BBC Radio Drama, a session in Birmingham

BBC Radio 3Just back from a fabulous three hours – a “Writing Drama for Radio” session at BBC Birmingham. In The Mailbox, which was all new to me.

We had a tour of the studios (where The Archers is recorded, amongst many other things), followed by a fascinating introduction to writing radio drama hosted by Writer in Residence, Caroline Horton and Jessica Dromgoole, Editor of Home Front, Radio 4’s epic First World War drama series.

BBC Radio 2Just to stand in the BBC studios was inspiring enough but Caroline’s and Jessica’s talks drove enthusiasm to a new level. I’m familiar through copywriting with commercial recording studios but the BBC facilities are something else. That said, I felt very at home there amongst the props, microphones and sound-damping pyramids.

Factoid one: For The Archers there are around 20 different gate opening sound effects, all created on a good old metal ironing board.

There were 45 of us in the group. When asked if anyone was writing a radio drama we all put our hands up. Well, there’s the competition I thought to myself, or a fraction of it.

BBC Radio 1Thank you BBC for being so generous with your time. It was an eye opening experience and a driver to write harder. Radio is my natural platform and this event has been a personal springboard to a more focused, knowledgeable approach to the medium.

Factoid two: For 45 minutes the word count should be around 7500 but that’s rarely accurate. Nothing beats reading your script out loud and timing it. 

The event was recorded and will form a podcast via BBC Writers’ Room in a few days. I’ll link it here when it becomes available.

One final takeout which I think is vital for anyone writing radio drama. Radio 4 are constantly on the lookout for a new voice. Originality is commissioned!

Bring on Free Kick…