We Am Da Champions – Huzzah!


Science Fiction on the radio…well on mainstream UK radio anyway…has all but disappeared over the past 20 years.  Whether it is due to uninspired commissioning, a lack of SF proposals, too many Hitch-hiker’s Guide knock offs, or something else entirely, the simple fact is SF radio is a rare beast.

Well, BBC Radio 4 changed that (for a mere week, but let’s not complain) last year with a Sci Fi season.  For this week of SF plays and progs, I directed and produced two Afternoon plays, “Cry Babies” by Kim Newman and “Mayflies” by Mike Maddox.  Both starred internationally renowned actors of some repute (Sir Derek Jacobi, anyone?!) and both garnered critical praise as well as being immensely popular with the listeners.

Sadly, since then, the BBC radio boffins seem to have gone off scifi and other than the top types at BBC Radio 7, there is little new radio scifi.

BUT WAIT!  What’s this?  On Friday evening in New York city, the Oscars(tm) of international radio took place in a plush hotel.  The New York Festival Awards are the very tippy-toppest of awards for our industry and pit your work against the work of luminaries and worthy types from across the globe.  Just to be nominated is an honour.  But guess what?  “Mayflies” was awarded the New York Bronze Award for Best Drama Special.  That makes our wee little scifi play the third bestest radio play in the world.  Whooeee!

(We also won the New York Bronze Award for Religious Programming for our documentary “Twin Sisters Two Faiths” – heartiest congrats to Anna and Adam for another gong for this superb bit of programming!)

And, as an important aside, “Cry Babies” by Kim Newman is nominated for the Tinniswood Award…so keep those fingers crossed!

So…scifi radio isn’t just popular with listeners and critics, but with those who know what they know and give out the awards.  I, for one, am extremely chuffed!  Congrats to Mike Maddox for writing such a superb play, kudos to Jeremy Paul Carroll for writing some stunning music, big hand claps to Simon Willey for recording and editing it together with me, and many thanks to the god who is Dirk Maggs for exec producing it and being my guiding light.  Here’s the cast:

  • Sir Derek Jacobi (everything…really!  Also, Doctor Who!)
  • Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter, West Wing, Event Horizon)
  • Catherine McCormack (Braveheart, 28 Weeks Later)
  • Danny Webb (Doctor Who, Valkyrie)
  • Sarah Douglas (Superman I & II, Conan The Destroyer)
  • Steven Cree (Cabaret, Dream Team, John Carter of Mars)
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About hokusbloke
30-something radio producer/director/writer, owner & MD of Ladbroke Productions (the UK's oldest independent radio production company). Lover of far fetched fiction, scifi and fantasy, my cats and all thinks tech. I am also the Chair of the Radio Independents Group, a former Trustee of the Radio Academy, and a Fellow of the RSA. I co-wrote, produced and directed Robert Rankin's "The Brightonomicon" audio series, produce Dr Who audiobooks for the BBC, and directed several sci-fi radio plays for BBC Radio 4 in 2009. I am a strong advocate for more SF audio and radio...keep watching this space for upcoming news!

One Response to We Am Da Champions – Huzzah!

  1. MerseyMal says:

    Congrats on the awards and nominations!

    Here’s hoping BBC bods pull their fingers out and commission some more!

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