Tinniswood Award 2004 - Radio Plays

Tinniswood Judges

Enyd Williams
Enyd was born in Liverpool, of Welsh parentage and went to primary school with two of the Beatles.

She first met Peter about 35 years ago, when he was still a journalist on the Western Mail in Cardiff and had just completed his first novel A Touch of Daniel. At the time, she was working with (and married to) his then literary agent Jonathon Clowes so she knew, first hand, the ideas and plays for radio, television and theatre that were already tumbling out of him. Back at BBC Radio Drama she commissioned several of his projects to be produced by, amongst others, Tony Cliff and Shaun MacLoughlin and once locked Peter in her office to make him write a synopsis for a particularly brilliant Saturday Night Theatre about which he’d been talking to her. He hated writing synopsis and rebelled by scrawling this one on a paper napkin. It still got sold. She’s lost count of how many of his plays she’s directed herself.

Some years ago, when Peter had to have his voice-box removed, Enyd was asked for her reaction. She pointed out that Peter’s voice wasn’t trapped in his larynx but that it lived in the words he gave to other people to say, those lucky and privileged actors. And so she hopes it will stay, resonating forever.

David Nobbs
David Nobbs was educated at Marlborough College and St John’s College, Cambridge. He worked as a reporter on The Sheffield Star then moved to London to write for David Frost and That Was The Week That Was, The Two Ronnies and The Les Dawson Show.

As a broadcaster David collaborated on the television play The Signal Box Of Grandpa Hudson with Peter Tinniswood, but he wrote the following plays and series on his own: Cupid’s Darts; Our Young Mr Wignal; Dog Food Dan & The Camarthen Cowboy; Stalag Luft; Cuts; The Fall & Rise of Reginald Perrin; The Glamour Girls; The Hello Goodbye Man; Fairly Secret Army; A Bit of a Do; Dog Food Dan & The Camarthen Cowboy; Rich Tea and Sympathy; The Life & Times Of Henry Pratt; Love on a Branch Line and Legacy of Reginald Perrin. His films include an adaptation of Gentlemen’s Relish and he is currently working on What A Carve Up. David won the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain Award for the top British TV Comedy Screenwriter in 1990.

As a novelist David has written the following works: The Itinerant Lodger; Ostrich Country; A Piece Of The Sky Is Missing; The Fall & Rise Of Reginald Perrin; The Return Of Reginald Perrin; The Better World Of Reginald Perrin; Second From Last In The Sack Race; A Bit Of A Do; Pratt Of The Argus; Fair Do’s; The Cucumber Man; The Legacy Of Reginald Perrin; Going Gently and his recent autobiography I Didn’t Get Where I Am Today.

Gillian Reynolds, MBE
Gillian Reynolds writes about broadcasting and the arts for The Daily Telegraph. Before that she was the first woman programme controller of the British commercial radio station, Radio City, in her home town of Liverpool. And before that she was, for eight years, the radio critic for The Guardian.

A regular broadcaster, Gillian chairs major debates and moderates sessions at the Edinburgh International Television Festival, the Royal Television Society's Cambridge Symposium, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and the National Film Theatre. She is a Fellow of the Royal Television Society, the Radio Academy, the Royal Society of Arts, a member of the Council of the Society of Authors and chairs the Charles Parker Archive. She has also served on the Film, Video and Broadcasting Panel of the Arts Council of England for six years, the last two as vice-chair.

In 1999 she was awarded an MBE for her services to journalism and was winner of the Media Society Award for distinguished journalism. Gillian is an Honorary Fellow of St. Anne's College, Oxford, a Visiting Fellow of Bournemouth University Media School and an Honorary Fellow of Liverpool John Moores University. She has three sons, one granddaughter and, at last count, sixteen radios, two of them wind-up, three digital.

Shortlisted Tinniswood Entries

Killing Maestros
by Christopher William Hill

Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde is the “Scottish Play” of the Opera world - jinxed with mysterious deaths. When conductor Sergei Bodanov takes over a production following the heart attack of a fellow conductor, he convinces himself that he too will suffer from the Opera’s curse - and tells his therapist that he has six weeks to cure him of this evil before the first performance.

