For plays broadcast from
31 Jul 2012-31 Oct 2013

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Newsflash, 25 Jan: - Winner of the 2013 Imison Award:
The Loving Ballad of Captain Bateman, by Joseph Wilde.

We are pleased to announce the shortlist for the 2013 Award:

  • Fresh Berries by Catherine Johnson
  • Hangdog by Cat Jones
  • The Loving Ballad of Captain Bateman by Joseph Wilde

    The Imison Award honours the best original script by a writer new to radio broadcast in the UK over 1 July 2012-31 October 2013. The Award is administered by the Society of Authors, and judged by members of its Broadcasting Committee - see foot of page.

    The prize of £1,500 is donated by The Peggy Ramsay Foundation.


    Produced by Marion Nancarrow, BBC Drama, R3. Natalie is 14 and lives with her Nan. Nan is busy with her own life and didn’t expect to have to look after Nat. But that’s OK, because Nat has her new boyfriend, Justin, who’s like 25 and who’ll always take care of her. So Nat’ll do anything for Justin. Anything. Because he loves her. That’s why, when he’s in debt, she does something she doesn’t want to do. Because she loves him too.

    The judges said: Fresh Berries is a brave and unflinching exploration of the ‘grooming’ and subsequent sexual abuse of vulnerable young teenage girls by older men. The writer deals with such sobering subject matter with great compassion, sensitivity and wit: the play has obviously been very carefully researched, and yet it wears its research very lightly, knowing that it has to work first and foremost as a drama. What most impressed the judges about this radio play was the impeccable characterisation and sparky dialogue of the teenage protagonists, Natalie and Georgia. Never gratuitous, never patronising, and never offering an easy way out, this play is a must-listen for teenage girls, their parents, teachers and carers. Catherine Johnson is an accomplished young adult novelist and screenwriter, and with Fresh Berries proves herself adept at another medium.

    Catherine Johnson has written nearly 20 novels for young readers. She also writes for film and TV including Bullet Boy, Holby City and Rough Crossings. Last year she was part of the BBC Writers’ Academy. She is currently working on a film set in London in 1971 and a book set in Paris in 1793.

    Produced by Sharon Sephton, BBC Drama, R4. An up-and-coming detective who's a stickler for the rules has his certainties tested by the brutal realities of everyday prison life when he investigates the suicide of a young inmate. Why does this particular suicide warrant investigation at such a high level and who is really to blame for Hangdog's death? This gritty drama goes behind prison doors and looks at the unusual process of the investigation of a prison suicide.

    The judges said: Hangdog was an accomplished first radio play that demonstrated a very clear understanding of the craft necessary to bring the imagined world to life. The prison setting was convincingly constructed, allowing for the listener to be fully immersed in the unfolding story. This was a claustrophobic drama that combined elements of the traditional whodunit to keep us questioning the motivation for a prison suicide, drawing in prison staff as well as fellow inmates. The characters were well-drawn and believable and the dialogue had the authentic ring of truth, the use of prison jargon adding richness to the play and helping to define the divide between the ‘guilty’ and the ‘innocent’. Ultimately, there was a pleasing ambiguity about the play, leaving the listener to act as arbiter and pass judgement on the actions and culpability of the central characters.

    Cat Jones won the BBC’s 2011 Alfred Bradley Bursary for Glory Dazed staged at Edinburgh Fringe Fest 2012.

    Produced by Julian May, BBC Drama, R4. The Loving Ballad of Captain Bateman follows the arc of the ancient song but within a contemporary narrative. In Afghanistan the wounded British soldier, Captain Bateman, places Sofia and her father, in a dangerous dilemma. Sofia and Bateman overhear each other singing and first warm to one another through song. Their contemporary love story is illuminated by Tim van Eyken’s performance of the old ballad, and music he has composed for these characters. The music is integral rather than incidental, working with the text and soundscape to drive the narrative. As in the ballad, the story returns to Britain, where Afghans seek succour and shelter and wives, lovers and families wait and worry about the soldiers they care for.

    The judges said: This strikingly accomplished play weaves together two war stories - one ancient, one modern - with great flair and daring. Both tell of a British soldier going to war in a far-off land, being near-mortally wounded, then rescued by his captor’s daughter, who dangerously compromises herself and her father in doing so. The old tale is embodied in a ballad (with haunting new score), the new in gripping and entirely convincing war scenes in Afghanistan. Moral dilemmas – the girlfriend back home, an accidental shooting in Sanghin, the Pashtunwali code of honour – come to life in spare, witty dialogue. A virtuoso use of sound, from malfunctioning Bowmans to tinnitus, brilliantly dramatizes conflicting wavelengths. At the end, love seems to conquer war and geography... though the lovers’ ridiculing of each others’ fairytales has suggested we shouldn’t take fairytale endings too seriously.

    Joseph Wilde's first play Famous Last Words was performed at the 2007 Edinburgh Fringe. Tim van Eyken won the BBC Young Folk Award in 1998.

    The Imison Award is judged by members of the Society's Broadcasting Committee; this year the judges are John Taylor (Chairman), Ruth Brandon, Lucy Caldwell, Christopher William Hill, Alison Joseph, Annette Kobak, Michelle Lipton, Jane Thynne, Stephen Wakelam and Elizabeth-Anne Wheal.

    The winner will be announced at the BBC Audio Drama Awards on Sunday 26 January 2014.


    Submission deadline:Wed 10 July 2013; transmission period 31 Jul 2012-31 Oct 2013

    Imison entries for the following year (31 Oct 13 - 31 Oct 14, I think....ND) should be sent to Jo McCrum, The Society of Authors, 84 Drayton Gardens, London, SW10 9SB. Tinniswood entries should be sent to Anne Hogben, Writers’ Guild of Great Britain, 40 Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R 4RX.

    For further information and entry forms please see www.societyofauthors.org

    A summary of past winners is shown below.

    2012 Do You Like Banana, Comrades? by Csaba Székely
    2011 Amazing Grace, by Michelle Lipton
    2010 The Road Wife, by Eoin McNamee
    2009 Girl from Mars,by Lucy Caldwell
    2008 Adam Beeson, for The Magician's Daughter
    2007 Mike Bartlettt, for Not Talking
    2006 Nazrin Choudhury, for Mixed Blood
    2005 Steve Coombs, for Mr. Sex
    2004 Stephen Sharkey, for All You on the Good Earth
    2003 N.Leyshon & S. McAnena for Milk; Celia Bryce for The Skategrinder
    2002 Rhiannon Tise, for The Waltzer
    2001 Murray Gold, for Electricity
    2000 Peter Morgan, for A Matter of Interpretation
    1999 Ben Cooper, for Skin Deep
    1998 Katie Hims, for Earthquake Girl
    1997 John Waters, for Holy Secrets (jt); Rosemary Kay, for Wilde Belles
    1996 Lee Hall, for I Love You Jimmy Spud
    1995 Gerry Stembridge, for Daisy the Cow who Talked (jt) and James Stock, for Kissing the Gargoyle
    1994 Gabriel Gbadamosi, for The Long Hot Summer of '76


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