Radio: 100-Year-Old Backstop; South on the Great North Road; Talawa Tales

Friday, 30th April 2021 — By Lucy Popescu

100-Year-Old Backstop new

MICHAEL Patrick and Oisín Kearney’s engaging drama, The 100-Year-Old Backstop, recalls the creation of the Irish border 100 years ago. The Boundary Commission was formed to decide the precise delineation of the border that divided the Irish Free State and Northern Ireland and cut through communities, roads and homes. The commission was chaired by Justice Richard Feetham (Paul Kennedy). Eoin MacNeill (Patrick FitzSymons), Minister for Education, was appointed by the Irish Free State government and Joseph R Fisher (Martin Maguire), a Unionist newspaper editor, and barrister represented the Northern Ireland government. The play The 100-Year-Old Backstop follows the three men as they travel through the region meeting concerned locals, before attempting to redraw the contentious border. BBC Radio 4, 2pm, April 30

Inspired by Sting’s 2016 song, South on the Great North Road, Michael Chaplin’s unexpectedly moving play is about the old road, connecting Newcastle and London. Peggy Charlton (Jessica Johnson), 36, is an HGV truck driver. Her family have worked in the transport business for years. One day she picks up a lone hitchhiker Kelly (Laura Jane Matthewson) on her way to start a new life in London. As the two women bond, Peggy faces a terrible choice between two men – Steve (Stephen Tompkinson) and Joe (Tom Glenister). BBC Radio 4, 3pm, May 1

• Listen out for Talawa Tales, a series of 30-minute audio dramas showcasing new writers. In Running with Lions by Sian Davila, a British-Caribbean family struggles to reconnect after the death of Joshua (Alfred Enoch). They deal with grief in their own way and are forced to face their personal demons alone. Gloria (Sharon Duncan-Brewster) suffers from poor mental health and her 16-year-old daughter Imani (Lydia West) is terrified of being left alone. Maxwell (Don Warrington) finds his faith and physical health challenged, while Shirley (Sharon D Clarke) tries to hold her family together. BBC Radio 4, 2.15pm, May 7

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