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Melvyn Bragg 2
 
 
 
   
   
   

 

 

 

 

 

Stewart Conn
Senior Drama Producer
BBC
Mar 29 1989

Dear Mr Conn,

I’ve been thinking about what you said in your letter. To be honest, I haven’t been thinking non-stop about what you said in your letter, only now and again, because I’d love to write drama for radio and it’s nice to think about now and again. But there are problems. I think this kind of comic strip approach, as I experimented with in that short piece, would be bloody difficult on radio because whereas in print you have all the options there in front of you to refer to, it might be much harder on radio to present choices in such a way that the listener could keep them all in his head.

UNLESS of course he knows what is going to happen anyway. Which is what would happen if (brilliant idea coming up) you presented an already well-known play as if it were a multi-choice drama with none of the choices yet made. If you presented Macbeth in a version in which Macbeth clearly had other choices besides murdering people and becoming King – he might, for instance, have quite a reasonable alternative career as the head of the first Scottish Tourist Board. Indeed, it might really happen that way. You could tease an audience by constantly teetering on the edge of departing from the well-known plot, and indeed the well-known blank verse…

“Macbeth knows that he can gain the glittering prize of the Scottish throne. But he is already finding it a strain talking in iambic pentameters. Should he present the best image by a)continuing in blank verse b)lapsing into Gaelic c)getting Saatchi and Saatchi in to advise on a new voice d)talking normally?”

Well, it’s an idea. Unfortunately I’m pretty busy at the moment, but we seem to have established a dialogue…

Yours
Miles Kington