The Skewer wins at BBC Audio Awards

Friday 26th March 2021, 8:30pm

The Skewer

The results of the BBC Audio Drama Awards 2021 have revealed.

The Skewer, the surreal satirical comedy show which has been broadcasting each Wednesday night on Radio 4 at 11:15pm, has won in the 'Best Scripted Comedy (Sketch)' category.

Produced by Jon Holmes, the format from Unusual Productions takes existing audio and remixes it with other sounds and speech to satirise the news and create a programme that has been described as "freeform, dreamlike, curious and scathing".

Notably, The Skewer is one of the few shows on the radio that allows up-and-coming comedy writers to submit material.

The show is due to end its twelve week long third series next week, however a fourth series has already been confirmed for later in 2021.

A number of other comedy-related productions also picked up awards:

Best Scripted Comedy (Longform)

The Musical Life Of.... Copyright: BBC

In the 'Best Scripted Comedy (Longform)' category, the judges selected the Boudicca episode from BBC Radio Wales show The Musical Life Of.... The comedy - which "explores the lives of Wales's greatest ever people through the medium of song" - is produced by The Rubber Chicken and features the voices of Mike Bubbins, Abigail Burdess, Garnon Davies, Tom Price, Steph Siadatan and Amanda Wilkin.

Best Actor

David Threlfall

Elsewhere in the awards, David Threlfall picked up the Best Actor prize for portaying Ken Dodd in Radio 4 comedy drama Happiness!.

The one-off comedy, first broadcast in December 2019, is a retelling the story of when Dodd was charged with tax evasion.

The Tinniswood Award 2021

Christopher Douglas

The BBC Audio Awards ceremony also sees the winner of the Tinniswood Award announced. Administered jointly by the Society of Authors and the Writers' Guild of Great Britain, it celebrates and encourages "high standards in radio drama" and perpetuates the memory of radio and television comedy scriptwriter Peter Tinniswood.

Ed Reardon and Dave Podmore star Christopher Douglas picked up the prize this year for his one-off hour-long comedy Tristram Shandy: In Development.

The blurb for the programme was: "A drama workshop is taking place at the east London studios of award-winning indie AwesomeSauce! The project is Laurence Sterne's 300-chapter-long, absurdist satire. There is a draft script, and three seasoned radio actors have been hired, for £80 each, along with a hyperactive impressionist. The director, who prefers to style herself an 'audio drama-maker', has set herself the task of re-inventing the moribund form of radio drama. A boxset star has been cast in the title role but his flight from Corfu is delayed, so reading in as Tristram is Rosie the spot effects woman."

The judges said: "This hilarious play takes the ultimate shaggy dog story by the scruff of the neck and shakes some new and wonderful nonsense into it. Part satire, part homage and total re-boot, it wears its knowledge lightly as we romp through the 'recording' of Sterne's novel in a series of brilliant, laugh-out-loud stories that are deliciously entertaining throughout. A terrific achievement."

Imison Award

Fraser Ayres

Comedy writer and producer Fraser Ayres was awarded the 2021 Imison Award, which looks for the best original script by a writer new to radio, for his drama Maynard. The one-off programme was praised for its "clearly defined voices of Black Brixton" and "great conflict and shocking outcome".

The Imison Award is administered by the Society of Authors and was founded in memory of BBC script editor and producer Richard Imison.

BBC Audio Drama Awards

This was the 10th year of the BBC Audio Drama Awards. This year the result were announced via virtual ceremony, hosted by John Wilson.

The Outstanding Contribution award was dedicated to all studio managers, engineers and technical staff, both at the BBC and independent production companies, who had shown "their ingenuity and commitment" in what has been a challenging production environment.

The award was presented through a video message by writer Neil Gaiman who said: "This award recognises your Herculean efforts over the last 12 months. You had to reinvent the wheel for almost all of your working practices overnight. It's an incredible achievement and there could be no question that this year's Outstanding Contribution Award would be dedicated to all of you."

Other winners this year included included Sir Tom Stoppard and Maggie Steed. Full list

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