BBC Radio Drama History

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.

The content of all the companion web-pages for this project is in the process of development, and completion is expected 31st July 2023 following the publication of the printed book 31st March 2023. Many thanks for your patience and consideration.

Seminal developments in the history of BBC radio/audio drama

Any selection by a historian is Inevitably subjective and apologies for those plays, artists and events omitted though considered more important by others.

Radio/audio drama has been continually originated in all parts of the BBC- Children’s programming, Features and Drama Departments, Light Entertainment and Variety departments, local radio and nation state (Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) and overseas services.

BBC Radio Drama Timeline

A selection of highlights to mark more than 100 years of BBC Radio Drama by Professor Tim Crook, Goldsmiths University of London

Dramatic Beats Archive on 4, BBC R4 Best known for his prize winning poetry, Michael Symmons Roberts has also written numerous radio dramas over the years, and is a passionate advocate for one of the great cornerstones of British radio for the past one hundred years. Guests include Caroline Raphael, Susan Roberts, Professor Tim Crook and Ayeesha Menon.

The Strange Survival of Radio Drama by David Hendy, Emeritus Professor University of Sussex author of The BBC: A People’s History.


First original radio drama Christmas Eve December 24 1922. Written specially for the BBC by Phyllis M. Twigg under the pen-name Moira Meighn. The True Story of Father Christmas as told by The Fairy Dustman was performed live for half an hour with Arthur playing Father Christmas and flying a plane with thousands of presents and lighting up the imagination of children to meet  ‘with Santa Claus always in the Hall of Hearts.’

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