Sarah Woods
Radio Plays

Sarah works in collaboration with scientists, charities and campaigners to communicate current issues through innovative drama. For BBC Radio, she has written many plays, series, adaptations and drama-documentaries. Her recent work for Radio 4 includes Watch Me, The State of Water, My Life with Flu, and A Speck of Dust. She is currently dramatising 'Das Kapital' by Karl Marx. (Tinniswood Award info, 2018).

Sarah won the Tinnisdwood Award in 2018 with her dystopian play "Borderland". She was one of the judges for the Imison and Tinniswood awards for 2019.

7 Jun 18: Hilda
By Marie NDiaye (sic), a French-Senegalise novelist. This is Marie's first radio play, and it examines modern-day slavery. The wealthy Mrs. Lemarchaud becomes obsessed with her new nanny, Hilda, and develops a relationship with the woman's husband to find out more about her. Dramatised by Sarah Woods. Mrs. Lemarchaud: Sian Phillips, Corinne: Rachel Austin, Franck: Nick Haverson. Producer: Susan Roberts.

5 May 18: Saturday Play - Das Kapital
By Karl Marx, updated by Sarah Woods, Tinniswood winner, for the 21st century. About half the world's population owns a smartphone, but do we know anything about the people who make their components? Marx and Richard: David Threlfall, Sasha: Kimberley Nixon, Delphine: JP Opong, Nathan: Peter Bankole, Peter: Samuel James, Jacob: Sam Swainsbury, Joanne: Claire Cage, Trader: Patrice Naiambana. Producer: James Robinson.

13 Feb 17: Borderlands
In early February 2018 there were some repeats of plays which had recently won awards. One of these was BORDERLANDS by Sarah Woods. (R4, 1415, 2 Feb 18). In these days of arguing about Brexit, foreign control of British laws and regulations, and border controls or the lack of them, it is highly topical. It's a thriller from an idea by John Norton, set a few years into the future, based on real stories of migrants. In the play, a mother and daughter travel across the borders of England and Wales and then to Ireland in search of a better life. They meet obstacles everywhere. Layla was played by Juliet Cowan and Rabaa by Sirine Saba. The producer was James Robinson, for BBC Wales. (....ND, Diversity website review, Apr 2018)

    Listen to Sarah Woods’ dystopian drama evoking the refugee experience and you’d be convinced that at least some of it was recorded on location. Director James Robinson revealed that most BBC Cymru Wales dramas are recorded in the studio with up to three days of post-production allowed for a 45-minute drama to layer the sound. For Borderland he originally wanted a silent protagonist, so the listener became the refugee fleeing a near-future broken Britain, but Radio 4 wasn’t keen. The script can be downloaded from the Society of Authors (http://www.societyofauthors.org/SOA/MediaLibrary/SOAWebsite/Prizes/Audio%20Drama/SCR-Borderland-Final-Studio-Script-as-broadcast.pdf) (....Ian Johns, Goldsmiths Audio Drama Festival, May 2019)

25 May 16: News From Nowhere
By William Morris, dram. Sarah Woods. The story was first published in 1890. Will wakes up and finds he has travelled a century into the future; a world where poverty no longer exists and work is a pleasure. Woven into the tale is a romance. Will: Ron Cook, Ellen: Catrin Stewart, with Keiron Self, Claire Cage, Richard Nichols, Roger Evans, Kristy Phillips and Crystal Yu. Producer: Polly Thomas. Rpt. 28 Mar 19.

2014-10-27 - My Life with Flu
By Sarah Woods. 15m drama in 5 episodes. A love story, about flu (influenza). Produced in collaboration with the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. In five episodes it follows the story of Jill across five decades as she struggles with the highs and lows of life, love and viruses. At the same time the story tracks the life of Hong Kong Flu - how, over 45 years, it has traversed the globe, evolved, and is ultimately being superseded by new, more virulent strains, such as Swine Flu.

