26 June 17: Culture
By Al Smith. Sky-high prices and difficult choices: a frightening vision of what might happen to our health provision if antibiotics become ineffective against bacteria. All doctors (and patients) should listen to it. Anna: Pippa Nixon, Ned: David Calder, Maria: Olivia Popica, Shireen: Chetna Pandya, Celine: Sarah Ridgeway, Tom: Tom Forrister, Quartermaster: Philip Fox, Bailiff: Emilio Doorgasingh. Producer: Sally Avens.
15 Feb 17: Love Me
By Sarah Cartwright; her third radio play. Maggie is hopelessly devoted to her ex-boyfriend but then discovers that he's about to cohabit with someone else. The first radio play in which I've heard reference to LARP (Live Action Role-Play). (....All the characters in this play seems a little bit nuts - Ed.) Maggie: Alexandra Roach, Wes: Marcus Garvey, Ed: Jonathan Bailey, Katrina: Bekka Bowling, Stan: Finlay Robertson, Ellie: Kezian Joseph, Mum: Alison Belbin, waiter/friend: Leo Wan, Therapist: Karen Bartke. Produced by Sally Avens.
31 Dec 16: Saturday Play - The Mysteries of Udolpho
By Ann Radcliffe (18th century gothic novel), dram. Hattie Naylor. Emily St. Aubert is forced to leave France and live with her aunt and her aunt's new husband, Count Montoni, in an isolated castle in Italy. She discovers that her new home is a place of nightmares, and its owner will stop at nothing to terrorise his new wife and her impressionable niece. Emily: Georgia Groome, Mme. Cheron: Tracey Wiles, Count Montoni: John Dougall, Cavigni: Finlay Robertson, Verizzi: Luke Thompson, Annette: Natasha Cowley, Ludovico: Stephen Wight, Count Morano: John Bowler, Sister Agnes: Karen Bartke, Abbess: Alison Belbin. Producer: Sally Avens.
16 Oct 16: Classic Serial slot: The Confidential Agent, 2
By Graham Greene, dram. Nick Perry. Set during the Spanish Civil War, about a republican agent implicated in a murder case whilst on a mission to England. Edgar Dominiguez: Alun Raglan, Rose Cullen: Flora Spencer-Longhurst, Jim Barton: Ian Conningham, Capt. Currie: John Dougall, Victor Lazaro: Jot Davies, Ronald Kaye: John Bowler, Elsie: Kezia Joseph, Mrs. Mendrill: Karen Bartke, Bertie Forbes: Nick Murchie, Lord Benditch: David Sterne, Spanish diplomat: Stefano Braschi, secretary: Natasha Cowley, Freddy: Luke MacGregor, woman in Benditch: Karen Bartke, policeman in Benditch: David Sterne, policeman in London: Gavi Singh Chera. Produced by Sally Avens.
9 Oct 16: Classic Serial slot: The Confidential Agent, 1
By Graham Greene, ad. Nick Perry. From the novel, dramatised in two parts. Edgar Dominiguez: Alun Raglan, Rose Cullen: Flora Spencer-Longhurst, Capt. Currie: John Dougall, Victor Lazaro: Jot Davies, Ronald Kaye: John Bowler, Elsie: Kezia Joseph, Mrs. Mendrill: Karen Bartke, Bertie Forbes: Nick Murchie, Lord Benditch: David Sterne, Spanish diplomat: Stefano Braschi, secretary: Natasha Cowley, begging man: Luke MacGregor.Produced by Sally Avens.
R4, 15-min drama series, 15 Jul 16...young writers are delivering scripts as sharply contemporary as anything in the theatre. Al Smith was a winner at the 2017 Audio Drama Awards for his series of bite-sized dramas, Life Lines, following the lives of workers in an ambulance control centre. The 15-minute format works well on radio. A canny mix of soap opera and drama, they give voice to the pressures faced by the NHS. (....summarised from Lyn Gardner's piece on radio drama and theatre, Guardian, 2 Jan 2017 ... ND)
[The award was in the Best Drama Series category - Ed.]
21 Mar 16: Boswell's Life of Muhammad Ali
By Jon Canter; comedy. 30m. (11.30am drama slot). James Boswell meets Ali, who has been banned from boxing and is in the wilderness. Boswell: Miles Jupp, Ali: Lenny Henry. Producer: Sally Avens.
