BBC Audio Drama Awards winners announced

Sir Tom Stoppard and Maggie Steed were among the winners at the 10th BBC Audio Drama Awards.

The virtual ceremony paid tribute to the positive role audio drama has played during the coronavirus pandemic and the way in which the sector has continued to produce content despite the challenges of the past year.

Playwright Sir Tom was awarded the prize for best adaptation for The Voyage Of The St Louis, his reworking of Daniel Kehlmann’s play about the story of Jewish refugees aboard an ocean liner several months before the outbreak of the Second World War.

RTS Programme Awards – London
David Threlfall (Ian West/PA)

In a video message, he said: “I’m proud to say I’ve been a radio playwright on and off for more than half the life span of radio drama itself. So I’m pleased as punch to be a participant on any terms in this celebration of the art of radio.”

Best actress went to Steed for her solo appearance in Suffer Little Children, in which a woman recounts a life of sacrifice on her 80th birthday.

Shameless star David Threlfall secured best actor for his portrayal of legendary comedian Sir Ken Dodd in Happiness!

Jordan Nash, known for Harlots and the 2019 remake of Aladdin, became the youngest recipient of a BBC Audio Drama Award.

The 13-year-old won best debut for his role as Oli in the updated version of Charles Dickens’ classic, Oliver: Lagos To London.

Year of reinvention, a new award this year, recognised productions responding to the impact of the pandemic and went to Lockdown Theatre Festival’s broadcast of Rockets And Blue Lights.

This year’s outstanding contribution award was dedicated to studio managers, engineers and technical staff, both at the BBC and independent production companies.

The award was presented through a video message by writer Neil Gaiman, who said: “This award recognises your Herculean efforts over the last 12 months. You had to reinvent the wheel for almost all of your working practices overnight.

BBC Director General
Tim Davie opened the online ceremony (Andrew Milligan/PA)

“It’s an incredible achievement and there could be no question that this year’s outstanding contribution award would be dedicated to all of you.”

Director-general of the BBC Tim Davie, who spoke at the inaugural ceremony in 2011, opened the event and said: “British radio drama remains world famous for the quality and range of the work, from outstanding titles of world literature to brand new works by first-time writers, or debut performances by new actors.

“The importance of audio drama as a laboratory for new talent and production skills is a vital component in the broader British cultural sector.

“After this extraordinary year, these awards are particularly about celebrating the teamwork that goes into creating great content, despite the challenging circumstances that we have all been working in.”

The awards were hosted by John Wilson and prize-givers included actors Adjoa Andoh, Christopher Eccleston, Dame Harriet Walter, Ruth Jones and Radio 4 controller Mohit Bakaya.