The series uses cutting edge science - of transmission, viral evolution and genetic predisposition - to tell the story of flu, and investigate the unique qualities of Jill's genome which make her a 'severe responder'. Paul Kellam, Virus Genomics team leader at the Sanger Institute worked closely with writer Sarah Woods to weave the science seamlessly into the story. The drama underlines the deep connection human beings have to the viruses that survive through us, and how illness can shape the course of our lives. Cast for ep.2: Jill ......... Hannah Daniel, David .......Ronan Summers , John ........ Liam Williams , Minister ......Alun Raglan , Yvette .....Eirlys Bellin , Narrator ..Eiry Thomas, Producer....James Robinson; BBC Wales.

    Episode 1: It's January 1969, the winter after the summer of love, and Jill and David's fledgling relationship is about to be put to test by the outbreak of Hong Kong Flu.

    Episode 2: It's 1975, six years since Jill and David huddled under the blankets together, full of flu. Now Jill is preparing to marry John - the wedding preparations are in full swing, and David arrives on the doorstep.

    Episode 3:1986, New York - Jill and David embark upon an illicit affair. And as she travels home for Christmas Jill has a life changing decision to make. But inside her body, Hong Kong Flu is travelling with her.

    Episode 4: It's the year 2000 and Jill's lungs bear the scars of the bacterial pneumonia she suffered fourteen years ago. The doctor urges her to have the flu jab, but Jill has other things on her mind - her daughter Polly is preparing to leave for University, and Jill has the urge to phone an old friend.

    Episode 5: It's October 2014 and Jill is now seventy-one. When she runs into an old familiar face at the chemists, she has one last shot at happiness. But the flu has other ideas.

12 Aug 2013: Watch Me
A repeat of the fascinating play by Sarah Woods. Real-life neuroscientist narrates a story about a man and woman gradually falling in love and how their 'mirror neurons' draw them together. Christian Keysers, with... Anja: Sarah Smart, Rhys: Alun Raglan, Lucy: Amaka Okafor, Rob: Simon Ludders, Woman: Clare Cage. Produced by James Robinson; BBC Wales. Rpt. 27 Jul 15.

    Summarised from BBC blurb: Anja and Rhys's love story is told from a neurological perspective, by neuroscientist Christian Keysers. It's the story of two individuals whose brains begin to 'mirror' each other as they gradually fall in love. As Christian says it's "...not so much an exchange of information as two brains becoming one."

    Christian is Head of the Social Brain Lab at the Netherlands Institute for Neurosciences. He seeks to understand how, as social animals, our brains mirror those of other people, so that understanding others is not an effort of explicit thought but an intuitive sharing of emotions, sensations and actions. He has written a book, "The Empathetic Brain", about this.

2011-11-10 - The State of Water
By Sarah Woods. A Welsh family is fiercely divided over the future of their farm. Eldryd and his daughter, Siwan, are sheep farmers in the uplands of Wales. Prices are better than they have been but it's a hard, physical life when you get older. But Eldryd loves the landscape and the life - the raw beauty, the wide horizons, the solitude. Then Siwan hears about a scheme which helps sheep farmers to give up their animals and become eco-stewards of their landscape. The idea is that this will improve water retention on the uplands, which helps the water supply and hinders flooding. For Eldryd the answer is simple: no. For Siwan, things are more complex - this new way of life might offer her a future. The play looks at the debate between sheep farming and eco-management through the experience of one family. Rpt. 11 Jun 14. Narrator . . . Iestyn Jones, Eldryd . . . . Phyl Harries, Siwan . . . . Mali Harries, Penny . . . . Claire Cage, Huw . . . . Rhys ap William, Sion . . . . Saul Woods. BBC Wales, producer Kate McAll.

2009-12-10 - Getting to Four Degrees
By Sarah Woods. Another feature based on the supposition that the planet's climate is dependent on variations in man-made carbon dioxide concentration. "What if we can't limit global warming to two degrees? What if it reaches four degrees - or more?" Three real-life climate change experts spin one average family into the future, to look at life on a warmer planet. (This programme was broadcast shortly after the 'Climategate' scandal - Ed) Ian ...... Don Gilet, Sue ...... Kate Ashfield, Chloe ...... Amber Beattie, Jack ...... Ryan Watson, Grandad Bill ...... Bruce Alexander, Louisa ...... Melissa Advani, Narrator ...... Emerald O'Hanrahan. With Professor Kevin Anderson, Mark Lynas and Dr Emma Tompkins. Directed by Jonquil Panting.