Quite apart from the on-stage deaths in Tristan und Isolde, there are many off-stage deaths connected to the opera. George Ander was due to play Tristan in the first production of the opera, but went mad and was replaced by Ludwig Carolsfeld who died shortly after the premiere and the conductors Felix Mottl and Joseph Keilberth both expired whilst conducting the second act.

In this black comedy, conductor and health freak Max Blom clutches his heart and dies at the 89th bar of Act II during a rehearsal. His friend Sergei Bodanov takes over, driven by an ingrained sense of Russian fatalism. But Sergei is convinced that Max was killed by Wagner, and believes that he too will suffer a similar fate. He begins sessions with psychotherapist Karl Lieberman and tells him that he has six weeks before the first performance “six weeks for you to cure me, doctor”. Karl is initially fascinated by this “inherited fixation”, but Sergei’s paranoia and hypochondria gradually infect Karl, Karl’s wife Ruth and his friend Laura - with disastrous consequences.

Cast: Bill Nighy (Love Actually; State of Play), Henry Goodman (RSC’s Richard III), Lorelei King (Second Nature; Notting Hill), Sylvestra Le Touzel (Hearts and Bones) and Andrew C. Wadsworth (Kiss Me Kate).
Producer: Liz Webb
Broadcast: 14/08/2003, BBC Radio 4

Christopher William Hill has written Dead Money, Killing Maestros, and Love Me, Liberace for BBC Radio Four.

Christopher studied Drama and Theatre Studies at the University of Kent, where he specialised in theatre direction. Since then he has worked as a writer, actor, director and script editor for Bedlam Theatre Company of Cornwall and has twice directed for the company. His stage plays (for a variety of theatres) include Tenth From The End; Stealing The Smile; Lam; Blood Red, Saffron Yellow; Song Of The Western Men; Icons; Multiplex; The Jonah Lie. Christopher is currently under commission to Plymouth Theatre Royal, the Northcott Theatre, Bedlam Theatre Company of Cornwall, Chelsea Theatre, Unicorn Theatre for Children and the Stephen Joseph Theatre.

Christopher has also worked as librettist for the opera The Murder of Charlotte Dymond.

by Jack Klaff

Three-Five-Silly-Twerp explores the ability of love and personality to triumph over the loss of the power to speak.

Peggy suffers a stroke. Then, just a few months later, as if in sympathy, her husband, Don, has a stroke, too. Same part of the brain, same limbs affected, speech affected in very similar ways. Peggy ends up with just two all-purpose words: 'Esscum' and 'Nkyou'. Don has only one expression: 'Three-five-silly-twerp'. In a series of extremely moving scenes, with minimal dialogue, we hear Don and Peggy communicate with warmth, humour and compassion. But as their son, Karl, tries to come to terms with his parents’ illness he finds his marriage disintegrating. Karl and his wife Julie are highly intelligent and extremely articulate, but try as they may they can’t communicate with each other.

Three-Five-Silly-Twerp was inspired by a true story. The real Don and Peggy really did manage to continue their loving relationship with only three expressions between them.

Cast: Alec McCowen (Gangs of New York) Vivian Pickles (Elizabeth R; Harold and Maude), William Gaminara (The Archers) and Tara Fitzgerald (Brassed Off)
Producer: David Ian Neville
Broadcast: 02/10/2003, BBC Radio 3

Jack Klaff is an author, journalist, broadcaster, performer, director and comedy writer. His radio credits include the following dramas, adaptations and documentaries: Siggie and Carl; Lots of Suddenlies; On The White Line; Hullo Fridge; That’s Easy For You To Say; My Best Poetry Voice; Acting for the Deep Future - Talk about Starlab

TV & film credits include: Reconstructed Heart; Nagging Doubt; The Fifty Minute Hour; Maybe Baby; Out to Lunch and A Short film About Slipping.

His theatre credits as a writer include: Cuddles; What’s Inside? ; Nagging Doubt; Kafka; Letters Alone; The Whole Shebang; and Daddy Take Me To The Funfair.

His novels include Miss McKirdy’s Daughters Will Now Dance the Highland Fling (co-author) and Bluff Your Way in the Quantum Universe.

He has won two Fringe First Awards at the Edinburgh Festival and the Jack Hargreaves Award from BBC TV’s Script Unit for innovative use of the medium of television.

