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Toby Swift Radio Plays


26 Jul 2014: Saturday Drama: Queens of Noise - Shout to the Top
By Roy Boulter & Luoise Wener, set in 1988; about three women who form a guitar band and head for the big time. The play contains full-length original tracks recoded by its three stars performing as fictional band 'Velveteens'. Shane Richie, Hannah Arterton, Fiona Macrae, Samantha Robinson, Liza Sadovy, Ben Crowe, Adam Nagaitis and Joe Sims. Producer - Toby Swift.


18 June 2014: The Zone
By Trevor Preston. Science fiction thriller set in the future and in a world beyond the reach of the law. Turner is in the grasp of the criminal elite, who control the trade in body parts. Part 1 of 2. Ben Crowe,Stephen Greif, Michael Bertenshaw, Elaine Claxton, Jaimi Barbakoff, Georige Fuller, Sinead Keenan, Clare Perkins, Clive Hayward, Harry Myers, David Cann, Matthew Watson, Wilf Scolding. Producer: Toby Swift.


20 Jan 2014: The 40 Year Twitch
By Daniel Thurman. Comedy. Yvonne has lost her job and with it her patience for her husband's obsession - birdwatching. She begins to follow him, thinking that the reason for his hobby is to escape from her. Paula Wilcox, Philip Jackson, Anne Reid, Brian Bowles. Producer Toby Swift.


14-16 Jan 2014: Ambiguous Loss
By Michael Butt. 3 x 45m. A family waits for news of a loved one who has been missing for 16 months. Drama made with the assistance of the charity Missing People. Heather Craney, Carolyn Pickles, Joel McCormack, Georgie Fuller, Ewan Bailey, Amy Gonzalez. Producer Toby Swift.


14 Dec 2013: Saturday Drama - Winter Exercise
By Philip Palmer. A very interesting drama-documentary, of interest to anyone involved (like the present writer) in civil defence during the Cold War era. Global tensions had increased, and war between the Soviet and Western blocs seemed a real possibility. And so, for two weeks in March, a group of top civil servants met daily as part of Wintex-Cimex, a biennial exercise to test the UK Government's readiness for each stage of a descent into nuclear conflict. David Aaronovitch presented a documentary drama based on the recently-released Cabinet Office file. A nationwide exercise of military and civil defence personnel, Wintex-Cimex, would reveal the readiness of Britain to deal with the consequences of a nuclear exchange and what would inevitably follow: violence, breakdown of law and order, food shortages, attacks by enemy special forces at large in the country; perhaps even biological or chemical warheads. The emergency ‘Cabinet’ is forced to decide whether the UK should use its nuclear weapons, and how many, and where they should be targeted. Carolyn Pickes as narrator, with Tim Woodward as P.M., Thomas Wheatley, Simon Treves, Steve Toussaint, John Norton, Sean Murray and David Seddon; producers Phil Tinline and Toby Swift.
(....ND, Diversity Website review, Dec 2013)


9 Sept 2013: Small Acts of Kindness
By Trevor Preston. Semi-autobiographical drama about the death of an inspirational art teacher. The death prompts one of his former pupils to reminisce about his teenage years, and to realise how much his former mentor shaped his life. Charlie - Stephen Grief, Alice - Ann Beach, Beth - Susan Penhaligon, Annie - Joanna Monro, Kass - Sean Baker, Charlie at 16 - Gethin Anthony, Eliza - Sally Orrock, Miss Monnier - Christine Kavanagh. Produced by Toby Swift.


6 Sept 2013: Red and Blue
By Philip Palmer - Bradley Shoreham play, 3/3. The ex war-games expert is hired to put an oil-rig operator through his paces. He invents a complicated array of crises which stretches the crew to its limits. Bradley - Tim Woodward, Tom - Liam Brennan, Jock - Sean Murray, Claire - Christine Kavanagh, Sean - Roshan R Rohatgi, Linda - Philiippa Stanton, Interrogator - Ben Crowe, Billy - David Seddon. Producers Sasha Yevtushenko and Toby Swift.


