Many thanks to David H and Simon W for contributions to this page.
SE8. By Janice Okoh. Based on real events. A 17 year old girl is shot in a South London nightclub called SE8. The club is filled with witnesses. Rita is positive that the police will find her daughter’s murderer but they are met by a wall of silence. Donna, 17, was there. She saw the shooter and also knows who the gang members are as she went to school with some of them. People are more willing to talk to a stranger so Rita questions her daughter’s friends and workers at the club. Donna wants to help but she’s frightened. There is a witness protection programme but it’s not 100% guaranteed. Rita persuades Donna to talk as long as she is an anonymous witness in court. But there is an error in disclosure and Donna’s anonymity is at risk. The night before the trail Donna goes missing. Will she speak out? Will she survive if she does? The drama is intercut with recreated interviews with ex-gang members. SE8 was inspired by the deaths of Birmingham teenagers Charlene Ellis and Letisha Shakespeare in 2003 and Magda Pniewskain 2007. Anonymous witnesses were used to secure both convictions. Currently a judge can direct the jury to discount anonymous witness statements if, for example, they have a relationship to the accused. SE8 is not only about individual courage but also about the shaky legal framework that is supposed to protect it.
Legacy: Blood In The Mountains. By Cath Staincliffe. Henry Gaunt has died leaving a sizeable estate but no will. When the weekly list of unclaimed estates is published, probate researchers, brother and sister team Dan and Rachel, search backwards through the family line to find the true heir and get a slice of the fortune. Their quest leads them to uncover a broken family with a terrible secret. His step-sister can’t inherit and there are no known kin. The step-sister doesn’t know much about Henry’s father: she thinks he died in the Second World War when Henry was a small child.
Legacy: High Green Walls. By Cath Staincliffe. Susan Pellier, a 73 year-old recluse, died intestate with no known next of kin, Dan and Rachel’s quest to find an heir leads them to a heart-breaking discovery.
Death of a Salesman. By Arthur Miller. Willy Loman, an old salesman, returns early from a business trip. After nearly crashing multiple times, Willy has a moment of enlightenment and realizes he shouldn’t be driving. Seeing that her husband is no longer able to do his job as a traveling salesman, Willy’s wife, Linda, suggests that he ask his boss, Howard, to give him a local office job at the New York headquarters. Willy thinks that getting the new job is a sure thing since he (wrongly) sees himself as a valuable salesman.
The Royal Game. The Viennese writer Stefan Zweig, most famous for Beware of Pity, wrote the original Schachnovelle or Chess Novel in 1942. It is the story of Dr.Berg, a well to do German banker who is interrogated by the Gestapo who want to find out where influential members of the Clergy and aristocrats have hidden their money. They hold him in a deserted hotel in solitary confinement in order to break him down. But he steals a book of chess puzzles from a guard and this keeps his mind active. Unfortunately after learning to play games in his head Dr.Berg goes mad.
The Silver Sword. By Ian Serraillier. It’s difficult to imagine the whole of Europe as a heaving mass of people on the move, some with urgent, fixed purpose, some with no idea at all of what to do next. Bombed-out piles of rubble where whole towns and cities used to stand. Ration cards, bread queues, soup kitchens, Red Cross camps. Occupying armies, Russian sector, American sector, British sector. This is the landscape in which The Silver Sword is set. It’s a story about how the Balicki family are torn apart by the Germans from their home in Warsaw, Poland, in 1940, and how they succeed in reuniting themselves in Switzerland at the end of the war. Of course, after five years of extraordinary deprivation, fear and grief, the Balickis are not much like the people that they were before the war started. The children have grown up. But, in time, they are all ready to make a new start.
The Understanding. PG Morgan’s drama gets inside the emotional realities of dealing with an ethical dilemma. A young woman is urgently admitted to hospital and prepared to deliver her baby by Caesarian section. What happens in the next few minutes will test the judgement – and the understanding – of everyone in the room.
War Horse is a celebrated book written by the children’s author Michael Morpurgo. The story follows Joey, the beloved horse of farmer’s son Albert Narracott, as he is sold to the army at the outbreak of the First World War and shipped to France with the cavalry. Timothy Spall stars as the voice of Joey, and leads a glittering cast that also includes Brenda Blethyn as Mother and Bob Hoskins as Sergeant Thunder. Featuring folk songs by John Tams, Coope Boyes and Simpson, John McCusker, Andy Cutting and Andy Seward.
