Rank #1: First Do No Harm
A double bill of dramas looking at the crisis facing the NHS, both for those trying to challenge its workings from without and within. Elaine Newton's husband died while under NHS supervision, but attempting to clarify the faults that led to the tragedy brings the fury of the community down on her head. One doctor, Rhys Thomas, tries to help her. Cast Elaine......Rosie Cavaliero Rhys......Joel MacCormack Greg/Alan......Michael Bertenshaw Joy/Maz ...... Kelly Williams Niall/Ned......Joseph Ayre Jane/Annie......Sarah Ovens Colin......Don Gilet Mo......Annabel Facer Sue......Sharita Oomeer Dave/Karim......Ronny Jhutti Maggie/Tessa......Clare Corbett Lenny/Albie......Sam Dale Keith/Bojan......Christopher Harper Martha/Nadya......Franchi Webb Caz ...... Jade Croot Written by ..... Al Smith Directed by ..... Jessica Dromgoole Produced by ..... Jessica Dromgoole & Sally Avens First Do No Harm was originally aired on BBC Radio 4.
Rank #2: Stone - Episode 1
A return of the detective series created by Danny Brocklehurst and starring Hugo Speer.
Rank #3: China Towns: Episode 1
Inspired by the novels of Arnold Bennett, an epic tale of money, passion and defiance set in the Staffordshire potteries. Dramatised for radio by Shaun McKenna and Lin Coghlan. You can find Episode 2 on BBC Sounds now. It’s the 19th Century and the Industrial Revolution is at full throttle. Only the ruthless thrive in this uncompromising world. Edwin Clayhanger leaves school with dreams of becoming a painter but his father’s having none of it. Ephraim Tellwright ….. Neil Dudgeon Darius Clayhanger ….. Tim McInnerny Edwin ….. Cameron Percival Aunty Hamps ….. Carolyn Pickles Big James ….. Ian Conningham Constance ….. Bryony Hannah Sophia ….. Alexandra Constantinidi Mrs Baines ….. Clare Corbett Mr Povey ….. Lewis Bray Shushions ….. Michael Bertenshaw Thwaite ….. Tony Turner Machin ….. Christopher Harper Snaggs ….. Don Gilet Jeannie ….. Saffron Coomber Incidental music arranged by Colin Guthrie and performed by Colin Guthrie, Peter Ringrose and Ian Conningham. Produced and directed by Marion Nancarrow Presiding over this seething mass of industry are Ephraim Tellwright and Darius Clayhanger, self-made men, they hold the fate of this community in their hands, passing judgement on those that put the prosperity and reputation of the Five Towns at risk. This is a radical reinterpretation of six brilliant Arnold Bennett novels for BBC Radio 4. It's his world seen with a modern eye. The books follow the inhabitants of Bursley and the Five Towns (of Stoke-on-Trent) from 1865 – 1903 in an epic sweep across 11 hours, as individuals rise, fall, age, flourish and see the world around them become unrecognisable, transformed by new technology. Fortunes are lost, hearts broken, empires built and compromises made. These tales of aspiration and passion, damage and danger are told with Bennett's forensic, (journalist’s) eye for human psychology and a surprising degree of witty comedy. The Producers are Marion Nancarrow and Gemma Jenkins.
Rank #4: The Haunting of M.R. James: Ghost Stories
Five haunting tales from the master of the ghost story M.R. James. Stars Mark Gatiss. Dramatised by Neil Brand Director: David Hunter The Mezzotint M.R. James ..... Mark Gatiss Dr. Williams ..... Patrick Brennan Dr. Binks ..... Tony Turner Dr. Nisbet ..... Don Gilet Mrs. Filcher ..... Jeanette Percival Verger ..... Michael Bertenshaw Casting the Runes M.R. James ..... Mark Gatiss Dunning ..... John Bowler Karswell ..... Ewan Bailey Gayton ..... Paul Heath Mrs. Gayton ..... Saffron Coomber Harrington ..... Ronny Jhutti Assistant ..... Lewis Bray The Stalls of Barchester Cathedral M.R. James ..... Mark Gatiss Archdeacon Haynes ..... Sean Baker Letitia Haynes ..... Carolyn Pickles Jane ..... Saffron Coomber Verger ..... Michael Bertenshaw Pulteney ..... Neil Brand Stevens ..... Cameron Percival Runciman ..... Lewis Bray A Warning to the Curious M.R. James ..... Mark Gatiss Paxton ..... Paul Heath Jeffers ..... Michael Bertenshaw Long ..... Tony Turner Vicarl ..... Ewan Bailey Molly ..... Saffron Coomber Woman ..... Clare Corbett Rats M.R. James ..... Mark Gatiss Thomson ..... George Watkins Betts ..... Michael Bertenshaw Mrs Betts ..... Carolyn Pickles Stewart ..... Sean Baker
Rank #5: Romance is Dead: Last Date
A charming and quirky comic drama about the reluctantly dead. By Ben Lewis.
