Seven shortlisted writers announced ahead of the BBC Audio Drama Awards winners ceremony on 24 March

Awarding £3,000 for the best original script by a writer new to radio, this year’s Imison Award shortlistees are Benny & Hitch by Andrew McCaldon, Happy Hour by Liv Fowler and In Moderation by Katie Bonna. The award was judged by members of the Society of Authors’ Scriptwriters Group: Ian Billings, Ben Carpenter, Imogen Church, Trish Cooke, Sean Grundy, Barney Norris, Robin Mukherjee and Rhiannon Tise.

Shôn Dale-Jones, John R. Gordon, Huw Brentnall and Lindsay Sharman are the shortlisted writers for this year’s Tinniswood Award, which is organised by the Society of Authors and Writers Guild of Great Britain to recognise the best audio drama script of the year. The Tinniswood Award judges this year were Polly Thomas and Hannah Khalil.

The Imison and Tinniswood Awardsare presented each year as part of the BBC Audio Drama Awards. The 2024 awards are for a drama broadcast or made available online in the UK between 1 October 2022 and 31 October 2023.

Both awards will be presented as part of the BBC Audio Drama Awards on Sunday 24 March in theRadio Theatre. See the full list of BBC Audio Drama Awards finalists here.

About the Imison Award

The Imison Award is administered by the Society of Authors and was founded in memory of BBC script editor and producer Richard Imison. Previous winners include Connor Allen, Faebian Averies, Fraser Ayres, Vicky Foster, Lulu Raczka, Adam Usden, Mike Bartlett, Gabriel Gbadamosi, Lee Hall and Nell Leyshon. We would like to thank all producers, writers and agents who have entered the awards, and the Peggy Ramsay Foundation  and the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) for their support.

About the Tinniswood Award

The Tinniswood Awardwas established by and the Society of Authorsand Writers’ Guild of Great Britainto perpetuate the memory of Peter Tinniswood as well as to celebrate and encourage high standards in radio drama. Previous winners include Anita Sullivan, the late Sonya Hale, Christopher Douglas, Ian Martin, Sarah Woods, the late Oliver Emanuel, Morwenna Banks, Mike Bartlett, and Colin Teevan.

We are grateful to the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS)for their generous sponsorship, including the £3,000 prize.

The 2024 Imison Award Shortlist

Benny & Hitch by Andrew McCaldon

Produced by Neil Varley and Tracey Neale, BBC Audio Drama Wales, BBC Radio 3 |Listen here

The extraordinary and explosive relationship between director Alfred Hitchcock and the film composer Bernard Herrmann. Recorded live at Alexandra Palace with the BBC Concert Orchestra playing Herrmann’s scores from the partnership’s iconic films – Vertigo, North by Northwest and Psycho.

The judges said: ‘This is glorious! The descriptions of music were incredibly evocative, so perfectly expressed. We loved the way it played with form, time and space, jumping from the reading of a script to action and back with such fluidity. It is entertaining and the use of music was masterful. It is inventive, playing with the medium and making excellent use of sound. It has genuine warmth, and manages to tell a human story while exploring profound questions of creativity, artistic integrity and friendship’.

Andrew McCaldon is a writer whose work has won three BAFTAs. His plays include Another Star to Steer By; I Am Trumpet; Gnomusand Hello You, Try Me.

Happy Hour by Liv Fowler

Produced by Jelena Budimir, BBC / A Naked Production, BBC Radio 4|Listen here

Happy Houris a modern urban tale set in a pub, tackling female friendship, class, and male entitlement with darkly comic humour.

The judges said: ’This is so brilliantly funny! It was a skippy, acerbic joy to read with great, fun exchanges.We found this radio play cheeky and inventive, funny and engaging. The snappy, contemporary language is delightful. That it’s a solid two-hander with characters-off, makes it all the more commendable. Good fun. Good script’.

Liv Fowleris a working-class writer from and based in South London. A striking new dramatic voice, she wrote Lemonade, the standout drama for Pentabus Theatre’s National Young Writers group in 2021, produced by Naked Productions. She tackles important modern themes: class, sexual politics and female friendship are her forte, crafting strong, modern characters who grip the listener. Liv performs her own poetry at spoken word events around London and reached the semi-finals of The Roundhouse’s Slam Poetry competition last July. Recently she headlined at Boxpark Wembley for Bring Your Own Bars and runs her own spoken word night ‘Rhymes & Stitches’ which is dedicated to comedic poetry and making sure art and joy are financially accessible to all.

In Moderation by Katie Bonna

Produced by Sally Avens, BBC, BBC Radio 4 | Listen here     

When teenager Abbie kills herself after watching self-harm videos, her sister Esther finds a job as a “content moderator” determined to clean up the internet. She spends her days watching and blocking harmful videos but it’s a more complex job than she imagined. Katie Bonna’s play deals with the difficulties of regulating social media raising topical questions of free speech, censorship, and the right to exist in a digital world.

The judges said: ‘An interesting point of view that sparks lots of ideas. The writer has done well to create the audio world and we found it engaging and intense with an uplifting end. We found this script informative, affecting and gut-punching but nicely crafted by making good use of sound. Very impressive as a first radio play’.

Katie Bonnais a writer and performer for stage, screen and radio. Her one-woman show on the science of lying, All the Things I Lied About,won an OFFIE in the category of Most Promising New Playwright, as well as having been nominated for Best Female Performance. The play ran at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2016 and later at the Soho Theatre in 2017. Her poetry play Dirty Great Love Story, co-written with Richard Marsh, won a Fringe First Award at the 2012 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where she was also nominated for Best Actress by The Stage. She was selected for the BBC Comedy Writers Room in 2019.

The 2024 Tinniswood Award Shortlist

Cracking by Shôn Dale-Jones
Directed by John Norton, BBC Audio Drama Wales, BBC Radio 4 | Listen Here

Shôn’s 83-year-old mother is waiting for some test results from the hospital, so he goes back home to the Isle of Anglesey to visit her. In a moment of joking around, he cracks an egg on his mother’s head. All hell is let loose. Internet trolls appear in real life demanding that he stops abusing his mother and gets off the island. Cracking is a dark comedy about how quickly reality can slip into fiction and how fiction can become more truein our minds. It is about the fear of losing our parents and our collective outrage against things that do happen and things that don’t happen.

Taking real life events as inspiration, Cracking weaves fiction and reality together into a seamless whole and laughs at the dangers of not knowing you don’t know the truth.

Shôn Dale-Jonescomes from the Isle of Anglesey, where he spent his entire childhood. He studied Drama at the University of East Anglia before training at Jacques Lecoq’s International Theatre School in Paris. He has been making theatre and radio for almost thirty years. His work has been translated into 7 languages and played on 6 continents. He’s made 29 live shows. Cracking is his sixth play for radio.

Scooters, Shooters and Shottas by John R. Gordon

Produced by Urban Wolf, Team Angelica / The Art Machine, Podcast via Spotify, Apple etc | Listen here

After witnessing a murder, black queer roadmen and aspiring rappers Kola and Ranksy get caught up in a madcap moped chase around the ends that brings them to the yard of machete-wielding Rasta

Written by Theatrefullstop