The Wit and Wisden of Martin Truelove
by Daniel Sefton

This comedy is set almost entirely in the Radio 4 cricket commentary box at Lords. Peter Truelove is pushing fifty but remains Old Harrovian through and through. The newspaper column might keep the pennies rolling in but Peter has cricket running through his veins. Peter's mostly silent partner is Martin Truelove. Martin is Peter's younger brother and a real walking Wisden. Martin's always been the quiet one - the kind of man who finds a peculiar sort of peace in the rows and columns of an immaculately completed score book. The bad news, though no-one has noticed, is that Martin's wife has just left him. The third commentator is Keith Ainsworth a retired Lancashire player and a pathologically proud recipient of several England caps.

Keith and Peter don't get on. Peter finds his partner's tendency to call a spade a bloody great shovel slightly wearing (and rather predictable). Keith finds Peter's predilection for endless circumlocution (and his continuous use of words like circumlocution) bloody annoying. Indeed the regular listener could come away with the (accurate) impression that they spend a fair percentage of their time together quietly hating one another's guts… So far however, everything appears to be going swimmingly. Peter is still waxing lyrical about the state of the game when an insistent thumping and banging begins to emanate from the outside the commentary box. The door opens and a figure bursts through… Keith stands to face the interloper, but hostage-taker Trevor puts paid to any heroics by waving his automatic pistol in an appropriately menacing fashion. Confusion reigns for a second as Trevor races to the microphone. He describes the scene to the listening producers (and the rest of the world). He's holding a gun to Peter's head… (Peter dryly confirms that this is…indeed… the case). Peter attempts a detailed description of the firearm for the benefit of the listening public but Trevor cuts him off in mid flow. Trevor insists that both the broadcast and the match are to continue. If he's taken off the air then he'll shoot a hostage. Trevor's got what he wants - a platform to broadcast from and three high profile captives to bargain with…

Cast: Jon Glover (Between Iraq and a Hard Place), Adam Godley (Around the World in 80 Days), Martin Hyder (Motel), Ewan Bailey (The Kidnap), Alison Pettit (Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon), Stephen Critchlow (A Line in the Sand), Jonathan Keeble (Judge John Deed) and Liza Sadovy (Company).
Producer: Marc Beeby
Broadcast: 01/08/2003, BBC Radio 4

Dan Sefton’s Martin Truelove is his first radio play and was written whilst he was still working as a doctor at University College London.

His television credits include: Doctors; Holby City; Casualty; EastEnders; Born and Bred and Monarch of the Glen.

His first comedy screenplay The Rise and Falls of Eddie Preston has recently been optioned and his second screenplay Bittersweet Chicken was written for the First Film Foundation Writer’s Course and has found a producer.

Cold Calling
by Lynne Truss

It’s good to talk. It’s even better when people are listening. Lynne Truss’ comedy drama zooms in on a day in the life of three call centre operators pushed to the limit by their nightmarish work environment.

Struggling single parent Daniella is holed up in a call centre in Inverness where she gives advice to apoplectic computer users, knowing that the software package they have been sold is a pup. She believes that ‘Colfine Connect’ is symbolic of life itself -“ full of possible connections but in the end face it, you’re completely on your tod.”. Then there’s Raman, a well-educated Indian who has taken a job in a British call centre in Bangalore having abandoned his dream of living in England since the death of his father. He can now only imagine himself as his alter ego, the Huddersfield based Mike - a story he has researched on the web and gives to suspicious customers. Only Ryan based in a Swansea banking centre finds his shift tolerable but this is because it’s his very last day and the supervisor’s off sick, so he’s making hay with the security questions like a deranged game show host. But in these interwined stories there is one common theme. Something totally unexpected will happen before the day is through.

Cast: Jason Hughes (This Life) Kulvinder Ghir (Goodness Gracious Me) and Katy Murphy (Tutti Frutti)
Producer: Karen Rose
Broadcast: 31/12/2003, BBC Radio 4

Lynne Truss has written many scripts for BBC Radio 4, including dramas, features, sitcoms and talks. Her drama A Home Truth was shortlisted for scriptwriting prize at Prix Italia. Current broadcasts include the second series of Acropolis Now; a six part series of monologues A Certain Age, and an innovative six-part series of duologues Full Circle. It Can’t Go On, three 15-minute talks on the burden of choice, will be broadcast this September. A second series of A Certain Age - six monologues for men, are scheduled for May 2005.

