Category Archives: radio

>Intervals and The Shape of the Table

>It begins again. I did my first set of (easy) indoor intervals for a while today. I’d have preferred to go out for a ride but the weather was being Very British.

The turbo trainer experience was rendered a little more bearable by BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Play – an adaptation of David Edgar‘s stage play The Shape of the Table. It’s Edgar’s 1990 response to the fall of the Berlin Wall. There’s been some really good programming on R4 to mark the tenth anniversary of said de-wallment and this production was excellent. It was directed by Peter Leslie Wild (who directed my two radio plays and one of my stage plays). Tim McInnerny and Henry Goodman headed up the cast. You can listen again here for the next seven days.

Today I entered the first race of next season: race one of the Imperial Winter Series. As I said: it begins again…

>The wall goes up

After the wall coming down, the new one is beginning to go up. The picture of the work in progress has been distorted by the image stitching software, but I like the effect. Today the rest of the roof comes off.

The building work has been accompanied by flooding and more bad news about foundations and wet rot. However, now we’re at that punch drunk stage, where you just want it to finish.

Despite the noise and regular tea making duties I delivered the latest full draft of the Birmingham Rep play on Monday. I haven’t re-read it yet, but feel the weight. We hope to have a day’s work on it at the theatre soon.

The Climb had an unexpected outing this week. Birmingham City University re-opened their library with a series of readings from writers (including Jim Crace) and an extract from The Climb featured (I teach at BCU, formerly UCE). Apparently it went down well.

>Stuff Happens

>Kind of Dark has been in rehearsal the last couple of days. Suzanne Bell is directing Mark Arends and Raquel Cassidy. Amazingly, it goes live on Sunday at 5pm and 8pm. The other writers in the show are Glyn Cannon, Stephen Sharkey, Nancy Harris and Frederic Blanchette translated by Christopher Campbell. There’s a full running order at Book tickets (£9 / £7 concessions) at or on 0207 503 1646.

I’ve been working on a schools project in Tottenham for a couple of months and selected plays are being presented at a show at The Arts Theatre in about ten days time. It’s been a great project. The pupils have written a wide range of really theatrical pieces. I’m looking forward to the show to see what the other schools have created as well.

My Birkbeck students have also delivered their plays. Two good, strong groups. A couple of weeks of tutorials and then I’m done for the term.

The radio play is in The Radio Times, but they’ve spelt my name wrong – ‘Goodman’ rather than ‘Woodman’. It’s right in the online version. I’ve been sent a copy of the final edit and I think it’s really wonderful – the disparate strands edit together beatifully and Soweto’s music really works. Wednesday, 2:15pm.

>The Climb

>Back home after a couple of days away. The recording of the radio play went well – great performances from Paul Clarkson and John Flitcroft. It was a fun production with John pedalling away on a static bike while Paul jogged back and fore to simulate riding with him. Thanks to all involved (Paul, John, Peter, Rosie, Michael, Cath and Christina). Now they’ll edit a rough-cut of key passages and record the music in time with them. I’m looking forward to hearing Soweto’s music. The full edit should be available mid-June. And did I mention that it’s broadcast on JULY 4TH.

P’s son J is home from two years abroad. We’ve moved house of course, but he still found us. It’s good to have him around again.

The picture on the left is from the 1964 Tour de France. Jacques Anquetil (5 time winner) goes shoulder to shoulder with Raymond Poulidor (‘the eternal second’) on the Puy de Dôme. Poulidor eventually broke away to win the stage, but Anquetil took the race. Anquetil is the only TdF winner to admit to doping before today.

>A week in radio

>On Thursday I’m off to Birmingham for the recording of The Climb, my radio dramadoc destined for Radio 4’s Afternoon Play slot on July 4th. Soweto Kinch‘s music has been commissioned and will be recorded soon after. Soweto’s musings on moments of transcendence have been recorded (produced by Rosie Boulton) and edited into the script. The drama producer Peter Leslie Wild has cast Paul Clarkson and John Flitcroft as Clive and Billy. All I have to do is cart my bike to the studio and watch them work. Looking forward to it.

Tomorrow is my first full session with the pupils in Tottenham. I’ll spend a lot of today working out how the session might go. Wednesday is the two Birkbeck sessions. Friday will be in Brum again to pick up marking. Busy-ish week.

