Sir Tom Stoppard, Maggie Steed, David Threlfall amongst winners of the BBC Audio Drama Awards 2021


BBC Radio 4

The BBC Audio Drama Awards 2021 has revealed winners including Sir Tom Stoppard, Maggie Steed, David Threlfall and the youngest recipient to date, Jordan Nash - all in a virtual ceremony marking the 10th year of the awards. The Outstanding Contribution prize and a new Year Of Reinvention category both recognised the sector’s achievements in light of challenges presented by Covid-19.

Director General of the BBC Tim Davie, who spoke at the inaugural ceremony in 2011, opened the event, saying: “British radio drama remains world famous for the quality and range of the work - from outstanding titles of world literature to brand new works by first time writers, or debut performances by new actors. The importance of audio drama as a laboratory for new talent and production skills is a vital component in the broader British cultural sector.

“After this extraordinary year, these awards are particularly about celebrating the teamwork that goes into creating great content, despite the challenging circumstances that we have all been working in.”

The award for Best Adaptation was presented to playwright Sir Tom Stoppard for The Voyage Of The St. Louis. His vivid adaptation of Daniel Kehlmann’s play told the story of 900 Jewish refugees on board an ocean liner several months before the outbreak of the Second World War. Accepting the award by video message, Sir Tom said: “I’m proud to say I’ve been a radio playwright on and off for more than half the life span of radio drama itself. So I’m pleased as punch to be a participant on any terms in this celebration of the art of radio.”

The best actor categories recognised performances ranging from the dark and reflective, to the comedic and inspiring. Maggie Steed took Best Actress for her solo appearance in Suffer Little Children, in which on her 80th birthday, a woman recounts a life of sacrifice. Best Actor was awarded to David Threlfall for his portrayal of legendary comedian Ken Dodd in Happiness!. At 13 years old Jordan Nash, known to audiences for Harlots and the 2019 cinema remake of Aladdin, became the youngest recipient of a BBC Audio Drama award. Nash was presented with Best Debut for his role as Oli in the radical updating of Dickens’ classic, Oliver: Lagos To London.

A new award, Year Of Reinvention, recognised productions responding to the impact of the pandemic. It was presented to Lockdown Theatre Festival’s broadcast of Rockets and Blue Lights - part of a project spearheaded by actor Bertie Carvel giving stage productions cut short by coronavirus new lives on Radio 3 and Radio 4; also including Love, Love, Love, Shoe Lady and The Mikvah Project.

This year’s Outstanding Contribution award also reflected on recent challenges. Dedicated to studio managers, engineers and all technical staff, both at the BBC and independent production companies, it recognised their ingenuity and commitment to audio drama over the last 12 months. The award was presented through a video message by writer Neil Gaiman, who said: “This award recognises your Herculean efforts over the last 12 months. You had to reinvent the wheel for almost all of your working practices overnight. It’s an incredible achievement and there could be no question that this year’s Outstanding Contribution Award would be dedicated to all of you.”

Alison Hindell, Radio 4 Commissioning Editor for Drama and Fiction says: “It has been a year unlike any other for us all and I know listeners have found enjoyment, escapism and diversion in listening to the high-quality drama and comedy productions that have continued despite such difficult personal and professional circumstances. The awards this year are doubly deserved - congratulations to all the finalists and winners.”

Further winners included the surreal satirical comedy show, The Skewer, haunting drama podcast Unwell: A Midwestern Gothic Mystery, Johnny Flynn and Robert Hudson’s blending of music and satire, Magnitsky The Musical, plus many more - a full list of winners is below.

The awards were hosted by John Wilson, prize givers included actors Adjoa Andoh, Christopher Eccleston, Dame Harriet Walter, Ruth Jones and Radio 4 Controller Mohit Bakaya.

Full list of winners

Best Original Single Drama

Magnitsky The Musical, directed by Sasha Yevtushenko, BBC Radio 3
Best Original Series

Broken English, produced and directed by Eoin O'Callaghan, Big Fish Radio, BBC Radio 4
Best Adaptation

The Voyage Of The St Louis, adapted by Tom Stoppard, directed by Sasha Yevtushenko, BBC Radio 4
Best Actor

David Threlfall, Happiness!, directed by Gemma Jenkins, BBC Radio 4
Best Actress

Maggie Steed, Suffer Little Children, directed by Jessica Dromgoole, BBC Radio
Best Debut

Jordan Nash, Oliver: Lagos to London, directed by Gill Parry, feral inc, BBC Radio 4
Best Use Of Sound

The Grey Man And Other Lost Legends, sound design by Steve Bond, directed by Steve Bond and Joby Waldman, Reduced Listening, BBC Radio 4
Best Scripted Comedy (Longform)

The Musical Life Of Boudicca, written by Dan Kiss and Dave Cribb, The Rubber Chicken, BBC Radio Wales
Best Scripted Comedy (Sketch)

The Skewer, written and produced by Jon Holmes, Unusual, BBC Radio 4
Best Online Or Podcast

Unwell: A Midwestern Gothic Mystery, directed by Jeffrey Nils Gardner, HartLife NFP
Best European Drama

Earthquake by Janko Polić Kamov, producer Katja Šimunić, HRT Croatian Radio
Year Of Reinvention

Lockdown Theatre Festival - Rockets And Blue Lights, directed by Miranda Cromwell, BBC Radio 3
Outstanding Contribution

All studio managers, sound designers, technical staff and engineers contributing to audio drama through this past year
Imison Award

Maynard by Fraser Ayres, produced by Mel Harris, Sparklab Productions for BBC Radio 4
Tinniswood Award

• Tristram Shandy: In Development, written by Christopher Douglas, produced by Gary Brown, BBC Audio Drama North for BBC Radio 4

Notes to Editors

The BBC Audio Drama Awards recognise the hard work, creativity and dedication of professionals across the sector, from actors to writers, producers, and sound designers. The awards showcase diverse artistic endeavours, a wide range of formats, tackling an array of themes, and spanning both on air and online productions. As the biggest commissioner of audio drama globally, the BBC is proud to highlight the achievements of the sector.

The categories are judged by a team of industry experts including actor Ruth Jones, journalist Baz Bamigboye and actor Neil Dudgeon. In its ten-year history, the BBC Audio Drama Awards has presented trophies to an array of talents including Andrew Scott, Dame Sian Phillips, Sir John Hurt, Vicky McClure, Sir Ian McKellen, Monica Dolan, Alexei Sayle and The Archers.

The BBC Audio Drama Awards cover audio dramas first broadcast in English in the UK between 1 October 2019 and 31 October 2020 or first uploaded/published/released for free listening online in the UK during the same period. Productions may be entered from anywhere in the world subject to these criteria. In addition, the Best European Audio Drama welcomes dramas in other languages than English.

Entries were welcome from all makers of audio drama, and were not restricted to BBC broadcasts. Each programme producer could enter up to four categories (one entry only per category). The audio drama had to be submitted exactly as broadcast or uploaded. There was no entry fee.

The Imison Award is administered by the Society of Authors and the Tinniswood Award by the Society of Authors and the Writers’ Guild.

Source BBC Radio 4

March 29, 2021 5:00am ET by BBC Radio 4  

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