23 Aug 2013: Red and Blue
By Philip Palmer. A second series of Red and Blue; Philip Palmer's trilogy that focuses on Bradley Shoreham (Tim Woodward). After leaving the British Army, Shoreham became a Consultant Subject Matter Expert. He spends his working life creating war games for training purposes. Fictional they may be but the higher the level of authenticity the greater their value to the participants. And when governments are paying for training they expect a high return for their money.Under constant threat from hackers, financial institutions take cybersecurity very seriously. Episode 1 of 3: Sacrifice. The return of Philip Palmer's series following wargame exercise writer Bradley Shoreham. Shoreham's latest training scenario places Yorkshire at the centre of a global pandemic alert. Its credibility rests on the successful recruitment of the formidable Dr. Hoffman. Bradley Shoreham - Tim Woodward, Alicia Hoffman- Harriet Walter, Producer - Toby Swift.


26 Apr 2013: Afternoon Drama - The Weighing Room
By Justin Hopper. Noel is a jump jockey anxious to get his career back on track after a spell on the sidelines. Just what does it take to survive in the demanding and dangerous world of National Hunt racing? Noel ....... Lloyd Hutchinson, Sean ....... Michael Legge, Wrighty ....... James Weaver, Wozzer ....... Paul Rider, Seddon ....... David Seddon, Fiona Markham ....... Alison Pettitt, Consultant ....... Nigel Hastings, Steward ....... Joanna Monro, Owner ....... Bruce Alexander, Brian ....... Michael Shelford, Mandy ....... Keely Beresford. Producer Toby Swift.


27 Mar 2013 : The Architects
New comedy by Jim Poyser and Neil Griffiths. Architect Sir Lucian made his name 50 years ago as the most brutal of all brutalists. But times have moved on and so have most of his staff. Those who remain must contemplate escape from a malfunctioning multi-storey car park in Esher and the pure aesthetic of the open sandwich. Sarah - Laura Solon; Dan - Ben Willbond; Sir Lucian - Geoffrey Whitehead; Rasmus - Ewan Bailey; Tim - Tim Downie; Mayoress - Joanna Brookes; Car Park Attendant - Ben Crowe; Directed by Toby Swift.


22 Feb 2013: Afternoon Drama - The Spare Room
By Oliver Emmanual. Michael lives in Stephanie's spare room. He knows everything about Stephanie: how many pairs of shoes she has, and how often she has sex. But Stephanie doesn't know anything about Michael, an asylum seeker from Eritrea. He's had his last asylum claim refused, been evicted from his flat and lives on handouts. She doesn't know that he lives in her spare room. This is a 'Rapid Response' play (commissioned close to transmission) inspired by the Scottish Refugee Council's recent report stating that one in four asylum seekers in Britain will face destitution. Stephanie ....... Candida Benson, Michael ....... Babou Ceesay, Police ....... Hannah Wood and Michael Shelford. Directed by Lu Kemp. Executive Producer Toby Swift.


9 Jan 2013: Afternoon Drama - Second Body
By Trevor Preston, who draws on his own experience as an artist in this thriller. Anna is a painter driven to capture the haunting images of death which fill the twilight world of her dreams. They foretell death. Anna..Tara Fitzgerald, Robert..Raymond Coulthard, Schuman..Kenneth Collard, Munch..Ben Crowe, Jacob..Stephen Greif, Stella..Liza Sadovy, Mr Otis..Patrick Brennan, Zelda..Sarah Thom, Producer..Toby Swift.


28 July 2012: Saturday Drama - A Special Kind of Dark
A year ago Caspar was locked up and declared criminally insane. Finally he breaks his silence to reveal a deadly tale of love and politics. But is he telling the truth? A psychological thriller by Adrian Penketh. Adrian Penketh has written a number of plays for Radio 4, including THE WATERBUCKS, which was shortlisted for the Imison Award, and an adaptation of Balzac's THE WILD ASS'S SKIN which was runner-up for the Prix Italia in 2011. Caspar ...... Paul Rhys, Helene ...... Fenella Woolgar, Felix ...... David Schofield, Baptiste ...... Christopher Fairbank, Elodie Testoud ...... Matilda Ziegler, TV Director ...... Sam Alexander, Producer ...... Toby Swift.


