Pilgrim repeats on Radio 4 Extra

If you’ve been here before you’ll know how I love my BBC audio drama, particularly Pilgrim by Sebastian Baczkiewicz, starring Paul Hilton as William Palmer “compelled to walk […] between the worlds of magic and of men”. Well, BBC Radio 4 Extra is repeating every episode, giving you the opportunity to listen again or discover for the first time what all the fuss is about. Highly recommended.


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Mart’s Radio Highlight of the Week – A Badge, by Tony Pitts

When I learned another play by Tony Pitts was due for broadcast I knew it would be a belter. His previous plays Pact and Monster were incredible: the former, the darkest radio play I’ve ever heard; the latter, a skilful examination of the secrets lurking behind so many ordinary front doors.

Written in Pitts’ unique, powerful style, and with remarkable acting performances from all concerned, A Badge chronicles a young mother’s journey as she discovers that one of her sons is autistic, and how coming to terms with this, and the prejudice she encounters along the way, shape her entire life.

I can never cut the strings. Never. All his life he needs me. I have to do it. I’m his mum. Michael’ll leave one day. Make his own way. Might come back if he needs me and I’ll put my mum badge back on. But I can’t take off my mum badge with Daniel. I can never do that with him.

A Badge is an essential, moving, and indeed educational production for anyone interested in quality drama, regardless of whether you’re personally affected by the subject matter.

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I’m a writer, editor, and Royal Literary Fund Fellow.
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Mart’s Radio Highlight of the Week (x2) – Tommies, and Home Front

BBC Radio 4’s World War One drama series are back on air this week, with 45-minute episodes of Tommies on both Friday and Saturday, and Home Front returning to the lads and lasses in Tynemouth.

The characters in both series continue to develop as a result of the ongoing conflict. In Tommies, Captain Mickey Bliss is gathering scars both physical and mental, while Home Front sees those back in England wrestling with the ever-present issues of class and gender. Who doesn’t enjoy the assumptions and prejudices of the upper classes being challenged by the fighting spirit and insight of their lower-class counterparts?

There’s some way to go yet, but when this war’s finally over, what’s going to fill the shell holes in the schedule these two dramas leave behind?

Home Front Tommies

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I’m a writer, editor, and Royal Literary Fund Fellow.
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Mart’s Radio Highlight of the Week: Velvet Blackout by Vincent O’Connell

Vincent O’Connell’s Velvet Blackout, directed by Marc Beeby, is an unusual drama set during World War Two London.

In 1942 a young woman with amnesia is pulled from a bombed building. A doctor and a policeman think she may know something vital to the British war effort – and they use some unorthodox techniques to force her to remember.

Stories work their way out as amnesiac Roxanne (Isabella Inchbald) finds herself at the centre of differences regarding the investigative techniques used to extract the required information, the relationship between Trounce (Ben Crowe) and Edward (Joel MacCormack) taking turns as they enter new territory. I was so engrossed I almost scorched my flapjack. No, really.

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You can find my other radio-related posts here.


I’m a writer, editor, and Royal Literary Fund Fellow.
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Mart’s Radio Highlight of (last) Week: Home Front, September 15th 1917 – Ivy Layton

If you’re not a regular listener to Home Front this may not mean a lot to you, but the burgeoning romance between Ivy Layton and disfigured soldier Dennis Monk has been bubbling for a while. Wonderful writing and acting, and the delicate pacing of this story, made the final lines of this episode a real joy.

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You can find my other radio-related posts here.


I’m a writer, editor, and Royal Literary Fund Fellow.
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Mart’s Radio Highlight of the Week: Moving to the Red Planet

Although this programme was originally broadcast on 7 March 2017, I only got around to listening to it this week, so…

In Moving to the Red Planet, Claudia Hammond discusses the psychological challenges facing human travellers to Earth’s nearest neighbour, such as isolation, lack of privacy, and clashes among crew members.

While the physical challenges of a mission to Mars are pretty well understood now […] when it comes to the mind, we’re not really going to know how people will cope until we try it.

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This is a nice complement to BBC2’s series Astronauts – Do You Have What It Takes?
See my other radio-related posts here.


I’m a writer, editor, and Royal Literary Fund Fellow.
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Mart’s Radio Highlight of the Week: Dr John Cooper Clarke

Brilliant punk poet Dr John Cooper Clarke is interviewed and drawn by Martin Rowson on Radio 4’s Life Drawing. Dr JCC: a unique combination of insight, entertainment and art.

What lasts longer than a pop song? You’ll forget about any book. You’ll have to read a book again. But a song. A popular song. That’s there for keeps. Whether you want it or not.

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See my other radio-related posts here.


I’m a writer, editor, and Royal Literary Fund Fellow.
Find out more, tweet me, or email.