I can’t say how fond I am of the Radio Drama, or Radio Play. A well known media of the past, our modern day manifestations are more commonly podcasts and audio books. If we want people acting out a story in parts we tend to want to be able to see them too – hence televisions and tablets with their screens. But as someone who spent many years enjoying radio dramas, and has since watched more modern media instead, I still recognise the Radio Drama as a unique format – one which I often prefer.
No doubt, there is also much to be said for modern audio formats. I am an avid listener of a number of podcasts and they are like day radio programs – but flexible, in that they are downloadable and can be listened to repeatedly. Audio books are very similar to the radio dramas, but very often the whole story may be read by only one person. Although this is usually done expressively, the radio drama is superior in that a full cast is used, there are sound effects, music, and other features that allow a very real representation of the events.
The beauty of productions like this mean that you can be fully absorbed in the story – while doing the house work, going for a run, working at your laptop or eyes closed and snug in bed. With our ability to store files on mobile devices like phones and MP3 players, it means that we can take these riveting stories with us anywhere, in compact form, and because they have no visual component they allow us to do many other things while we listen.
The BBC made many excellent radio dramas in years past and some of them are still available in online repositories. The BBC itself does still broadcast some new radio dramas, but they are available only from week to week in a fashion where you must wait for the next installment – as was the practice when dramas used to air on radio.
If you have never listened to radio dramas before I suggest that you head over to YouTube and search for some. A favourite of mine is the ‘Hitchhikers’s Guide to the Galaxy’. If you like what you hear, there are free downloadable radio dramas over at Final Rune Productions where they believe in the worthy goal of radio drama revival.