11 April 2012: Afternoon Drama - Red and Blue, Hearts and Minds
By Philip Palmer. Red and Blue, Philip Palmer's trilogy of plays, focuses on Bradley Shoreham. After leaving the British Army, Shoreham became a Consultant Subject Matter Expert. He spends his working life creating war games for training purposes. Fictional they may be but the higher the level of authenticity the greater their value to the participants. And when governments are paying for training they expect a high return for their money. Bradley Shoreham ..... Tim Woodward, Emma Macintosh ..... Tracy Wiles, Fergus O'Donnell ..... Lloyd Hutchinson, Cooper ..... Peter Hamilton Dyer, Lt.Col. Mackay ..... Don Gilet, Major General Gibbs ..... James Lailey, Brigadier Harper ..... Gerard McDermott, Sergeant Evans ..... Tom Meredith, Desk Sergeant ..... Harry Livingstone. Produced by Toby Swift.


24 Feb 2012: Afternoon Drama - Those Hard to Reach Places
'Cleaner...only dirtier' is not how your average domestic cleaner describes themselves. But then Rita is anything but an average domestic cleaner as an unfortunate former mayor is about to discover in Daniel Thurman's sparkling comedy. Fawcett ..... Geoffrey Whitehead, Mrs Randle ..... Anne Reid, Rita ..... Janet Dibley, Bus Driver ..... Piers Wehner, Phone voice ..... Emerald O'Hanrahan. Produced by Toby Swift.

    Another excellent comedy, THOSE HARD TO REACH PLACES, by Daniel Thurman (R4, 1415, 24 Feb 2012) went out as an afternoon play. A former pillar of the community wishes to replace his devoted middle-aged cleaner, who clings to him like a barnacle and more or less rules his life, with a younger, more attractive model who does the hoovering in the buff. Geoffrey Whitehead was the man wanting a bit more excitement in his life, Anne Reid the cleaner, and Janet Dibley the younger woman; Toby Swift directed. (....ND, Diversity Website review, Apr 2012.)


28 Jan 2012: Saturday Drama - The Believers
Liverpool, 1963. By Frank C Boyce; comedy drama. The Merseybeat boom is about to take off. And with it, The Believers, a Christian pop band determined to spread the Word. If only they were all singing from the same hymn sheet. James.........Ray Quinn, Debbie.........Samantha Robinson, Billy.......Kieran Lynn, Warren.........John Biggins, Reverend Michaels......Rufus Wright, Elder Wardle......Gary Bleasdale, Jenny.......Alison Pettitt. Other parts played by Joanna Monro, David Seddon, Laura Molyneux, Jill Cardo and Keely Beresford. Original music by Carl Hunter and Mel Bowen. Produced by Toby Swift.


3 Sep 2011: Saturday Drama - September in the Rain
By John Godber. Jack and Liz are in Blackpool for one last time. The play tells the story of a marriage through a lifetime of holidays together. Liz ..... Jane Godber, Jack ..... John Godber. Produced by Toby Swift.


20 Jun 2011: Afternoon Drama - Success Story
When Ray's low-budget film is picked up by a major studio his dreams of Hollywood start to become a reality. Then, holed up in a hotel room doing endless publicity interviews, he finds the past coming back to bite him. By Brett Goldstein. Ray ..... Geoffrey Streatfeild, Tara ..... Caroline Catz, Emily ..... Sasha Pick, Kristen ..... Laurel Lefkow. Producer Toby Swift.


8 Jun 2011: Afternoon Drama - The 40 Year Twitch
By Daniel Thurman. When Yvonne loses her job at the age of 64, she starts to fear that husband Neil's devotion to birding - birdwatching to the uninitiated - is actually all about escaping her and their humdrum life together. Thus begins a somewhat overenthusiastic pursuit of the truth as she trains her binoculars firmly on Neil's every move. Can best friend Wendy bring her back to earth? Yvonne ..... Paula Wilcox, Neil ..... Philip Jackson, Wendy ..... Anne Reid, Austin ..... Brian Bowles. Producer Toby Swift.


