Radio Plays, 2017

ex-R4 forum/ 'beebotron' / R3 drama forum /

Five Lessons....2017
By Marcy Kahan; no. 2 in a series of 4 plays starring Maureen Lipman. A person well-known in another field takes piano lessons. Fascinating play for musicians and others.....R4, 11.30am, 13 Nov 17. Pianist: Peter Ringrose. With Maureen Lipman as the student and Julian Rhind-Tutt as the teacher. Producer: Marion Nancarrow.

28 Aug: For The Time Being
By Tony Jones. This was a very neat sci-fi play about the consequences of going back in time and fiddling with the past. A man travels back to watch to his younger self. The setting, but not the story, was reminiscent of the play Excerpt From a Dog's Ear, by Kavyasiddhi Mulvey (2007) where a man re-enters his childhood landscape. It also reminded me of the laws of thermodynamics, which are related and which can be paraphrased as follows: ...(1)You can never win; you can only break even; (2)You can only break even at absolute zero, (3) You can never reach absolute zero. Cast for Tony's play: Old Will: Danny Webb, young Will: Christopher Weeks, Sarah: Molly Chesworth, Fiona: Lizzie McInnerney, Zoe: Lotte Rice, Dr. Stark: Lucy Robinson. Producer: Clive Brill. Indie (Brill Productions). Has Tony written a radio play before; I can't recall one? If not, this would be a good candidate for the Imison Award.

19 Aug: Saturday Play: Tolkien in Love
By Sean Grundy. Another superb biographical play by SG. We learned about the young Ronald Tolkien and his future wife, Edith Bratt, whom he met when he was 16 and she 19. It gives some insight into the passion and brain-power of Tolkien, who from an early age was fascinated by Norse sagas, Old English literature and mythology. He ended up as a professor at Pembroke College, Oxford. As for the play .... Ron's guardian, a priest, was unhappy about his friendship with Edith, and prohibited their meeting until he was 21. Ron kept to this condition, and on his twenty-first birthday, Edith received a large package in the post. The play is based on real events, some of which were later incorporated into 'Lord of the Rings'. A candidate for the Tinniswood Award, I think. Ronald: Wilf Merrick, Edith: Claudia Jessie, Fr. Francis: John Duttine, Mrs. Faulkner: Sally Grace, George: Paul Panting, Hilary: Ben Wilby. Producer: Liz Anstee.

31 Jul: Gibberish
By Christopher Lee. It is 31 July, 2017, and the Prime Minister is about to call another snap election when she is told that Gibralter wants to stay in Europe and is about to declare itself Spanish. PM: Gillian Bevan, Queen: Anne Reid, Charlie: Nelly Harker, Henry: Miles Jupp, Peter: David Robb, George: Nickolas Grace, Rose and Dora: Christine Kavanagh, Winston: Chris Pavlo. Producer: Celia de Wolff.

27 Jul: The Churchill Barriers
By Emma Spurgin Hussey, repeated from a couple of years ago. The play is set in Orkney in 1944. On a small island, it is vital that everyone is flexible; each person has to do his bit. Here, a clerk and a pianist work together on improving the sea defences. George, the clerk: David Dawson, Giorgio: Cesare Taurasi, Q: David Hounslow, Captain Swain: Mark Edel-Hunt, Major Buckland: Stephen Critchlow, Italisn: Chris Pavlo. Produced by David Hunter.

11 Jul: The Music Lesson
By Hannah Silva. Mika is a student of the recorder. A famous teacher offers to help her. This was an extraordinary two-hander, between an exasperating, talented music student and a highly skilled but unsympathetic pedagogue who will not compromise on standards. As a pianist, I found some of the philosophical insights into music enlightening. With Fiona Shaw, Erin Doherty. Producer: Melanie Harris; director: Susannah Tresilian.

7 Jul: The Archivist
By Kellie Smith. RT described this as a psychological thriller; I'm not so sure. "Suspense" might be a better desciption. Ben starts to film his family, secretly, for his personal archive. He can't spend a day without videoing something and putting it on Facebook. His partner, Clare, gets sick of it and imposes a ban. Ben is devious, and finds a workaround. Will Clare find out? . Ben: Adam Nagatis, Clare: Christine Bottomley, John: Henry Devas, Nadia: Fiona Clarke. Producer: Pauline Harris.

27 June: Siege, 1
By Adrain Penketh. (DV) Looking into the near future: in 2020, a popular French 'Front Nationale' candidate campaigns to become the next mayor of Grenoble, well-known as a left-wing city. The play relates closely to political events in Britain and Europe in 2015-17. Recent elections and a referendum, in America and Europe, have revealed a huge 'disconnect' between the governing class and a large section of the people it claims to represent. The articulate left, with its virtual monopoly in influencing the media, has been a major contributor to the resulting melee. Vincent: Joseph Millsom, Amelia: Mariah Gale, Latifa: Amira Ghazalia, Rashid: Nathan Clarke, Laurent: Charlie Clements, with Sarah Ridgeway, Emilio Doorgasingh, Sanchia McCormack, Philip Fox, Tom Forrister, Robert Blythe, Ashley Kumar, Chetna Pandya, Kerry Gooderson, Simon Ludders and Sam James. Producer: Marc Beeby.