28 Jan 16: Holding Back The Tide
By Nick Warburton. A couple inherits a house in Yorkshire. They are drawn into a group fighting against the modernization of the town. Richard: Paul Ritter, Clare: Kate Duchene, John: Ronald Pickup, Lux: Michelle Asante, Penrith: Chris Pavlo, Trafford: gerard McDermott, Mrs. Cardabbon: Susan Jameson, Estate agent: Caolan McMarthy. Producer: Sally Avens.
2 Nov 15: Louis B Mayer and the Bolshevik Beast
By Stephen Sheridan. A comic version of the occasion in 1934 when the socialist writer Upton Sinclair stood for election under the slogan "End Poverty In California". (When did a socialist government last end poverty anywhere? - Ed) Louis B Mayer: Toby Jones, Upton Sinclair: Colin Stinton, Glick: Ben Lloyd-Hughes, Thalberg: Chris Pavlo, Frank Merriam: Sam Dale, Craig Sinclair: Jessica Turner, Franklin Roosevelt: David Houslow, Felix: Mark Edel-Hunt. Producer: Sally Avens.
20 Jul 15: The Gold Killing
By Paul Sellar. Ep. 1 of 2. Joe Stein was a boxer but is now a shrewd entrepreneur. He begins his rise up the social ladder. Then he has the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to invest in a Ghanaian gold mine... it results in a series of murders. Set on Ghana's gold coast. Conclusion tomorrow. Joe: Robert Glenister, The Marquess: Pip Torrens, Tony: David Houslow, with Amelia Lowdell, Obi Abili, Alex Tregear, Rhiannon Neads, Stephen Critchlow and Danny Sapani. Producer: Sally Avens.
4 Apr 15: Saturday Play: The Moonflask
By Paul Sellar. When a Ming vase turns up at an auction house, the people on a back-to-work course decide to steal it. They pool their skills to reunite the vase with its rightful owner. Robberies, however, always get complicated. 60m. Lee Ross, Ken Bones, Sean Murray, Richie Campbell,David Yip, Laura Molyneux, Michael Bertenshaw, Tony Jayawardena, Marlene Sidaway, Carys Eleri, Matthew Fenton, John Norton, Carolyn Pickles and Harry Jardine. Produced by Sally Avens.
3 Apr 15: A Book By Lester Tricklebank
By Richard Lumsden. The rather strange RT blurb runs thus: "Lester has never left home, perhaps because of a secret that's too big to carry around the world, or that he loves Derbyshire too much. He decides that now is the time to tell all, so he faces up to the past and writes a book. But where to start?" Lester: Stephen Tomkinson, Florence: Rebekah Stanton, Stanley: Jack Hollington, Janice: Jane Slavin, Bill: Stephen Critchlow, Jean: Jessica Turner, Nurse Irene: Ayesha Antoine, Dad: David Hounslow, Librarian: Rhiannon Neads. Produced by Sally Avens.
17 Dec 14: Pink Boy Blue Girl
By Mateusz Dymek, rpt. A Swedish student interviews a couple attempting to give their chils a gender-neutral upbringing, but begins to question whether their choices are as politically correct as they first appear. Malin: Morven Christie, Hakan: Joseph Millson, Catalina: Leah Brotherhead, Receptionist: Jonathan Forbes, Policewoman: Susie Riddell, old man: Karzan Sherabayani. Produced by Sally Avens.
14 Nov 14: Double Down
Comedy by Sarah Cartwright. Fiona and Steve kidnap her boss's wife to acquire money to pay off gambling debts, but it never occurs to them that she may enjoy the experience, or that her husband will refuse to pay the ransom. Fiona: Lucinda Raikes, Steve: Colin Hoult, Mollie: Daisy Hoggard, Hugo/Darius: Ian Conningham, Russ: Paul Heath, Christine: Bettrys Jones, Miranda: Jane Slavin. Producers: Sarah Cartwright and Sally Avens.
