The Tinniswood Award, for the best original radio drama script broadcast in the UK during the period 1 January – 31 December 2007, was presented to Stephen Wyatt for his play Memorials To The Missing. The judges said of the play:
This is a play about burying the dead – primarily the dead soldiers of the First World War, which had an impact on the disposal of corpses of those killed in all subsequent wars. Interestingly it is based on fact, on the efforts of one man, Major General Fabian Ware, to persuade the authorities, against strong opposition from Church and State, to establish cemeteries of identifiable graves for those killed in battle. This led to the establishment of The Imperial War Graves Commission of which Ware was put in charge and for which, again against strong opposition, ecclesiastical and architectural, Sir Edwin Lutyens provided the design plans.Stephen was awarded a prize of £1500, which was donated by the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society. Memorials To The Missing will be repeated on BBC Radio 4 at 2.15pm on 30 October 2008.
So much for fact. The fiction imagines the voices of dead soldiers, reading their diaries or thinking their thoughts aloud, who seek the recognition of their buried remains by mourning relatives. We hear too the relatives searching for an identifiable place to mourn over their lost loved ones.
This intermingling of fact and fiction makes for a poignant play which is perfect for radio and a play, not without humour, of great emotional power. All the judges privately confessed that it reduced them to tears – and they are no “softies” either!
Colin Teevan’s play Glass Houses was highly recommended by the judges and he received a digital radio, donated by Pure Digital. The judges said of his play:
An exceptionally painful, but beautifully and economically written duologue about the break-up of a marriage between an increasingly psychologically disturbed husband and his much-suffering wife, in which the lives of their two young children are very much at stake. It closes with the father murdering his offspring and his taking his own life.The judges for this year's Tinniswood Award were Jane Anderson, Radio Editor of the Radio Times, Shelley Silas who has written numerous plays for radio and the stage and John Tydeman, who used to be Head of Radio Drama at the BBC and played a key role radio drama there for nearly four decades.
The play out-Strindbergs Strindberg in its painful exploration of the battlefield some marriages can become as they spiral out of control. It also raises the important question of how children and innocent parties should be protected by the state in cases of extreme verbal and physical abuse.
The story is told obliquely and with great restrained sensitivity. In part it is told through direct scenes between husband and wife, but also through direct-to-audience statement and through indirect reportage. The dialogue throughout is honed to the bare essentials without unnecessary ‘flab’, and the pain is remorseless as it crescendos to it’s terrifying climax. There are no laughs in this justifiably disturbing play.
The Imison Award, for the best play by a writer new to radio, was presented to Adam Beeson for his play The Magician’s Daughter. The judges said of the play:
A lovely, entertaining, amusing, and taut play with a mystery at its heart and wonderfully light characterisation. It travels skilfully in time, making excellent use of radio in its storytelling and plays, as stage magic often does, with notions of what is real and what we choose to believe.The Imison Award is judged by the Society of Authors’ Broadcasting Committee, led by David Docherty. Adam was awarded a prize of £1500, which was donated by the Peggy Ramsay Foundation. The Magician's Daughter will be repeated on 27 October at 2.15pm.