Notices 2022

See also our Facebook page for recent updates and links to other sites.


The new version of Dickens' 'THE SIGNALMAN', adapted by Jonathan Holloway and produced by Andy Jordan, was broadcast on Christmas Day at 3.15pm. This should not be missed; you can get it on catch-up. The play 'Christmas Wings' by Katie Redford (Lily Pargetter in 'The Archers') produced by Tracey Neale on 22 Dec was also excellent.

25 Dec 2022

Director General Tim Davie has outlined how he thinks the BBC will operate in the future. He said that the Corporation is preparing to shut down its traditional television and radio broadcasts as it becomes an online-only service over the next decade. His words: “Imagine a world that is internet-only, where broadcast TV and radio are being switched off and choice is infinite,” he said. “A switch-off of broadcast will and should happen over time, and we should be active in planning for it.”

I can't see this being popular with those who just want to switch on their radio. But this is becoming a world where devices get unnecessarily complicated; for example, it's nothing but hassle to listen to music. You can't just insert a CD and press the 'play' button any more; you have to fiddle around with a computer or smart phone for 5 minutes before you can hear what you want. As for the visually impaired or the blind, using digital devices is next to impossible.

25 Dec 2022

I have just learned that playwright David Pownall has died. David wrote a large number of radio plays; his first was free Ferry, way back in the 70s. The Guardian's obituary is online.

Barry Pike wrote this for us, many years ago:

    David Pownall has been writing challenging plays for radio since 1973. To date there are sixty of them, all individual, none written to formula. You never know what you are going to get with Pownall, which means you won't like all he's done, but what you do like you'll like very much. Some of his radio plays have also been done in the theatre - e.g. Music to Murder By and Master Class - but most were written for radio and exploit the resources of the medium to the full. It is impossible to characterise Pownall, his frame of reference is so wide - but his best work is brilliant, like Butterfingers, a dangerous farce; Flos, about a medieval stonemason; Pound on Mr. Greenhill, about Ezra Pound in Rome; Master Class, about Stalin's attempt to control Prokofiev & Shostakovich; and Elgar's Third, on the symphony that didn't get written. He even wrote a play about George II for Nigel Hawthorne! (The Grapes of Roi).

14 Dec 2022

For those of you who like early music - I have been playing and recording recently and there is another piano collection online: suites by Bustijn, J.C.Smith, toccatas by Bernardo Pasquini and sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti. I have also added a few mazurkas by Frederic Chopin. The collection lasts about 70 minutes and the Youtube link is here: ... Piano collection 2021b

14 Dec 2022

A friend writes: In the enveloping gloom of winter, I'm listening to a play every day, a new routine, as darkness falls. I've heard The Hanoverian Handicap, grand fun with David March as George III; Golding's The Spire, in which Oliver Cotton goes spectacularly off his head; plus two marvellous farces by John Graham: John Brown's Body and A Surfeit of Saints - great stuff!

3 Dec 2022

I am sorry to report the death of radio writer, TV writer and fisherman Nick Fisher, last month.

Richard Wortley wrote this about him in 2002:

"Nick Fisher has been a freelance dramatist for over twenty-five years straight from graduating in modern languages.

A wide ranging ideas person, a true ‘son’ of C P Snow, he embraced the superhighway of digital technology at a time when I considered digital editing meant lifting one finger in the air.

Our collaboration began with working class youth (actors like Sylvestra Le Touzel, now a classical artiste and Peter Duncan, now - via Blue Peter - Britain’s Chief Scout’).

We moved on to chief poet of ‘the creepy’ - Edgar Allen Poe - all good thing for our technical teams. Then a bold peep at Louis XIV’s intestine, a royal flush in all senses, Bill Patterson voicing the royal stomach in political, social and gastronomical mode at that ultimate period of peculiar custom when courtiers were obliged to witness the kingly bowel in action.

Then an extended run-in with crime fiction - not based on books but a freshly minted radio original, the ‘sleuth’, Julie Enfield, played with bravura panache by Imelda Staunton and more fun and games with our sound effects.

Come to think of it, my daughter has an important position with our real police force and her name is Julia. Watch your back with writers, they are ruthless!"