Rank #6: Good News Stories
Five contemporary dramas inspired by stories from the old and new testaments. Written by Katie Hims Directed by Mary Peate A Plague of Frogs LAURA ..... Nadia Clifford MR VENTURA ..... Michael Bertenshaw LEILA ..... Jayda Pryce MOSES ..... Joseph Nicholas AMBER ..... Ella Purton Eleven 73s Solly ..... Don Gilet Carla ..... Lucy Doyle Jo ..... Saffron Coomber June ..... Rachel Davies Passenger 1 ..... Tony Turner Passenger 2 ..... Jeanette Percival Song of Solomon Solly ..... Don Gilet Marsha ..... Saffron Coomber Leila ..... Jayda Pryce Lloyd ..... Alex Lanipekun Carys ..... Alexandra Constantinidi Angel Delight Laura ..... Nadia Clifford Claudia ..... Jeanette Percival Angel ..... Tony Turner Rick ..... Cameron Percival Leila ..... Jayda Pryce Trumpet .... Peter Ringrose Ms Lazarus Jesus ..... Alex Lanipekun Atilla ..... Don Gilet Laura ..... Nadia Clifford June ..... Rachel Davies Driver ..... Tony Turner Receptionist ..... Saffron Coomber
Rank #7: How to Survive the Roman Empire, by Pliny and Me
Role Contributor Venta the slave keeps an observant eye on Pliny the Younger, his mother Marcella and Doris the Greek cook in this second series of adventures in 1st-century Rome. A BBC/Cymru Wales production Pliny the Younger - Kieran Hodgson Venta - Nigel Barrett Marcella - Joanna Scanlan Doris the Cook - Mia Soteriou Emperor Domitian - Ewan Bailey Lucipor - Ewan Bailey Regulus - Matthew Gravelle Calvin - Jon Key Director - Kate McAll Writer - Hattie Naylor
Rank #8: Holding Back The Tide: Selling The Capstan
Comedy about a small town resistant to change. When the local tearoom is threatened with takeover by a major coffee chain, The Breck Howe Preservation Society decide to take direct action to save it; John Hector has big ideas but unsurprisingly things don't go to plan. You can listen to more episodes of Holding Back The Tide on BBC Sounds. John ..... Ronald Pickup Richard ..... Paul Ritter Clare ..... Kate Duchêne Lux ..... Michelle Asante Robust Betty ..... Emma Handy Brandi ..... Saffron Coomber Librarian ..... Liam Lau Fernandez A Heavy ..... Don Gilet Wayne ..... Lewis Bray Written by Nick Warburton Directed by Sally Avens
Rank #9: Door in the Pillow
Frank Cottrell-Boyce, award-winning screenwriter & novelist, tells a very personal story
Rank #10: Into the Maze - Episode 1
As part of BBC Radio 4's Riot Girls season, a thriller by Ayeesha Menon that plays out across three locations - London, Saudi Arabia and Mumbai - exploring the struggles faced by women across the globe when it comes to sexual assault, harassment and personal freedom. Sisters Jamila and Saira grew up in a very traditional Muslim village in India, but are now forging independent lives of their own - Jamila in Mumbai, and Saira as a student in London. Saira also works at a hotel in London, but when she is raped by a rich and influential Saudi hotel guest, the lives of both sisters are thrown into turmoil. You can hear the next episodes, plus the rest of the dramas in Radio 4's Riot Girls season, on BBC Sounds. Directed by Emma Harding Jamila.....Maya Sondhi Saira.....Aysha Kala Najma.....Fatima Adoum Majid.....Silas Carson Zafar.....Amir El-Masry Clare.....Clare Corbett Colleague......Christopher Harper Sharon.....Jeanette Percival Andy.....Lewis Bray Ms Morgan.....Carolyn Pickles John McKinley.....Tony Turner DC Price.....Alexandra Constantinidi Officer Megan.....Lucy Doyle Wheeler.....Sam Dale Jamila's Boss.....Waleed Elgadi Guide.....Ronny Jhutti Research Consultant.....David Rhodes, Doughty Street Chambers