Lynne began her writing life as a literary journalist, editing the books section of The Listener magazine between 1986 and 1990. Since then she has kept a high profile as a journalist, writing for The Times as a critic, columnist and sportswriter (shortlisted for Sportswriter of the Year 1997); for Woman's Journal ("Columnist of the Year", 1996); and more recently as a critic for the Daily Mail and The Sunday Times, where she is a regular book reviewer.

Lynne has contributed to many anthologies and published seven books, including the renowned Eats, Shoots & Leaves and three novels such as With One Lousy Free Packet of Seed, Tennyson's Gift and Going Loco

Party Animal
by Stephen Wyatt

When a nineteen year boy dies of an overdose at a celebrity party his divorced father sets out to find the truth about what happened.

vThe phone goes as Martin is leaving the house. It is his son, Josh. Martin has hardly seen him since the divorce a few years ago, but he is in a hurry and asks Josh to call back later. Josh never does. A few days later the papers are full of the death of a ‘male escort’ at a celebrity party. The guests are politicians, business men and showbiz personalities. The ‘escort’ is Josh. Martin is stunned. He has lost his son, who was once a clever boy with a bright future. He has apparently been working as a male prostitute, and taking hard drugs. This happens to other people’s children but not to Martin’s. What has gone wrong? Who is responsible?

The inquest and funeral bring encounters with Lesley, Martin’s ex-wife. She refuses to see their son’s gayness as a failure. Martin knows he is on his own. The police are unhelpful, the celebrities keep him at a distance. Josh’s friend and one-time lover, Aaron, tries to help but Martin won’t let him. A contradictory picture of Josh is emerging. He was a good time boy seeking influential friends, and a lonely, depressed young man searching for a way out of an empty life.

This is an ordinary man’s journey into a world he was barely conscious of before the death of his son. He is fuelled by anger, prejudice and the desire to blame anyone and everyone. He wants a simple answer, but in the end the play is about Martin facing his own inadequacies as a parent and a man.

Cast: Cast: Philip Jackson (The Sins), Carl Prekopp (A Certain Smile), Tom Smith (Monarch of the Glen), Lynne Verrall (Auf Wiedersehen Pet), Peter Wight (Vera Darke), Nitin Ganatra (Colour Me Kubrick) and appearances by Tom George and Emma Woolliams.
Producer: Claire Grove
Broadcast: 28/02/2003, BBC Radio 4

Stephen Wyatt writes for theatre, radio, television and screen. His original radio drama includes: Fairest Isle which gained a Sony Award; Party Animal and A Game of Marbles, a comedy about the Elgin Marbles broadcast to coincide with the Athens Olympics. His most recent original play was Agnes Beaumont by Herself. He has dramatised two series of Sketches By Boz for Radio 4 and one series of Tales by Thackeray. He has written many radio adaptations including the acclaimed The Old Wives’ Tale, Gilbert Without Sullivan and to be broadcast by the BBC Radio Four this year in 20 parts, Vanity Fair and on New Year’s Day, Tales The Countess Told, a 90’ special with Eleanor Bron.

Stephen’s television credits include Doctor Who, Casualty, House of Elliott and a comedy, Claws, for Screen One.

Stephen’s theatrical plays have been professionally performed across the country in venues ranging from the West End’s Apollo Theatre to the Bubble Theatre’s touring tent. Recent work includes R.I.P., Maria Callas (Hen and Chickens) and The Ladies’ Paradise (LAMDA).

Stephen also scripted the audio guide for the Elizabeth I exhibition at Greenwich Maritime Museum.

Information above supplied by Jo Hodder, Society of Authors.

UPDATE from Mary Kalemkerian, Head of Programmes, BBC7, sent to me by Greg Linden of California:

I was very pleased to be able to attend the award announcement this week, and to see Sir Richard Eyre presenting the prize to the winner - a relative newcomer to radio writing - Christopher William Hill, for his play, Killing Maestros.

Nigel Deacon, Diversity website

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