Phillip Glass provided the signature tune off a commercial disc. I suggested three weeks of intensive research (only kidding) for time and motion form-filling purposes but the wheel of fortune had provided my answer in ten minutes."

My friend Stephen Shaw adds:

"Some of his plays were informed by his "paid work" as an agony aunt for Just Seventeen magazine. The Health Education Authority commissioned him to write a book - which they were then not prepared to publish, but Penguin published it in 1994 (Your pocket guide to sex) - and he also wrote a few other educational books aimed at a market of 16-25 year olds.

His website is still present - http://www.nick-fisher.co.uk/about.html - but looks to be untouched for five years."

3 Dec 2022

I see that 'Toytown' is being repeated on Radio 4 Extra on 27 November at 1600; it will also be on listen-again. Do not miss it.

27 Nov 2022

I am pleased to report that an increasing number of BBC radio plays are available in an online archive. The web address is https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04xxp0g/episodes/player and the link is here. The content is mainly recent. As I write this, 292 items are available. It would be good if they had an alphabetic index, but I suppose one cannot expect everything.

25 Nov 2022

Charles Moore, in his Daily Telegraph 'Notebook' column, made a few comments about BBC output when he said (DT, 15 Nov 22) "In news, in drama, in documentaries and even more in magazine programmes, the orthodoxy is multiculturalism, diversity (which means ethnically diverse but politically uniform), victim culture and exposes of government for not spending enough money on things. In another echo of old-time religion there is even a constant 'The End is Nigh' theme, in the form of global warming.

One is all in favour of people being able to hold these opinions. One is less in favour of making the rest of us pay for them".

15 Nov 2022

    There is some truth in what Mr. Moore says, but the gist of his article was to comment unfavourably about the continued existence of the licence fee. One shudders to think what would happen to the BBC's creative output if the licence fee was to be removed - Ed.

Mike Harris has written an interesting drama about the tussle between Winston Churchill and Lord Reith over the reporting of the 1926 general strike. This is available on listen-again (Radio 3, 6 Nov 22) and is reviewed by Harry Turnbull on his 2022 page.

14 Nov 2022

The playwright Anita Sullivan has written a valuable guide to the commissioning process. It can be found at https://www.anitasullivan.co.uk/bbc-radio-drama-commissioning-101

12 Nov 2022

Pleased to report that Richard Harrison, one of our VRPCC members, has discovered a lost Hancock radio show on an old reel, from the 50s. Astonishing that these shows are still turning up. Its discovery is written about in this week's Radio Times, and there is a radio programme at 11.30 next Thursday morning about radio programme collectors, presented by Keith Wickham.

Another actor has left the stage; Josephine Tewson, who died on 18 August aged 91. My friend Stephen Shaw met Josephine a few years ago and has written an appreciation of her work, which can be found at the foot of the PRODUCERS page.

18 Aug 2022

I have recently completed archiving the radio plays of Catherine Czerkawska (about 90 cassettes) and am now doing the same with a large number of cassettes and reels produced by Peter Windows. A friend (Pete E) is is using his Revox machine to transfer the programmes from the reels (most are from around the mid 80s) onto his computer for me. Many thanks to Catherine and Peter and Pete.

10 Aug 2022

I am sorry to report that Bernard Cribbins has died. He was a remarkable performer over many decades and brought enjoyment to millions. There are numerous obituaries and tributes on Youtube and elsewhere, which his fans may investigate. I was interested by a short note in the Daily Telegraph, from radio playwright David Elstein, who reports that in 2014, as a favour to his friend Martin Jenkins,the radio producer, Bernard agreed to play the Emperor Franz-Joseph of Austria-Hungary in David's radio play "Countdown to War: July 2014". After climbing two flights of stairs to the recording studio in Brighton, Bernard sat down, placed his script on the table, looked across at the control booth and asked "How old is this bloke, anyway?"
"In July 1914, Franz-Joseph was 83", I replied.
"Right", said the 85-year-old Cribbins, "I'll play him young, then".

