Many thanks to David H and Martin W for contributions to this page.
And So Say All of Us…By Dan Rebellato, Duncan Macmillan and Linda McLean. DIY and politics. A comedy about the complexity and absurdity of modern life, from three award winning writers. A couple start dismantling their house; next door a pregnant woman refuses to give birth. Around them, the political process grinds to a halt on polling day when no-one votes. Fran and Eddy decide they need a change, so they rip out their kitchen, then start taking their house apart. Next door, Neil and Clare are waiting for the arrival of their first baby. And waiting. Then Clare reveals that she isn’t ready to give birth yet. Fran wants the walls taken down. As these small domestic worlds shift, the bigger picture is changing too. On polling day, nobody turns up to vote. In a record breaking election, the government is left in power by default and the political process in disarray. What happens when Fran and Eddy take the windows and doors out? Does Clare ever have her baby? And who will stand as Prime Minister for the newly formed cross-party Unity Party? A fierce, funny play about making up your mind.
Can You Tell Me the Name of The Prime Minister? By Martin Jameson. Just as the drama of the general election is beginning to subside, psychiatrist Liz De Souza is mystified when she is summoned to a secret government facility to assess a man, recently found disorientated and confused, convinced that Tony Blair is still Prime Minister. Surely Mal is suffering a simple, but treatable, delusional episode. isn’t he? Liz struggles to make sense of things. Scripted and recorded in the weeks and days shortly prior to transmission, ‘Can You Tell Who Is The Prime Minister?’ uses a contemporary Science Fiction mystery to explore the zeitgeist of our post-election democracy.
Can’t Live Without You. By Kellie Smith. A psychological thriller about a man’s craving for control in his marriage. When Greg’s partner Anna becomes ill and needs constant care, Greg flourishes as her carer and becomes intoxicated by her dependency. Greg’s apparent overwhelming love for his partner, his deepening desire to feel needed takes him to the limit in their relationship.
Cinders. By Ali Taylor. When a heartbreaking memoir about life in war-torn Kabul lands on her desk, Emma thinks she’s discovered a new literary sensation. Her colleagues, though, are deeply sceptical. A pacy comedy lifting the lid on the ethics of publishing war-torn misery memoirs.
Decline and Fall. Evelyn Waugh’s masterpiece. An episodic story of the hilarious misadventures of Paul Pennyfeather, whose feckless odyssey begins when he loses his trousers. Decline and Fall is based in part on Waugh’s undergraduate years at Hertford College, Oxford, and his experience as a teacher in Wales. It is a social satire that employs the author’s characteristic black humour in lampooning various features of British society in the 1920s.
Embers. By Samuel Beckett. Henry (Michael Gambon) sits on the strand haunted by the sound of the sea. He conjures up voices, evocations, stories and sounds from his past as he tries to drown out the inescapable presence of the sea. In 1976 Stephen Rea worked with Samuel Beckett on a production of the play, Endgame. During rehearsals Beckett said, ‘don’t think about meaning think about rhythm’ and he regularly emphasised the humour in his work. Stephen Rea has translated his experience of working with one of the great modern dramatists into a funny and moving new production of this wonderful radio play, Embers.
Krapp’s Last Tape. By Samuel Beckett. On his sixty ninth birthday Krapp sits down to record a tape as he has done every year. Samuel Beckett’s classic stage play broadcast as a tribute to actor Corin Redgrave who died in April 2010.
Gentleman Jim. By Raymond Briggs. Gentleman Jim is Raymond Briggs’ own dramatisation of his graphic novel of the same title. It is the story of Jim Bloggs, a toilet attendant who dreams of a better life for him and his beloved wife Hilda. Ruminating over the jobs in the paper, Jim’s imagination leaps into action as he seeks adventure and excitement. He sets out to turn his dreams into reality, but soon discovers that things aren’t so straightforward. Hindered not least by a lack of education and funds, Jim’s life begin to spiral out of all control, and his romantic dreams turn into terrible nightmares. Gentleman Jim is a wonderfully funny and yet intensely moving tale, which despite its melancholy has at its heart a real feeling of optimism.
Landfall. By Mike Walker. When five lost souls, recruited by the Company travel to an abandoned planet, all they know is that they are to retrieve the only known sample of an ore left over from an old mining operation. But their task becomes considerably more complicated when one of their party has a close encounter with the indigenous plant life – plant life which seems to have some very odd, very powerful properties. Soon they are battling not only to stay alive, but to hang on to the very things that make them human.