I see that Hampstead are about to produce the follow up to Nell Leyshon‘s Comfort Me With Apples. I had hoped it would be called Pleasure Me With a Banana, but it’s actually titled Glass Eels. Should be worth a look.

>Spring has sprung …

>This is the first time we’ve seen our new garden in the Spring. We are surprised to find that we have an outrageously pink tree. It’s good because a) it looks pretty and b) its ‘Look at me! Look at me!’ness makes me laugh – we have a shameless tree.

Tuesday to Birmingham. I had encouraged some of my students to see Attempts On Her Life. After reading some of the reviews, I was worried that they might not like it, but of course they lapped it up. It’s a big deal for them – a trip to London – so I’m glad it went well.

I have delivered a first full draft of Rolling News to Birmingham Rep and a second draft of the radio play to the BBC. Such a relief – and the post-draft hangover hasn’t kicked in yet. Perhaps this is the time it doesn’t happen?

I’ve managed to pick up some work on a schools project down here as well, which helps the confidence. Some other irons in the fire as well.

>A Dream

>I had a dream … I’ve been piling on the weight since the move to London and it’s been worrying me. Anyway – this dream. I dreamt I woke up and looked in the mirror and I was wearing this really heavy hat – a two stone hat! I hadn’t realised that I’d been wearing this hat for so long. I took it off and I didn’t have a weight problem any more. I thought ‘I should write a diet book’. Then I woke up for real, went to the mirror and …

Last Monday I hauled my fat arse up to Birmingham to talk about the radio play. The meeting was in a converted letter box overlooking the beautiful River Birm. I met Soweto Kinch who is going to be composing special music for the play – cool!

Since then I’ve been engaged in displacement activity. And trying on different hats.

>A(nother) Good Night Out

>Today started badly by losing an hour – I didn’t realise this until about 1.30pm (or 12.30pm or 2.30pm – I can never work it out). This left a lot of work to do in too short a time.

P’s away in Liverpool, so to Dalston solo for the Miniaturists 6 show at The Arcola. I ate a late lunch on the bus (a baguette, or cake as we call it in London). Luckily the public transport behaved itself and I got to the theatre with 10 minutes to spare (I thought I had 40 minutes, but I’d got the start time wrong – I shouldn’t be allowed out).

Five plays in just over 2 hours – all good, but two of them really caught the imagination. Mike’s Wishes by Benjamin Yeoh is a mini-epic – traversing the world in real time. The two (four) characters fight to achieve what they want while at the same time trying to work out the rules of game. Beautifully written, directed and acted. Catherine Medbh by Declan Feenan is a proper (?) miniature. A small moment carefully observed and rendered in great detail. Where Mike’s Wishes zips through emotions and space, Catherine Medbh is based in stillness. Superb performances to complement the writing. Two completely different approaches to The Miniaturists’ brief – and both spellbinding.

Mike’s Wishes written by Benjamin Yeoh, directed by Hannah Eidinow, cast: Hywel John and Celia Adams. Catherine Medbh by Declan Feenan, directed by Ciaran McQuillan, cast: Kerry-Jayne Wilson and John Hollingworth.

To Birminghamshire tomorrow to meet the team for the radio play.

>"Dying For It"

>A great night out last night. P and I met up after work – pasta and a glass of cheap Shiraz and then off to the Almeida to see Moira Buffini‘s free adaptation of Nikolai Erdman‘s The Suicide, Dying for It. It was only the second preview but it looks in good shape. It’s a play of great heart and scale – it’s a monster of a play. How fantastic to see such a big piece of work (large cast, enormous set, big ideas) firing on all cylinders.

UPDATE: The West End Whingers have been to see it and they write about it here. They liked it.

Two really good nights at the theatre in two days. We’re cooking on gas here. Tonight it’s Martin Crimp’s Attempts On Her Life at The National. Can we do the hat trick?

I have feedback on the radio play. Positive, but more to do. Positive is good, isn’t it? I can do more.

>Going nowhere slowly

>I went out on the (static) bike. But I can see you’re not interested. I’ll chuck all this cycling stuff in a new blog to get it out of your way.

I’m trying to organise a meeting with the Beeb about the radio play, but it’s a collaborative project which means a lot of people have to be there. Gosh!