Julian Simpson and Lenny Henry

Tinniswood Award winner 2016

Writer and director Julian Simpson has won the Tinniswood Award 2016 for his audio drama script, Fugue State.

Described by the judges as “an original and gripping thriller which brilliantly explores both the powerful effect of sound on the listener and how radio drama creates worlds of sound”, Fugue State is set in the heart of the British countryside in a specialist residential hospital where a government agent is in psychological shutdown. Sound recordings are used to recreate events leading up to the shutdown to promote the patient’s memory.

Simpson (pictured above, right) was presented the award (organised by the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain and Society of Authors) at the annual BBC Audio Drama Awards ceremony, hosted by Sir Lenny Henry (above, left), at Broadcasting House in London on 31 January 2016.

Acclaimed writer and WGGB member Mike Bartlett, who presented Simpson with the award, said: “We should be especially proud of our audio drama culture… it is often described as a stepping stone for TV, but it should be the other way round.”

Simpson, whose credits include television dramas Spooks and New Tricks and audio drama Fragments, was inspired to write Fugue State by a series of talks at the Wellcome Trust on how the human brain processes inputs.

Fugue State also won the Best Use of Sound category at the Audio Drama Awards. Talking at the ceremony, Simpson applauded Radio 4 as the “outlet for radio drama in this country… we’re very lucky to have it.”

The fifth annual BBC Audio Drama Awards also saw actress June Whitfield CBE honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award and actor Sir John Hurt CBE awarded Outstanding Contribution to Radio.

Dramatist, WGGB member and former Theatre Chair Amanda Whittington won the Best Series or Serial Award for Children in Need: D for Dexter, a powerful and moving radio drama inspired by a collaboration with the charity Home-Start UK, which offers support to families who are struggling to cope.

A special tribute was made at the ceremony to the late broadcaster Sir Terry Wogan, described by Director of BBC Radio Helen Boaden as “one of our great radio legends”.

About the Tinniswood Award

The Tinniswood Award is run by the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain and Society of Authors, with the prize of £1,500 donated by Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS).

The other shortlisted writers this year were Sean Grundy for Far Side of the Moore and Joseph O’Connor for Vampyre Man. The judges were writer Mike Bartlett, dramatist and novelist Nell Leyshon and author and dramatist Rachel Joyce.

Previous winners have included Morwenna Banks, Murray Gold and Christopher William Hill.

The Tinniswood Award was set up in memory of scriptwriter Peter Tinniswood.

Find out more about the award.

Read the script and listen to a clip of Fugue State.