12 May 14: Rock Me Amadeus
By Simon Topping. A boy who feels feminine is unsure of how to proceed in his life, until he finds guidance from a German exchange student. This was a BBC Writers' Prize drama, introduced by the writer. Alex Lawther as Charlie, Felix Auer as Tim, with Scarlett Brookes, Karina Fernandez, Nikki Runeckles, Craige Els. Producer Sally Avens.
23 Feb 14: Classic Serial - Pride & Prejudice
By Jane Austen. 1/1. Dram. Charlotte Jones. Mrs. Bennett is determined to see her daughters marry and secure a future for themselves. Amanda Root, Pippa Nixon, Samantha Spiro, David Troughton, Georgie Fuller, Carys Eleri, Rosie Wyatt, Michelle Terry, Jamie Parker, Joshua Maguire, Fenella Woolgar, Sean Murray, Arthur Hughes, Joel MacCormack. Producer Sally Avens.
29 Sept 13: Classic Serial - Sword of Honour
By Evelyn Waugh, dram. Jeremy Front. 1/7. Men at Arms. Scarred by his broken marriage, aristocrat Guy Crouchback returns to England after spending most of the 1930s in self-imposed exile in Italy. He enlists as an officer in the Army, hoping that fighting the Nazis will bring spiritual fulfilment. Narrator - Tim McInnerny, Guy - Paul Ready, Apthorpe - Adrian Scarborough, Ben - Tim Piggott-Smith, Arthur - Robert Daws, Trimmer - Lee Ingleby, with Oliver Chris, Priyanga Burford, Harry Jardine, Sean Murray, Michael Bertenshaw, Joanna Brookes, Arthur Hughes, Georgie Fuller, Joal McCormack, Ben Crowe, John Norton; producer Sally Avens.
15 Jul 13: 15 Minute Drama - Lunch, Reunion 1/5
By Marcy Kahan.
A platonic romantic comedy: Bill and Bella haven't seen each other for years. They were great friends when they shared a flat, now they disagree about everything; it's the beginning of a beautiful relationship. Bill works as an economist in a right wing institute giving succour to bankers and businessmen. Bella teaches yoga, waters the plants in Canary Wharf and holds a Proust seminar for retirees. But years ago they shared a flat before Bill got married and moved to the States. Now he's back and he's feeling a little off kilter; his son's stopped talking to him, his wife's not interested, so he decides to hook up again with Bella. So once a month they meet for lunch, where they talk about everything; the one thing they don't talk about is how much they love each other.
Bill - Stephen Mangan; Bella - Claire Skinner; Director - Sally Avens; Producer - Sally Avens; Writer - Marcy Kahan.
3 Jun 13: 15 Minute Drama - Kidnap, 1 Abduction
By Richard Monks.
Richard Monks serial looks at the kidnapping of an aid worker from five different viewpoints; the hostage, one of her captors, the hostage negotiator, a soldier on a rescue mission and her daughter. As the story unfolds we discover that all the characters are trapped by events in their own lives.
Elizabeth Harrap - Barbara Flynn; News Reporter - Ben Crowe; Writer - Richard Monks ; Director - Sally Avens.
20 Mar 13: Late morning drama: Shooting Animals
by Guy Browning and Tom Mitchelson. A wildlife documentary crew attempt to break in a new presenter who is intent on keeping as far away from the wildlife as possible. Whilst the camera is pointed at the wildlife we're more busy watching the antics of the crew and it's eerie how their behaviour echoes that of the animalsBen - Joseph Millson; Fran - Emily Joyce; Rob - Ian Kirkby; Helga - Samantha Dakin; Jabari - Ivanno Jeremiah; Richard - Ben Crowe; Produced by Sally Avens
31 Dec 2012: 15 Minute Drama - The Cazalets The Light Years 1/10
By Elizabeth Jane Howard, dramatised by Sarah Daniels.
The Light Years tells the story of the extended Cazalet family. Set in the lead up to the outbreak of World War II, it appears that the Cazalets have it all but we soon discover that infidelity, indiscretions, jealousies and misplaced loyalties lurk just beneath the surface
As the Cazalet family gather for their annual summer holiday the onset of war is about to change everything.
