This groundbreaking book is the first full-length study of British horror radio from the pioneering days of recording and broadcasting right through to the digital audio cultures of our own time. The book offers an historical, critical and theoretical exploration of horror radio and audio performance examining key areas such as writing, narrative, adaptation, performance practice and reception throughout the history of that most unjustly neglected of popular art forms: radio drama and “spoken word” auditory cultures. The volume draws on extensive archival research as well as insightful interviews with significant writers and actors. The book offers detailed analysis of major radio series such as Appointment with Fear, The Man in Black, The Price of Fear and Fear on Four as well as one-off horror plays, comedy-horror and experimental uses of binaural and digital technology in producing uncanny audio.
This chapter will look at the place of horror radio in a rapidly evolving digital context of the twenty-first century. Whether in the form of web radio, MP3 and iPod or in the form of local and community radio, “horror” still has a significant presence. Key examples of this are Mike Walter’s award-winning “interactive drama” The Dark House (BBC 2003); Paul Evans’s The Ditch; 3DHorrorfi and iPod apps including Zombies Run!
A detailed analysis of BBC Radio's most famous horror radio show in the 1940s onwards. The most significant and long-running horror series in the history of British radio is Appointment with Fear (1943-55). This series was established following the phenomenal success of the CBS radio series Suspense in the US. The writer John Dickson Carr had played a central role in establishing Suspense and it was his idea to transfer the formula to the UK. Dickson Carr contributed numerous of his own Suspense scripts for Appointment with Fear, but the series also featured some excellent examples of adaptation including dramatizations of fiction by Edgar Allan Poe and others.
An exploration of the Man in Black, the legendary BBC host of Appointment with Fear and other shows. The chapter looks at the place of framed narrative and examples of hosting strategies. The writer-producer John Keir Cross is also explored.
This chapter looks at the range of adaptations in radio drama including on BBC Woman's Hour and other series. Examples include Roald Dahl adaptations and Picnic at Hanging Rock, Don’t Look Now, the writer Marty Ross and Oliver Emanuel's dramatization of Tim Krabbe's The Vanishing etc.