30 Apr 2011: Saturday Drama - One Chord Wonders, Television's Over
5/5. March, 1977. Punk rock is rumoured to be arriving in suburban Surrey. Is anarchy about to overwhelm civilized society or is this salvation for the bored teenagers of Camberley? By Frank Cottrell Boyce. Adam ... Kristopher Milnes, Pete ... Freddy White, Sergeant Henshaw ... Gerard Horan, Councillor Myatt ... Fenella Woolgar, Mo ... Leanne Rowe, Benny ... James Daley, Pete's dad ... Ben Crowe, Muttley/Steve ... John Hasler, Margaret/Sharon ... Amy Enticknap, D.I. Voke ... John Rowe, Charlie Damage ... Dan Starkey, Town Clerk ... Nyasha Hatendi, Julie ... Sarah Bedi, Mo's mum ... Joan Walker, Mick ... Tim James. Producer ... Toby Swift.


23 Apr 2011: Saturday Drama - One Chord Wonders, This is the Modern World
4/5. By Frank Cottrell Boyce. The story of an unlikely pilgrimage to Camberley. Eco-toilet pioneer and ex-'anarcho-punk' Muttley is about to be forcibly reunited with his former self. Muttley ... Danny Webb, Lineel ... Stephanie Leonidas, Lin ... Ann Beach, Hippie ... Carl Prekopp, Drug Dealer ... John Biggins, Market Researcher ... Alex Tregear, Club Doorman ... John Cummins, Williams ... Sam Dale, Hotel Receptionist ... Liz Sutherland. Producer ... Toby Swift.


16 Apr 2011: Saturday Drama - One Chord Wonders, Damned, Damned, Damned
3/5. The third of Frank Cottrell Boyce's plays about the punk generation in middle age. Hardman Mick's career in the music business imploded after a brush with an over-enthusiastic fan. Now in prison, can he find salvation in his treasured memories of 'that night' in 1977? Mick Martindale ... Richard Ridings, Lee ... Lloyd Thomas, Tony ... Chris Pavlo, Wayne ... Richie Campbell, Phil ... Paul Richard Biggin, Announcer ... John Rowe, Guard ... Ben Crowe. Producer ... Toby Swift.


9 Apr 2011: Saturday Drama - One Chord Wonders, Blitzkrieg Bop
2/5. Frank Cottrell Boyce's series of plays continues. In 1977 self-styled Mo Motormouth was writing a punk fanzine. Now she's doing the travel news for a radio station. An attempt to re-launch her ailing career brings unwelcome attention from some of her 'livelier' listeners. Mo ... Pauline Quirke, Benny ... Adam Kotz, Shammi ... Manjinder Virk, Steve Reeves .... Ivan Kaye, George ... Ben Crowe, Arthur ... Harry Myers, Jack ... Sanjay Shelat, Teacher/Barney ... Stephen Critchlow, Benny's Daughter ... Amy Enticknap. Producer ... Toby Swift.


2 Apr 2011: Saturday Drama - One Chord Wonders: Parallel Lines
1/5 Frank Boyce's series of plays about the punk generation 30 years on begins with the story of Julie, the singer in an ageing Blondie tribute band. An invitation to the reunion of the audience at an Adverts gig in 1977 brings some skeletons dancing from the cupboard. Julie ... Doon Mackichan, Thing ... Sian Reeves, Margaret ... Rosie Cavaliero, Steve Reeves ... Ivan Kaye, Pete ... Paul Viragh, Joe ... Joseph Tremain, Lovely ... Sarah Bedi, Announcer ... John Rowe, Waiter ... Ben Crowe. Producer ... Toby Swift.


15 Mar 2011: Afternoon Drama - Small Acts of Kindness
In the late 1950s Charlie was a violent and uncontrollable entrant to art school. His teacher changed the course of his life. BAFTA award-winning writer Trevor Preston's semi-autobiographical play catches up with Charlie as his mentor's death shifts everything once more. Charlie ..... Stephen Greif, Alice ..... Ann Beach, Beth ..... Susan Penhaligon, Annie ..... Joanna Monro, Kass ..... Sean Baker, Charlie at 16 ..... Gethin Anthony, Eliza ..... Sally Orrock, Miss Monnier ..... Christine Kavanagh. Directed by Toby Swift.


