Tinniswood Award 2023: shortlist announced

The award, sponsored by ALCS, recognises the year’s best radio drama script.

We’re delighted to share the shortlist for the Tinniswood Award 2023. The winner will be announced at the BBC Audio Drama Awards on 19 March and receive a prize of £3,000. This year’s judges are Vickie Donoghue, Nicholas McInerny and Natalie Mitchell.

The Tinniswood Award was established in 2003 by the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain and the Society of Authors in honour of the late radio scriptwriter Peter Tinniswood. Previous winners include Sonya Hale, Christopher Douglas, Ian Martin, Sarah Woods, Oliver Emanuel, Morwenna Banks, Mike Bartlett, and Colin Teevan.

The shortlist

A Close Approximation of You by Oliver Emanuel

Directed by Kirsty Williams, 57’, BBC Radio 4

Michael’s love of mirrors isn’t narcissism. A theoretical physicist, his job is to explore the possibility that there is a mirror version of our world somewhere. His girlfriend, Kay, is a photographer. Whilst in Greenland Kay gets a call. Michael’s been killed in a road accident. When the police give her Michael’s possessions, they include a woman’s compact mirror. It’s not something Kay recognises. There’s some kind of code etched on it. Who did it belong to? What was her relationship to Michael? What does it all mean?

The judges said: “This was a wonderful genre mash-up of a play – part psychological thriller, part meditation on memory, part drama of ideas – but always a tender and moving love story. It is also a story that could only be told on radio – a thrilling example of how the form still offers hugely exciting possibilities.”

Listen to A Close Approximation of You  here.


Waterloo Station by Katie Hims

Directed by Mary Peate, BBC Radio Drama London, 44′, BBC Radio 4

Two strangers look back on an incident on a train a couple of years ago, just before Covid turned the world upside down. As they do so, they take stock of what’s happened over the last two years.

The judges said: “This was a beautifully written two hander. Witty yet moving and deeply affecting in its simplicity – which highlights the talent and craft of the writer. A real snapshot of the collective experience and collective grief so many of us went through during the pandemic.”

Listen to Waterloo Station  here.


Strings by Linda Marshall Griffiths

Directed by Nadia Molinari, BBC Audio Drama North, 89′, BBC Radio 3

The Longyears spacecraft, with its five-person crew, is on a mission to launch into the future by entering interconnected cosmic strings. Once in the time dilation they will await a wave-beacon from NASA that will indicate the moment to return to a future ravaged Earth where the doomsday vault that they carry on board can be utilised and re-introduced to save the human race. However, as the ship enters the cosmic strings and is propelled into a time dilation, time itself begins to complicate.

The judges said: “This was an ambitious play exploring huge themes and ideas, forcing us to think about our future and the outlook for our planet. The use of sound and the minimal quality of the language created an eerie piece that wore its genre lightly and felt frighteningly plausible.”

Listen to Strings  here.


End of Transmission by Anita Sullivan

Produced by Karen Rose, Executive Producer Rosalynd Ward, Sweet Talk Productions, 57′, BBC Radio 4

Today is Jude’s 50th birthday. She has lived with HIV for over 20 years and has unresolved questions. Only the virus knows the answers. The virus takes her on a transmission journey skipping across continents, centuries, decades and diverse hosts to meet the person who gave her HIV.

The judges said: “This script was the definitive story about this subject for radio. The writer cleverly uses the form to be adventurous in their storytelling, taking us across eras, continents, and bodies as they weave personal, informative, and true stories together to give multiple perspectives. A beautiful and moving script that is also brave and bold in its uniqueness.”

Listen to End of Transmission   here.