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David Edgar

David Edgar: A BBC Radio Drama Collection

David Edgar: A BBC Radio Drama Collection

17 Full-Cast Productions including The Shape of the Table, Pentecost & Maydays


David Edgar – one of Britain’s greatest living playwrights – introduces a collection of his outstanding works

David Edgar is among the UK’s leading contemporary dramatists, well known for his powerful plays chronicling Britain's changing political landscape over the past 50 years. More than 60 of his original plays, adaptations and translations have been performed around the world, and in 2023 he was honoured with a Writers’ Guild Outstanding Contribution award for his service to British playwriting.

This radio anthology contains some of his most notable work, beginning with the award-winning Destiny, adapted for radio by Edgar himself, in which he analyses the rise of the right-wing National Front movement, tracing it back to the end of the British Empire. In Saigon Rose, the sexual revolution is under the spotlight, as a couple and their cohorts are forced to face the darker side of the Swinging Sixties. This is followed by a play adapted from the real-life journals of a famous South African lawyer – The Jail Diary of Albie Sachs is a dramatic account of his arrest and solitary confinement.

Next, Mary Barnes recounts the struggles of the titular heroine with her own madness, and Ecclesiastes deals with a fundamentalist preacher. A Movie Starring Me centres around a TV soap star and her obsessive fan, while Entertaining Strangers is set at the heart of Thomas Hardy country, and is about the struggle between a fundamentalist parson and the town’s first woman brewer. The 1984 miners’ strike forms the backdrop to That Summer.

Two plays from Edgar’s ‘Iron Curtain Trilogy’ are next: The Shape of the Table and Pentecost, examining themes of negotiation in the aftermath of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Talking to Mars looks at the collapse of the Cold War through the eyes of an international radio station.

The Secret Parts is a gripping murder mystery, adapted for radio by David Edgar from the novel written by his late wife Eve Brook. Playing with Fire is a powerful exploration of racial tensions in multicultural Britain, and Something Wrong about the Mouth is about a man who wants to commission a portrait of a woman he can't produce, dressed for an event that didn't occur. If Only finds a Labour spin doctor, a Tory MP and a Lib Dem party worker stranded by the Icelandic ash cloud, in a tongue-in-cheek drama that imagines the final consequences of the 2010 Coalition.

David Edgar’s 2019 solo show, Trying It On, sees Edgar delving into the autobiographical background of his landmark play Maydays, and confronting his young self half a century after his political outlook was defined by the tumultuous events of 1968. This collection concludes with
Maydays, refashioned by Edgar into a sweeping three-part audio epic charting the journey of idealistic young activists from the far-left to the die-hard right.

These provocative dramas feature superb star casts including Alison Steadman, Bill Paterson, Tim McInnerny, Jason Watkins, Samantha Bond, David Morrissey, Hattie Morahan, Damian Lewis, Celia Imrie, Adjoa Andoh, Frances Barber, Simon Callow, Henry Goodman, Charles Dance and Andy Serkis.

NB: Contains strong language and scenes which some listeners may find disturbing

Written by David Edgar
The Secret Parts written by Eva Brook

Text copyright © David Edgar 1976 (Saigon Rose, Destiny), 1977 (Ecclesiastes), 1978 (The Jail Diary of Albie Sachs), 1979 (Mary Barnes), 1983 (Maydays), 1987 (That Summer), 1990 (The Shape of the Table), 1991 (A Movie Starring Me), 1994 (Pentecost), 1996 (Talking to Mars), 2005 (Playing with Fire), 2007 (Something Wrong About the Mouth), 2013 (If Only), 2018 (Trying It On)
The Secret Parts text copyright © Eva Brook 2000
All rights reserved

© 2023 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd (p) 2023 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd

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