BBC Radio 4 Afternoon Drama
Catch the ear
The 45 minute Afternoon Drama is a very particular animal. The broadcast slot starts daily at 2.15 pm, following the jaunty music from The Archers. The drama has to change worlds, change atmospheres in a heartbeat.
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 14 original Afternoon Dramas. 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?