22 Sep 10 For Ever England
By Tom Green. Now living abroad, Steve discovers his estranged son Matt has been killed serving in Afghanistan. He returns to England anxious to do the right thing. But how do you begin to grieve for a child you never really knew? Steve ..... Gerard Horan, Amber ..... Claire Harry, Holly ..... Tracie Bennett, Karla ..... Alison Pettitt, Jason ..... Carl Rice. Directed by Toby Swift.


29 Aug 10 Classic Serial - No Highway
2/2 1948. The future of Britain's transatlantic aviation industry looks grim following the crash of a new Rutland Reindeer airliner. Lives and careers are on the line as a government scientist tries to convince the authorities that he knows why. Dramatised by Mike Walker. Dennis Scott ..... William Beck, Shirley ..... Alison Pettitt, Honey ..... Paul Ritter, Marjorie Corder ..... Naomi Frederick, Monica Teesdale ..... Fenella Woolgar, Elspeth ..... Lauren Moat, The Director ..... Tony Bell, Prendergast/Russell ..... William Hope, Ferguson ..... Jude Akuwudike, Sir David Moon ..... Sean Baker, Morgan ..... Sam Dale, Hennessey ..... David Seddon, Miss Learoyd ..... Christine Kavanagh. Directed by Toby Swift.


22 Aug 10 Classic Serial - No Highway
1/2. Dramatisation of Nevil Shute's 1948 tale of transatlantic aviation in post-WWII Britain. Dennis Scott ..... William Beck, Shirley ..... Alison Pettitt, Honey ..... Paul Ritter, Marjorie Corder ..... Naomi Frederick, Monica Teesdale ..... Fenella Woolgar, Elspeth ..... Lauren Mote, The Director ..... Tony Bell, Ferguson ..... Jude Akuwudike, Samuelson ..... Sam Dale, Dobson ..... Michael Shelford, Miss Learoyd ..... Christine Kavanagh. Directed by Toby Swift.


10 Jul 10 Saturday Play - Going to Ground
World War II drama by Simon Passmore.1940, Kent. England is on full alert in anticipation of a German invasion. As church bells sound the alarm, a secret resistance unit springs into action. Whatever happens, none of them expects to see their families again. Shrubb ..... Ivan Kaye, Turle ..... Anthony Flanagan, Pye ..... Rupert Evans, Jarvis ..... Guy Henry, Davie ..... Joshua Jenkin, Ann ..... Alison Pettitt, Lucy Pye ..... Christine Kavanagh, Station Master ..... Sam Dale. Directed by Toby Swift.


10 May 10 Peter Lorre vs Peter Lorre
(R) By Michael Butt. Towards the end of his unique career, movie star Peter Lorre found himself at the centre of a strange legal case. Incorporating extracts from the court transcripts, Michael Butt's play wonders what was going through Lorre's troubled mind as he fought to protect his name. Peter Lorre.........Stephen Greif, Lester Salkow.......Peter Marinker, Helen Hafner.........Helen Longworth, Eugene Weingand.....Kenneth Collard, Jack Paar/Barclay.....Nathan Osgood, Judge Burnett Wolfson..John Rowe, Robert Shutan......Kerry Shale, Curtis Gemmil......John Chancer. Director: Toby Swift.


30 Apr 10 The Weighing Room
By Justin Hopper. Noel is a jump jockey anxious to get his career back on track after a spell on the sidelines. Just what does it take to survive in the demanding and dangerous world of National Hunt racing? Noel............Lloyd Hutchinson, Sean...........Michael Legge, Wrighty..........James Weaver, Wozzer..........Paul Rider, Degsy............David Seddon, Fiona Markham.......Alison Pettitt, Consultant.........Nigel Hastings, Steward..........Joanna Monro, Owner...........Bruce Alexander, Brian..........Michael Shelford, Mandy...........Keely Beresford. Directed by Toby Swift.


10 Apr 10 The Believers
Liverpool, 1963. The Merseybeat boom is about to take off. And with it, The Believers, a Christian pop band determined to spread the Word. If only they were all singing from the same hymn sheet. Comedy drama by Frank Cottrell Boyce. James..................................Ray Quinn, Debbie.................................Samantha Robinson, Billy.....................................Kieran Lynn, Warren..............................John Biggins, Reverend Michaels.............Rufus Wright, Elder Wardle......................Gary Bleasdale, Jenny................................Alison Pettitt. Other parts played by Joanna Monro, David Seddon, Laura Molyneux, Jill Cardo and Keely Beresford. Original music by Carl Hunter and Mel Bowen. Directed by Toby Swift.


