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26 Dec 2023
23 Dec 2023
23 Dec 2023
1955 was an odd year with variable frequency of drama frequency, dropping off quite a bit towards the year-end. Several productions were identified which were lacking any information in Genome.
I found one particular play in 1955 of great interest-
I have now bought the book this play was based upon and find it most interesting- but I can't find the play. Would be interested if anyone has it- my father spent time in Marlag-O camp.
Only one chapter in the book dealt with "life in the camp". I quite liked the report of the prisoners leading a "guard" around by hand as he was essentially blind.
There were two films around Marlag- the Ealing film "The Captive Heart" used external shots at the camp, just after the war. Although it was filmed as an army camp, I still identified the features my father spoke of. The film "Albert RN" was a fictionalised account of an incident in the camp- but the Germans in the film were rather darker than in real life and the film was shot entirely in the UK.
29 Nov 2023
......This sounds like 'The Long Lonely Voyage of U-395, by James Follett, from 1980.
The Southern Atlantic, 10 November 1941: U-boat 395 has been waiting to torpedo a British cargo ship, the Southern Pearl, due out of Rio de Janeiro. Things do not go according to plan and eventually the U-tows six lifeboats a distance of 2,500 miles to Brest. - ND
28 Nov 2023
21 Nov 2023
The answer is no. The BBC only has full rights to dramas broadcast after the year 2000.The majority of radio drama up to the year 2000 (99% of it) was not retained by the BBC because it couldn't be repeated without paying the repeat fee, so there was no point in keeping it. The postings on Youtube and similar are from off-air recordings posted without permission by members of the public. If the author complains, they are taken down, so the online copies aren't really an archive. Those recordings come and go.
21 Nov 2023
But on a related subject - radio drama overall - is this 5 x 28min drama a symptom of radio-drama reduction?
We used to get five 45m dramas a week (well actually about 43m) which comes to 213 minutes a week.
Then we were introduced to no-drama Monday, where we got four plays ... 4 x 43 is 172 minutes.
Then one of them became a 28-minute Friday podcast, which reduced it to 157 minutes.
Now we have a five-episode series of 28 min, = 140 minutes.
I wondered if next week's 30-min drama had been replaced by a 45 min play, to compensate - but no, it's another short one, according to the schedule.
19 Nov 2023
Writing Radio Drama 18/1/24 (5 Weeks)
Tutor: Paul Green
Radio drama reaches millions via the BBC. It’s also enjoying a renaissance on-line. Over five weeks we’ll explore the possibilities and challenges of writing for an invisible medium. As well as analysing a range of genres and styles we’ll focus on creative exercises for generating ideas, developing characters, using dialogue, shaping the narrative structure and exploiting audio signposting - so you can work towards drafting your script. We’ll then look at different routes for submitting it to the BBC or producing it yourself for podcasting or community radio. No previous experience required. Just bring writing materials – paper or digital – plus keen ears and your imagination.
Note from ND - Paul's plays have been performed by BBC Radio 3, CBC Canada, Capital Radio, RTE Eire, Resonance FM, and by theatre groups in London and regionally. His 2006 play for RTE is on line at:
There’s more about his other work - with more audio links - at: paulgreenwriter.co.uk .
15 Nov 2023
My play about the making of Shakespeare's 'First Folio' collected works, to commemorate its publication 400 years ago in November 1623, is on BBC Radio Four this Saturday (the 11th Nov) at 3pm, and thereafter online at BBC Sounds... and it isn't called Big Willy...
...it's called, imaginatively, 'First Folio' and, like Shakespeare, it's got cross dressing, sex, a ghost, plays within plays, shit jokes, an arras, lots of implausible final-scene killings, and my speculation (based, of course, on meticulous research) about how exactly that text was cobbled together after his death by two of his mates, without whose endeavours (and dodgy claims) we would not have had Macbeth, Anthony and Cleo, Coriolanus, Alls Well that Ends Well, a dozen others and the English language would have been much impoverished.
It's directed by Clive Brill and stars Hannah Traylen as Rosalind, Christopher Jordan as The Ghost, Jos Vantyler as John Hemminge, Ricky Oakley as Henry Condell, Paul Kemp as Issac Jaggard, Ben Castle Gibb as John Leeson, Alex Constandtinidi as Moll Frith and Miles Richardson as Sir Pexall Brockass.
