A radio play that takes a novel, stage play, or film or other text as its source. It uses story events, characters, settings, and other elements, and then translates them to the medium of sound.
 Listen to examples on BBC Radio 4 - 'The Classic Serial' Saturday 9-10 pm, and also on Sunday 3-4 pm. You can also listen on the BBC web site ('LISTEN AGAIN')
 I strongly recommend using a NARRATOR.

For broadcast, you have to obey the Copyright requirements.


 Rosemary Horstmann, Writing for Radio, 1991, London: A & C Black.
"Before embarking on making a radio adaptation of an existing work it is as well to check on two important points. Firstly, is the writer of the book, play or story still alive? If so, will he be happy for you to adapt his work? He may well wish to do so himself. If he has died within the past seventy years, copyright clearance will have to be negotiated with the heirs of his estate. If you belong to the Society of Authors they will be able to establish the copyright situation for you. It is unlikely that you, as the writer, will have to foot the bill for copyright payments; this will be the responsibility of the broadcasting company. It is wise, however, for you to be fully informed as to whether copyright negotiations will be necessary before you put up your script proposal."

If your project is not for broadcast (Laboratory piece), you do not need to negotiate copyright.


 Etchells, Tim, Endland Stories or Bad Lives, 1999, Pulp Faction Ltd.

Strange, fantasy stories, entertainingly written - I suggest 'Silence', 'Wendy', 'Porridge and Spatula', 'Crash Family Robinson'.

 Angela Carter - her short stories - The Bloody Chamber (collection) and Fireworks (collection) and American Ghosts & Old World Wonders (collection)
 Terry Pratchett - for example, 'Monstrous Regiment'
 Douglas Coupland, Girlfriend in a Coma (novel)
 Brett Easton Ellis, The Rules of Attraction, Picador, 1988 (novel)
 Neil Gaiman, Smoke and Mirrors, Headline 1999 (marvellous fantasy short stories) and other published pieces by Gaiman
 Angela Carter (editor), The Second Virago Book of Fairy Stories
 Ray Bradbury, The Martian Chronicles
 Anne Rice's novel (vampires)

Children's stories and folk stories and other stories

 See this Scottish Collection -


 I think this is a great opportunity to work with non-realist stories (fantasy, sci-fi, vampires - see Types of plays ) as you can use a range of sound effects, and create fantasy sound pictures.

NOW - make a storyboard

See Analysing radio drama

To Analysing radio drama
To Radio Drama Theory Lesson Plan








This site is 'Radio Drama - directing, acting, technical, learning & teaching, researching, styles, genres'. See INDEX to navigate also.  Complete curriculum of scripts, techniques (acting & directing & post-production & genre styles), advice, sound files - effects and atmoses (with no copyright and so free to use), detailed script commentaries, etc.


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