Widowers’ Houses. By George Bernard Shaw. Martin Jarvis directs Ian McKellen, Charles Dance, Tim Pigott-Smith and an impressive cast in Bernard Shaw’s first play. What happens if an Englishman, decent enough in private, shuts his eyes and conscience to the monstrous abuses of the poor by slum landlords, especially if the remedy might affect his own financial security? The theme has resonated down the years. Written Widower’s Houses 1892 it became an immediate success and remains astonishingly relevant in the present property investment world. Funny, observant, incisive in examining moral dilemmas and business ethics. Slum-landlords – a comedy? Shaw was already turning the tradition of Victorian drama on its head, understanding that social and political points are best made via human comedy.
The Napoleon of Notting Hill. By G.K Chesterton. Picture a London in the future where democracy is dead. A little government minister is made King. The boroughs are suddenly declared separate kingdoms with their own city guard, banner and gathering cry and the capital is plunged into a strange type medieval warfare. Then Notting Hill declares its independence…
Woman With Birthmark. By Håkan Nesser. Inspector Van Veeteren would like nothing better than to sleep through the entire month of January, as winter in Sweden makes the usually volatile detective slow and cranky. Naturally, he is not happy when his team is assigned the case of a man shot in the heart and the groin in his own front hallway. Neither clues nor motives are forthcoming until another man is shot in the same way, with the same weapon.
No Conferring. By Jonathan Holloway. A Christmas bonding week in an isolated moorland cottage for the 1983 University Challenge team from Bracewell College, Cambridge, goes horribly wrong.
Myrtle, Mahonia And Rue. By Briony Glassco. A young landscape gardener decides on drastic action to escape her recurring nightmares.
Voices From Another Room. By Philip Martin. An artist starts to hear voices discussing a murder, involving him.
Sally Go Round the Moon. By Natalia Power. A chilling short drama. Are the pressures of her job the reason Sally is hearing the voice of a child which no-one else can hear? Or is she being haunted?
Ghosting. By Gregory Evans For a rising young novelist, ghost-writing seems to be the worst of all possible worlds. But when Michael agrees to ghost the autobiography of the super-model Vita, he finds her life dangerously seductive. How much will he risk for the book, and the woman?
In What I Failed to Do. Sadie and husband Reggie are walking home from the shops in Mary D’Arcy’s shocking tale of revenge. Read by Maggie Steed
The Anatomisation of an Unknown Man & Intruders. Deceit over a gruesome painting and a double-crossing businessman.Jim Norton reads two tales of deception.
Politically Correct & Where the Wild Flowers Grow. A suspicious banker and a woman meets a man via a supernatural website. Jeffrey Archer and Bill Murphy’s tales read by Michael Maloney and Susan Lynch.
The Connection & The Craftsman. A woman’s unique powers are reawakened, and a man with a secret faces a dilemma. Polly Devlin and Stuart Neville’s tales read by Diana Quick and Frank O’Sullivan.
The F Word. An eminent scientist delivers an extraordinary lecture on his ground-breaking research. Richard McCabe reads Ian Sansom’s tale.
Against the Wind. By Shirley Gee. International Playhouse. The story of Hannah Snell, an 18th century hero, who, dressed as a man, joined the marines in a vain attempt to trace her missing husband. After gallantly serving in action for seven years, she was discharged. Penniless, she toured the country recounting her story until her graphic descriptions of the brutal butchery of war became unacceptable to the authorities.
Dr Johnson’s Dictionary of Crime. Comic thriller by David Ashton. Samuel Johnson and James Boswell tackle the teeming London underworld of 1781. How can a man who has shot another at point blank range be saved from the gallows, and how can the power and vested interest of a man highly placed in His Majesty’s Government be defeated?
Swish of the Curtain. By Pamela Brown. First published in 1941, and written when the author was a teenager herself, Swish of the Curtain follows the success of seven talented and resourceful children who renovate a disused chapel and form The Blue Door Theatre Company. The Swish of the Curtain has enjoyed enduring popularity over the years with readers of all ages, and it remains a timeless inspiration to any young reader with a passion for the performing arts.