Dan Rebellato Radio Plays

Dan was born in South London in 1968, and studied Drama at Bristol University. He's now a lecturer at Royal Holloway, University of London. His stage plays include HERE'S WHAT I DID WITH MY BODY ONE DAY, STATIC and CHEKHOV IN HELL. His books include 1956 AND ALL THAT, THEATRE & GLOBALIZATION and MODERN BRITISH PLAYWRITING 2000-2009 and he introduced a series of plays by Terence Rattigan (q.v.) for Nick Hern Books.

His BBC radio plays:

Erskine May.... (2000)
The night before Queen Victoria is due officially to open the new Houses of Parliament, disagreements between the architect erupt and A.W.N. Pugin blows the building up. His architectural partner, Charles Barry, ably assisted by the Parliamentary librarian Erskine May have to gather to scattered fragments of the destroyed palace and rebuilt the Palace of Westminster before morning.

Antique Silver.... (2000)
Based loosely on a true story. Victor Grayson is a radical firebrand MP who won the Colne Valley by election in 1907 despite overwhelming hostility from his official sponsors in the Labour Party. But one day, a few months after World War One, he walked out of his house and disappeared. The play imagined Grayson swimming down the Thames recalling the events of his life, before disappearing out to sea. In a fantasised coda, Grayson is imagined running an antique shop where nothing is for sale.

Emily Rising.... (2001, rpt. 2003)
One morning, 12-year-old Emily wakes up to discover that her feet don't touch the ground. The best efforts of her mum, the doctor, even the coastguard cannot save her. And she continues to lift before finally finding herself disappearing into the sky. A play about loss, and love, and childhood, and parents.

Dan adds..........I've also written a classic serial which is due to be broadcast on 30 November and 7 December this year. It's The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham, and stars Bill Nighy, Clive Merrison, Sarah Parish, Katherine Tozer and Nicholas R. Bailey.

The Midwich Cuckoos....2003
John Wyndham's creepy novel about an alien generation born into a cosy British village. Adapted in two 60 min parts as the Classic Serial, beginning R4 30 Nov 03. Original music by Christopher Madin. Stars Bill Nighy, Sarah Parrish, Clive Merrison, Nicholas Bailey, Katherine Tozer, Mark Chatterton, Barbara Marten, Malcolm Raeburn, Christine Brennan, Rebecca Bridle. Directed by Polly Thomas.

    ....RADIO TIMES:...One of the best radio dramatisations this year. Dan Rebellato has ensured the dark anxieties of John Wyndham's novel are exploited to the full, and director Polly Thomas has delivered a play seething with tension, emotional frissons and breakneck excitement. Bill Nighy and Sarah Parrish combine a lightness of touch in the opening scenes as a bright, capable married couple, before they are plunged into the terrifying setting of an English country village in the 1950s, where all the fertile women have been impregnated by aliens. Their offspring are so similar and simister that no parent, after listening to this, will ever wish their child was more intellectually gifted. Nicholas Bailey is the troubled army sergeant, feeling totally emasculated by events..............(Jane Anderson)

Dead Souls....2006
Classic Serial, 2 x 55m, beginning 23 Apr. This is the comic tale by Gogol, dramastised by Dan Rebellato. Chichikov arrives in town and starts touting for dead serfs. It's obviously a scam, but how does it work? Suspicions come to a head at the Governor's Ball, the main event of provincial Russian society.

Stars Michael Palin and Mark Heap, with David Fleeshman, Judith Davis, Wyllie Longmore, Toby Hadoke, Graeme Hawley; produced by Polly Thomas.

comment from ND - I like the way the narrator (Michael Palin) tags along with the villain and becomes part of the story. An excellent bit of casting, too; Palin is just right for the part.

A highly original tale involving The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.... produced by Polly Thomas. Afternoon Play.

Four men are waxing saddles; cleaning spurs, polishing bridles and weapons. They are preparing for battle; but which one? And which century are we in? Claire ...... Frances Grey, Gary ...... Jeff Hordley, Sean...... Graeme Hawley, Aleks ...... David Harewood, Mark ...... Kevin Harvey.

24 Feb 2008, R3; Sunday Play. Adaptation of Douglas Coupland’s cult novel. A group of friends’ teenage years are blighted when one of their number falls inexpliciably into a coma. But, several years later she wakes up, and things get even stranger. .. Starred Florian Hutter, Rayisa Kondracki, Maggie Blake, Jason Durran, Simon Lee Philips, Heather Dann, Peter Marinker, Julia Summer, and Buffy David. Music was composed by Alice Trueman. Sound design was by Steve Brooke. Directed by Polly Thomas.