Narrator - Penelope Wilton; Edward - Pip Torrens; Villy - Ruth Gemmell; Polly - Flora Spencer-Longhurst; Louise - Alix Wilton Regan; Hugh - Dominic Mafham; Diana - Lisa Dillon; Writer - Sarah Daniels; Produced and directed by Sally Avens and Marion Nancarrow
27 June 13: Afternoon Drama - The Means to an End
By Sarah Cartwright; her first radio play. When Barney's dog is run over he wonders if life is worth living. He's been stuck in the same job for seven years and three months and still doesn't know how to work the cappuccino machine. Then fate in the shape of a Spanish veterinary nurse and a parrot called Mittens intervenes.
Barney .... Daniel Rigby,
Carla .... Oona Chaplin,
Dustin .... Henry Lloyd-Hughes,
Mia .... Fiona Button,
Leanne .... Philippa Stanton,
Barney's Father .... Paul Stonehouse,
Thug .... Ben Crowe,
Customer .... Joanna Brookes.
Producer - Sally Avens.
18 Apr 13: Afternoon Drama - Cash Cow
By Ewa Banaszkiewicz. When Sophie's father runs up a gambling debt she has to choose whether to give him the money or let him face prison.
Sophie ..... Aisling Loftus,
Nick ..... Robert Glenister,
Kryztof ..... Will Howard,
Frankie ..... Taron Egerton,
Cheri ..... Adjoa Andoh.
Produced by Sally Avens.
Ewa Banaszkiewicz is of Anglo, Polish, Sri Lankan descent. She has written several radio plays including 'Three In A Bed' and 'Wedding In Krakow'.
Marcy Kahan's humorous afternoon play (R4,14 Jan 2011) was very welcome on a gloomy January day. Ed is about to give a big presentation at work. On the way there he accidentally causes a national celebrity to fall off his bike. He's carted off to hospital, and the next Ed hears is that the guy has gone into a coma. He agonises about whose fault it was, and whether he should he go to the police and own up. Stephen Mangan turned in an excellent comic performance as Ed, with Naomi Frederick as his girlfriend and Sean Baker and Joanna Monro as work colleagues. The production was by Sally Avens.
.........ND, Diversity Website drama review, Apr 2011
The Six Loves of Billy Binns....2010
R4, 1415, 21 Apr 10. By Richard Lumsden. A man aged 110 years drops a teacup, and it falls slowly, second by second, to the floor. As it falls, the loves of Billy's life flash before him, one last time. Tom Courtenay as Billy, with Alison Pettitt, Tanya Franks, Ella Smith, Joanna Monro, Keeley Beresford, Gbemisola Ikumelo, Walter Lumsden. Producer Sally Avens.
Messageboard comments included:
........the kind of play where you're driving alone in rain and you have to pull over into a lay-bye to listen it out.
.......A stunner. With no warning!
.......very good, Tom was outstanding. The film This Happy Breed came to mind.
........A gem of a play - with Tom Courtenay giving another fine performance in the central role.....
BIG IN SAMOA by Marcy Kahan....2010
Friday Play, 1 Jan 10, 2100 hrs.
Starring Tom Goodman-Hill and Hugh Bonneville. Directed by Sally Avens.
VON RIBBENTROP'S WATCH....2008
8 Nov 08; Saturday play by Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran. A highly entertaining play about a snobbish wine merchant with a failing business who finds that has watch, inherited from his father, once belonged to a world famous Nazi. He's torn between selling it and perhaps saving his business, or keeping it and watching his business disappear. (Entrepreneurs will suggest a third option: turning the business around - but that's not what the play is about)
Miriam Margolyes plays Lila, the Jewish matriarch from hell, and Allan Corduner is Gerald, the man with the watch. There is a strong supporting cast, including Sophie Winkelman, Nicholas Goodeson, Harriet Walter and Jonathan Tafler. This was one of the best plays of the year. The producer was Sally Avens.
Sound Barriers (R4, 2102, 24 Aug 07) was about a young mother who befriends two of her
neighbours and little by little changes their lives. The story emerges through the thoughts of Jenny, a
social worker (Caroline Quentin), Ian, the deaf man (Steve Day) and an elderly widow (Patricia Routledge).
It wasn't really a play at all, but three skilfully intercut monologues. When writing this review
I found to my surprise that Mel, the young woman, was missing from the cast list; then I realised
she had no lines at all, my picture of her: beautiful, sad, and in desperate straits, had emerged
through the words of everyone else. This was a poignant and moving piece, and the broadcast, a
repeat from about a year ago, was well-deserved. Sally Avens directed.
