Radio Plays, 2018

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

30 Dec 18: Classic Serial - Graeae's Amy Dorrit,1
Graeae has a cast of deaf and disabled actors. This is Dickens' tale updated to a new setting: a modern council estate. By April de Angelis and Nicola Werenowska, ad. Jude Mahon & Vikki Gee Dare. Amy Dorrit: Audrey Brisson, Maggie: Kalijoy Perkins, Mrs. Chaudry: Liz Carr, Wanda: Ania Sowinski, Tatia: Anna Sowinski, Flora: Tracey Anderson, Vienna: Matti Houghton, Mr. Dorrit/voice of Dickens: John Kelly, Mr.Blander/Pickles: Wayne Norman, Arthur Chaudry: Narinder Samra, benefits officer: Charles Mills. Producer: Eloise Whitmore; directors: Polly Thomas & Jenny Sealey.

    ...It is refreshing to have this modern take on 'Little Dorrit'.....the pint-sized heroine must be one of the most put-upon young women in London: studying for an A-level resit, caring for her stricken father and falling into an unwanted role as a campaigner for the residents in her council block....... It's bold, harsh and unafraid of exposing the selfish policies behind so many current London housing strategies - clear out the poor; sell to the mega-rich. A highly accomplished drama. (....summary of Jane Anderson's comments in RT - ND)

15 Apr: Classic Serial slot: Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves, 1
By P.G.Wodehouse. Bertie and Jeeves try to ensure that Gussie Fink-Nottle and Madeline Basset remain engaged. Bertie is worried she might scoop him up instead. Aunt Dahlia: Joanna Lumley, Bertie Wooster: James Callis, Jeeves: Martin Jarvis, Roderick Spode: Adam Godley, Major Plank: Michael York, Sir Watkyn Bassett: Ian Ogilvy, Stiffy Byng: Moira Quirk, Madeline Bassett: Elizabeth Knowelden, Gussie: Matthew Wolf, Emerald Stoker: Tara Lynne Barr, Cyril and Butterfield: Kenneth Danziger. Indie: Jarvis & Ayres. Producer Rosalind Ayres.

14 Apr: Saturday Play slot: The Kraken Wakes, 1
By John Wyndham, ad. Val McDermid, repeated from 2016. This is an adaptation quite different from any which has gone out before, repeated from 2016. There was a little too much preaching about alleged man-made climate change in the preamble before the play, but once the action started it was first-rate; a tremendous build-up in episode 1 to the first appearance of the Kraken. There is also a 4-minute clip on the BBC website of the recording taking place, with actors sitting at a table delivering the lines and the BBC Philharmonic supplying the music; well worth a look. For those who don't know the story, it's the well-known sci-fi tale of monsters from the sea. Cast: Mike Watson: Paul Higgins, Phyllis Watson: Tamsin Greig, Becer and Denzel: Richard Harrington, Dr. Emma Chisholm: Sally Carman, Aziz and Humza: Abdullah Afzal, Bill and Jonah: Gareth Cassidy, first minister Nicola Sturgeon: herself. Producer: Justine Potter. 60m.

13 Apr: The Deletion Committee
By Mark Lawson. Play about social media and its growing influence. Following pressure from activists on social media, the trustees of a waxworks feel obliged to establish a deletion committee to remove the figures of celebrities who have been named and shamed on Facebook and the like. But when they start to target popular figures like Germaine Greer, the committee begins to question the process. Paul Freeman, Bill Paterson, Samantha Bond, Weruche Opia and Abram Rooney; producer Eoin O'Callaghan.

1 Apr: Classic Drama slot - An Enemy of the People, 1
By Henrik Ibsen. 1/2: Discovery. Adapted for radio by Rebecca Lenkiewicz. Dr. Thomas Stockmann - Alfred Molina, Peter Stockmann: Adam Godley, Catherine: Rosalind Ayres, Petra: Susannah Fielding, Hovstad: James Callis, Asklaksen: Matthew Wolf, Billing: Darren Richardson, Horster: Simon Templemann, Morten Kiil: Ian Ogilvy, boys: Joe Katzenellenbogen, Freddie Katzenellenbogen. Producer: Rosalind Ayres, director: Martin Jarvis. Indie: Jarvis & Ayres.

5 Apr: Holbein's Skull
By Martyn Wade. A light-hearted comedy inspired by Holbein's painting "The Ambassadors". This painting is famed for the ephemera surrounding the two men which has led historians to attribute different meanings to the picture. Martyn's play imagines two French ambassadors to the court of Henry VIII negotiating Henry's argument with the Pope. They are persuaded to have their likenesses put onto canvas. Holbein seems fairly amiable but he is definitely a bit odd, and he likes painting skulls. Jean de Dinteville: George Farthing, Georges de Selve: Sam Alexander, Holbein and the King: Clive Hayward. Producer: Tracey Neale.

