Short Audio Plays and Readings
THE TOWER MENAGERIE
Podcast commissioned by Historic Royal Palaces, created by Rusty Quill. London 1828. Keeper Alfred Copps takes you on a tour of the 300 animals living in the Tower of London. As the debauchery of the regent catches up with the King, Copps is overseeing the end of an era.
"I once watched a keeper break a tigress. Gentling her one moment, beating her the next until she barely knew herself. But she learned her lesson. She waited until the man grew complacent in his power. Then, delicately as a lady at tea, she hooked a single claw in his arm… smiled… then slowly and deliberately parted muscle from bone."
Short story for BBC Radio 4's Dangerous Visions, broadcast June 2016. Mother and son wait for a one-way flight to a new life. A tale about sacrifices you're prepared to make for personal freedom.
'Barriers funnel the crowd between the dogs. Mother and son have nothing to fear. The sniffers detect explosives, drugs and antagonist pheromones: not thoughts. But Mambo’s head bows automatically before The Guardians, the bone at the nape of his neck the only thing standing proud.
That bone. If Mylene had to pinpoint one reason why they were leaving, it was that.'
Produced by Jeremy Osbourne, Sweet Talk Productions. Read by Martina Laird.
INFINITE POSSIBILITIES AND UNLIKELY PROBABILITIES
Three 15 minute readings for BBC Radio 4, broadcast April 2016. Stories of coincidence, parallity, chaos-theory, uncertainty and love.
Vacant Possession. An estate agent challenges the past.
Balance. A stick of rock reveals the secret of the Universe.
Serving Children. A waiter serves potential futures.
"For Fran, it had started with the Scrabble sets. Actually, before that, it started with a programme on String Theory. Although if Fran thinks back far enough, it started before she was born.
Her parents talked to her in the womb. They didn’t know if she was a boy or a girl, and told themselves it didn’t matter. But when you start talking about someone, or to someone, you need a name. So they called her ‘Frances’, as that was gender-neutral. When she came out a girl, she became Frances with an ‘e’. Her ‘i’ was removed. This is a terrible thing to take away from a child."
Produced by Jeremy Osbourne, Sweet Talk Productions.
One of three Radio 4 Readings in the 'Why Robot' series, broadcast May 2010. The readings explore of Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics. A Companion robot is bought as a home-help for an elderly woman. But the robot has a purpose that goes beyond the three laws.
"Katrin bought the robot for her mother Eunice’s 70th birthday. She chose a ‘Companion-series’ humanoid from LifeBots-dot-com. It was programmed to recognise the warning symptoms of stroke and cardiac arrest. It was uplinked to the NHS Hub, could dispense medicines to prescription and was strong enough to lift a 20 stone man. It could also play Bridge."
Produced by Jeremy Osbourne, Sweet Talk Productions. Read by Sheila Steafel.
THE PHANTOM COSMONAUT
'The Phantom Cosmonaut' was part of BBC Radio 4 series of readings celebrating 50 years since the launch of Sputnik, broadcast October 2007. Before Yuri Gagarin's orbit the USSR is thought to have launched unsuccessful manned flights using Sputnik rocket technology. This short story follows one of these missions.
"At this distance, the sun itself is no more than a particularly bright star. At this distance, its warm breath is weak. But its hard light strikes a minute metal object, defines it in a sharp monochrome. It is torpedo-shaped, glass-smooth; trespassing blindly across space. It is silent. No movement or vibration indicates propulsion. It is on a long, unstoppable, sideways fall to infinity."
Produced by Jeremy Osbourne, Sweet Talk Productions. Read by Neil Dudgeon.
'Consuming Desires' is one of five short Radio 4 Women's Hour dramas about Brighton Beach Huts. Marty is a loser who wants to be a DJ. But a wild night in Brighton and a close encounter with a predatory beach hut could be set to change all that forever.
'You should have kept your eyes shut.'
Broadcast May 2006. Performed by Frances Barber, Carl Prekopp and Lucinda Cowden. Produced by Karen Rose Sweet Talk Productions.