Motion without Pictures: Writing for Radio

Room: Darwin D05
Time: Friday 2:00pm


with Julia McKenzie, Jeremy Howe, Neil McKay, and Jack Bernhardt
moderated by Jonathan Ruffle

Motion without Pictures: Writing for Radio image

Great Britain has always been (and continues to be) on the forefront of audio-only storytelling. More than any other major market, the radio drama remains a popular method of delivering content here. With the growing popularity of podcasts, and the overwhelming presence of smartphones in every pocket, purse, and car in the world, the audio play can reach a wider audience than ever before. In fact, iTunes alone has 800 million subscribers.

Factor in the lower cost of producing an audio-only project and the delicious creative challenge of stimulating the imagination in your viewer with only the auditory senses and writing for radio becomes a new and exciting frontier while maintaining a foothold in tradition.

In this session, Julia McKenzie, Head of Radio Comedy at the BBC and Jeremy Howe, Head of Radio Drama at the BBC join writers Neil McKay and Jack Bernhardt to discuss, amongst other things:

  • The ability for writers to change their fundamental thinking from Motion Pictures to Motion Without Pictures.
  • How to give a sense of effective exposition without “on the nose” dialogue.
  • Techniques for all different genres.
  • The specific expectations for structure and format in the radio world.

The time of the scratchy old radio show straight out of Vaudeville is over, but those classics have opened the door to new and exciting shows in genres ranging from true crime to space opera. Come hear how your storytelling can be filling every head and mind around the world with some of the most traditional writing techniques humanity has to offer.

Appearing in this session

Jack Bernhardt

Jack Bernhardt – Screenwriter

Credits include: The Lentil Sorters

Recipient of the BBC Radio Comedy Writer's Bursary, Jack has written for a wide range of shows and regularly contributed to series such as The News Quiz and Dead Ringers.
Jack Bernhardt
Jonathan Ruffle

Jonathan Ruffle – Writer & Producer

Credits include: Tommies, Never Mind The Buzzcocks

Jonathan created, writes and produces the a four-and-a-half year real-time drama - Tommies which airs on BBC Radio this autumn.
Jonathan Ruffle
Julia McKenzie

Julia McKenzie – Head of BBC Radio Comedy

Credits include: The Jason Byrne Show, French & Saunders

Julia produces comedies for Radio 2.
Julia McKenzie
Neil McKay

Neil McKay – Screenwriter

Credits include: The Moorside, See No Evil, Mo

Neil's most recent drama 'The Moorside', about the abduction of Shannon Matthews in Dewsbury in 2008 was broadcast on BBC to widespread critical acclaim earlier this year.
Neil McKay
Jeremy Howe

Jeremy Howe – Drama Commissioning Editor | Radio 4

Credits include: The Archers, Bloomsday

Jeremy is responsible for commissioning over 300 titles a year for Radio 4.
Jeremy Howe