Next on Three Questions: an interview with . . . Conor Lennon of BBC Radio Drama June 22, 2007Posted by William Spear in >> News, >> Radio Drama, >> Three Questions: an interview with ....
Conor Lennon is a Producer For Special Projects with BBC Radio Drama. He started out in TV, making short films, documentaries and comedy for the BBC as a director, performer and writer. More recently he moved into news, working as a broadcast journalist and newsreader whilst making radio dramas for London’s Art Radio Station Resonance FM.
Since joining BBC Radio Drama he has produced audio dramas and documentaries, developed the first radio drama to appear on 1Xtra BBC (Urban Music radio station), and developed various innovative cross-platform drama projects including The City Speaks (an audio drama/artist film collaboration) and The Audiotheque (http://audiodrama.blogspot.com).
He shares his personal opinions – separate, distinct, and not necessarily representative of the BBC – in this Three Questions column.
LIT: What are the differences and similarities between radio drama, stage, film, and television.
CONOR: All these artforms are dependent on a strong story; if the script is no good you’re just putting lipstick on a pig.
LIT: That’s been said about me when I put on a suit.
CONOR: Then there’s a good cast and the creation of strong images, whether through soundscapes, dialogue or a camera.
I feel very strongly that audio drama is a more relevant title than radio drama and should be treated as an artform in its own right, with its own skill set, creative discourse and history. If film is the 7th art, then for me audio drama is the 8th.
LIT: What do you mean?
CONOR: There has been a tendency to treat audio drama as a place to reversion theatre, film and TV which is understandable but rather limiting. Some of the most interesting audio dramas are those that could not work in any other medium, drawing on the techniques specific to the artform.
LIT: What should radio dramatists and producers do to reach new audiences?
CONOR: Keep selling the fact that only audio drama can offer a portable, immersive dramatic experience. TV and film are limited by the small screens of MP3 players: Audio drama doesn’t have this problem. Until audio drama becomes established in the mainstream, it’s a good idea to hook into existing drama brands, providing parallel storylines or spin-offs.
LIT: What is your favorite piece of radio drama and why?
CONOR: Depends on the day, weather and my mood. I suppose I’m drawn to pacy, entertaining “big picture” drama.
LIT: How about some examples?
CONOR: From the US, War of The Worlds still sounds great, most of Norman Corwin’s work (particularly the Undecided Molecule with Groucho Marx and Vincent Price) and there’s some great stuff on the Sci-fi Channel’s Seeing Ear Theatre. In the UK, producer John Dryden’s work is frequently “cinema for the ears”, particularly his adaptations of Fatherland and “The Handmaid’s Tale”. And I’ve got a soft spot for The Revenge (a 1978 BBC radio drama with no dialogue), Disenchantment and Sound Mirrors, all of which would not work in any other media. I’d be writing an essay if I listed all the drama I like!
Conor’s posts on audio drama can be read on The Audiotheque at http://audiodrama.blogspot.com . We look forward to reading and listening to his work.
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