Rank #11: Pilgrim - The Winter Queen
Pilgrim returns! The immortal wanderer, William Palmer faces a new challenge when he discovers a mystery and a plan for revenge served very cold. A two-part adventure to mark the Winter Solstice. Pilgrim ….. Paul Hilton Mrs Bronson ….. Fenella Woolgar Roxanna ….. Carolyn Pickles Sam Notice ….. Tony Turner Matt ….. Cameron Percival Donny ….. Tayla Kovacevic Ebong Jack Sweet ….. Don Gilet Klara ….. Jeanette Percival Lloyd ..... Lewis Bray The Girl ..... Agnes Bateman Jonas ..... Michael Bertenshaw Taylor ..... Alexandra Constantinidi Directed by Marc Beeby and Jessica Dromgoole THE LEGEND: In 1195, while on a pilgrimage to Canterbury, William Palmer (Pilgrim) was cursed with immortality by the King of the Greyfolk for denying the presence of ‘the other world’ - a world of strange, unpredictable faeries, of magic and ancient ritual - which co-exists with our everyday reality. Ever since then it has been Pilgrim's fate to walk the line between the worlds of magic and of men, doing what he can to maintain the balance between the two.
Rank #12: Orlando
Virginia Woolf's Orlando re-imagined by five poets An exhilarating, inventive, comedic odyssey spanning four centuries. A journey of self-discovery and transformation, unravelling gender expectations, identity and sexuality. Chapter 1 & 6: by Amanda Dalton Chapter 2: by Caroline Bird Chapter 3: by Zena Edwards Chapter 4: by Karen McCarthy Woolf Chapter 5: by Hannah Silva ORLANDO.....Emma Frankland OAK TREE.....Claire Benedict QUEEN ELIZABETH I / THE BLACKAMOOR.....Nina Sosanya MRS GRIMSDITCH.....Kate Rutter EUPHROSYNE / SASHA / MAID.....Natalie Grady NICHOLAS GREEN / CAPTAIN.....Rupert Hill GRACE......Leonie Elliott RUSTUM / NARRATOR.....Stephen Marzella SHELMERDINE/ BOW STREET RUNNER .....Cesare Taurasi Directed by Nadia Molinari Originally heard on Radio 3
Rank #13: Hello Caller
In the last two years British Telecom has decommissioned and removed at least 20,000 phone boxes. But what if these boxes have always been able to remember all of the conversations that have been routed through them, what if the wires hold memories suspended in their copper strands? What if, faced with extinction, these voices breach, at least for a short time, the barrier between temporal reality and the pulses coursing through the cables? Built from a series of intercut ‘trapped’ phone calls, this is a ramshackle, effervescent collection of tales. Via the receiver and from within the wires we hear secrets, confessions, fears and declarations of love from voices now lost. This is a ghost story that relies on physics. Cast: All roles played by Annette Badland, Luke MacGregor, Sean Murray, David Reakes and Alex Tregear Writer………………Jonathan Holloway Directed by Alison Crawford 'Hello Caller' was based on an idea by Tim Dee.