3 Apr: Finding Love at the End of the World
By Declan Dineen. A gentle romantic comedy, set at the South Pole. A reclusive scientist's old flame arrives at his research station, many years later. Can he win her over before a giant asteroid wrecks his plans? Rory: Owen Whitelaw, Isobel: Jasmine Hyde, Wanda: Buffy Davis, Vance: Ryan Early. Producer: Bruce Young.

31 Mar: Moonraker
By Ian Fleming; dram. Archie Scottney. Another James Bond story, taken from the third Bond novel. Winston Churchill sends Bond to protect the Moonraker rocket from the baddies. James Bond: Toby Stephens, Sir Hugo Drax: Sam West, Winston Churchill: John Baddeley, Moneypenny: Janie Dee, M; John Standing, Vallance: Jared Harris, Prof. Train: Patricia Hodge, Gala: Katherine Kingsley, Basildon/Krebs: Nigel Anthony, Meyer/Dr. Walter/Trimble: Simon de Deney, Movietone/Minister: Jon Glover, broadcaster: Ian Ogilvy, Brevett: Matthew Wolf, Countdown: Darren Richardson, Captain: Kenneth Danziger, Ian Fleming: Martin Jarvis. Producer: Rosalind Ayres. Indie (Jarvis & Ayres).

21 Mar: Tommies, 1. 21 March 1918.
By Jonathan Ruffle, illustrating events in WW1, 100 years later to the day. Three signallers have to make a terrifying choice: between thick fog and German stormtroopers, as they become involved in the surprise British retreat of 1918. Mickey Bliss: Lee Ross, Sapper Juma Gubanda: John MacMillan, Sergeant Desmond Dixon: Daniel Weyman, Sapper Ezekiel Warmby: Tom Vallen, Major George Fenniman: Philip Bretherton, Sergeant Castle: Ryan Early, Captain Hubert Puckle: Simon Wilson, Sapper John Quennell: Nick Underwood, WAAC Florrie Fanshawe: Karen Bartke, messengers: Ryan Whittle and Lukie Bailey, commentator: Indira Varma. Series producers: David Hunter, Jonquil Panting and Jonathan Ruffle; director for the episode: Jonquil Panting.

13 Mar: When Last I Saw You
By Peter Whalley, rpt. from 2015. An absorbing psychological thriller; a young woman believes she has found the man who attacked her five years earlier. Unfortunately it is not as simple as that.... Jane: Lyndsey Marshal, Mike: Graeme Hawley, Neil: Will Ash, Cath: Nicola Ferguson, detective: Kate Coogan. Producer: Pauline Harris.

3 Mar: Saturday Play - Shafted
By John Godber. Comedy drama, starring a bad-tempered former miner and his wife, whom we follow in the 30 years after Scargill's miners' strike of 1984-5. I enjoyed the broadcast but it could perhaps be described by some, depending on your political viewpoint, as a bad-tempered play. Harry: John Godber, Dot: Jane Godber, Producer: Toby Swift. 60m.

24 Feb: Saturday Play - The Good Companions
By John Priestley, dram. John Retallack. A factory worker from Yorkshire sets off to make his fortune. He joins a concert troupe. Jess Oldroyd, the hero: Ralph Ineson, Miss Trant: Fenella Woolgar, Jimmy Nunn: Roy Hudd, Inigo Jollifant: Oliver Gomm, Susie Dean: Isabella Inchbald, Mr. Ridvers: Gerard McDermott, Mrs. Joe: Ellie Darvill, Monte Mortimer: Clive Hayward, Leonard Oldroyd: Gary Duncan, Mr. Joe: Philip Bretherton, Morton Mitcham: Tayla Kovacevic-Ebong, Jerry Jerningham: Adam Fitzgerald, Agent: Rupert Holliday Evans, Inspector: David Reakes. Producer: David Hunter. 90m. Previous versions include the three-part Eric Pringle dramatization (2002) and the 13-episode version by Neville Teller in 1971.

    Jane Anderson in RT struggled with this and actually listened to it three times. "I found it hard to invest in the fates of a self-indulgent variety troupe". She rightly points out that the class divisions seem rather like caricatures in 2018. However I found it a very cheerful and pleasant listen, and it was good to hear Roy Hudd in the cast, with his encyclopedic knowledge of Variety.- ND

20 Feb: Male Order
By Ming Ho. Comedy drama. 'Riot Girls' season. Barbara, a 59-year-old dentist from Bristol, surprises her family when she returns from Brazil with a new husband, a 20-year-old waiter. Barbara: Belinda Laing, Fabio: Lino Facioli, Sue: Carolyn Pickles, Graham: Niel McCaul, Amy: Kerry Gooderson, Matt: Luke Bailey, Dorota: Edyta Budnik, DI Aplin: Rupert Holliday-Evans, DC Begum: Amber Aga, Chloe: Lauren Cornelius, Gemma: Rebecca Humphries. Producer: Emma Harding.

