Gina McKee, Shvorne Marks, Fenella Woolgar and more star in Radio 4’s Exemplar

The first audio drama from prolific sound designers Ben and Max Ringham

PHOTO: Gina McKee, Fenella Woolgar and Shvorne Marks


BBC Radio 4

Exemplar, a modern-day thriller about a forensic analyst who uses sound to solve mysteries, launches on Radio 4 and BBC Sounds on Friday 19 August. Bafta-winning actor Gina McKee (Our Friends In The North, Notting Hill) stars in the lead role, with Shvorne Marks (Endeavor) and Fenella Woolgar (Call The Midwife) also among the cast.

This series is Ben and Max Ringham’s first audio drama, and follows their acclaimed work as sound designers on productions including Anna at the National Theatre, Blindness at the Donmar Warehouse, and Prima Facie, starring Jodie Comer, at the Harold Pinter Theatre. The Ringhams’ script for Exemplar is a collaboration with leading dramatist Dan Rebellato.

Exemplar: an audio recording made by a forensic analyst to recreate the precise audio conditions of a piece of evidence in a criminal or civil case.

Jess (Gina McKee) is a lone wolf, a solitary, driven scientist, whose passion for sound makes her the UK’s leading audio forensic examiner. Born and bred in the North East, Jess has little time for personal life or the mundanities of the everyday. Together with her new trainee, Maya (Shvorne Marks), she undertakes a different sound challenge in every episode.

Listeners first join Jess as she attends the scene of a young woman’s apparently accidental death. Jess creates an audio exemplar to match a recording from a voice activated speaker together with her trainee Maya. Mysterious voice messages about the past from her mother, Judith, add to the tension.

Ben and Max Ringham say: “Writing audio drama for the first time has been a fascinating experience. We have been struck by how similar the process is to constructing a score; both employ an understanding of rhythm, dynamics and structure. We have found ourselves using the same parts of our brains in solving a series of creative dilemmas about how you get from point A to point B in an elegant way. It’s also been a bit terrifying at points and we’ve felt well out of our comfort zone, but it has been brilliant to have such a patient and generous collaborator in Dan Rebellato.”

Radio 4’s Commissioning Editor for Drama and Fiction Alison Hindell says: “We are delighted to have commissioned the first audio drama from such talented theatre makers, and especially as the story has the use of sound at the heart of the plot. The superb cast, led by a trio of acclaimed female performers, alongside the production team, make Exemplar an even more exciting project which I am sure will grip listeners on Radio 4 and BBC Sounds.”

This drama is a co-commission between Alison Hindell and Rhian Roberts, Radio 4 Commissioning Editor for Digital and Podcasts.

Exemplar will be the next title in Radio 4’s Limelight strand, it will be available in full on BBC Sounds from Friday 19 August, and also broadcast weekly on Radio 4 starting Friday 19 August at 14:15.

Jess ….. Gina McKee
Maya ….. Shvorne Marks
Aoife ….. Fenella Woolgar
Judith ….. Barbara Marten
Nathalie …. Chetna Pandya
Dylan ….. Don Gilet
Writers: Ben and Max Ringham, with Dan Rebellato.
Audio forensic consultant: James Zjalić
Sound recordist: Alisdair McGregor
Studio assistant: Oyin Fowowe
Production coordinator: Darren Spruce
Sound design: Lucinda Mason Brown and David Chilton
Original music: Ben and Max Ringham
Directors: Polly Thomas and Jade Lewis
Executive producer: Joby Waldman

A Reduced Listening production for BBC Radio 4

Source BBC Radio 4

July 22, 2022 4:00am ET by BBC Radio 4  

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