Catch the ear
Broadcast Radio Drama is a very particular animal. Your program my have to following the jaunty music from The Archers, or a major calamity on the news. The drama has to change worlds, change atmospheres in a heartbeat. You must grab your audience and hold them captive for your 15, 45 or 60 minute slot. And if it's a serial, leave them wanting more.
Sling the hook
A radio audience is not captive: people can walk out any time. They can also arrive mid story. Even an online audience is listening 'while': driving, cooking, cleaning, doing the tax return, working the day job. So an afternoon play has to start with a hook and not let go.
Invade the brain
Once you've got the listener hooked, you feed the imagination. With the infinite universes available to radio, its a mean-minded writer who sets a drama around a table. Unless the table itself has a point of view.
Turn the tables
Yes, I do write scenes with tables. But the best stuff happens:
Inside the mind of an octopus
On horseback, following a hunt pack
In a temporary refugee camp in Gatwick Airport
Orbiting Earth in Vostock
Stuck in a human exodus round the M25
Floating in an isolation tank in a 1960's medical test
Sitting at a pub table. With a tiny lost alien in your ear
I've written 28 radio dramas and serials. I've featured 10 case studies here (click the photos)
And there's more...
HOMESICK. What could you learn from an alien in your ear?
ENVY. Would you steal a handbag?