17 November 2016
Making a drama out of a crisis
Contemporary political drama is notoriously tricky to bring to radio. The difficulty lies, alas, in the very immediacy relied upon to give it impact. As everybody is already familiar with the issues at stake and the personalities on display, the temptation to turn the project into a burlesque grows ever less resistible, and no dramatic impasse is so obtrusive that it cannot be solved with the aid of a roomful of funny voices and a plonking remark or two.
In writer David Morley’s defence, the four months leading up to last June’s European Union referendum were a satirist’s dream. One of the distinguishing marks of Michael & Boris: The Two Brexiteers (now on BBC iPlayer), on the other hand, was the faint uncertainty of its tone. Soundtracked by real-life news footage, the key element of this “drama-documentary” was a series of impersonations of well-known Conservative MPs.
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