THE LOOP....2009
R4, 1415, 18 Nov 09, by Nick Perry. This was a little gem of a play, possibly the best of the year, described on the BBC messageboard as 'faultless'. A man finds himself talking on the telephone to someone in America but ... it gradually transpires that over there, it's fifty years earlier. This bizarre beginning sets in motion a whole train of events which goes around in an enormous circle. Directed by Toby Swift, it starred Ivan Kaye, Edward Hogg, Peter Marinker, Emerald O'Hanrahan, Rhys Jennings, and Melissa Advani. I hope this item is entered for the Imison Award - it would qualify, because it's Nick Perry's first radio play. (....ND, Diversity Website radio review, Dec 2009)


The Milk Race....2009
18 Sep 09. Comedy by Mark Tuohy. Two west London milkmen race each other to Bognor Pier in their milk floats to decide which of them wins exclusive rights to their local round. Declan ...... Ivan Kaye, Indarjit ...... Amarjit Bassan, Kay ...... Kate Binchy, Roisin ...... Mairead Conneely, Kiran ...... Melissa Advani, Farmer ...... Stephen Hogan, Fox Man ...... David Hargreaves, Landlady ...... Kate Layden. Other parts played by Piers Wehner; Rhys Jennings; Tessa Nicholson and Emerald O'Hanrahan. Directed by Toby Swift.


Accomplices....2009
29 Jun 09. Thriller by Simon Passmore. What would you be prepared to do to escape the grind of a life going relentlessly downhill? For former City lawyer Alice; the price is getting higher by the minute. Alice ..... Claudia Harrison, Hattie ...... Emily Joyce, Patrick ...... Stephen Hogan, Marcy ...... Lizzy Watts, Stone ...... Paul Rider. Directed by Toby Swift.


The Tent....2009
1 Jun 09. Comedy by Tom Green. Gavin and Fay bravely attempt to plan their long-overdue wedding. It could be in a 19th century 'medieval' castle or it could be the zoo; but it definitely won't be the church. Fay ...... Sian Reeves Gavin ...... Jeremy Swift Anna ...... Joanna Scanlan Rebecca ...... Janice Acquah Ukulele played by Hester Goodman Directed by Toby Swift.


Success Story ....2009
By Brett Goldstein. 9 Mar 09, 1415. When Ray's low-budget film is picked up by a major studio; his dreams of Hollywood start to become a reality. Then; holed up in a hotel room doing endless publicity interviews; he finds the past coming back to bite him. Ray ...... Geoffrey Streatfield, Tara ...... Caroline Catz, Emily ...... Sasha Pick, Kristen ...... Laurel Lefkow. Directed by Toby Swift.


FLAW IN THE MOTOR....2008
25 11 2008 - Drama which explores manic depression; by Trevor Preston. Thomas's dreams are like thriller plots; even if his daily life is anything but. His complex relationship with his partner Lizzie reaches crisis point when he tries to steal a lorry to drive a load of supermarket food to Africa. Thomas ...... Rory Kinnear, Dr Klein ...... Susan Engel, Amy ...... Fenella Woolgar, Lizzie ...... Janice Acquah, Peter ...... Paul Rider, Dr Beard ...... Jonathan Tafler, Nita ...... Manjeet Mann, Ratched ...... Inam Mirza. Directed by Toby Swift. This play has been shortlisted for the Imison Award, Jul 09


PIPER ALPHA* (R3, 2155, 6 Jul 08), by Stephen Phelps, was a drama-doc of the oil rig disaster, which happened 20 years before, to the day. In fact the anniversary was even more exact - it took place 20 years before, to the minute, and the series of explosions which destroyed the oil rig took place over an hour and a half. The events of that evening were played out, in the play, at the same speed as they occurred in real life.

