Many thanks to Dick L for contributions to this page.
Elvis In Prestwick (R) Series of three stories celebrating 50 years since Elvis Presley’s only trip to Britain, a brief stopover at a small Scottish airport on his return from military service in Germany.
Elvis In Prestwick. By Oliver Emanuel. A shy young girl who doesn’t even like rock ‘n’ roll is dragged to the airport by her best friend, who is determined to catch a glimpse of the American superstar.
Do You Know Where I Am? By Andrew O’hagan. A man remembers the moment in 1960 when his home town in Ayrshire first felt connected to the rest of the world.
Don’t Ask Me Why. By Ruth Thomas. The news that Sonia’s best friend has been hit by a car is overshadowed by the arrival of an international celebrity at the local airport.
Floating. By Hugh Hughes. On April 2nd 1982, the Isle of Anglesey separated from the mainland of Wales and floated off into the North Atlantic. Emerging artist Hugh Hughes and his friend Sioned, recount the story of this extraordinary geological event, and explain its personal significance.
Gestapo Minutes. By Adam Ganz. Under the Nazis, Michel Oppenheim – lawyer, patriot and porcelain collector – is made head of the Jewish community in Mainz. The minutes of his regular meetings with Gestapo functionary Schwoerer survive. Civilly, they discuss the pettiest details of Nazi terror and arrangements for the deportations east. Thanks to his non-Jewish, wife Oppenheim survives. Once the war ends, the tables are turned. Schwoerer begs Oppenheim for a testimonial, which could save him from a US war crimes trial and execution. Oppenheimer must decide whether to help the man who sat across the table during the past six years of horror and humiliation.
Hinterland. By Francis Turnly. When Garda officer Detective Sergeant Roisin MacKenna is called to the scene of a murder not far from the border between the North and South of Ireland she soon finds that boundaries, both geographical and moral, become blurred.
House of Fiction. Dramatised by Sara Davies from the memoir by Susan Swingler. When Susan Swingler was twenty-one, she received a cheque from an aunt of whom she’d never heard. Intrigued, she went to visit. Her aunt asked after her brother and sister and was surprised that Susan did not appear to have an Australian accent. But Susan was an only child, and she had never been to Australia. She’d lived alone with her mother since the day her father abandoned them seventeen years before. Why did her aunt, and the rest of her family, believe they were living in Australia? This meeting begins for Susan the process of unravelling an extraordinary deception that lies at the heart of her family, invented by her step-mother, Australia’s best-known female novelist, Elizabeth Jolley.
Miriam Margolyes and Juliet Aubrey star in this true story of how Elizabeth Jolley’s most creative piece of fiction is her own life. Includes interviews with Susan Swingler.
Jonesy. By award-winning writer Tom Wells. Jamie gets the run of the BBC Radio Drama sound department to tell his own story – the heroic journey of Withernsea lad Jamie ‘Jonesy’ Jones from chronic asthma sufferer to graduate in GCSE PE.
Just Dance. By Frances Byrnes. Luke was a brilliant dancer, the star of his generation. Suddenly, without warning, he loses his ability to dance – not physically, but psychologically. He has one last chance to dance onstage – his old company has a big producer in that audience they must impress. But Luke can’t cope, he runs to hide in a seedy bar behind the theatre where he meets Guy, an elderly gentlemen adamant he will find the love of his life at the party he has heard about in the woods.
Inspired by real non-dancers’ stories, and based on workshops at London Contemporary Dance School and Northern School of Contemporary Dance, this new drama takes the audience deep into what makes a dancer tick. The physical compulsion to express oneself through movement and dedicate yourself to relentless, all consuming dance training is examined in words and movement.
Mr Jones Goes Driving. By Shelley Silas. Johnny Jones isn’t particularly old, he’s a regular man with a regular wife, two grown up children and a handful of grandkids. His has a been good life, and for that he’s grateful and accepts that growing old is just one of those things, and until now, he has just got on with everything that has been thrown his way. Told that a series of seizures he’s been having are not because of a brain tumour, but epilepsy, relief soon turns to gloom. While Johnny accepts everything the doctors tell him, he cannot accept having to give up his driving license. For over fifty years he’s driven just about everyone everywhere in his beloved almond Rover P6 with a V8 engine. It is his private place, where he can be alone, think alone, listen to music, or simply sit by the sea, looking out at nothing more than sand and waves. It’s a great big armchair of a car, with a chrome and oak interior, which he loves passionately. His wife, Alice hasn’t driven for years, why would she when she has Johnny to drive her everywhere? While he’s happy to part with many other activities, this is one he just can’t give up. Now he’s told he must stop driving or face the consequences. Every day he says tomorrow will be the last day he’ll drive. This is the story of the day he takes one last journey in his dark Rover. Gradually we learn about the secrets no one else knows about. The play stars real life husband and wife Richard Briers and Ann Davies and is about growing old but not always gracefully. It’s about facing up to things in life we don’t want to. It’s the story of a man giving up the one thing that he has always loved.
