Shortlists announced for 2024 Imison and Tinniswood awards

The awards, sponsored by ALCS, recognise exceptional writing for radio. The winners will be announced at the BBC Audio Drama Awards on Sunday 24 March.

The Imison Award is for the best original script by a writer new to radio and includes a prize of £3,000. The award is administered by the Society of Authors and was founded in memory of BBC script editor and producer Richard Imison. Previous winners include Connor Allen, Faebian Averies, Fraser Ayres, Vicky Foster, Lulu Raczka, Adam Usden, Mike Bartlett, Gabriel Gbadamosi, Lee Hall and Nell Leyshon.

The Tinniswood Award is presented annually for the best original audio drama script of the year. The Tinniswood Award was established by the Society of Authors and Writers’ Guild of Great Britain to perpetuate the memory of Peter Tinniswood as well as to celebrate and encourage high standards in radio drama.

Imison Award shortlist

Benny & Hitch by Andrew McCaldon
Produced by Neil Varley and Tracey Neale, BBC Audio Drama Wales, BBC Radio 3 | Listen here

The extraordinary and explosive relationship between director Alfred Hitchcock and the film composer Bernard Herrmann. Recorded live at Alexandra Palace with the BBC Concert Orchestra playing Herrmann’s scores from the partnership’s iconic films – Vertigo, North by Northwest and Psycho.

The judges said: ‘This is glorious! The descriptions of music were incredibly evocative, so perfectly expressed. We loved the way it played with form, time and space, jumping from the reading of a script to action and back with such fluidity. It is entertaining and the use of music was masterful. It is inventive, playing with the medium and making excellent use of sound. It has genuine warmth, and manages to tell a human story while exploring profound questions of creativity, artistic integrity and friendship’.

Andrew McCaldon is a writer whose work has won three BAFTAs. His plays include Another Star to Steer By; I Am Trumpet; Gnomus and Hello You, Try Me.


Happy Hour by Liv Fowler
Produced by Jelena Budimir, BBC / A Naked Production, BBC Radio 4 |Listen here

Happy Hour is a modern urban tale set in a pub, tackling female friendship, class, and male entitlement with darkly comic humour.

The judges said: ’This is so brilliantly funny! It was a skippy, acerbic joy to read with great, fun exchanges. We found this radio play cheeky and inventive, funny and engaging. The snappy, contemporary language is delightful. That it’s a solid two-hander with characters-off, makes it all the more commendable. Good fun. Good script’.

Liv Fowler is a working-class writer from and based in South London. A striking new dramatic voice, she wrote Lemonade, the standout drama for Pentabus Theatre’s National Young Writers group in 2021, produced by Naked Productions. She tackles important modern themes: class, sexual politics and female friendship are her forte, crafting strong, modern characters who grip the listener. Liv performs her own poetry at spoken word events around London and reached the semi-finals of The Roundhouse’s Slam Poetry competition last July. Recently she headlined at Boxpark Wembley for Bring Your Own Bars and runs her own spoken word night ‘Rhymes & Stitches’ which is dedicated to comedic poetry and making sure art and joy are financially accessible to all.


In Moderation by Katie Bonna
Produced by Sally Avens, BBC, BBC Radio 4 | Listen here

When teenager Abbie kills herself after watching self-harm videos, her sister Esther finds a job as a “content moderator” determined to clean up the internet. She spends her days watching and blocking harmful videos but it’s a more complex job than she imagined.  Katie Bonna’s play deals with the difficulties of regulating social media raising topical questions of free speech, censorship, and the right to exist in a digital world.

The judges said: ‘An interesting point of view that sparks lots of ideas. The writer has done well to create the audio world and we found it engaging and intense with an uplifting end. We found this script informative, affecting and gut-punching but nicely crafted by making good use of sound. Very impressive as a first radio play’.

Katie Bonna is a writer and performer for stage, screen and radio. Her one-woman show on the science of lying, All the Things I Lied About, won an OFFIE in the category of Most Promising New Playwright, as well as having been nominated for Best Female Performance. The play ran at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2016 and later at the Soho Theatre in 2017. Her poetry play Dirty Great Love Story, co-written with Richard Marsh, won a Fringe First Award at the 2012 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where she was also nominated for Best Actress by The Stage. She was selected for the BBC Comedy Writers Room in 2019.


Tinniswood Award shortlist

Cracking by Shôn Dale-Jones
Directed by John Norton, BBC Audio Drama Wales, BBC Radio 4 | Listen Here

Shôn’s 83-year-old mother is waiting for some test results from the hospital, so he goes back home to the Isle of Anglesey to visit her. In a moment of joking around, he cracks an egg on his mother’s head. All hell is let loose. Internet trolls appear in real life demanding that he stops abusing his mother and gets off the island. Cracking is a dark comedy about how quickly reality can slip into fiction and how fiction can become more true in our minds. It is about the fear of losing our parents and our collective outrage against things that do happen and things that don’t happen.