There were about 200 men on board when the disaster took place. About sixty survived, and they all gave their evidence to the Cullen Inquiry. There were some surprising conclusions: most of them only survived by using their commonsense and ignoring the inadequate safety training which they'd had. Rescue vessels were cheaply fitted and poorly equipped. A neighbouring rig was unwittingly pumping in oil and gas to Piper Alpha, fuelling the inferno. Communications (and oil and gas from neighbouring rigs) were mainly routed through Piper Alpha, so once the telephones went down, no-one knew what was happening, and the disaster continued to escalate. The harrowing fate of workers jumping into a burning sea would be gratuitously gruesome but for the fact that it happened.

This excellent play was performed by a distinguished cast including Ewan Bailey, Nigel Betts, Kenny Blyth, Mark Bonnor and Stephen Critchlow; the producer was Toby Swift. ..........ND, VRPCC radio review, Sept 08


DROPPING BOMBS*....2008
Paul Cotter's play (R4, 1415, 10 Jun 08) followed an ex-RAF pilot travelling to Germany sixty years after the war to apologise for dropping his bombs. But it wasn't a play about fashionable apologies for the necessary actions of a previous generation. It was a first-class comedy, and the humour was in the bickering between the stubborn, selfish, old man and his long-suffering wife, played respectively by Nigel Anthony and Rosemary Leach. Ivan Kaye played the son-in-law Ross, the unpaid chauffer trying to turn his father-in-law into a normal human being. The producer was Toby Swift. (....ND, Diversity Website review, Sep 2008)


BREAKING POINT....2007
10 Aug, R4, Friday Play. You couldn't fail to get the message in the muscular drama, Breaking Point, in which the effect of a man's recruitment to military intelligence rubbed off on his personal life. Elliot Cowan and Naomi Frederick played the couple for whom married life became a brutal game of cat and mouse. Author Philip Palmer and producer Toby Swift cleverly subverted expectations by imbuing domestic scenes, such as the wife in labour, with a sinister air while giving comic undertones to interrogation sessions. (shortened excerpt from review by M.P., in "The Stage")


WILD LUNCH*....2003
Wild Lunch, by Katie Hims (R4, 25 Nov 03) was an absurdist comedy: a terribly English, civilised lunch party gradually disintegrates on the day a man is hanged by an unspecified government. Even when the world is falling apart around them, there are those who will cling to the reality which suits them. It starred Claudia Harrison, Ben Miles, Richenda Carey, Ian Masters, Stephen Critchlow, Tracey Wiles and Kenny Blyth; Toby Swift directed. (Katie Hims was the writer in residence at BBC Radio Drama in 2002.)


A Fire in the West*....2003
Very unusual in that it doesn't sound like a play. Some will like it; some won't. You'll be familiar with the experience of turning on the radio and realising immediately you're listening to drama. I switched on halfway through and had to wait until the end credits before realising it wasn't a news feature. The scenario is this- Ciera Thomas (fictional? - RT doesn't say) set herself alight outside the Ministry of Defence, in protest against an arms deal. Three years later, those who knew her talk about her life. Ciera herself is not heard.

Cast: Ken Sharrock, Kate Fitzgerald, Lucy Akhurst, David KS Tse. Producer Toby Swift.

    ........excerpt from essay by Mike Harris on radio drama, 2006:

    ........................ Radio drama is at least as intimate as prose fiction and so direct address of all kinds can be especially effective.

    Michael Butt uses the most apparently simple form of it in A Fire in the West. A mother, father, sister and former boyfriend talk directly to mike as each tries to understand why Ciera burnt herself to death. The style is so intimate and the dialogue so ‘real’ that we wonder if we’re not listening to a documentary. Then, as the testimonies inter-cut and conflict, we slowly realise that this is an artfully constructed drama about the impossibility of ultimately understanding anyone. The technique is similar to a novelist using several narrative voices, but the impact is specifically radio. It brings the emotions and evasions of the characters right inside our heads.

    © Mike Harris; reproduced by permission. First published in The Handbook of Creative Writing edited by Steven Earnshaw, published by Edinburgh University Press, 2007; website at: ......http://www.eup.ed.ac.uk

Compiled by Nigel Deacon / Diversity website

Asterisked plays known to exist in VRPCC collections

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