Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Utz: a play on BBC Radio 4

One of my very first paid jobs as a writer was in radio. It was an adaptation of E.M. Forster's short story The Machine Stops , which was broadcast on BBC Radio Four in April 2001. I loved the experience, especially the studio recording: a sort of time-limited, by-the-seat-of-our pants collective endeavour. I hoped to get other commissions, but subsequent pitches for radio plays were turned down by the BBC and, when I got my first novel published, I decided to concentrate on fiction. Then, in 2007, I bumped into the play's producer, the delightful Marilyn Imrie, at the Edinburgh Book Festival. She suggested that I send her some new pitches; which I did. One of these was for a dramatisation of Bruce Chatwin's last novel, Utz. The BBC is a sucker for anniversaries and 2009 marks the twentieth anniversary of Chatwin's too-early death. This, and the Communist context of the Prague-set narrative (it's twenty years, too, since the Velvet Revolution; something Chatwin did not live to see) helped secure a green light for the proposal.

You can hear the end result on BBC Radio 4 this Saturday at 14.30.

The play features Jack Klaff as Utz, Sam Kelly as Orlik, Daniel Weyman as the narrator and Pam Ferris as Marta. Oh, and I make an appearance as a plummy Oxford don. Can't think how I ended up with that role...


Post a Comment

<< Home

Be part of the solution. Support WWF today