10 Feb: Sat. Play - National Theatre of Brent -Illustrated Guide to Sex & How It Was Done
By Patrick Barlow and Martin Duncan; performed by Patrick Barlow and John Ramm. Producer: Liz Anstee; director: Martin Duncan. Desmond Olivier Dingle and Raymon Box guide us through various representations of sex, with vignettes ranging from Oedipus Rex to Brokeback Mountain. Jane Anderson describes this in RT as "like Carry-On for Mensa members".

8 Feb: The Archivist
By Kellie Smith, rpt. was described in Radio Times as a psychological thriller. I'm not so sure; 'suspense' might be a better description, and it had a few things to say about social media and its effect on our lives. Ben starts to film his family for his personal archive which is, in itself, fairly harmless. However he then shares everything on Facebook and elsewhere. He can't spend a day without videoing something and then sharing it with the world. This is effectively a narcissistic fetish; his partner, Clare, gets sick of it and imposes a ban. Unfortunately Ben is addicted and cannot stop; he finds a workaround and continues as before. Will Clare find out? Ben: Adam Nagatis, Clare: Christine Bottomley, John: Henry Devas, Nadia: Fiona Clarke. Producer: Pauline Harris.

6 Feb: Becoming Betty
By Elizabeth Lewis, based on her experience whilst a teenager of working as an au pair in Italy in 1986. Betty: Emma Sidi, Vilma Cantarini: Francois Pandolfo, translator: Stephen Perring, Marisa: Juliet Aubrey, Illyana: Alice Coles. Producer: Helen Perry.

2 Feb: Borderland
By Sarah Woods, rpt. This play won the Tinniswood Award. In these days of arguing about Brexit and border controls or the lack of them, it is highly topical. It is set a few years into the future. Thriller, from an idea by John Norton, based on real stories of migrants. A mother and daughter travel across the borders of England and Wales and over the Irish Sea in search of a better life. They meet obstacles everywhere. Layla: Juliet Cowan, Rabaa: Sirine Saba, with Ali Ariaie, Esme Robinson, John Norton, Ali Goolyad, Sion Pritchard and Claire Cage. Producer: James Robinson, BBC Wales.

1 Feb: The Red
By Marcus Brigstocke, rpt. This won the Best Original Single Drama at the Audio Drama Awards on 28 Jan. A repeat of Marcus's first radio play, about a recovering alcoholic who has temptation offered to him when he inherits a cellarfull of wine from his late father. The recording was done on location in a 400-year-old wine cellar. Benedict, the recovering alcoholic: Rufus Jones, the ghost of his father: David Calder, Peter: Marcus Brigstocke. Producer: Caroline Raphael.

31 Jan: Wide Open Spaces
By Jane Wainwright, rpt. A touching play about a young man's attempts to overcome his inertia and his disability. On the first anniversary of his daughter's death, a young father suffering from severe agoraphobia attempts to cross the city to visit her grave for the first time. Samuel: Paapa Essiedu, May: Sarah McDonald Hughes, Aoife: Fiona Clarke, Dad: Lloyd Peters. Producer: Charlotte Riches.

26 Jan: Culture
By Ali Smith, rpt. It is clear now that we have been using antibiotics on too many occasions over the last few decades. It is not difficult to imagine a world where, because of this, antibiotics no longer work. This play is set in the future; Anna is a doctor and has to decide, each day, which patients to treat and which ones to leave. Anna: Pippa Nixon, Ned: David Calder, Maria: Olivia Popica, Shireen: Chetna Pandya, Quartermaster: Philip Fox, Celine: Sarah Ridgeway, Tom: Tom Forrister, Bailiff: Emilio Doorgasingh. Producer: Sally Avens.

25 Jan: Freezing to Death, and How to Avoid It
By Abigail Youngman, based on actual events. In 1739, the Empress Anna Ivanovna arranged the marriage of two of her jesters. After the ceremony the couple were forced to spend the night in an ice palace. Did they survive? This is the story of what happened. Mikhail: Karl Theobald, Avdotya: Mandeep Dhillon, Traveller and Grigori Petrovich: John MacKay. Producer: Alison Crawford.

22 Jan: 4/4: Introduction & Allegro
By Robin Brooks and Sarah Wooley. A new comedy drama recording the exploits and life of the members of a fictional string quartet. Paul, the new member, is anxious to fit in with the group's idiosyncrasies. Paul: Alasdair Hankinson, Fergus: Simon Donaldson, Archie: Robin Laing, Skye: Shauna Macdonald, Lucy/Claire: Karen Bartke, Philippe/Usher/Guard: Nick Underwood, Hans/journalist/fan: Kenny Blyth. Producer: Gaynor Macfarlane. Music supplied by the Edinburgh Quartet.

7 Jan: Classic Serial - Midwich Cuckoos
By John Wyndham ad. Roy Williams; Graeae company's version (disabled performers). A very effective re-telling of this famous story. Modified a little but still packs a punch. Zellerby: Tyrone Huggins, Janet: Alexandra Mathie, Molly: Cherylee Houston, Michaela: Herman Berhane, Boy Cuckoo: Adam Ali, Girl Cuckoo: Terri Donovan. Producers: Polly Thomas and Jenny Sealey.

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