Additions and updates for Chapter 11 Film, Internet and Stage dimensions & Bibliography

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 exemplary 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.

Chapter Eleven

Updates and additions for Chapter 11 ‘Film, Internet and Stage dimensions to Sound Story Telling’ in Writing Audio Drama by Tim Crook published by Routledge in 2023.

This chapter investigates and discusses the relationship between sound and vision with how digital multimedia has expanded the possibilities of greater interactivity for listeners.

Analysis of examples of radio plays transferring to theatre, television and film such as the BBC’s Dad’s Army, Lucille Fletcher’s Sorry Wrong Number, and Jeremy Sandford’s research and writing of the life of Nigerian migrant David Oluwale in the early 1970s.

What was gained and lost with Orson Welles’s introduction of radio drama techniques of narrative and sound in the film Citizen Kane.  

Interactivity actually brings in the audience to contribute authorship, and make their own choices when offered a contingency of narrative options.

Extracts selected and analysed in the printed text for the purposes of criticism and review, scholarship and learning.

Dad’s Army, episode ‘Ten Seconds From Now’ by David Croft and Jimmy Perry adapted for radio by Harold Snoad & Michael Knowles

Analysis on page 186, paragraph 3:

MAIN: I decide it’s time to go out on patrol. I speak to my sergeant. Sergeant it’s time for us to go out on patrol.

WILSON: Cor, blimey sir. So it is ‘an all.

MAIN: Corporal, it’s time for us to go out on patrol.

JONES: Men, it’s time for us to go out on patrol.

(Croft & Perry adapted by Snoad & Knowles 1976)

Oluwale by Jeremy Sandford. BBC 1972.

Analysis on page 189, paragraph 2:

NARRATOR: This is a dramatization of the life and death of David Oluwale, a Nigerian who came to Britain in 1949 full of hope and who died tragically in a North country river in 1969.



NARRATOR: On August 16th David Oluwale stowed away on board the ship Temple Star and travelled in her from Lagos in Nigeria to London. That is the start of the story.


BLACK: Yes, there was a crowd of us, we all came in boats then, we came on the ‘Empire Windrush’.

(Sandford 1972:1)

Screenplay Smiling David: The Story of David Oluwale by Jeremy Sandford 1974.

Analysis on page 189, paragraph 5:



A wide sweeping bay in the

vicinity of Lagos,

All the dogs are barking in



Nigerian music,

Various shots show the lively

Street life in Lagos. Music



A boy sits up in the mountain.

He is DAVID (aged 6). Two or

three other BOYS

It is the mid-1930s

Catholic Mission School

CHILDEN sitting in class, among

them, DAVID (aged 8)

As we see this, we hear the voice of


You’ll do us proud, David. We did sacri-

fice for you, save up for you to go to the

Catholic school…

(ibid 13)

Companion Website Resources Chapter 11 Page 190

Companion Website Resources Bibliography Pages 191 to 218 (Only online links from bibliography are provided here)

Page 191

Balsam, E. (2019) The Closing Sequence of Claire Denis’s Beau Travail, Frieze, (200), 8 Jan 2019.

Page 194

Crook, T. (2014) Norman Corwin’s the Lonesome Train (Live Broadcast) CBS 1944: A critical reflection. RadioDoc Review, 1(1). doi:10.14453/rdr.v1i1.5 Online link

Dann, L. (2015) Only Half the Story: Radio Drama, Online Audio and Transmedia Storytelling, Brighton: University of Brighton at

Page 195

Fink, H. (1981) Beyond Naturalism: Tyrone Guthrie’s Radio Theatre and the Stage Production of Shakespeare. Theatre Research in Canada/Recherches théâtrales Au Canada, 2(1): 19–32, Retrieved from

Page 198

McMurtry, L. (2021) Special Section: Radio Drama Takeover. RadioDoc Review, Online at

Page 199

Teller, N. (2018) Audio Drama: 10 Plays for Radio and Podcast, Kindle at:

Page 200

Teller, N. (2021) More Audio Drama: 10 More Plays for Radio and Podcasts, Kindle at:

Watts, E. (2018) Drama Podcasts: An overview of the US and UK Drama Podcast Market, London: BBC Sounds and published at:

Johnstone, P. (2022) Independent Local Radio Drama:
A cultural, historical and regulatory examination of British Commercial Radio Drama, Bournemouth: Bournemouth University. This is available online at (Accessed 10 January 2023)

Pepler, C. S. L (1988) Discovering the Art of Wireless: A Critical History of Radio Drama at the BBC, 1922–1928, Bristol: University of Bristol. This is available online at (Accessed 3 September 2022)

Page 206

Anon, (1 June 1978) ‘The Revenge: A play for radio without words by Andrew Sachs’ Radio Times, Issue 2846, online archive at

Jacobs-Jenkins, B. (2022) An Octoroon. Interview with Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, playwright, National Theatre Blog. visited 13th August 2022. [Note blog page link removed by National Theatre after referenced in research and writing for this book and just prior to print publication.]