Taking real life events as inspiration, Cracking weaves fiction and reality together into a seamless whole and laughs at the dangers of not knowing you don’t know the truth.

Shôn Dale-Jones comes from the Isle of Anglesey, where he spent his entire childhood. He studied Drama at the University of East Anglia before training at Jacques Lecoq’s International Theatre School in Paris. He has been making theatre and radio for almost thirty years. His work has been translated into 7 languages and played on 6 continents. He’s made 29 live shows. Cracking is his sixth play for radio.


Scooters, Shooters and Shottas by John R. Gordon
Produced by Urban Wolf, Team Angelica / The Art Machine, Podcast via Spotify, Apple etc | Listen here

After witnessing a murder, black queer roadmen and aspiring rappers Kola and Ranksy get caught up in a madcap moped chase around the ends that brings them to the yard of machete-wielding Rasta drag queen (and Kola’s ex) Bunni Boi. Which is when things really hot up… A vivid, funny, rackety tale of inner city living.

John R Gordon writes and produces on the multi-award winning US Black gay TV series, Patrik-Ian Polk’s ‘Noah’s Arc’ (2009-present) and was NAACP Image Award nominated for his work on the spin-off film. His short film Souljah (2009, dir. Rikki Beadle-Blair), a tale of a gay African refugee, won the Reeltime Best Film Award (2009). He created the ‘Yemi & Femi’ graphic novella, given out free at Black gay clubs, and is the author of eight novels, most notably ‘Drapetomania: the Narrative of Cyrus Tyler and Abednego Tyler, Lovers’, a queer antebellum epic that won the 2021 Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBTQ+ Literature and was called ‘a dazzling work of imagination’ by Michael Eric Dyson.


About a Dog by Huw Brentnall
Directed by Fiona McAlpine, All Allegra, BBC Radio 4 | Listen here

About a Dog is a black comedy set in rural Suffolk in the early noughties. Danny Mouser is about to turn thirty. He’s a tiler, a husband to Tracey, and a father to little Jade. But he’s always looking out for his wayward cousin Lee: poacher, former butcher, and all round wrong’un who recently lost his mum and has taken custody of her dog, Daisy.

One day when Danny hits a pheasant with his van he sets off a chain of unfortunate events that unfold over a weekend, including a crate of deadly home brew, an assault on a police officer and, worst of all, a case of mistaken-dog-identity. Danny’s values are put into stark relief, and he may have to choose between being wingman to a free spirit, and being a good husband and father to his family.

Huw Brentnall is an award-winning writer and actor out of Suffolk, trained at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Work by Huw has been showcased by the Old Red Lion in Islington, Kino London, INK Writers’ Festival, and the BBC. Huw’s debut stage play, Quiz, enjoyed a sell-out run at the 2016 Edinburgh Fringe Festival and received 5 stars from Broadway Baby. Since then, Huw has written and performed extensively for stage, screen, and radio, and is currently developing a comedy-drama series, East of Eden, co-written with writer and actor Felix Uff. His most recent piece, About a Dog, commissioned by Allegra Productions for BBC Radio 4, was broadcast in October 2022. It is his first radio play.


Ghosted by Lindsay Sharman
Directed by the Author, Long Cat Media, BBC Radio 4 | Podcast via Spotify, Apple etc | Listen here

Ghosted is a 5-part serial that was released online in February 2023. It is a ghost story / psychological horror centred on the controlling, toxic friendship between two women.

Perched on a rain-battered cliff edge is a former lighthouse; now a charming, boutique hotel. Owner and sole occupant Beth has spent months renovating, absorbing its essence into her bones, preparing for her first guest to arrive.

But when they do, it’s a figure from Beth’s past that she has tried to forget.

Face-to-face for the first time in years, the pair must reckon with old mistakes, old grievances.

And something else, besides. Because the lighthouse has a past too.

Lindsay Sharman formed the audio drama company ‘Long Cat Media’ with composer Laurence Owen. She has since then written almost 20 hours of independent audio drama, achieved over 1.7 million downloads globally, and garnered three audio drama industry nominations: ‘Best Fiction’ for series one of ‘Mockery Manor’ in the 2020 British Podcast Awards; and two nominations for the ACE-funded serial ‘The Ballad of Anne & Mary’, including ‘Best Fiction’ in the 2022 British Podcast Awards, and ‘Best Podcast or Online Audio Drama’ in the 2022 BBC Audio Drama Awards. Before Lindsay started writing and co-producing audio drama, she worked for many years as a theatre-maker and actor.