Rank #14: The Haunting of M.R. James
Every Christmas, the master of the ghost story, M.R. James would read a tale to his Cambridge students. In this original chilling drama he finds horrific events from those stories are echoed in reality alongside the inevitable forces of change and modernism. M.R. James ..... Mark Gatiss Gwendolyn MacBryde ..... Fenella Woolgar Jack Pownall ..... Ryan Whittle Dr. Luxmoore ..... Gerard McDermott Davey Steadman ..... Cameron Percival Sellerman ..... Ronny Jhutti Jukes ..... Michael Bertenshaw Grant ..... Tony Turner Thomas Herrick ..... Ewan Bailey Dr. Cameron ..... Chris Harper Webb ..... Sam Dale Student ..... Lewis Bray Written by Neil Brand Director: David Hunter
Rank #15: The Case of Charles Dexter Ward
A special bonus episode of Drama of the Week to help you ease into January. From H.P. Lovecraft, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward is an investigation into the disappearance of a young man from a locked room in an asylum. You can find the whole box set on BBC Sounds. Cast includes Barnaby Kay, Jana Carpenter, Alun Armstrong, Adam Godley, Nicola Walker, Steven Mackintosh, Mark Bazeley, Samuel Barnett, Richard Cordery, Harry Kay, Penny Downie, Madeleine Potter, Phoebe Fox, Ben Crowe, Nathan Osgood, Susan Jameson, Samantha Dakin, Alex Lanipekun and Cherrelle Skeete. Producer: Karen Rose Director/Writer: Julian Simpson Sound Recordist and Designer: David Thomas Production Coordinator: Sarah Tombling Music by Tim Elsenburg A Sweet Talk Production for BBC Radio 4
Rank #16: The Canterbury Tales - Part 1
Queen of Ambridge amateur theatricals, Lynda Snell, takes charge of this barnstorming new adaptation of Chaucer’s classic tales. Join the cast of The Archers to enjoy stories of courtly love, deadly rivalry and boisterous sex - with a little bit of magic thrown in for good measure. “A festive feast of spellbinding stories and bawdy banter … Another Lynda Snell triumph!” – The Borchester Echo Part 2 of The Canterbury Tales will be available on The Archers podcast from the 5th January. Written by Geoffrey Chaucer Dramatised by Nick Warburton Director …. Kim Greengrass Producer …. Alison Hindell Tellers of the Tales: Ruth Archer & Chaucer .... Felicity Finch David Archer & the Host .... Timothy Bentinck Kirsty Miller .... Annabelle Dowler Eddie Grundy .... Trevor Harrison Lilian Bellamy .... Sunny Ormonde Jazzer McCreary .... Ryan Kelly The Knight’s Tale: Theseus .... Nick Barber Woman of Thebes .... Sunny Ormonde Jailer .... Trevor Harrison Palamon .... Barry Farrimond Arcite .... James Cartwright Emily .... Emerald O’Hanrahan Soldier & Jolly Theban .... Ryan Kelly Gatekeeper .... Timothy Bentinck Diana .... Felicity Finch The Miller’s Tale: John .... Timothy Bentinck Alison .... Annabelle Dowler Nicholas .... James Cartwright Absolon .... Nick Barber The Wife of Bath’s Tale: Knight .... Barry Farrimond King Arthur .... Trevor Harrison Queen .... Annabelle Dowler Crone .... Carole Boyd The Sailor’s Tale: Merchant .... James Cartwright Monk .... Nick Barber Wife .... Emerald O’Hanrahan Other roles played by members of the company.
Rank #17: Black Boy Fly
Writer and star of the BAFTA-nominated comedy series Timewasters, Breakthrough Brit winner Daniel Lawrence Taylor writes an original play for Radio 4. This sly family comedy takes a look at the costs of gentrification. At the Peckham Branch of "So Woke" Coffee, street artist Sommore is painting a community artwork on the wall. But Sommore has moved out of Peckham. And moved her son out too, to a private school in West London. So what exactly is her message for the community? Sommore ..... Nadine Marshall Michael ..... Michael Ajao Ashley ..... Don Gilet Tom ..... Christopher Harper Luke ..... Ronny Jhutti Mrs Thomas ..... Clare Corbett Pearl ..... Carolyn Pickles Other parts played by Joseph Ayre and Tony Turner. Produced and directed by Jonquil Panting. Originally aired on Radio 4.