Last Night, Another Soldier. By Andy McNab. Eighteen-year-old Briggsy is just three weeks into his first posting in Afghanistan and is thrilled to be part of the action. But when his Rifle Section loses a man in battle, Briggsy is forced to confront the realities of war.
Left at Marrakech. By Richard Stevens. In 1943, a B-17 takes off from Florida on its way to active service in England, embarking on a flight via Puerto Rico, Dakar and Marrakech. Joining the American crew are two British hitch-hikers, who need a lift home. One of them, an attractive WAAF, seems to be a good omen – she looks like the painted figure on their fuselage. But each leg of the journey is beset with increasing difficulty and danger. Is someone on board not what they seem to be?
Now, Voyager. Based on the novel by Olive Higgins Prouty. A dowdy, frustrated spinster from a wealthy New England family, living with her overpowering mother in the stiflingly repressive Boston of the inter-war years, suffers a nervous breakdown after an unhappy love affair. Partially restored under the wise guidance of a psychiatrist, she is urged by her fashionably elegant sister-in-law to have a beauty makeover and to undertake a Mediterranean cruise. Physically transformed, she meets on board an architect, Jerry Durrance, with whom slowly, as she gains confidence in her new image, she falls in love. But he is married with children he loves, and the affair cannot have a happy ending. Circumstances lead her to form a special bond with his vulnerable 12-year-old daughter, and finally she settles for a loving relationship with him and the child. The famous last line, of both the film and the book, is: Jerry, don’t let’s ask for the moon. We have the stars!”
Phone. By Peter Jukes. Eliot is stuck in a rut. When his friend Roy, a local gangster, is taken ill, he hands Eliot his mobile phone, telling him to wait for it to ring. The phone thrusts Eliot into an underworld which is sometimes glamorous, often dangerous, and always unexpected.
Professor Challenger. By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. George Edward Challenger, better known as Professor Challenger, is a fictional character in a series of science fiction stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Unlike Conan Doyle’s laid-back, analytic character, Sherlock Holmes, Professor Challenger is an aggressive, dominating figure. Professor Challenger is first mentioned in Doyle’s “The Lost World” (1912), which describes an expedition to a plateau in South America where prehistoric creatures including dinosaurs still survive. These two short stories were first published in Liberty Magazine in 1928 and the Strand Magazine 1929 respectively.
When The World Screamed. Professor Challenger, with the help of Mr Edward Malone and Mr Peerless Jones, drills into the earth until he reaches the mantle, convinced that it is a sentient being, akin to an echinus, and that by doing so he will be the first person to alert it to mankind’s presence. He awakens the giant creature.
The Disintegration Machine. Professor Challenger is arguing with people who are persistently calling him on the telephone when his young friend Malone, a reporter for the Gazette, enters and requests Challenger accompany him to inspect the discovery of Theodore Nemor, who claims to have invented a machine capable of disintegrating objects. Sceptical of the invention, Challenger accepts Malone’s proposal and accompanies him to the house of Nemor.
Scorched. Nicola Jones’s tense, fast-moving thriller follows a man trying to re-interpret his memories of the long hot summer of 1976. Who is to blame for his sister’s disappearance, and what really happened to her? In 1976, Mike’s sixteen year old sister, Evie, walked out of the house and never came back. There didn’t seem to be any explanation, but Mike was thirteen at the time and didn’t want to upset his Mum by asking too many questions. Now Mike is in his forties, his Mum is dead and a rare visit to his home town provides him with an oportunity to investigate the events of that scorching summer and reinterpret them from an adult perspective. A meeting with an old school friend forces Mike to question his father more closely. Is he guarding a dark family secret? Is he telling the whole truth?
Seven Foot with a Wooden Leg. By Peter King. Set in Cardiff in 1959. “Book-binding is what I do. It’s not the best job in the world, of course, not exactly test pilot stuff but… But nothing. There’s no doubt about it, work’s a bugger!”
Murder by the Book. By Stephen Sheridan. A gentle comic murder mystery. The sleepy market town of Langston has had a public library since the nineteenth century. When a corpse is found in the crime section of the library, two elderly librarians decide to emulate their favourite fictional sleuth, Miss Marple, and attempt to solve the crime themselves.