Fog and shifting pebbles
by Dawn Lowe-Watson

My new radio play will be going out on Radio Four, 22nd August, 2005 at 2.15 pm. An odd title, you may say, and indeed it was first only a working title, but Cherry Cookson my Producer liked it sufficiently to feel we should stick with it.

It began with my own emotional reaction to that wild piece of English coastline called Dungerness Point - a wild place at the best of times made even more forbidding by an enormous nuclear power station. But it caught my fancy. Bleaker you could hardly get. A landscape of pebbles and fishing boats frowned upon by the crouching power station.. Kent /Sussex borders at their least pretty. Known to many as the place the poet and film-maker Derek Jarman made his haunting garden of objects thrown up by the sea and plants that like to cling to a hard land.

When I told Cherry about it and said I felt like writing a play set there, she said she knew the place well and had her own memories, for it was here she herself had lived as a child, riding a pony over Romney Marsh. She knew just how I felt.

And so there we were - both hooked. I came up with a storyline, she liked the idea and put the synopsis up for the next Radio Four Drama Buying Round, in which directors put forward the propositions that appeal to them. At this point a play gets into lively competition with all the other ideas, put forward by other directors, and itís no good biting oneís fingers because decisions take quite a time and when a potential play does surface the writer might well be engrossed with another project while their drama idea is put on the back burner.

However, I was fortunate and my Dungerness idea caught on. I was through the net.

At this point I should emphasize that it was not quite Dungerness. A place, like a character, is seldom quite reality. Both change, take on this, drop that and assume a life of their own. But after work between writer and director, something emerges that may be called a play.

I re-wrote a number of scenes, Cherry made a number of observations, and together we came up with a working script. A date was fixed, Cherry booked one of the BBC studios in Maidavale in West London, cast the characters and we were away.

The cast and whole team were marvellous, intelligent and professional as always. Iím very pleased with the result. I hope you who listen will be too, and may catch something of the pull and the mystery of this weird part of Englandís South Coast.

Dawn Lowe-Watson, Jul 05 / Diversity website

BBC Publicity:

Dawn Lowe-Watsonís play is set in Dungeness, on the southernmost point of Romney Marsh in Kent, where Owen, a gentle and kind sculptor, lives in deliberate isolation from what he sees as his rather unsuccessful attempts to cultivate relationships.

Owen is not unhappy and at least here he can concentrate on his work. But things change one night with the arrival of the teenage daughter of a musician with whom he used to live. Nina is unhappy that her real father has returned to live in the family home and has run away to be with Owen. She still feels close to her step-father and even fantasises that he is, in fact, her dad.

Dawn Lowe Watson has written several very successful plays for BBC Radio 4. Her son, composer Andrew Lowe Watson, wrote the music that forms this playís main theme.

Owen is played by Paul Rhys, Nina by Colleen Prendergast and Monica by Patience Tomlinson. Producer/Cherry Cookson.

Note about Andrew Lowe-Watson
Andrew is a pianist and composer. There is more information about him on my main music page (click above left). He has a website where more details of his work can be found, including information on his latest composition "Trafalgar".

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