Page 207

Bick, Andreas (1 May 2010) A Pot Calling The Kettle Black!, available at (Accessed 31 August 2022).

Brecht, B. (1963) The Trial of Lucullus. KPFA Readers’ Theatre, technical production by John Whiting. Translation HR Hays. Broadcast March 18, 1963 on KPFA, Berkeley, California, Available at:

Cooper, G. (2018) The Disagreeable Oyster, 21:15 06/08/2018, BBC Radio 4 Extra, 45 minutes. Available at: (Accessed 31 Aug 2022)

Durham, R. (15 May 1949a) The Ballad of Satchel Paige, NBC/WMAQ in the series Destination Freedom. Available at (Accessed 19 August 2022)

Durham, R. (5 June 1949b) Anatomy of an Ordinance, NBC/WMAQ in the series Destination Freedom. Available at, (Accessed 19 August 2022)

Page 208

Fletcher, L. (17 November 1941) Suspense – The Hitch-hiker, CBS Radio production from 1942, Available at, (Accessed 25 Aug 2022)

Fletcher, L. (25 May 1943) Suspense – Sorry, Wrong Number, CBS Radio production, Available at, (Accessed 25 Aug 2022)

Phillips, C. (2017) The Wasted Years, 20:30 27/08/2017, BBC Radio 4 Extra, 90 minutes. (Accessed 31 Aug 2022)

Smith, Al. (2021) Life Lines, ‘Episode 1 of 6, Series 5, BBC Radio 4, 15 September 2021, available online 30 July 2022 at:

Stoppard, T. (2017) Artist Descending A Staircase, Drama on 3, 21:00 08/10/2017, BBC Radio 3, 80 minutes. Available at: (Accessed 31 Aug 2022).

Walker, M. (23 September 2003) The Dark House, BBC Radio 4. Available at: (Accessed 28 August 2022).

West, T. (1959) This Gun That I Have in My Right Hand is Loaded, clyp available online at:, (Accessed 31 Aug 2022).

White, Graham (17 October 2010) The Unfortunates, dramatisation of BS Johnson’s 1960s ‘novel in a box’, BBC R3, Available at:, (Accessed 21 August 2022).

Wishengrad, M. (12 December 1943) The Battle of the Warsaw Ghetto, NBC network, available online at: (Acccessed 31st Aug 2022).

Page 210

The independently developed online site originated and managed by Nigel Deacon Radio Plays & Radio Drama is, in my opinion, one of the most important publicly accessible online resources recording the history and appreciation of British audio drama in the world.

Recommended summary of audio play-writing advice from BBC World Service competition page (last updated 2012 and archived):
The International Radio Playwriting Competition 2020. BBC World Service. Ten tips for writing a play for radio.
BBC Writers’ Room Online 2022
Scriptwriting essentials

  1. Developing Your Idea
    All ideas are only as good as the characters that drive them, and all good ideas need to be dramatic.
  2. Know What You Want to Write
    Strong scripts know what they are and what they are trying to do.

Page 211

  1. Beginnings (and Endings)
    Knowing where to start with the story that you tell is inextricably linked to the ending you are trying to reach.
  2. The Muddle in the Middle
    The difficulty with many scripts and stories is the middle – the stretch that connects the beginning with the end.
  3. Characters Bring Your Words to Life
    Characters are the thing that separate great scripts from only competent scripts – and great writers from only competent writers.
  4. Scenes
    A scene is the combination of time, place and setting you use to frame and show a significant moment or event in the story.
  5. Dialogue
    Dialogue is not just about what characters say – it’s about what they express by what they say.
  6. Writing is Rewriting
    So you’ve developed your idea, worked out what kind of story and experience it is, created characters, structured the story, brought it to scenic life, and voiced the characters. You have a draft and it feels like an achievement.

Paul Ashton’s Perfect 10. Blog at BBC Writers Room

  1. Medium, Form and Format
  2. Get your story going!
  3. Coherence
  4. Character is Everything
  5. Emotion
  6. Surprise!
  7. Structure
  8. Exposition and Expression

Page 212

  1. Passion
  2. Be Yourself

Script Room latest: radio drama
By Paul Ashton Tuesday 14 May 2013, 10:28

John Yorke’s 10 Questions
John Yorke’s 10 Questions are used by top TV writers all over the UK to unlock and refine their stories:

Writing Radio Drama
Radio drama is the most intimate relationship a scriptwriter can have with their audience, and yet it can also cheaply create anything that you can imagine.