2 May 10, R3; Sunday Play. Ahead of the general election, Radio 3 broadcast a topical new play by Prof. Dan Rebellato of the Department of Drama and Theatre at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Written in collaboration with Linda McLean and Duncan Macmillan, the play, ‘And So Say All of Us’, skewers the absurdities of the the general election.

It imagines a very unusual election day, following it through the unfolding of an unlikely political story and an equally unlikely domestic drama.

The play began life as a project to find new ways of exploring the state of British politics. The collaboration between the writers has been an opportunity for them to follow a political flight of fancy and to highlight the shameful way in which certain politicians are refusing to engage with their audience.

Dan Rebellato: “The election isn’t really generating serious debate. There’s a strange speech act that seems to have overtaken politics. In an election campaign, we need to know literally what politicians are promising; instead we have this curious evasion, a blank locution, phrases literally untrue but which sound as if they mean something - but without any references. The slogans are getting more and more vacuous. They sound like they might be meaningful but who knows what they mean?”

He says the equation for all the campaign and PR advisors across the parties is the same – trust and warm words equals a vote: “In ordinary life, we trust people because they do what they say".

"These things are separated in contemporary politics. They put maximum effort on the appearance of sincerity – toning down the accent, talking about ordinary bloke’ things – and maximum effort to ensure that the speeches say nothing specific".

"It’s a depressing spectacle, and an enraging one, and it is out of that mixture of anger and despair that we wrote ‘And So Say All of Us".

Paraphrased by ND from part of the Royal Holloway University of London website. Click Royal Holloway page for the original article.

    Cast: Louisa Lytton, Derel Riddell, Amelia Bullmore, Michael Begley, David Annen, Tom Goodman-Hill, Effie Woods. Producer Melanie Harris; director Polly Thomas.

    ND comment - This was a first-class piece of writing, in the best "Radio 3" style, and the production was excellent too. It was by turns hilariious and thought-provoking. If any politicians were listening I hope they experienced a very uncomfortable 90 minutes.

4 Apr 2011, Afternoon Drama. This experimental play weaves together various stories of people saying goodbye; their stories blur into one another, echo each other and overlap; it is almost impossible to tell where one scene ends and the next begins. The aim is to create a tapestry of loss and longing, though the play takes a turn towards the end into a refusal of goodbye and a reaffirmation of love. The cast included David Annen,  Sean Gallagher, Frances Gray, Jenny Jules, Will Payne, Fenella Woolgar. Sound design by Eloise Whitmore and the director was Polly Thomas.

A trilogy of Afternoon Dramas:

25 Feb 2013; Late one evening a man gets a knock on the door; a policeman has some questions to ask him. This taught, real-time, two-hander takes us from a small suburban family home to a nightmare of global conflict. The play is a psychological thriller taking several twists on its way to revealing the truth.

26 Feb 2013; In an NGO, a group of young desk workers are shocked to discover that one of their colleagues has been kidnapped and they may have to conduct a negotiation with the kidnapper. Out of this tense situation come moments of outrageous comedy and deep sadness.

27 Feb 2013; Somewhere in the Arab world, a young woman is being held hostage in a man’s library. But where are the lines of civilization to be drawn? Can we avoid playing the roles assigned to us in the increasingly heated battles between the East and the West?

21 Nov 2015: Saturday Play: Zola's Les Rougon-Macquart, 1 of 9
Given the title "Blood, Sex and Money" in Radio Times, which described it unflatteringly as a mash-up adaptation of Zola's 20-novel cycle 'Les Rougon-Macquart', 1871-1893. This episode, entitled 'Animals', adapted by Dan Rebellato, is about the lives of three branches of a family living during the Second French Empire. We begin in Plassans, southern France, where 104-year-old matriarch Dide Fouque strikes up a relationship with her great-grandson Silvere, a romantic with Republican leanings. Meanwhile Dide's son siphons off her money, stealing his illegitimate siblings' inheritance. Cast: Dide: Glenda Jackson, Pierre: Robert Lindsay, Felicite: Fenella Woolgar, Antoine: Ian Hart, Silvere: Ashley Margolis, Miette: Shannon Flynn, Eugene: Robert Jack, with Jonathan Keeble, Seamus O'Neill and Kate Coogan. Producer: Pauline Harris.

