David Pownall- Radio Drama Plays

Writing Audio Drama by Tim Crook published by Routledge 31st March 2023

Book Description

Writing Audio Drama offers a comprehensive and intelligent guide to writing sound drama for broadcasting and online. This book uses original research on the history of writing radio plays in the UK and USA to explore how this has informed and developed the art form for more than 100 years.

Audio drama in the context of podcasting is now experiencing a global and exponential expansion. Through analysis of examples of past and present writing, the author explains how to create drama which can explore deeply psychological and intimate themes and achieve emotional, truthful, entertaining and thought-provoking impact. Practical analysis of the key factors required to write successful audio drama is covered in chapters focusing on audio play beginnings and openings, sound story dialogue, sustaining the sound story, plotting for sound drama, and the best ways of ending audio plays. Chapters are supported by online resources which expand visually on subjects discussed and point to exemplar sound dramas referenced in the chapters.

This textbook will be an important resource for advanced undergraduate and postgraduate students taking courses such as Podcasting, Radio, Audio Drama, Scriptwriting, and Media Writing.

David Pownall is regarded as one of Britain’s foremost and very highly regarded sound/radio playwrights.

Oberon books have published a volume of six of his award-winning radio plays (1998) as well as a memoir ‘Sound Theatre: Thoughts on the Radio Play.’ His plays are sometimes rebroadcast by BBC Radio 4 Extra. Here is a selection of some of them available at the time of writing (August 2022) via the Learning On Screen Archive subscription service.

Under the Table

Saturday, 27 Apr 2019, 16:00 90 mins

BBC Radio 4 Extra


Spring 1945: A boy overcomes his terror of a world at war to demand of Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin – who are meeting in his grandfather’s greenhouse – a reason why his mother is now widowed and inconsolable. Starring David Calder as the storyteller, Kenneth Cranham as Seph Hammer, Robert Lang as Churchill, Andrew Sachs as Stalin, David Healy as Roosevelt, Jonathan Keeble as Hitler, Oliver Senton as Jack, Becky Hindley as Rusty, Maureen O’Brien as May Hammer, Peter Yapp as Mr Hunt, Natasha Pyne as Rouille, Andrew Branch as Bags and David Antrobus as Trevor. Music composed by Neil Brand and performed by Sarah Homer. Director: Eoin O’Callaghan First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 1995.

Programme ID 030E2A12

This recording is to be used only for non-commercial educational purposes under the terms of an ERA Licence

David Pownall, Under the Table, 16:00 27/04/2019, BBC Radio 4 Extra, 90 mins.

If your university, college or school has a subscription to Learning On Screen ‘Box of Broadcasts’ this play can be listened to for non-commercial educational purposes.

See the list of his radio drama work profiled by the Radio Plays suttonelms.org.uk resource:-

David Pownell Radio Plays

In May 2013, BBC Radio 4 and Radio 4 Extra celebrated David Pownall’s 75th birthday by scheduling a full season of his plays. His publisher said this proved ‘he is not only one of the most prolific writer of radio plays in the 20th and 21st century, but also one of the most talented.’ The broadcasts made were listed by BBC Radio 4 Extra.

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