Ian Martin wins the Tinniswood Award 2020

Ian MartinEmmy-winning comedy writer and producer Ian Martin was presented the Tinniswood Award for best original audio drama script at the BBC’s Audio Drama Awards on 2 February 2020.

Martin (pictured left) took home the award for The Hartlepool Spy, which was produced by Sam Ward for BBC Radio 4

A tale of moral corruption and self-interest defeating the cause of justice, it is based on a true story – how the people of Hartlepool hanged a monkey as a French spy in the 19th century. Despite its recounting of the North East’s best-loved folk tale, the judges commented: “The author’s research is worn lightly. It is hilariously, delicately told; the characters are both comic and chilling… it is completely engaging.”

Martin’s long-running association with writer, director and producer Armando Iannucci has resulted in a host of political satires, including The Thick of It, In The Loop, Veep and The Death of Stalin. He is the also the author of several books, including Epic Space and The Coalition Chronicles, and has written for The Architects’ Journal, The Guardian and the New Statesman.

The Tinniswood Award was presented by playwright, producer, director and critic Patricia Cumper MBE, in a ceremony hosted by writer, comedian, actor, producer and journalist Meera Syal at BBC Broadcasting House in London. Dramatist Katie Hims was highly commended for Home Front: A Fragile Peace, the finale to Radio 4’s epic drama series, which charts the fortunes of characters in First World War Britain.

Dramatist Tanika Gupta MBE was also shortlisted for the Tinniswood Award for her audio drama, Death of a Matriarch (you can see full details of all the shortlisted writers, including further information on their work here).

The judges this year were Robert Bathurst, Rhiannon Tise and Patricia Cumper MBE.


The Tinniswood Award was established by WGGB and the Society of Authors to perpetuate the memory of writer Peter Tinniswood as well as to celebrate and encourage high standards in radio drama. The prize of £3,000 is generously donated by the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society, which sponsors the award. Previous winners include Oliver Emanuel, Sarah Woods, James Fritz, Morwenna Banks, Mike Bartlett and Colin Teevan. Find out more.

Photos: Tricia Yourkevick/BBC