Rank #18: How To Burn A Million Quid: Rule 1
Rule 1. Begin an inner alchemy to transcend the consensual reality tunnel and move from a state of fixation to a condition of mutability. Outrageous comedy drama telling the true story of the chart-topping pop duo known as KLF who, in 1994, burned £1 million in cash on a remote Scottish Island, with only one journalist and their roadie-come-fixer, Gimpo, in attendance. Why? Why would they do that? How To Burn a Million Quid lays the story bare. A comic, surreal and fast moving adventure that sees Bill and Jimmy rise to the very top of the music industry, becoming the biggest selling music act in the UK before crashing out of the industry in spectacular fashion and heading toward the art world with the intention of creating similar mayhem. Inspired by a madcap theatrical genius and a cult novel, they blaze a trail that takes them to Sweden, the North Pole and the Sierra Nevada, via Northampton, before arriving finally on the Isle of Jura, with two suitcases containing a million quid. It was their mission to cause chaos. And they did. A sonic roller coaster featuring Paul Higgins (The Thick of It, Line of Duty) as Bill Drummond, Nicholas Burns (Nathan Barley, The World's End) as Jimmy Cauty, with Kevin Eldon as Gimpo, Jeremy Stockwell as Ken Campbell and an outstanding cast of multi-voice comedy performers. Bill Drummond: Paul Higgins Jimmy Cauty: Nicholas Burns Gimpo: Kevin Eldon Ken Campbell: Jeremy Stockwell Everyone else: Kate O’Sullivan, Polly Kemp, Ronnie Jhuttie and Niall Ashdown Original music by Somerset & Lewin Original music by MZYLKYPOP (Mick Somerset, David Lewin, Simon Lewinski, Rachel E, Flip Clegg and Thom Foote) Sound Design by Carl Scheleeshti Johnson Produced and Directed by Boz Temple-Morris Written by Sean Grundy and Cara Jennings A HOLY MOUNTAIN production for BBC Radio 4.
Rank #19: The Cherry Orchard
Chekhov's celebrated stage play is given a new version by writer/composer duo, Katherine Tozer and John Chambers. Ranyevskya returns to the family estate after 5 years in Paris to face seemingly insurmountable debts. Local businessman Lopakhin is keen to offer her a way out but there'll be a price to pay. Ranyevskya ..... Emma Fielding Lopakhin ..... Neil Dudgeon Anya ..... Lucy Doyle Varya ..... Joan Iyiola Gayev ..... Dominic Coleman Peter ..... Nicholas Prasad Pishchik ..... Tony Turner Charlotte ..... Alexandra Constantinidi Yepikhodov ..... Matthew Wilson Dunyasha ..... Saffron Coomber Yasha ..... Liam Lau Fernandez Firs ..... Sean Murray The Tramp ..... Lewis Bray Music composed by John Chambers Directed by Toby Swift Katherine Tozer and John Chambers work as writer and composer respectively for PALIMPSEST, the innovative multi-media theatre company. Palimpsest have created bespoke work for Leighton House, Dr. Johnson's House and William Morris's Red House. Actor and writer Katherine Tozer has acted for the RSC, the Almeida, the Donmar and the Young Vic, in the West End, nationally and internationally in new work by Churchill, Brenton and Wertenbaker, in roles ranging from Phaedra to Blanche du Bois, for which she was nominated for a TMA award. She founded Palimpsest in 2013. John Chambers is a composer and sound designer. He studied at Trinity College of Music, winning the John Halford, Daryl Runswick, and Chappell composition prizes. For over a decade he has created music for theatre, including writer/director Steven Berkoff's premiere production of Oedipus. Composition highlights include a fanfare for Her Majesty the Queen (Royal Observatory, Greenwich 2007), a fanfare for the Olympic Torch Relay (Trafalgar Square 2008) and High Flight for Baritone Voice and String Quartet (performed by the Finzi Quartet).
Rank #20: Home Front: A Fragile Peace
A special extended edition of Home Front, Radio 4's epic drama series marking the centenaries of the First World War. It’s 10 November, 1919, a year and a day after the previous episode (set on 9 November 1918), and Folkestone is preparing for the first Remembrance Day, and contemplating a new post-war world.