Comedy writer Ian Martin scoops top award for audio drama writing

This year’s ALCS-sponsored Tinniswood Award has been won by comedy writer Ian Martin for The Hartlepool Spy, a ‘hilariously, delicately told… tale of moral corruption’. The announcement was made at the BBC Audio Drama Awards earlier this month.

Established by the Society of Authors and the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain to honour the memory of Peter Tinniswood, the award celebrates and encourages high standards in radio drama. This year’s judges were Patricia Cumper, Robert Bathurst and Rhiannon Tise, and previous winners of the award have included Oliver Emanuel, Morwenna Banks, Mike Bartlett, and Colin Teevan.



The Hartlepool Spy by Ian Martin | Produced by Sam Ward, BBC Studios, 45’, BBC Radio 4

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The Hartlepool Spy is a comedy-drama on the themes of xenophobia, groupthink and fake news, based on the North East’s most beloved folk tale: how the people of Hartlepool hanged a monkey as a French spy.

The judges said: “The Hartlepool Spy is a tale of moral corruption, of self-interest defeating the interests of justice; it is based on a true story and yet the author’s research is worn lightly. It is hilariously, delicately told; the characters are both comic and chilling. Ian Martin’s exciting dialogue fizzed along; it is completely engaging.”

Comedy writer Ian Martin was a writer for the BAFTA-winning political satire The Thick of It, starting a long-running association with producer Armando Iannucci, which continued with the Oscar-nominated In The Loop. Martin was a writer-producer on HBO’s VEEP (for which he won two WGA Awards and an Emmy) and a co-writer for the BAFTA-nominated feature The Death Of Stalin. He is a writer and supervising producer for the forthcoming HBO space comedy Avenue 5. Martin is also the author of several books including Epic Space and The Coalition Chronicles, and has written for the Architects’ Journal, The Guardian and the New Statesman.



Home Front: A Fragile Peace by Katie Hims | Directed by Jessica Dromgoole, BBC Radio Drama, 75’, BBC Radio 4

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The judges said: “Beautifully written and incredibly evocative. Celebrating the unique qualities of radio drama. The reader/listener is completely immersed in the world of these characters. A superb finale to an excellent series.”

Katie Hims’ first radio play The Earthquake Girl won the Richard Imison Award. Recent work includes King David, Black Dog, Poetry in Motion and Black Eyed Girls, as well as adaptations of the Martin Beck novels. Katie has been writing for Radio 4’s Home Front since it began and has been lead writer for four seasons. Her stage play – Billy the Girl at Soho Theatre for Clean Break – led to an attachment to the National Theatre Studio and a subsequent commission to write a National Theatre Connections play, Variations. She has just finished adapting Middlemarch for Radio 4 and has a commission with Unicorn Theatre.


About the Society of Authors
The Society of Authors is the UK trade union for all types of writers, scriptwriters, illustrators and literary translators, at all stages of their careers. They have more than 11,000 members and have been advising individuals and speaking out for the profession for more than a century.


About the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain

The Writers’ Guild of Great Britain (WGGB) is a trade union representing writers for TV, film, theatre, radio, books, poetry, comedy, animation and videogames. It negotiates national agreements on pay and conditions with key industry bodies, including BBC, ITV and Pact; the Royal Court, National Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Company. It campaigns and lobbies on behalf of writers and offers a range of benefits to its members, including free contract vetting, support and advice; events and discounts; free training; a weekly ebulletin; a pension scheme and welfare fund.