30 Jul 2022

Latest cut in radio drama. Saturdays - reduced from 12 to 10 per year:
"Commissioning Brief no. 47080 57’ Saturday Drama
Schedule slot Saturday 15.02
Number of programmes available 10 maximum
Transmission period April 2023 - March 2024"

(thanks to Mike S in alerting me to this)

4 Jun 2022

A new play from Andy Jordan: Barbeque 69 - The Original Summer of Love, broadcast yesterday as the Afternoon Play. This is a story with music, written by Andy Barrett, about a chance meeting between a young migrant worker and a disaffected widower. It begins a life-changing friendship based on a love of Jimi Hendrix. It's also about the first UK rock festival, which took place in Spalding. It had a line-up including the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Eric Clapton and Cream, Pink Floyd, Roy Wood and The Move, Zoot Money and Geno Washington.

The play also features interviews with people who attended the festival, including journalist Alastair Stewart, Nick Mason from Pink Floyd, Zoot Money and Geno Washington. In the cast are Robert Glenister, Anamaria Marinca, Tom Glenister, Gerard McDermott, Shaq. B. Grant, Timotei Cobeanu, Joe Parker and Roger Alborough. This is an independent production from the International Arts Partnership. It's on the BBC Sounds website. Writer Andy Barrett; director Andy Jordan, producers Jonathan Banatvala and Melanie Nock.

31 May 2022

Harry Turnbull's latest radio drama reviews are now online; see 5-2022 Reviews

25 May 2022

Harry Turnbull has been busy supplying us with more radio reviews (see link under ARTICLES - scroll down on the main radio plays page). I will also be putting a review of recent plays together in the next few days.

25 Apr 2022

A nice version of Macbetth was broadcast on R4, Sat/Sun 23-24 April. Catchup with it on listen-again / BBC Sounds.

24 Apr 2022

In addition to being given a prize for 'best memoir' for her recent book "This Much Is True", Miriam was awarded the 'Lifetime Achievement' Award at the recent BBC Audio Drama Awards eveniing in London. She's also on the cover of this week's Radio Times, and there's an extended interview with her inside. Well worth reading.

23 Jan 2022

One of our plays (from the Radio Circle - aka VRPCC) went out yesterday on Radio 4 Extra; it came from a recording made by the late Penny Fabb. Do not miss it: The Freebooter, by Gregory Lyons. The techies at the BBC cleaned up the recording, which was slightly muffled; now if sounds fine. Enjoy!

26 Jan 2022

For the first time I can remember, there was no drama in the Classic Serial slot yesterday, 16 Jan 2022. Things are afoot at the BBC, clearly.

17 Jan 2022

BBC Radio 4's programme "Quote... Unquote" has entertained audiences since 1976. However, in December 2021, fans learned that the show was to end. Nigel Rees, the show's originator, has decided to finish it. The BBC's diversity quotas for greater representation of women, ethnic minorities and disabled people began to affect the programme and the BBC's political correctness agenda required him to amend his scripts, which prevented the inclusion of familiar quotations, loved by generations. There's a youtube video online where you can hear him talking about this; the url is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QhNDtbmVlM

17 Jan 2022

When I was a college student many years ago I heard a play, by F.J.Bowley. The entry in my student notebook reads "14-1-76 "Who Killed Bertie Beetle?", 10/10, which summarises what I thought about it. Last night I received an email which read as follows:

"If you're still searching for the lost BBC Radio Play "Who Killed Peter's Beetle?" by F.J.Bowley, well that's my father! He had one recording on an old cassette tape, which I converted to mp3. Enjoy!


There followed a download link.

So now, 46 years later to the day, I can hear it again. The beetle in the story is called Bertie, which must be why I got the title wrong. Thanks, Eddie Bowley!

14 Jan 2022

Miriam's autobiography "This Much Is True" is now out. Highly recommended; Miriam has been in about 600 radio dramas and is one of our most experienced radio performers. Order your copy today whilst stocks last! Miriam has also done a series of TV programmes entitled 'Miriam and Alan Lost in Scotland' - interesting and very entertaining. They're on Youtube. ( ..... autobiography now out in paperback too, and high in the bestseller lists - Ed. )

22 Dec 2021

Back to top

Radio Plays
Wine Making
Cosby Methodist Church
Gokart Racing
Links to other sites
Contact Us