As part of an ongoing commitment to supporting new and emerging talent, BBC Radio 4 will showcase a week-long series of new audio dramas across 3 – 10 July.
The line-up features a range of voices fresh to Radio 4 drama, ranging from new writers, directors, producers, and other talent. They bring exciting stories and perspectives, from the true tale of a priest who confronted social stigma during the AIDS crisis, to an investigation of mysterious attacks on electrical equipment plaguing the town of Halifax, and a re-imagining of the influential role played by the Fools of the Tudor court.
Radio 4’s Commissioning Editor for Drama and Fiction, Alison Hindell, says: “As we celebrate 100 years of BBC audio drama this year, I’m proud that Radio 4 continues to be the home of innovative new talent. I hope listeners will enjoy discovering these new voices and perspectives across an exciting week of new drama.”
Full list of dramas:
Monday 03 July 2023, 14:15 – 15:00
Hannah Lavery’s radio debut offers a moving, poetic exploration of loving and losing her father, and an unvarnished insight into how it feels to grow up and raise children as a person with mixed racial heritage in Scotland.
Finding Seaglass challenges listeners to see Scottish history and public memory in a different light, finding powerful resonance in contemporary struggles for justice and equality. A captivating spoken-word sound journey that interweaves poems with drama, Finding Seaglass pulses with Hannah’s lived experience, underscored by haunting music and the sounds of Scotland’s shores.
Written and performed by Edinburgh Makar Hannah Lavery, with ensemble voices by Tam Dean Burn, Irene MacDougall, Beth Marshall, Jim Monaghan, Clare Perkins, and Tom Vanson.
Director – Niloo-Far Khan
Sound Designer/Composer – Pippa Murphy
Producer – Charlotte Melen
Associate Producer – Dallis Murray
Production Coordinator – Cait Irvine
Executive Producer – Lucinda Mason Brown
Dramaturg – Rosie Kellagher
An Almost Tangible and National Theatre of Scotland debut production for BBC Radio 4.
Tuesday 04 July 2023, 14:15 – 15:00
Inspired by true events, Requiem follows Paul, a young priest navigating prejudice and pain as he seeks to support AIDS sufferers in the 1980s. The drama uses the structure of a requiem mass, woven with traditional and contemporary choral music, and is the Radio 4 debut of co-writers and directors Harrison Knights and Misia Butler.
Paul’s attempts at rallying the community are failing to make an impact when he is approached by an HIV-positive young gay man, Luke. Despite opposing beliefs, they develop a friendship and Luke agrees to help Paul’s efforts. Paul travels across the country taking funerals of AIDS victims that others won’t. Over time and through hardship, Paul and Luke find out how their ways of life might inspire the other.
This drama was inspired by the personal experience of Harrison Knights’ father, a member of the clergy who took funerals for victims of AIDS at a time when many victims of the disease were denied this. As part of the LGBTQ+ community themselves, the writers were moved to explore the connection between faith and queerness at a point of significant social stigma.
This is the Radio 4 debut of Olugbeminiyi Bammodu (Luke) and Jonathan Case (Paul), composer and musical director Oscar Osicki, and singers Emilia Bertolini, Venetia Iga, Laurence Kilsby and Oscar Hansen.
Paul – Jonathan Case
Luke – Olugbeminiyi Bammodu
Catherine – Rosa Hesmondhalgh
Joan – Nadia Albina
Singers – Emilia Bertolini, Venetia Iga, Laurence Kilsby and Oscar Hansen.
Additional vocal arrangements by Harrison Knights.
The poem, Jesus at the Gay Bar, was written by Jay Hulme.
Director – Harrison Knights and Misia Butler
Producer – Polly Thomas
Sound Designer – Paul Cargill
Original Music/MD – Oscar Osicki
Illustration – Ed Duffill
Production Manager – Darren Spruce
Executive Producer – Eloise Whitmore
A Naked production for BBC Radio 4.
The Wire Cutters
Wednesday 05 July 2023, 14:15 – 15:00
This debut audio drama from Burning Bright Audio investigates mysterious occurrences in spring 2022, when reports emerged of a series of unusual attacks on electrical equipment in a valley in West Yorkshire. Farm equipment, 5G towers and electrical substations were targeted and their circuitry destroyed. While nothing was stolen, the vandals caused power outages, disrupted communication networks and affected the livelihoods of residents.
With special thanks to Dale Tutaj, Val Cross, Lucy Phelps and Dave Burnette
Production Co-ordinator – Lulu Wellford-Carroll
Sound Designer – Jon Nicholls
Original music – John Hartley
Director – Hunter Charlton, Luke MacGregor and Romesh Kishore
Executive Producer – David Hunter
A debut drama production by Burning Bright Audio for BBC Radio 4.
Gret and Will
Thursday 06 July 2023, 14:15 – 15:00
In this gripping and funny new drama, listeners get a fresh insight into life inside the court of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, as experienced by two of possibly the most powerful and overlooked neurodivergent people in British history: their Fools.
Gret, saved from the streets by her humour and charisma, is employed by the next Queen. When she meets Will, the Jester of the King, she learns about the dangerous role they must inhabit, one demanding the courage to speak truth to power and the wisdom to avoid getting killed for it. As their relationship deepens, Gret is faced with the fact that Anne’s rise cannot last, and that her fall could drag Gret down with her. This new play explores what it means to be a paid to entertain, whether we are seen for our abilities or our humanity, the limits of loyalty, and how we work out who our real friends are.
BBC Audio Award-winning writer Elizabeth Kuti and debut audio director Tim Hoare open up new realms of possibility, exploring the widely held theory that the Fools of the Tudor court were neurodiverse. This drama also features two of Britain’s great neuro-divergent actors: Sarah Gordy stars as Gret alongside Jack Morris, also making his radio debut, as Will.
Gret – Sarah Gordy
Will – Jack Morris
Anne Boleyn – Sara Markland
Written by Elizabeth Kuti
Directed by Tim Hoare
Produced by Celia de Wolff
Sound Design by David Thomas
Broadcast Assistant: Nina Semple
Production Manager: Sarah Wright
A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.
Monday 10 July 2023, 14:15 – 15:00
An atmospheric, slow burn folk-horror story examining the impact of environmental catastrophe on an alternative society, from producer Hugh Hick in his Radio 4 debut.
Spooner thinks he’s finally found his tribe when he escapes city life and joins an experimental commune on an island off the coast of Ireland. But when it turns into a barren wasteland overnight, he begins to realise that the island is demanding a price from them that’s higher than he could ever have imagined…
Spooner – Damien Molony
Kemp – Finbar Lynch
Cara – Rebecca O’Mara
Ryan – Trevor Kaneswaran
Siofra – Kitty O’Sullivan
Rescuer – Will Kirk
• Sound Design by Keith Graham
• Production Co-ordinator – Clare Ewing
• Directed by Hugh Hick
A BBC Audio Production for BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio 4