Philip Corker has written an article for us about his play A Red Car in the Fountain; click on the link to read it. He continues below:
.....................After A Red Car In The Fountain, the subject of my next radio drama seemed obvious. The story of Fatima beckoned and I had to answer the call. For the first time I had to do some proper research, but that was something of a pleasure.
How astonishing that Lucia Dos Santos, the central figure in the drama which gripped the entire Portuguese nation almost a century ago, only died in 2005, aged 97. Her cousins and fellow visionaries, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, died in 1919 and 1920, respectively, aged 10 years and 9 years. Like all the great stories, you could never make it up. Nobody would believe it.
As for the writing, it was as testing as Red Car was elementary, but at the end I felt I’d produced a much better piece of work. ‘The Heart Of Fatima’ didn’t cut the ice at the Beeb however, and the play still lies in its crumbling dot-matrix grave. I’m sure there are countless writers with similar tales of woe. They all have my sympathies.
Other pieces also fell at the fortress, but then in 1997/8 I had two short stories broadcast on Radio 4. A third one was produced but never reached the airwaves due to schedule changes. These were:
The Bridge At Night: Produced by Andy Jordan. Read by Neil Pearson.
The World Covered In Gold: Produced by Pauline Harris (Manchester – see Producers). Read by Paul McGann.
Dead Dog Bridge: Produced by Andy Jordan. Read by Christopher Eccleston. (Not broadcast).
The Bridge At Night was part of Male Shots, a season of contemporary short stories about men. It was based on the Clifton suspension bridge here in Bristol. I no longer have a copy of the piece so I cannot make it available here.
The World Covered In Gold and Dead Dog Bridge were very much sister stories and largely autobiographical; growing up in industrial South Yorkshire, Kes country, woods and fields and fishing ponds, coal mines and steel mills, school, street games. But mostly they were about a much missed father.
The full texts of both these pieces are available in the highlights above.
In late 2009 I recorded my own reading of The World Covered In Gold and it is now available on youtube in two parts.
You can hear it right here!
Part 1 of 2 ..
Part 2 of 2 ..
Subsequent pieces never got the final nod. That’s the way the biscuit breaks and there seems little rhyme or reason to it.
Quintessential English Blues – A Short Life In Song, was about the singer/musician Nick Drake. His three albums are beautifully embedded in my life.
Finding Gina Campbell was about, well, finding Gina Campbell, the daughter and grand-daughter of legendary speed aces Donald and Sir Malcolm Campbell.
It was probably the failure of these two submissions which led me to turn away from radio work. It wasn’t a conscious decision, more of a drift towards other things, though I would like to think that one day I will have another broadcast. If the right short story comes along, who knows?
In more recent times I have been lucky enough to receive an Arts Council England, South West grant to support me while I completed a first draft of a novel for young adults. I am still searching and striving for the final draft which attains the high hopes I have for it.
Philip Corker / Diversity website
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