It is presented annually to the best original audio drama script. A prize of £3,000 is sponsored by the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society and will be presented by author Philip Pullman at the BBC Audio Drama Awards on 28 January 2018.
The judges this year are: Hardeep Singh Kohli, Colin Teevan and Jane Thynne.
Previous winners include Morwenna Banks, Mike Bartlett and Colin Teevan.
We are delighted to announce the following shortlist:
Directed by Sally Avens, BBC Radio Drama, 95’, BBC Radio 3
The judges said: “This is an excellently crafted, timely and grippingly suspenseful play touching on themes of real and virtual stalking and security, identity theft, data harvesting and manipulation. Such is Eldridge’s masterly use of the radiophonic and dramatic form whilst maintaining tight focus on the central character, the play never loses sight of the broader political, social and legal implications either for her or the listener. A thought provoking, grown-up drama.”
David Eldridge is widely regarded as one of the prominent playwriting voices of his generation, whose productions have premiered across the UK at venues including The National, The Royal Court, The Royal Exchange and The Donmar. His play Beginning premiered this Autumn at The Dorfman Theatre and transfers to the West End’s Ambassadors Theatre in January 2018. Television credits include The Scandalous Lady W and Our Hidden Lives with radio credits including the Prix Europa award-winning The Picture Man.
The judges said: “This is a perfectly formed piece of comic dramatic writing. While the play functions as a gentle satire on, and reductio ad absurdum of, the aspirations of empire and colonialism, it never loses sight of the humanity of those minions who must service such a grasping cause. Much of the humour of the piece derives from reading the personal sentiments between the lines of the official declarations. What emerges is the warmth of human friendship in contrast to the coldest of colonial and climatic environments.”
John Finnemore is a writer, comedian and actor. He is the sole writer and star of sketch-show John Finnemore’s Souvenir Programme, now in its seventh series, and wrote and starred in four series of hit sitcom Cabin Pressure. Between them, Cabin Pressure, Souvenir Programme and Double Acts have won Writers’ Guild, New York Radio, British Comedy Guide, Radio Academy, BBC Audio Drama and Chortle awards. John was awarded Radio Broadcaster of the Year by the Broadcasting Press Guild in 2016.
The judges said: “This was a dark and original dystopia that took an inspired perspective on issues of migration and identity. Set in the near future, the current situation is reversed and refugees are desperate to escape the UK. In their attempt to cross the border and navigate a passage over the Irish Sea, Layla and her daughter are pursued by the chilling forces of state security. This was an absorbing thriller, with Orwellian echoes, that had the judges gripped”.
Sarah Woods works in collaboration with scientists, charities and campaigners to communicate current issues through innovative drama. For BBC radio, she has written over 30 plays, series, adaptations and drama-documentaries. Over the last few years, her work for Radio 4 includes Watch Me, The State of Water, My Life with Flu and A Speck of Dust. She is currently dramatising Karl Marx’s Das Kapital.
Above photo of Lenny Henry (pictured hosting last year’s BBC Audio Drama Awards): BBC. Photo of Sarah Woods: Christa Holka