Close Encounters - JJ Chalmers & Sir Archibald McIndoe .... The former soldier and now TV presenter JJ Chalmers joins Martha Kearney in the National portrait gallery to celebrate a painting of Sir Archibald Hector McIndoe, known as the father of plastic surgery. His work during WW2 on young airman who had suffered disfiguring burns led to major developments in battlefield and cosmetic surgery. JJ received serious bomb blast injuries serving in Afghanistan.
JJ also talks about McIndoe's 'Guinea Pig Club' made up of the airman who had come under McIndoe's care, which was the inspiration for JJ forming the Casy-Vac club for modern soldiers who have had to be evacuated from the front line as casualties. Producer: Tom Alban. The programme is on BBC Sounds and was broadcast on 4 Nov in the slot immediately after the afternoon drama.
7 Nov 2023
6 Nov 2023
5 Nov 2023
4 Nov 2023
28 Sep 2023
Cherry Cookson, 13 Sep 2023
Richard Wortley probably had more radio drama credits to his name than any other living radio producer; about 3,000 ...and had assisted in many more. (Genome's number is lower, but this is derived from RT, and in the earlier years, producers were not mentioned). In the summer of 2004, in the early days of this website, I wrote to him to see if he would contribute a short article on his radio career. He wrote back saying yes, he would prepare something.
I heard nothing for a while, but three months later I received a bulky package in the post. Inside was a fifteen thousand word summary of his life in radio.
We continued to correspond, and I finally had the pleasure of meeting him in 2018 at the Betty Davies 'wake' at the BBC Club.
His reminiscences are fascinating, and there could not be a more appropriate time to read them and remember a remarkably gifted man. We send our condolences to Ros and to the family.
ND, 13 Sep 2023
Most of the cherry trees in our area, which are a usual part of Council plantings, have SWD and once they have it, that's it. You might as well chop the tree down. Spotted wing drosophila is a fruit fly which attacks ripening fruit and fills it with tiny white grubs, unlike normal fruit flies, which only attack rotting fruit. It overwinters easily; on most common fruit trees/plants and even on hawthorn. The pest has been imported from northern Europe, where the use of less toxic compounds during spraying has led to the spread of it.
SWD will mean that it will soon be impossible to grow cherries in private gardens unless they are under a fine net. Commercial cherries are mainly grown under nets now. Sales of garden cherry trees will probably cease. It's good to see this problem highlighted.
30 Ju1 2023
23 Ju1 2023
There are also copyright infringements of other material, including audio files of BBC programmes, though so far, none have been tested in court. The Internet Archive policy is to terminate the accounts of those who repeatedly post copyright material which they do not own.
19 Ju1 2023
There's a good one going out on Saturday 1 July at 3pm.
A Ghastly Mistake, by Nicholas McInerny, is the story of Sir Ewan Forbes, a Scottish nobleman, general practitioner and farmer. But Ewan was a trans man; he was christened Elizabeth Forbes-Sempill and officially registered as the youngest daughter of John, Lord Sempill. After an uncomfortable upbringing, he began presenting as a man in the 1930s, following a course of medical treatments in Germany. He formally re-registered his birth as male in 1952, changing his name to Ewan, and was married a month later.
In 1965, he stood to inherit the baronetcy of his elder brother William, Lord Sempill, together with a large estate. But the inheritance was challenged by his cousin, who argued that the re-registration was invalid; under this interpretation, Forbes would legally be considered a woman, and thus unable to inherit the baronetcy. The legal position was unclear.
Drawing on Ewan’s autobiography and press reports from the time, this drama explores the court case, telling the story of a man who was intent on living a quiet life as a GP and a farmer, but was resolute about affirming his identity, the validity of his marriage, and his family reputation through the confirmation of his inherited title.
This is another cracking production by International Arts Partnership, for Radio 4.
9 Jun 2023
The episodes look at a situation which has occurred time after time; a married man with a family gradually comes to the realization that he is gay. What happens next? This story of a family surviving an emotional earthquake consists of 5x15-minute episodes over four series. It has become extremely popular and has struck a chord with the public; Nicholas has even appeared on Woman's Hour to talk about it.