    Emile Zola: Blood, Sex and Money, adapted by Oliver Emanuel, Martin Jameson, Lavinia Murray & Dan Rebellato, producers Gary Brown, Pauline Harris, Nadia Molinari, Polly Thomas, Kirsty Williams, was the winner in the 'best adaptation' category at the Audio Drama Awards, 29 Jan 2017. Episode 1-1, "Animals" was the episode singled out for special mention and the award.

22 Nov 2015: Classic Serial slot: Zola's Les Rougon-Macquart, 2 of 9
Episode title 'Fire'. Adapted by Dan Rebellato. Francois and Martha lead a comfortable life as France enters a new era of history. When a priest moves into their home , he drives a wedge between them. But never fear - there is a comeuppance. Francois: Sam Troughton, Martha: Carla Henry, Abbe Faujas: David Annen, with Ursula Holden-Gill and Chris Jack; Glenda Jackson as Dide.Produced by Polly Thomas.

28 Nov 2015: Saturday Play - Les Rougon-Macquart, 8 of 9
Episode title: "Fury". Dide follows her great-grandson Jacques. He's a train driver who loves trains more than any woman he's met. But there are murderous desires which he keeps hidden. Dide: Glenda Jackson, Severine: Christine Bottomley, Grandmorin/Lamotte: Seamus O'Neill, Roubaau: Stephen Gallagher, Misard/Denizet: Ian Bartholomew, Aunt Phasie: Olwen May, Flore: Rosie Fleeshman, Jacques: William Ash. Producer: Pauline Harris.Not sure who adapted this episode; not credited in Radio Times. Dan Rebellato?

29 Nov 2015: Classic Serial - Les Rougon-Macquart, 9 of 9
Episode title: "Trains". Jacques has fallen for Severine, who harbours a secret which destroys her marriage and puts pressure on Jacques to begin their new life together. This is Zola, remember, so do not expect a happy ending. Dide: Glenda Jackson, Jacques: William Ash, Severine: Christine Bottomley, Roubaud: Sean Gallagher, Pecquex: Tachia Newell. Produced by Polly Thomas. Again I am not sure of the adapter; nothing in RT.

More Zola: - Blood, Sex and Money ....2016

9 May: Zola 2-3: Family
Dramatised by Dan Rebellato. Glenda Jackson, Sam West, Anna M Martin, Robert Jack, John Heffernan. Producer: Polly Thomas.

10 May: Zola 2-4 Lovesick
Dramatised by Dan Rebellato. Glenda Jackson, Robyn Skeete, Mina Anwar, Anna M Martin, Lucy Moss, Yusra Warsama. Producer: Polly Thomas.

22 Oct: Saturday Play slot: Zola - Money, 3-1. Crash
Les Rougon-Macquart by Zola, about the lives of three branches of a family living during the Second French Empire. Dram. Dan Rebellato.

30 Oct: Classic Serial slot: Zola: Money, 3-9 Money
Conclusion, dram. Dan Rebellato, producer Polly Thomas. My summary of the BBC info is given below:

Adelaide Fouque (Dide) is 104 years old, trapped in her small room in the local asylum, but omniscient as she broods over her extended family. As a young woman, she gave birth to two dynasties - one legitimate, rich, powerful, obsessive and corrupt; the other illegitimate, poor, vulnerable, weak and depraved. Her family is a mix of the good, the bad and the misguided.

She is damaged by a lifetime of seizures and her mind is scarred by trauma, but Dide cannot forget her family. "What did I bring into this world? Wolves... I have raised a family of Wolves... I have watched their years. I will tell their story. Crime by crime. Blood by blood."

In this final episode, Dide escapes from the asylum and sets about stopping her daughter-in-law Félicité's plans to make the family rule supreme in wealth and politics across France. Her third grandson, Pascal, unites his scientific research with her family memories and decides to publish a book which will expose all the appalling misdeeds and weaknesses of Dide's family line. But Félicité will stop at nothing to prevent publication...

Sound Designer: Eloise Whitmore. Series Producer: Susan Roberts. Executive Producer: Melanie Harris. Produced and directed by Polly Thomas. Indie production (Sparklab).

The series won an award - see entry of 21 Nov 15 above.

Nigel Deacon / Diversity Website

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