26 May 07. By Daphne du Maurier. This isn't based on the film, but the original short story. The dramatisation is by Melissa Murray, who has about twenty original radio plays and dramatisations to her credit. Flocks of murderous birds gather in the hedgerows and trees in a small Cornish village. Nat, a former military man who's just moved in, knows something is wrong when seagulls start flying into the walls of his cottage. Eventually there's a siege. Then things get worse ... directed by Sally Avens, and stars Neil Dudgeon, Nicola Walker, Jade Williams, Gerard Horan, Carl Grose, John Dougall and Rachel Bavidge. Music by David Pickvance.
THE LOSS ADJUSTER.....2006
R4, 1415, 17 Nov 06. A thought-provoking Friday play
about corrupt business practices. Martin's house has
been built along with hundreds of others on a flood
plain. When the estate gets flooded, and a young girl
dies, he discovers first-hand how big business
operates. Producer Sally Avens. Stars Neil Dudgeon, Claire Rushbrook, Shaun Dooley.
............ND, VRPCC newsletter.
THE ROAD, THE HOUSE, THE ROAD....2006
A new play to mark Howard Barker's sixtieth birthday commissioned by radio 4, (R4, 2000, 18 Jul 06), directed by his long-time colleague Richard Wortley, veteran of 2,000 radio plays and probably the most experienced radio drama producer in the country. It concerned Johannes Aventinus, a humanist scholar of the 16th century. Like many scholars of the time, he travelled the roads of Europe on foot, collecting material for scholarship, visiting libraries and begging hospitality from wealthy patrons. At the age of 53, Aventinus married for the first time. His only child was born in his absence, and on hurrying home in winter to join his wife and child, he perished on the way; no-one knows how.
In this play, we encounter the scholar in the course of his last journey. The weather is appalling, but he sees distant lights at a big house, so he assumes that he will at least get lodgings for the night. When he reaches the house, he is let in by an elegant, intelligent woman who shows him the library - where, to his surprise, she has his works in profusion. Has he been led there deliberately? And why? The cast included Michael Pennington, Sean Baker and Barbara Flynn. ........ND, VRPCC Drama Review, Sep 2006
MAN IN THE MOON ....2006
By Richard Lumsden, R4, 20 Jun 06. Verse drama, with Tom Courtenay. Producer Sally Avens. Entered for the Tinniswood Award. More on the Richard Lumsden page.
By Fiona Mackie. Set in Lyme Regis, this play links Mary Anning with a young girl and a woman
stranded by the tide in Lyme Regis in 2005. With Susan Jameson, Ella Smith,
Gillian Bevan, Catherine Butler, Gerard McDermott (token male?). Director Sally Avens.
Taking the Picture....2005
8 Feb 05. By Melissa Murray.
The true story of an audacious art theft in 1956. Two students decide to claim a picture they believe belongs in Ireland.
With Owen McDonnell, Stephen Hogan, Jim Norton, Renee Weldon, Marcella Riordan, and Jon Glover.
Director Sally Avens.
THE RAJ QUARTET....2005
By Shelley Silas. With John Harvey. Dramatised from the book by
Paul Scott. 9 x 60min, Classic Serial. Produced by
Sally Avens. Excellent standard of dramatisation.
Varied cast - including Lia Williams, Jeremy Northam,
Gary Waldhorn, Shiv Grewal, Mark Bazeley, Hugh Dickson,
Matthew Thomas-Davies, Benedict Cumberbatch, Sam Dastor,
THEY SAY I SHOT A MAN AND KILLED HIM....2004
By Mike Walker. A true story of love and adventure in the early days
of flying. Could a record-breaking pilot be heading
for the electric chair? With Susie Porter, James Purefoy,
Walter Lewis, Kate Fleetwood, Declan Wilson, Gerard McDermott,
Alan White, Damien Lynch. Director Sally Avens. Saturday afternoon play.