North of Riga. By Eoin McNamee. A man’s strength is in hair. A woman’s dreams are in hers… When a mysterious woman arrives in a small Northern Irish fishing port and opens a hairdressing salon, the locals discover she has a curious effect on their lives as she plies her trade. The Latvian girls working in the fish factory say she is a witch, but no one really knows who she is or where she came from. Or why. When thirteen year old Lorna meets and befriends the mysterious hairdresser, Sarah, the fate of the two soon become entangled. Lorna, a solitary child remarkable for her long tangled fair hair, is a concern of the welfare services; she is rarely at school, apparently running wild and is more often than not to be found at the harbour with local homeless couple Mervyn and Sandra. Like Sarah, Lorna has a secret she doesn’t want anyone to discover. But when another mysterious stranger arrives in town, Sarah’s past finally catches up with her, and Lorna makes the one sacrifice she can to save Sarah’s future – and her own. A contemporary fable of magic and murder from award-winning writer Eoin McNamee.
Pixie Juice. By Ed Harris. Indira Varma stars in a wickedly twisted fairytale – with real fairy. Anya is struggling to run her Dad’s tattoo parlour, as well as cope with her Dad’s failing sight. When she gets a nocturnal visit from a tiny, magical creature, it seems, like all good fairytales, as though her luck will change. But Anya’s not really the fairytale type. And pixies hire good lawyers.
Pure. By Andrew Miller. It’s Paris in 1785. The cemetery of Les Innocents is the oldest in the city, but it is overflowing and can no longer hold on to its dead. Newcomers to the quarter are overpowered by the smell. It taints the breath and food of the locals. And some believe it can even taint the mind. By order of the King, the church and cemetery are to be destroyed and every last bone rehoused. The place is to be made sweet again. It shall be made pure. Charged with the task, Jean-Baptiste Baratte – a young engineer from Normandy – arrives in Paris. And thus begins “A year of bones, of grave-dirt, relentless work. Of… chanting priests. A year of rape, suicide, sudden death. Of friendship too. Of desire. Of love…A year unlike any other he has lived.”
Rock of Eye. By Anita Sullivan. Three elderly tailors, a trouser-maker, a coat-maker and a waistcoat-maker, have been commissioned to make a bespoke suit for an up and coming politician. They have worked together for decades but have only met very rarely, although increasingly, these days, at their colleagues’ funerals. The suit has been designed by Mrs White, a mysterious woman whom they’ve never met. Mrs White has imposed very strict rules about secrecy, and all off-cuts have to be returned to her. The suiting fabric supplied is also unusual. It seems to change colour and quality with the mood of the tailors, and to move against the needle in a sentient manner. As the garment takes shape, it begins to have a powerful effect on anyone who comes into contact with it.
Something Wicked This Way Comes. By Ray Bradbury. Set in 1960’s Illinois this gem of modern Gothic literature is the memorable story of two boys, James Nightshade and William Halloway, and the evil that grips their small Midwestern town with the arrival of a “dark carnival” one Autumn midnight. These two innocents, both aged 13, (Will is born one minute before Halloween, and Jim one minute after) save the souls of the town (as well as their own). This is a vivid variation on the eternal theme of the fight between Good and Evil. A thrilling, chilling, richly kaleidoscopic sound world ensues; a shimmering mirror maze that reflects your older or younger self, depending on your desires, and a magic carousel that plays Chopin’s Funeral March forwards – with each rotation you gain a year, and rotating backwards – you get younger.
Test Case. Philip Palmer tells the story of Mr C. Presented by Deborah Bowman, Professor of Ethics & Law at St George’s University of London. The case of ‘Re C’ is one of the most discussed legal cases in the world, because it changed the way we make decisions about our medical treatment forever. Those who were involved in the ground-breaking hearing, in 1993, remember the events vividly and with great affection. But it’s unknown to the general public, because of the strange way the case came about… and because of the extraordinary character at its heart.
Closely based on interviews with those who were there, Philip Palmer’s drama reveals the story of Mr C.
Test Case – The Legacy Of Mr C. Following on from Philip Palmer’s drama, what became of Mr C, and why, twenty years on, does his case continue to be so widely discussed? As Mr C’s fate is revealed in the High Court’s surprising decision, Professor Deborah Bowman is joined by a panel of experts, two of whom were directly involved in Mr C’s remarkable story. They share their personal memories of Mr C and discuss why his legal case continues to have such far-reaching consequences for us all when we’re ill.
The Adventures of Mr Thake. BY J B Morton. Leslie Phillips reads the letters, out of print since the 1930s, sent to JB Morton’s columnist Beachcomber from the calamitous travels abroad of fictional upper-class twit, Oswald Bletisloe Hattersley Thake. In 1924 the writer J.B. Morton adopted the name ‘Beachcomber’ and began a humorous column in the Daily Express which was to run for over 50 years. Reading about the odd lives of Beachcomber’s characters – whether they were nonsensical, puritanical, pompous or simply insane – became part of the ritual of breakfast throughout the land. A typical example of Beachcomber’s gift for creating what G.K. Chesterton described as “a huge thunderous wind of elemental and essential laughter,” is Mr Thake. Described affectionately as “a caricature of his nation” here we have the fascinating spectacle of a Wooster with no Jeeves to rescue him. Whether he is losing his heart to young gold diggers on board the S.S. Lutetia while losing his hat overboard and wondering whether to stop the ship, or being fleeced in the nightclubs of Paris, Thake never quite understands what is happening to him – or why…
The Biggest Secret. By Mike Walker. In the early hours of June 5th 1944 Captain Rob Collins, who is languishing in hospital, receives a call that will take him on a journey through England that will change his life.
