Alison Leonard Radio Plays



Alison Leonard was born in 1944. She studied psychology and philosophy at Edinburgh University and then did five years' social work with deprived and disturbed children. She started writing for teenagers in 1975, and has since written stories for younger children, radio plays for the BBC, plays for the theatre, and drama for young people and mixed age-groups, as well as running writing courses in the UK and abroad. Her life as a writer interweaves with a lifelong preoccupation with spirituality. As well doing occasional broadcasts on spiritual themes both locally and nationally, she also runs courses in spiritual development and spiritual autobiography. Alison is a member of the Society of Authors and the National Association of Writers in Education, and is married with two adult daughters. Details of her radio plays are given below. Further information about her novels and other work can be found at her website: http://www.frandal.fsnet.co.uk/

1.The Penrhyn Summer**, 1985 & 1986
2.The Gresford Chickens*, 1987
3.A Scarecrow Singing*, 1988
4.Herr Doktor Murke's Collected Silences*, 1990 & 1991
5.Heretics, 1992 and 1994
6.Death And Taxes In Venice*, 1992
7.A Month Of Lunchtimes, 1992
8.Small Clouds Over Llangollen , 1994
9.After Eden, 1995

asterisked plays known to exist in VRPCC collections.... **incomplete recording.

1.BBC Radio 4, prod. Adrian Mourby
2.BBC Radio 4, prod. Adrian Mourby
3.BBC Radio 4, prod. Adrian Mourby
4.ad. from Heinrich Böll, BBC R3, prod. P. Schlesinger
5.BBC Radio 4, Monday Play, prod. Jane Dauncey
6.BBC Radio 4, prod. Kay Patrick
7.BBC Radio 4, prod. Jane Dauncey
8.BBC Radio 4, prod. Alison Hindell
9.series, six episodes, prod. Alison Hindell

(Many of these plays were also broadcast in the Republic of Ireland, the Netherlands and Germany)

Work in progress: Alexander, Benedict and the Buddha, 2002, written for Sue Wilson, BBC radio drama producer, Pebble Mill


Story within a Story, 1997, prod. Caroline Sarll
Annie's Hands, 1994, prod. Caroline Sarll
Fun in Florence, 1993, prod. Jane Dauncey
Killer Ken's Garden, 1989, prod. Gillian Hush

Alison Leonard writes ......

Radio Drama - a writer's medium

Not many years ago, the American Writers' union brought the screen industry to a halt by laying down their pens. Why? Because screen directors (maybe one called Windy Cliff) had a habit of taking a writer's screenplay (call her Sandy Shore), changing Fred's name to Jack and replacing a scene in a hotel to one in a bar, and then saying 'Screenplay by Windy Cliff and Sandy Shore'.

Writing for radio isn't like that. It's a real collaboration between writer and producer/ director. Of course, there may be a hassle in getting your play accepted in the first place, but once commissioned, you're treated with respect. The two of you go through the play together to get the sense of its movement. You could be asked to take out a scene or add some lines, but that's negotiated rather than dictated. You're consulted about casting, and when the script finally gets recorded, you're invited into the studio while the play comes to life.

This is the ideal. I may have been lucky, and I've had bad experiences too. But, compared for instance with the theatre, radio drama is where, as I playwright, I've felt valued.

Alison Leonard

Information supplied by Alison Leonard & used by permission.


The story of Maria, a Ukrainian woman; a generation ago she was in a Nazi labour camp seeing her friends raped, tortured and abused. How can she bring herself to speak to her German daughter-in-law, after the Nazis caused her so much misery? A powerful drama about the nature of hate. With Pauline Letts as Maria; directed by Adrian Mourby.

A sensitive treatment of a difficult subject; Bethan, a 25-year- old girl is severely physically handicapped; her only means of communication is her word processor. Her body is almost non- functional, but her mind, which we can hear, is crystal clear. The play looks at the way she overcomes her disability, and the price which must be paid for her to do it. Judd was Gerard James, Moir Leslie played Bethan, Rhiannon was Elizabeth Miles. Bethan's song was composed by Christine Blanchard, and the director was Adrian Mourby.

A young Czech man and an elderly American lady meet in Venice. It's just after the end of the Cold War. They have both suffered losses; his young wife has departed, and so has Harry, whom she was with for sixty years. But as they talk, they reveal more similarities than differences. With Maxine Audley as Helen, Christian Rodicky as Franta; directed in Manchester by Kay Patrick.

By Alison Leonard. Thirty Minute Theatre, 13 Dec 94, 14:00. Two souls, awaiting reincarnation, argue in Heaven. Down below, middle-aged greengrocers are amazed that they're expecting a baby. Which soul will it be? With Eluned Jones, Ioan Meredith and Julie Higginson.

Nigel Deacon, Diversity website

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