The winners of the BBC Audio Drama Awards 2017 have been announced in a special ceremony hosted earlier this week.
“This impressive list of winners illustrates the range and uniqueness of audio drama in its ability to tell stories like no other medium, transporting listeners to the world of imagination. It’s evident the genre attracts high calibre talent and there’s a fantastic audio drama community right across the UK, producing world class content for the enjoyment of millions. I’m proud of the achievements of everyone nominated for these awards and I want to congratulate all of the winners.” – Bob Shennan, BBC Director of Radio
The gong show was presented by Sir Lenny Henry and Director of BBC Radio and Music Bob Shennan in the Radio Theatre at BBC Broadcasting House, London.
The awards recognise the cultural significance, range and originality of audio drama – on air as well as online – and credit the creativity of the actors, writers, producers, sound designers and others who work within the field.
Bill Nighy and The Archers were given special awards on the night. Nighy was presented with the Special Award for Services to Radio Drama by Amelia Bullmore, recognising his tremendous contribution to audio drama over his career. Memorable highlights span from playing Sam Gamgee in The Lord Of The Rings in the 1980s to his regular appearances now as the actor-turned-detective Charles Paris, with appearances also in Cigarettes And Chocolate by Anthony Minghella, Private Lives with Helena Bonham Carter along with untiring support for the genre in general.
BBC Radio 4’s The Archers was awarded the Outstanding Contribution Award for its contribution to the year’s programming on Radio 4, raising significant social awareness of the problem of domestic abuse and coercive control whilst telling a compelling dramatic story over three years. The show brought radio drama to the front pages and Helen’s vindication at the moment of the verdict of ‘Not Guilty’ rippled far beyond the world of Radio 4.
The drama winners on the night were The Sky Is Wider, Life Lines and Emile Zola: Blood, Sex And Money. Danny Sapani, Christine Bottomley, Valene Kane and Lee Rufford were recognised for their acting roles, with awards also to Tracks and Dr Who: Absent Friends. The comedy category winners were Secret Kebabs and Robert Newman’s Entirely Accurate Encyclopedia Of Evolution.
The BBC once again joined with the Society of Authors and the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain in presenting two well-established awards for writing, the Imison Award for Best Audio Drama Script by a New Writer and the Tinniswood Audio Drama Award for Best Radio Drama Script. Both awards were given to James Fritz for his play Comment Is Free.
Prize givers included Hardeep Singh Kohli and Alison Steadman, and the ceremony featured a performance from Mark Kermode’s band The Dodge Brothers. The finalists were judged by a team of industry experts including presenter Kirsty Lang, journalist Matthew Hemley and actress Indira Varma.
The Sky Is Wider by Linda Marshall Griffiths, producer Nadia Molinari – Best Audio Drama (Original Single)
Life Lines by Al Smith, producer Sally Avens – Best Audio Drama (Series or Serial)
Emile Zola: Blood, Sex And Money, adapted by Oliver Emanuel, Martin Jameson, Lavinia Murray and Dan Rebellato, producers Gary Brown, Pauline Harris, Nadia Molinari, Polly Thomas, Kirsty
Williams – Best Audio Drama (Adaptation)
Danny Sapani (A Raisin In The Sun) – Best Actor in an Audio Drama
Christine Bottomley (The Sky Is Wider) – Best Actress in an Audio Drama
Valene Kane (The Stroma Sessions) – Best Supporting Actor/Actress in an Audio Drama
Lee Rufford (The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner) – Best Debut Performance in an Audio Drama
Tracks, sound by Nigel Lewis, producers James Robinson, Helen Perry and Abigail le Fleming – Best Use of Sound in an Audio Drama
Secret Kebabs, by Christine Entwisle, producer Kirsty Williams – Best Scripted Comedy
Robert Newman’s Entirely Accurate Encyclopedia Of Evolution, by Rob Newman, producer Jonathan Harvey – Best Comedy with an Audience
Dr Who: Absent Friends, Big Finish Productions – Best Online-Only Audio Drama
Comment Is Free by James Fritz – Imison Award for Best Radio Drama Script by a New Writer
Comment Is Free by James Fritz – Tinniswood Radio Drama Award for Best Radio Drama Script
Bill Nighy – Special Award for Services to Radio Drama
The Archers – Outstanding Contribution Award