The Long Wait. Drama by Sarah Daniels, based on a story by Mike Walker. Set in Normandy. A German army band is throwing a jazz concert in a hall in Caen when the singer, Mitzi, is called away on urgent business by Father Pierre. He is the blind, elderly padre who realises that his cover as a double agent has been blown, just as coded messages are coming through to the French resistance that the invasion is about to happen..
The Paradoxes of Mr Pond. (R) Series of short stories by G K Chesterton. Read by Martin Jarvis
The Crime Of Captain Gahagan. GK Chesterton’s civil servant figures out a mystery – ‘Women go so fast that they get no farther.’
The Three Horsemen Of The Apocalypse. Another mystery for the civil servant – ‘Too much Prussian obedience saves a patriot’.
Pond The Pantaloon. A poker prevents a national disaster. Another curious mystery from G K Chesterton
Ring Of Lovers. “A real liar doesn’t tell wanton and necessary lies. He tells wise and necessary lies”.
The Terrible Troubadour. “In nature you must go very low to find things that go so high”.
The Seventh Test. By Vikas Swarup. Sapna Sinha works as a sales assistant in a TV showroom in New Delhi. Being the only breadwinner in the family she works long hours to provide for her widowed mother and younger sister. But then a man walks into her life with an extraordinary proposition: pass seven tests and he will make her the CEO of his global empire. Sapna is suspicious. Dramatised from Vikas Swarup’s best-selling novel “The Accidental Apprentice”.
The Spy Game. By Georgina Harding. Eight-year-old Anna waves goodbye to her mother one morning, unaware that she is disappearing forever. All is not as it seems in 1960s Britain: the Portland spy case has rocked the Establishment and official secrets documents nestle in the shopping baskets of respectable housewives as Cold War paranoia takes hold. In the midst of all this, Anna and her brother begin a quest for the truth about their mother that will last a lifetime.
The Treehouse. Zosia Wand’s psychological thriller. Clare returns to her childhood home in Ulverston nineteen years after a tragedy took place, expecting to put the past behind her, but she is shocked to discover the treehouse where it all happened is still there.
The Witness. By Vivienne Franzmann. Captured in an iconic award-winning shot, Alex was rescued from Rwanda and adopted by the man behind the lens. Back from university and returning to the family home, the relationship between father and daughter cracks and then shatters as a long-hidden secret is slowly exposed. Based on the Royal Court Theatre production, this is a powerful and moving drama of modern morality.
With interview with the writer.
The World According to Garp. John Irving’s audacious, darkly comic and heartbreaking story about the life and times of T.S. Garp dramatised by Linda Marshall Griffiths. New England 1942. Garp is born to nurse Jenny Fields, who raises him alone. As Garp becomes a young man he falls in love with wrestling or more specifically, the wrestling coach’s daughter Helen. Helen will only marry a writer and so begins Garp’s journey into becoming a novelist. Unfortunately for him, his mother Jenny is writing something of her own. This compassionate coming-of-age story became a worldwide best seller and put Irving on the map as a leading novelist. This is the dramatisation of a novel that is both acclaimed for its originality, and controversial for its dark representation of gender politics and sexual violence. Published in 1978 it went on to win the US National Book Award and was made into a film in 1982.
When Laughter Stops. By Sibusiso Mamba. Real-life stand up comedians Daliso Chaponda and Ava Vidal play married couple Musondi and Rhakeele in this new play which Sibusiso Mamba co-created with Daliso, with additional material by Ava. Rhakeele has a secret desire to go back to the country she was born in – Africa, but for husband Musondi who has never lived there, it initially holds no attraction. Once there, however, the differences between life in the UK and life in Africa become polarised and they find themselves in direct opposition, using what they do best – stand up – to prove which of them is the stronger. But unwittingly they’re making a tense situation in a country Rhakeele no longer understands far worse than they could ever realise and putting their closest friends in jeopardy.
You Drive Me Crazy. By Paul Dodgson. Once he loved powering down the motorway; now the very thought brings on a cold sweat. Paul Dodgson’s play reflects on living with his newly-acquired fear of driving. Looking back on the cars in his life to try and trace the source of his anxiety, he remembers being ‘Prince of the back seat’ at six years old in his parents’ half timbered Morris Traveller. Then, as a teenager, he couldn’t wait for his 17th birthday and the chance to get behind the wheel of the family’s Austin Princess himself. Later, as a young man in his thirties, he fell in love with his red MG Midget – enjoying nothing more than belting down country lanes blasting music way too loud. Then, something changed, and a fear began to take hold, a fear that would suddenly skew his vision, make the road seem to slide away, and his heart beat violently in his chest – a fear that quickly turned into a debilitating terror. Paul Dodgson writes and narrates his own story of living with driving anxiety disorder.