    28 June: Siege, 2 Follow his election as the mayor, Vincent faces escalating violence and protests. Details- see 27 Jun.

    29 June: Siege, 3 The protests increase, but the mayor will not step down. Concluding episode. Details as 27 Jun.

23 June: The Shadow of Dorian Gray
By Stephen Wyatt. The finding of Oscar Wilde guilty of gross indencency in 1895 spells trouble for John Gray, the poet who probably inspired "The Picture of Dorian Gray". Gray is summoned to the Cafe Royal and the evening changes his life. John Gray: Blake Ritson, Lord Henry: Nicholas Farrell, Andre Raffalovich: Joshua McGuire, Waiter: Chris Pavlo, voice of the novel: Mark Edel-Hunt. Producer: Abigail le Fleming.

17 June: Saturday Play: Occupational Hazards
By Stephen Brown, recorded at the Hampstead Theatre in London. Drama about the attempts of Rory Stewart, a british diplomat, to establish democracy in Iraq in 2003. The task was hindered by the civil war. Rory is surrounded by people who do not tell the truth, attempt to turn everything to their own advantage, and seem oblivious to the chaos they are causing. Ahmed: Nezar Alderazi, Musab: Waj Ali, Karim: Silas Carson, Rifat: Vangelis Christodoulou, JT: Amy Cudden, Abu Rashid: Vincent Ebrahim, Rory Stewart: Henry Lloyd-Hughes, the Colonel and Bremer: John Mackay, Seyyed Hassan: Johndeep More. Produced by Stewart Richards; directed by Carl Prekopp.

8-part epic by John Dryden and Mike Walker, recorded by Indie company Goldhawk. The action is set in and around the (fictional) medieval city of Tumanbay, which has been taken over by brutal religious fundamentalists. They rule by violence and fear. Cast for the final episode: Rufus Wright, Hiran Abeysekera, Aiysha Hart, Vincent Ebrahim, Nina Yndis, Tanya Ranljen, Danny Ashok, Gareth Kennerley, Byron Mondahl, Jacob Frichefski, Tia-Lana Chinapyel, Zaqi Ismail, Jonas Khan, Danny Carmel, Lara Sawalha and Ayaan Arya. Music: Sacha Puttnam and Jon Quin. Producers: Emma Hearn, Nadir Khan and John Dryden.

    The Goldhawk website puts it like this:
    Tumanbay, once the beating heart of the most powerful and wealthy empire on earth, has been conquered by a brutal religious regime, the followers of the mysterious Maya. Responsible for rooting out heretics and unbelievers, is the terrifying Inquisitor Barakat. As refugees scramble to escape the city by any means they can, Gregor, previously Master of the Palace Guard, has sworn an oath to the new rulers in an effort to survive and even prosper, as the regime sets about looting and dismantling the city of everything of value.

    Goldhawk also says that series 3 and 4 are in the pipeline; the website is well worth investigating. There are details of current projects and a large archive of older information.

3 June: Saturday Play: The Weekend
By Michael Palin, adapted for radio by Richard Stoneman. 60m. Stephen is a middle-aged family man for whom almost everything has gone wrong; he has withdrawn into sarcasm and cynicism, and communication with his family has almost disappeared. His unfortunate wife tells him that their daughter is bringing her family for the weekend and that the neighbours will be joining them. This is the weekend from hell; from Stephen's point of view, it is a nightmare. And to us, looking in, it is extremely funny. Stephen: Michael Palin, his wife, Virginia: Penelope Wilton, Hugh, the most boring man in the world: Patrick Barlow, Alan: Hugh Dennis, Charlotte: Bryony Hannah, Bridget Gardner: Cathy Sara, Duff Gardner: Bill Paterson, Diana: Sophie Thompson. Produced by Marilyn Imrie.

26 May: The 'B' Word
By Alistair McGowan. A play about the opening night of Shaw's 'Pygmalion' in 1913; the first time that the word 'bloody' was used on stage. Shaw: Alistair McGowan, Herbert Beerbohm Tree: Richard McCabe, Mrs. Patrick Campbell: Charlotte Page, George Alexander: David Sturzaker, Charlotte Shaw: Georgie Glen, Merivale: Philip Fox, with Simon Ludders, Charlie Clements and Sarah Ridgeway. Producer: Emma Harding.


