Robert Hudson Radio Plays

Robert Hudson moved to London in 2000 and worked for the Sunday Times writing features on the internet and non-fiction book reviews, before becoming a novelist, comedy writer and playwright. He runs a bi-monthly comedy night in Kilburn and plays cricket whenever he can.

His radio drama includes:

  • Magnitsky the Musical (with Johnny Flynn, Audio Drama Award, Best Single Drama, 2021)
  • Hall of Mirrors (with Susannah Pearse)
  • Rossum's Universal Robots (also with Susannah Pearse).

    Other work includes:

  • Damsel in Distress (With Jeremy Sams, and with songs by George and Ira Gershwin, Chichester Festival Theatre);
  • Warhorses of Letters (3 series; with Marie Phillips);
  • Some Hay in a Manger (with Marie Phillips for Radio 4);
  • The Kilburn Social Club (Jonathan Cape)
  • The Dazzle (Jonathan Cape).

    Robert writes ....."Musicals take so long to write compared to plays. Hall of Mirrors, which is the one this month, took (very conservatively) 18 months each for me and my co-writer, and that was after we've been thinking about and planning it for fifteen years. We could only do the radio show having done a stage version to work out how things might fit together.

    I always wanted to write for radio because I love radio. But I got into it almost by accident when I was a novelist and I was writing musicals with friends, and then started doing a comedy night just because it was nice to write things which actually saw the light of day more than once every two years.

    A radio producer saw something Marie Phillips and I had never imagined selling (about warhorses in love) and asked if he could pitch it to R4. And then another writer came to one of Sue Pearse and my musicals and asked me to write a show with him for the Gershwin estate and I started writing musicals more seriously, and then, a few steps down the line, Sasha Yevtushenko and I were put in touch with each other as possible partners. I described a few ideas, threw in Magnitsky as the impossible one at the end, and that's the one he went for.

    And so now, I try not to be diffident and just pitch whichever is the idea I most dream of doing.

    All of the musicals - so far - are with Sasha, who I think is brilliant. We're doing a play later this year. Warhorses of Letters (and Some Hay in a Manger) were with Gareth Edwards."


    The Magnitsky Act is a bill passed by the U.S. Congress in 2012, intending to punish Russian officials responsible for the death of Russian tax lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in a Moscow prison in 2009 and also to grant permanent normal trade relations status to Russia. Since 2016, the bill authorizes the U.S. government to sanction those deemed human rights offenders, freeze their assets, and ban them from entering the U.S.

    The show is about the rise of the oligarchs, why they store all their money in the West, the tragic lengths they go to in order to protect it, a very flawed man's surprisingly successful crusade against them and how this was part of why they put money behind Brexit and Trump. A tax adviser struggles to uncover a huge tax fraud and is imprisoned by the same authorities he is investigating. Johnny Flynn, Paul Chahidi and the cast perform songs in a story that looks at democracy, corruption, and the dangers of undervaluing the law.

    Bill . . Paul Chahidi, Sergei . . Johnny Flynn, Jamie . . Fenella Woolgar, Natalia . . Ellie Kendrick, Kuznetsov . . Gus Brown, Guard . . Clive Hayward, Silchenko . . Ian Conningham, Jared . . Will Kirk, Fisherman . . Neil McCaul, Judge . . Jessica Turner. Additional singing by Sinead MacInnes, Laura Christy, Scarlett Courtney and Lucy Reynolds. The cellist is Joe Zeitlin. Sound is by Peter Ringrose. Directed by Sasha Yevtushenko. R3, 1930, 12 Jan 20; rpt. 6 Feb 22, 94m.

    Compiled by Nigel Deacon / Diversity website, after contacting Robert Hudson.

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