Monday–Friday 10:45–11am Radio 4 (repeated at 19.45 weekdays)
15 Minute Drama – Short form (15min) commissioned in multiples of 5, ideally a series with individual stories in each episode or short term stories that mature over five or ten episodes.
Monday–Friday 2:15–3.00pm Radio 4
Afternoon Drama – Daily narrative drama strand. A complete story that is imaginative, accessible and entertaining.
Saturday 2:30–3:30pm Radio 4
Saturday Drama – Enjoyment and escapism. For example: love stories, thrillers, and extraordinary personal stories.
Sunday (time varies) Radio 3
Drama on 3 – Radical drama, classics and new theatre productions.

Page 213

BBC Radio 4 Drama

BBC Radio Drama Podcast of the week
BBC Sounds produces podcast/online drama, which is also broadcast on BBC Radio 4.
Examples. Doctor Who: Redacted
When a terrifying phenomenon starts redacting the Doctor from reality, three queer women become the world’s only hope. #DoctorWhoRedacted
Lusus What happens when your neuroses come to life? What shape will they take? Lusus is a brand new psychological horror podcast starring Ncuti Gatwa, Morfydd Clark and Alistair Petrie.

Life Lines Podcast
Al Smith’s award-winning series set in an ambulance control room.
BBC Radio Four Extra Podcasts and Podcast Radio Hour
Script Library – Radio Drama
Scripts from the BBC Radio Drama archive
Making Radio Drama – the bad news and the good news
Friday 7 March 2014, 12:35 by Stephen Wyatt
Writing for Radio – Find Your ‘Itch’
Thursday 28 August 2014, 10:50 by Al Smith
The Writer’s Prize commission: Bang Up
Thursday 8 August 2013, 11:51 by Sarah Hehir
Creating Home Front – Radio 4’s epic new First World War drama
Friday 1 August 2014, 11:54 by Jessica Dromgoole

Page 214

Red Velvet – Rediscovering Ira Aldridge
Thursday 17 July 2014, 14:40 by Lolita Chakrabarti
Writing The Archers: From idea to airwaves
Monday 21 October 2013, 9:15 by Keri Davies
Five things I know about writing The Archers
Tuesday 22 October 2013, 12:25 by Carole Salazzo
Gordon House talking about key things when writing radio plays. 1 Nov 1996
Launch of the International Radio Playwriting Competition. BBC World Service. Spotlight
Technical presentation or sound design for radio drama. BBC World Service Spotlight. 21st July 1996.
Ten tips for writing a radio play. 2020 BBC World Service International Radio Playwriting Competition
My Shakespeare Radio Drama at 90. The first radio drama, a scene from Julius Caesar, was broadcast 90 years ago. Now performed by Harriet Walter and Jenny Jules from Phyllida Lloyd’s all-female Donmar Warehouse production. Introduced by Jeremy Mortimer Published on February 16, 2013.

Companion website pages
Additions and updates for individual chapters.

Additions and updates for Chapter 1 Radio Drama is Born and in its Cradle
Additions and updates for Chapter 2 The Psychology of Writing and Listening
Additions and updates for Chapter 3 Instrumental Utilitarianism in Radio Playwriting – the Evolving Thoughts of Val Gielgud
Additions and updates for Chapter 4 Achieving the Long Form Audio Drama

Page 215

Additions and updates for Chapter 5 Beginning the Sound Story
Additions and updates for Chapter 6 Characterising the Sound Story
Additions and updates for Chapter 7 Dialogue and the Sound Story
Additions and updates for Chapter 8 Sustaining the Sound Story: Techniques and Devices Additions and updates for Chapter 9. Plotting the Sound Story: Techniques and Devices
Additions and updates for Chapter 10 Ending the Sound Story
Additions and updates for Chapter 11 Film, Internet and Stage dimensions to Sound Story Telling

Special subject pages
David Pownall – Radio Drama Plays
BBC Audio Drama Teaching and Learning
Gertrude E Jennings – BBC’s Pioneering One Act Playwright
Richard Hughes – Playwright and Novelist
Val Gielgud – Longest Serving BBC Radio Drama Editor 1929–1963
Drama on the Air USA – One Day in September 1939
Gordon Lea – Directing and Writing About Radio Plays
Life Lines – Radio Drama and Podcasting Drama by the BBC
The Radio Plays of Lawrence du Garde Peach
Tyrone Guthrie – Pioneering Radio Playwright
The Radio Plays of Reginald Berkeley
The Radio Plays of Caryl Phillips
The Radio Plays of Susan Hill https:///
The Radio Plays by Angela Carter
The Radio Plays of Lucille Fletcher
Short Story Radio Drama – Broken Porcelain by Tim Crook

