Radio Plays: Politics

TOP KILL....2012
A play from Mike Walker, (R4, 1415, 15 Oct 12) highlighting what can go wrong on an oil rig when science and economics collide. On April 20th 2010, on the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform, there was an incident which killed 11 oil workers and caused the release of enormous quantities of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Now, with 3000 such rigs in the Gulf, this play depicts events on a comparable platform, and demonstrates what might happen when scientific judgements are over-ruled by other factors. The man in charge of the rig, Masterson, was played by Colin Stinton, with Lorelie King, Nathan Osgood, Laurel Lefko and Eric Loren. The production was by Eoin O'Callaghan, in Belfast.

By Stephen Phelps, 6 Jul 08, r3, 2155 hrs.
A drama-doc of the Piper Alpha 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 inadequately 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 their communications went down, no-one knew what was happening.

The cast: Ewan Bailey, Nigel Betts, Kenny Blyth, Mark Bonnar, Liam Brennan, Stephen Critchlow, Ben Crowe, Nyasha Hatendi, Chris Pavlo, Roshan R Rohatgi, John Rowe, Dan Starkey, John Kay Steel and Joan Walker. Producer Toby Swift.

By Leila Abouleila. Two engineers on a North Sea oil rig notice a stranger...he seems to know more than he should about their lives. Who is he? Noma Dumezweni as Nafisa, with Paul Birchard, James Bryce, Lynne Bains Simon Tait, Phyllis Livingstone; directed in Edinburgh by Bruce Young.

By David Baume. Mystery set on an oil rig. 13.9.1980 Neville Smith/Sean Arnold/John Rowe/Michael Deacon. Saturday Night Theatre.

Mystery thriller taking place mainly at sea, around Stornoway. Alan Moore, Hillary Patterson. During the story I learned that a 'wild cat' is an isolated oil rig - in a place where, geologically speaking, one would not expect it. By Anthony Kearey. 90m. Producer Brian Miller.

compiled by Nigel Deacon / Diversity website

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