8 May: Afternoon Play - Thin Ice
By Amy Rosenthal. The play is based on her own experience of leaving home, and the unwillingness with which she initially embraced university life, in strong contrast to the picture painted in the first two plays of this trilogy. Ben: Richard Lumsden, Edie: Georgis Groome, Tasha: Helen Monks, Julia: Susannah Wise, Anny: Sam Perry, Josh: Charlie Clements, Porter: Sanchia McCormack. Producer: Marion Nancarrow.

6 May: Saturday Play - Cold Enough For Snow
By Jack Rosenthal, adapted by Amy Rosenthal (his daughter). A follow-up to last week's Saturday Play. Neil and Pippa are still keen on seeing each other, but their parents are not happy about it. Neil: David Moorst, Pippa: Rosie Day. Neil's parents: Pooky Quesnel and Nicholas Gleaves, Pippa's parents: Lucy Robinson and Ben Miles. Gordon - Ben Jones, Tony Groves: Tom Forreaster, Miss Bodley and Carmela: Sarah Ridgeway, Lingerie assistant: Maeve Bluebell Wells, Lecturer: Emiilio Doorgasingh, Master of Ceremonies: Charlie Clements, invigilator: Philip Fox. Producer: Marion Nancarrow.

    Summary of Jane Anderson's remarks in RT:
    ...the two potential graduates are now in love, as only teenagers can be, but the real drama revolves around their parents' relationships.

29 Apr: Saturday Play: Eskimo Day
By Jack Rosenthal, adapted by his daughter Amy for radio. It's set in 1966. Two sixth-form students are heading for Cambridge, with their respective parents, for their University interview - will they get in? Neil: David Moorst, Pippa: Rosie Day. Neil's parents: Pooky Quesnel and Nicholas Gleaves, Pippa's parents: Lucy Robinson and Ben Miles. James Poole: Timothy West, Simon Poole: Samuel West. Other parts played by Georgie Glen, Sarah Ridgeway, Maeve Wells, Simon Ludders, David Sturzaker and Chetna Pandya. Producer: Marion Nancarrow.

28 Apr: Where this service will continue
By Katherine Jakeways. A year after they met on a train, David tries to find Suzie. Sequel to yesterday's play. Suzie: Rosie Cavaliero, David: Justin Edwards, Lucy: Ashna Rabheru, Cashier: Sarah Ridgeway. Producer: as for play 1 (James Robinson), BBC Wales.

27 Apr: Where this service will terminate
By Katherine Jakeways. Two strangers meet on a long train journey. The woman is travelling to Penzance on a whim. Justin's journey has a purpose. They get to know each other. Suzie: Rosie Cavaliero, David: Justin Edwards, Guard: James MacCallum, angry woman: Katherine Jakeways. Produced by James Robinson; BBC Wales.

    These two plays are excellent - Ed.

21 Apr 17: Far Side of the Moore.
By Sean Grundy. Lovely biographical play about the life of the astronomer and eccentric Patrick Moore, which was shortlisted for the Tinniswood award. Repeated from 2015, now five years after Patrick's death at the age of 89. Patrick: Tom Hollander, Lorna: Felicity Duncan, Gertrude Moore: Patricia Hodge, Dr. Henry King: Anton Lesser, Euileen Wilkins: Charlotte Richie, Leonard Miall: David Shaw-Parker, Arthur C Clarke: Simon Treves, Paul Johnstone: Daniel Weyman. Produced by David Morley; directed by Dirk Maggs.

    Summary of remarks by Jane Anderson in RT:
    ....Tom Hollander is completely unrecognizable here; his portrayal of Patrick Moore is absolutely impeccable. With Patricia Hodge as Moore's mother and Dirk Maggs as director, the production has quality running through every line.

17 Feb 17: Romance is Dead
By Ben Lewis; comedy drama about an unwilling psychic: a young woman who sees dead people. Lauren: Alexandra Roach, Jamie: Kieran Hodgson, Tim: Joseph Arkley, Jo: Karen Bartke, Celia: Elizabeth Bennett, Reginald: Dennis Herdman. Producer: Kirsty Williams.

    Jane Anderson liked this - here's a summary of her remarks in RT...
    ...one of the most successfully romantic dramas I have ever heard; no slushiness or forced poignancy. This is a simple story of girl meets boy. The problem is that she keeps seeing dead people, and they all want her to carry out their final requests. After years of turning them down, will a one-night stand with a shy 28-year-old virgin change both their futures?

31 Jan 17: All Mouth and Trousers
By Mark Burgess. A welcome repeat of the play which describes the struggle to create the comedy series "All Gas and Gaiters". Pauline Devaney and Edwin Apps recall what happened. Pauline and Edwin appear as themselves; young Pauline: Lily-Fleur Bradbury, young Edwin: James Joyce, Frank Muir: John Sessions, Stuart Allen: Nicholas Boulton, William Mervyn: Gareth Williams, Robertson Hare: Trevor Littledale, Derek Nimmo: Zeb Soames, John Barron: David Collings. Produced by David Blount.

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