Awards judging

On Sunday night, the BBC hosted the Audio Drama Awards.  I had the honour of being invited to be a judge for the Tinniswood Award.

It’s always lovely to be asked, of course, even though you brace yourself for a lot of extra reading.  It’s a bit like C S Lewis saying it’s a big thing to invite a centaur to breakfast, because you’ve got to feed their horse (as well as their human) tummy.  With agents, we read outside the office in what’s laughingly called our free time, so you don’t take on an extra burden lightly.  Scripts come in from clients as if on a conveyor belt, so heaven help you if you don’t keep up.

There are two things I really like about judging awards.  First, you get to review a big cross-section of the genre or medium, so you get a good sense of what’s happening in it right now.  Second, you get to test your judgement against that of the other judges, and re-calibrate if necessary.

And there was a wide variety of plays.  Some moving topical stories from Mike Harris, Julie Mayhew and Nicola Baldwin.  Historical/political plays from Stephen Wakelam and Doug Lucie that lit up parts of my brain.  Food for the imagination from Rachel Joyce and Linda Marshall Griffiths.  I had a long long-list.

Although Christopher William Hill’s play was by far the funniest of the lot, and David Eldridge’s was an wise, sensitive portrait of a marriage, Murray Gold won on the basis that his Kafka: The Musical made widest use the aural medium, besides being hugely enjoyable.

Oh, and you get to go to the party.  I got off to a flying start by giving a big smile to someone I was happy to see while we were queuing for the coat-check.  Her nice but ‘Do I know you?’ smile made me realise that – while I hugely admire Celia Imrie as an actress – I actually don’t know her personally.  It was very nice to see all my mates from the Society of Authors, the Writers’ Guild, and the BBC.  So a big thank you to the Guild for this.  There are pictures here: