Some examples of my favourite medium - radio plays - which combine the spontaneity and directness of theatre with the flmic possibilities of edited, recorded sound.
Though I've done dozens of radio plays, they're not stored in Youtube, and therefore require my own webspace to host. There are many I'd like to stor here, but for the meantime, I'm concetrating on my BBC Radio4 series about a disillusioned police chaplain who decides to test God by being bad, starring Lenny Henry
Bad Faith, starring Lenny Henry, Broadcast BBC Radio 4, July 2008 and Feb 5th 2009
The Sunday Times – 27/07/2008
Afternoon Play: Bad Faith (R4, 2.15pm) Peter Jukes’s tale of two chaplains, played by Lenny Henry, pictured, and Danny Sapani, is the best radio drama I have heard in ages, and clearly destined to become a series, either on radio or television. Henry is a cynical former Methodist who has lost his faith, though clearly not his compassion; Sapani is younger, religiously sterner and physically stronger. Dark wit, sharp dialogue, a clutch of Birmingham lowlifes and much emotion combine to make this programme of the week. PD
Observer – 31.01.10: Radio Choice: Pick of the Week“I’m your worst nightmare, a black man with a dog collar, a badge, and a big, bad attitude!” It’s good to heart his repeat of Peter Jukes’s enjoyable play starring the excellent Lenny Henry as a coolly ironic, inner city police chaplain whose faith is in tatters. Best of all, it is now serving as a pilot for a new series of morally ambiguous stories, each with a Machiavellian twist in their tale. Surely a TV series beckons… Stephanie BillenWhen Lenny Henry won critical acclaim last year for his performance as Othello (cue my long-awaited opportunity to refer to the Birmingham-born Henry as the Dudley Moor) it was described as a major career change. This is not strictly true, for while this play is written by Peter Jukes rather than one William Shakespeare, it is a demanding and, most of the time, serious drama, with the odd dark quip thrown in to lift the listener out of the depressing setting, Lenny plays a Methodist minister, Jake Thome, who has lost his faith and whose work as a police chaplain in an area rife with teenage pregnancies, drug addiction and gang crime is unlikely to restore it. If this sounds familiar then that’s because this originally went out in July 2008. Henry’s superb performance, combined with Jukes’s riveting writing, won the production deserved recognition – hence this repeat, followed by a new three-part series.– Jane Anderson, Radio Times
“Your body isn’t a temple, it’s an amusement arcade, enjoy it.” Lenny Henry plays the minister and police chaplain questioning his religion in the first of a new series, following last week’s repeated pilot. This time Jake (Henry) stands between a bereaved mother and the accidental killer of her child but, as before, it’s a very smart mix of thought-provoking guestions of morality and engrossing personal stories. Peter Jukes’s play steps away from obvious religious topics and instead shows faith as integral to the minister’s life, making it somehow all the more real a struggle for him when he’s questioning everything he believes.
– William Gallagher, Radio Times
“Nearly two years ago, I hailed Peter Jukes’ play, Bad Faith, about a minister and prison chaplain struggling with his beliefs, as witty and gritty with touches of surrealism. Of Lenny Henry’s lead role, I said it confirmed his acting credentials. That play went out again this month as the first in a four-part series of the same name and the second play exceeded my memories of the first. Jukes’ writing is terrific – funny, deep, unafraid to move from the mundane to the reflective. Jake, his semi-heretical minister, is the most original creation of his kind that I can recall and Henry was born to play him, catching the rhythm of the comedy, as you would expect, as well as the tenor of the philosophy.” Moira Petty, The Stage, 22nd Feb
Bad Faith 4: Nothing Sacred, starring Lenny Henry, Broadcast BBC Radio 4, 26th Feb 2009
“Do give this grittily good drama series a shot. Lenny Henry is mesmerising as a disillusioned police chaplain who’s sometimes on the side of the angels, and sometimes busy on the devil’s work” Daily Mail, Feb 20th
“The scripts are strong, taut, bang up-to-the-minute, salted with ironic humour. Lenny Henry’s performance is brilliant. Never for a minute does he sound as if pages are in his hand. You forget who he is. He is whom he plays”. Gillian Reynolds; Daily Telegraph, Feb 22