2009-03-12 - Getting to Zero
By Sarah Woods. A feature based on the supposition that carbon dioxide is the 'control knob' for the planet's climate. [For the alternative view, listen to the Richard Lindzen GWPF lecture on Youtube - Ed.] Our panel set an average family the task of eliminating their carbon footprint and living with the consequences. Sue ..... Kate Ashfield, Ian ..... Don Gilet, Chloe ..... Poppy Lee , FriarJack ..... Ryan Watson, Bill ..... Malcolm Tierney, Meter ..... Jonathan Tafler, Narrator ..... Janice Acquah, Delivery Man ..... Stephen Hogan. With George Monbiot, Paul Allen and Peter Harper. Producer: Jonquil Panting.

2006-05-26 Childless
Woman's Hour drama, in five 12m episodes.

2006-05-11 - Connecting
By Sarah Woods. Episode 4 of 4. Network Failure. Ian is on his first trip to Africa, his employers sending him to work as an IT trainer in a media centre in a village outside Maputo, Mozambique. He is keen to help but not really prepared for it. By Sarah Woods. Ian: David Birrell, Martha: Sonia Pateguana Pinto Romao, Orlando: Jorge Clemente, Matilde Denise: De Castro, Sebastio: Higino Octavio, Sara: Su-Lin Looi, Ndindazi: Nathemba Sambo, Young man Fred: Ezekiel Dias. Producer: Tim Dee.

2003-06-02 - The Bookmaker
By Sarah Woods. A drama-documentary about a day in the life of a Coventry betting shop. What makes people put their money on horses and dogs? Do they really believe they can beat the bookie? A glimpse behind the scenes of a High Street institution which most people know little about. Songs by Nick Hall and Sarah Woods, performed by Nick Hall and Mark Standbridge. Producer: Peter Leslie Wild

2001-12-24 - The Tailor of Gloucester
11.30 am drama. A magical Christmas Eve tale for all the family by Beatrix Potter, dramatised for radio by Sarah Woods. The poor Tailor of Gloucester must make a coat of cherry-coloured corded silk for the Mayor of Gloucester in which to be married on Christmas morning. Narrator: Miriam Margolyes, Tailor: David Hargreaves, Simpkin: David Holt, Mayor: David Timson. Mice played by Helen Longworth, David Timson and Poppy Ellen. Singers: Steve Bridgewater, Alex Kelly, Naomi Ludlam and Anders Sodergren, who also wrote the music. Producer: Jonquil Panting.

2000-08-21 Central 822
By Sarah Woods, in ten 12m parts. Woman's Hour drama.

2000-01-20 The Trinity
A three-part drama-doc series exploring how our perceptions of the past, present and future change our lives. 1: The Bell-Ringer and the Bivalve, by Sarah Woods. A geologist travels backthrough time accompanied by a bell-ringer, a bivalve and a ghost. Music: Anders Sodergreen. The Bivalve: Victoria Worsley, Jack: Simeon Defoe, Sadie: Poppy Ellen. Producer: Sara Conkey. Director: Sarah Woods.

    2000-01-27 The Trinity, 2
    The Early Birds, by Sarah Woods. Early one morning a little girl finds a body in a wood. Mum: Victoria Worsley, Dad: Simeon Defoe, Katie: Poppy Ellen. Producer and director: see above,

    2000-02-03 - The Trinity, 3
    Fat Cheeks and the Lion, by Sarah Woods. A stormy day prevents Tanya and Andy from crossing to Holy Island, until they meet Lama Yeshe. a Buddhist monk and guardian of the island. Tanya: Victoria Worsley, Mind: Poppy Ellen, Andy: Simeon Defoe.

1999-09-13 Woman's Hour Drama: Vital Signs
By Sarah Woods, in twenty 12m parts.