STRANGERS AND BROTHERS....2003
by C.P.Snow (R4 beginning 19.01.03, broadcast as the Classic Serial. This is the story of Lewis Eliot; his humble beginnings in Leicester, early legal work, getting a Fellowship at a Cambridge college, the election of a Master, and the many gifted, unusual and odd people he met on the peripheraries of academia and Whitehall. For those familiar with the novels, the titles of the episodes were: 1)Time of Hope, 2)The Conscience of the Rich, 3)The Masters, 4)The Masters (sic), 5)The Light and the Dark. Particularly well-done was the election of the new college Master; clever academics jockeying for position throwing poison darts at each other whilst the old Master lies dying. The plays starred Adam Godley, David Haig, Clive Merrison, Andy Taylor, David Calder and Jeremy Child, and the dramatisation was by Jonathan Holloway; Sally Avens & Jeremy Howe directed. (N.D., VRPCC newsletter, Apr 03)
By K.M.Peyton, adapted by Diana Griffiths. Christina is sent to live with her uncle and his sons
in their home - once grand, but it has seen better days. The uncle is
not very amicable, and there are emotional undercurrents. With Richard
Pearce, Ellis Beavan, Ben Crowe. Dir. Sally Avens. Broadcast 3.4.99
and 28.5.01. Classic Serial.
MR. HARRISON'S CONFESSION....1998
27 Jun 98; by Jeremy Front. A young surgeon arrives at Duncombe. His female patients
seem to be suffering from a curious complaint - the cure for which
is marriage to the new doctor. With Marston Bloom,Geoffrey
Whitehead, Alison Pettitt, Sophie Thompson and Jane Booker. Directed
by Sally Avens.
75min. Dramatisation by Dawn Lowe-Watson of the work by Rumer Godden. Two sisters, their mother
and a younger brother go to stay in France but the mother is hospitalised;
the children are put up at a country house, where unforeseen things
happen...there they meet Eliot, his temperament an odd mixture of cruelty
and kindness, the rather cathartic lady of the house, from whom it is
difficult to get much sense, and a servant who falls
in love a little too easily...with Ellie Bevan as Cecile, Abigail
Doherty as Joss, Keira Jansen as Hester and Luke Newbery as the young
brother. Also starred Michael Maloney as Eliot, Claire Marchione,
Rachel Atkins, Theo Fraser-Steele, Shaun Baker, Jenny Lee, Brian
Parr and Chris Wright. Directed by Sally Avens.
APPENDIX......PRODUCER'S CHOICE, 2004
London based Radio Drama producer Sally Avens is in the hot seat for this week's Producer's Choice. We have aired several of Sally's productions on BBC 7 so far but her five selections are new to the network:
Notes on some of her other plays are shown further down the page.
- A Soldier's Debt by Nick Warburton (original tx: 18/01/99)
- Hungarian Birdsong by Niall Ashdown (original tx: 09/08/02)
- Cross My Heart and Hope to Fly by Sarah Daniels (original tx: 22/03/02)
- My Last Week with Modolia by Ben Moor (original tx: 27/10/99)
- Turning the Hut by Nick Warburton (original tx: 06/08/03)
DETAILS ON THE ABOVE (Greg Linden)
Mon 15 Mar, 11:00 - 11:45 45 mins (18 January 1999)
A Soldier's Debt: By Nick Warburton. A missing recording of `Macbeth' creates a unique tie between three people in war-torn West Africa. With Amanda Root, Paul Rhys and Burt Caesar.
Tue 16 Mar, 11:00 - 11:45 45 mins (9 August 2002)
Hungarian Birdsong: Niall Ashdown's one-man show gives an insight into father-son relationships and bird watching.
Wed 17 Mar, 11:00 - 11:45 45 mins (22 March 2002)
Cross My Heart and Hope to Fly: As three characters tell their individual stories they find not only sadness but also a great deal of humour. With Pauline Collins.
Thu 18 Mar, 11:00 - 11:45 45 mins (27 October 1999)
My Last Week With Modolia: A unique and magical love story set in a world where nothing is quite what it seems. Written and performed by Ben Moor.
Fri 19 Mar, 11:00 - 11:45 45 mins (6 August 2003)
Turning the Hut: When Jimmy asks Clara to teach him to read an unlikely relationship develops. Drama starring Penelope Wilton.
Nigel Deacon, Diversity Website
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