she wants to do. They are both in their twenties, and by most accounts should have moved out years ago, but they continue to regard their mother's house as a hotel and their mother as an unpaid cleaner, cook and more. This is not conducive either to her piece of mind or her own relationships, particularly those with men. She can't even count on privacy if a boyfriend stays overnight. Then one day when she is thinking about all this, wondering what to do, her fridge tentatively speaks to her. It's quite a wise fridge; it's observed some things she has missed, and it gives her suggestions and advice. She begins to confide in it. I was reminded of Simon Brett's 'Furniture Play' of a few years ago, where a sofa showed similar wisdom. James Nesbitt plays the fridge (imagine him putting that on a CV); Annie McCartney plays Maggie, Marcella Riordan was her best friend Flora, and Mark Lambert was the boyfriend. The producer was Eoin O'Callaghan.

    ND, Diversity Website review, Dec 2010

By Annie McCartney, 24 Apr 12. ...journalists remain an easy target, but the shock jock portrayed here is like a pantomime villain. All she's concerned about is her vile radio show and her listening figures. Her savage attacks upon the NHS and one cardiologist in particular come back to hit her in the chest....(Jane Anderson, RT, paraphrased by ND).

A listener to the radio show claims that her elderly mother died as a result of neglect at a local hospital. As we listen, we realise that this is far from the truth.

The cast: Eleanor Methven, Maureen Beattie, Conleth Hill, Stella McCusker, Ian McElhinney, Patrick Fitzsymons, Ryan McParland, Katy Gleadhill, Aine McCartney. Producer Eoin O'Callaghan.

Annie McCartney knows about radio stations; she was a radio D.J. in America for five years and she has also broadcast on BBC Radio Ulster and RTE. Her hilarious second novel 'Your Cheatin' Heart' is set on a radio station in Tennessee - ND.

7 Feb 2015; rpt. 8 Feb. A rapid response to something in the news. This play was about the NHS.

    BBC info:
    Newspaper headlines and even the radio screams at us daily that the NHS is in crisis. "Immigration, lack of investment, over medication abuse by a growing number of patients who know their rights but not their responsibilities." Whatever the reality there is thin white line of overworked medics holding the system together, but for how much longer can this go on?

    The series presents writers with the chance to respond to events in the news, beginning on a Monday when an idea is selected through to Friday when the programme is recorded and edited. Dr McCormick: Patrick Fitzsymons, Julia McCormick: Aine McCartney, Mr Hughes: Alan McKee, Mrs O'Connor: Marcella Riordan, Producer: Eoin O'Callaghan.


A two-part medical thriller. Dr Louisa Maxwell brushes off a call from a former patient, Sophie Patterson, in the middle of a busy shift, only to discover the next day that Sophie has been admitted to the hospital, having taken a second overdose, and died. Louisa is racked with guilt but does not believe that Sophie intended to kill herself. The signs were that Sophie was getting her life back on track. Louisa begins to suspect foul play. Two episodes of about 30 min.

With Seainin Brennan, Billy Carter, Richard Dormer, Katy Gleadhill, Marcella Riordan, Mark Lambert, Nikki Doherty, Eileen McCloskey, Fo Cullen, Olivia O’Kane. Producer Heather Larmour.

and finally.......FOOTNOTE
Clive Lever points out where some of Annie's titles have come from....
Every Breath You Take (The Police).
Don’t Get Me Wrong (The Pretenders).
Go Ask Alice (a quote from White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane).
Into The Mystic (Van Morrison).

Nigel Deacon, Diversity website

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