1999-05-09 Classic Serial .......... The Well of Loneliness, 1
Lesbian novel by Radclyffe Hall is the story of a woman's attempt to love and be loved. Dramatised in two parts by Sarah Woods. Stephen .......... Valerie Edmond, Young Stephen .......... Alexandra Bateman, Anna .......... Roberta Kerr, with Rob Pickvance, Amanda Root, Sarah Parks, Paul Warriner, Russell Dixon, Katy Cavanagh, Sara Kaplan, Thomas Hudson and Martin Reeve. Music composed and played by Odaline de la Martinez. Violinist Janet Foust. Cellist Andy Wardale. Producer: Melanie Harris.

1999-01-06 - A Love Song to the Buses
Written and directed by Sarah Woods. Dimitris, a young autistic man, travels on the West Midland buses. Music: Anders Sodergren. With Victoria Worsley and David Reubin. Producer: Sara Conkey.

1999-01-05 Gaia
By Sarah Woods. The first of four tales in which the four elemental forces unleash human passions. Here, young Hebe goes looking for her lost mother underground and is surprised to meet the earth goddess. Gaia: Lindsay Duncan, Hebe: Anna Mountford, with Giles Fagan, Gerard McDermott, Ben Crowe, Nicholas Bailey, Frances Jeater, John Wells, Robert Ireland, Dagur Gunnarson , Saemundur Andresson , Carole Maddern. Producer Jonquil Panting.

1997-03-19 - Hinterlands
By Sarah Woods. A fusion of drama and documentary which explores the space between the living and the dead. Music composed and played by Dominique Le Gendre. Pat's mum: June Barrie, Steve: Brian Hibbard, Matt: Paul Panting, Producer: Claire Grove.

1996-09-21 - Without the Sustaining World
By Sarah Woods, rpt. Overwhelmed by the demands of everyday life, Alison resorts to a fantasy sanctuary. Alison: Maggie O'Neill, Pete: John Straiton, Dawn: Sandra James-Young, Alison's Mother: Zule Madene, Infirmar/Doctor: Gavin Muir, with Edna Dore, Stephen Critchlow and Jane Whittenshaw. Producer: Mairi Russell.

1996-07-22 Monday Play: Seven for a Secret
By Sarah Woods. Fourth in the "Five in July" series of plays by rising stars in drama. A teacher is stalked by an obsessed teenager. Kate: Julia Ford, Stephen: David Haig, Hattie: Teresa Gallagher, Ronnie: Diana Payan, Darren: Richard Pearce, with Robert Harper , Colleen Prendergast , Dorian Lough and Keith Drinkel. Producer: Claire Grove.

1995-08-17 - Without the Sustaining World
By Sarah Woods. In the mental health series, States of Mind. Overwhelmed by the demands of everyday life and driven to respond to other people's needs rather than her own, Alison resorts to a fantasy sanctuary. But can she find the strength to cope in the real world? Alison: Maggie O'Neill, Pete: John Straiton, Dawn: Sandra James-Young, Alison's mother: Zulema Dene, Infirmar/Doctor: Gavin Muir, Mrs Green/Beggar: Edna Dore, Clive/Colleague: Stephen Critchlow, Barbara/Colleague: Jane Whittenshaw, Producer: Mairi Russell.

1995-04-10 Monday Play: Veronica's Handkerchief
By Sarah Woods. A comedy comedy about faith. What does it mean to be a good Christian woman in a post-everything age? Veronica: Elizabeth Estensen, Edward: Philip Jackson, St Veronica: Natasha Pyne, Matthew: Ian Masters, John: Gavin Muir, Sabina: Emma Chambers, Vicar: David Antrobus, Andrea: Deborah Berlin, Spooner: Dean Wiwamson, Producer: Claire Grove.

1991-10-23 Caught
Young Playwrights' Festival 1991. Helen has been murdered. She travels back through her life to find out what has brought her to this moment. By Sarah Woods. Helen: Jane Whittenshaw, Nan: Eleanor Summerfield, Young Helen: Nadine Ballantyne, Abe: Tony Armatrading, Savi: Adjoa Andoh, Vicar: Norman Jones, Trish: Siriol Jenkins. Savi's song composed and played by David Harvey. Producer: Claire Grove.

Nigel Deacon / Diversity website.
Most of the above radio plays have been archived by VRPCC

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