The running time of the sequence of dramas is approximately four hours. I've written a short piece about it here: 'Perfect Marriage'
The link for more information on the Penguin website (and to pre-order) is here .
3 Jun 2023
Consists of six listening sessions, beginning 5 June, followed by a writers' workshop and a showcase supervised by radio drama writer Robin Brooks. Please investigate the link below:
12 May 2023
5 May 2023
Join us in congratulating them. And we look forward to the next festival!
3 May 2023
The hours of radio drama commissioning has recently been reduced - from 600 hours/year in 2017 to 300 now. At the Audio Drama Awards three weeks ago, the BBC (actually Charlotte Moore, the Chief Content Officer) told us it was promoting radio drama as hard as it could. It seems to me it's actually doing the opposite.
On reflection, an additional email to email@example.com wouldn't do any harm.
7 Apr 2023
Full Length (up to 60m)
Short Form (up to 7m)
Deacon Award (Young Producer):
Congratulations and thank you to everyone!
The plays are now all online. The final award (Audience Award) will be in about a month's time and will be decided by online vote.
1 Apr 2023
27 Mar 2023
25 Mar 2023
21 Mar 2023
20 Mar 2023
10 Feb 2023
"I’ve noticed that this week, Saturday afternoon had the second part of the Jungle Book reset in Modern day India as a gangland story. Sunday at 3PM we have the Chatterleys, D H Lawrence updated and moved from Derbyshire to Redcar, courtesy of Graeae theatre. This Cultural Life airs on Monday instead of a radio play. Tuesday and Wednesday are repeats of a two part series, Avin Shah’s The Half Widow. Thursday continues Nazis, the road to power, and Friday gives us an episode of another serial.
So, I wonder if this is the first week ever without a stand-alone play going to air since the inception of the radio play! I don’t expect this observation would bring any cheer to writers."
In my radio drama review for Dec 22 I wrote the following:
There have been better times for radio drama. The medium is contracting, and Tim Davie, the Director-General, has said that Radio 4 Extra, the archive channel, will cease to exist as a broadcast channel; archive content will only be available on the BBC website. The amount of new drama commissioned has been reduced drastically.
The last BBC Trust Operating Licence for Radio 4 required 600 hours of drama to be broadcast for 2016-17, but the subsequent removal of quotas caused this to fall significantly. The BBC’s last Annual Plan committed to 300 hours of drama on Radio 4 for 2022-23.
It is not known whether Radio 4 Extra will continue to exist as a channel on BBC Sounds following its removal as a broadcast channel. This does not inspire confidence in how the BBC is run. There is a group on Facebook opposed to the change, named 'Save BBC Radio 4 Extra', with about 500 members. You might consider joining it, though it would be better, perhaps, to write to the decision-makers at the BBC.
1 Feb 2023
I have been following his radio work for decades - a talented writer working at the highest level. I've listened several times to Geminus, The Surprise Symphony, Craft, Martin Guerre, Daunt & Dervish, Arcady. He will be much missed.
1 Feb 2023
The venue is the ancient Eastbridge Hospital, 25 High St. Canterbury, CT1 2BD.
Basic information is here on the festival website.
More detailed information and notes from previous festivals, to give you an idea of what goes on, is on the suttonelms website:
Admission is free; you can register an interest using the eventbrite link for access, either online or face-to-face, here.
There has been a large number of submissions (100) - more than last year - and we are selecting the ones to be featured. We have plays from 27 countries and in many languages.
All being well we are expecting jurors from about 8 countries.
There will be four substantial prizes: best drama (short form), best drama (long form), the Deacon Award, for the best play by a young producer, and the audience award, decided by online vote over several weeks..
Winners of the awards (apart from the audience award) will be decided by the jury on the Friday, and the presentation will take place on that evening.
We hope to see you at the festival - or, if that's not possible, that you will be able to dip into the programme during the week in spare moments and that we can meet (and if you feel like it, talk to you) online.
24 Jan 2023
15 Jan 2023
15 Jan 2023
14 Jan 2023
14 Jan 2023
15 Jan 2023
25 Dec 2022
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