Page 216

Anthony Minghella and Radio Drama
Audio and Drama-Documentary Otherwise Known as the Feature in Britain
Arch Oboler and Radio Drama
Archibald MacLeish and Radio Drama
Audio and Radio Drama Science Fiction
Giles Cooper Award Winning Scripts
Audio/Radio Drama Soap Operas
BBC Life Lines Sound Drama for Radio and Podcasting
BBC Radio Drama History
BBC Radio Drama of the 1950s
BBC Radio Drama of the 1960s
BBC Radio Great Play Series of 1928 & 1929
BBC World Service Radio Drama – Play Publications
Benjamin Zephaniah Radio Plays
Cecil Lewis and Radio Plays
Caryl Churchill and Radio Plays
Cinema Television and Audio Drama
Columbia Workshop and Radio Drama
D G Bridson and Radio Plays
Dylan Thomas Under Milk Wood and Radio Drama
European Radio Drama
German Radio Plays Hörspiel and the Avant Garde
Giles Cooper and Radio Plays
Glossary of Audio and Radio Drama Terms and Vocabulary
Harold Pinter and Radio plays

Page 217

Independent Radio Drama Productions IRDP
Kwame Kwei-Armah and Radio Drama
Lance Sieveking and Radio Drama
Lee Hall and Radio Drama
Louis MacNeice and Radio Plays
Mabel Constanduros and Radio Drama
Martin Esslin Radio Drama and National Theatre of the Air
Norman Corwin and Radio Drama
Oluwale Jeremy Sandford and Radio Drama
One Act Plays and Radio Drama
Orson Welles and Radio Plays
R C Scriven Radio Playwright
R E Jeffrey Pioneer Science Fiction Audio Playwright
Radio Drama and Representation of the Holocaust and Final Solution
Radio and Audio Drama Academic Studies
Roy Williams and Radio Drama
Sir Lenny Henry and Radio Drama

Tanika Gupta and Radio Plays
Winsome Pinnock and Radio Drama
Radio Drama and Dramatising Classical and Modern Literature
Richard Durham and Radio Drama
Samuel Beckett and Radio Drama
Tom Stoppard and Radio Plays
Tyrone Guthrie and Radio Plays
US Radio Drama History
Writing and Making Audio/Radio Drama Books

Page 218

Podcasting and Audio Drama
BBC World Service African Plays 1973
Audio Crime Drama and Radio Detectives
Radio Drama and Stage Theatre
Phyllis M Twigg – the BBC’s first original radio dramatist
Kathleen Baker aka John Overton – a prolific BBC radio playwright lost to history
Eric Fraser – Radio Drama Artist and Illustrator

The radiophonique/audiogenic end to the iconic UK ITV series Upstairs Downstairs in 1975

The final sequence of this series offers an evocative and successful use of radio/audio drama style montage in a television drama series mainly shot and directed in the studio, which was the style and produciton tradition of the time.

‘Whither Shall I Wander?’ completed the fifth season of the period drama created by Jean Marsh and Eileen Atkins, and developed by Alfred Shaughnessy for London Weekend Television.

It first aired on 21 December 1975 on ITV and ran for 68 hour long episodes between 1971 and 1975.

For many years it represented the conclusion of the story of the characters of 165 Eaton Place, Belgravia London until 2010 when the BBC revived the programme with a new series.

The memories of ghosts and dramatic scenes past is run as sound sequences when Rose, played by the programme’s co-creator Jean Marsh, walks alone through the abandoned and lifeless house.

The memories she recalls are associated with each room before she finally leaves the property, which bears a sign showing that it has been listed for sale.

The episode was written by John Hawkesworth and directed by Bill Bain.

Steve Phillips’ comprehensively detailed website about the series provides a summary of the episode:

‘…and Rose is left all alone in the house to check to see that all has been left in order. She starts in the attic and works her way down and recalls the bittersweet times – weddings, royal visits, telegrams, and the voices she has known and loved in this house.”…and Rose is left all alone in the house to check to see that all has been left in order. She starts in the attic and works her way down and recalls the bittersweet times – weddings, royal visits, telegrams, and the voices she has known and loved in this house.’

He also provides an additional factfile revealing that the last episode was the longest at 55 minutes:

‘As Rose wanders through the empty house, we hear audio extracts from old episodes. These include the voices of departed cast members, Pauline Collins, Karen Dotrice, Rachel Gurney and Simon Williams.’

The analogue nature of the poduction (in the pre-digital age) is exemplified by the kind of echo created to mark the end of the audio memories. There is an increasing metallic clanking crashing effect as the feedback is accelerted with the sound fader being pulled up to increase the volume.

The sound sequence is radio dramatic because it could standalone in sound only without the visual presentation and performance, though the context of the empty rooms and Rose’s rueful countenance provides an effective dramatic fusion of the audiovisual.

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