DC Beckett Steals the Show

One last memory from the recording of The Art of Deception (see blogs below – this is series 2 of my radio drama about art fraud and art theft – recording finished a week ago more or less and it broadcasts in December on Radio 4.)

Bear in mind here that normally being a writer of drama is a really boring thing. We write the words; but actors make them come to life. We never get to actually BE our characters.

Except on this show.  Yes, the moment that I’d always anticipated finally came – the director turned to me and said, ‘Phil, we need you in this scene.’  Oh   * blush *

Admittedly, my role was a small one.  That great thespian David Schofield was playing the lead role of Daniel Ballantyne.  That fine actress Hettie Morahan was playing Ballantyne’s nemesis Jessica Brown.  And the delightful radio rep actress Sally Orrock  was playing the pivotal role of DS Morgan, who has, count ‘em, two entire lines in the vital scene where Ballantyne is finally nicked.  And I played DC Beckett,  the subtly underwritten role of DS Morgan’s sidekick during the arrest scene.  My lines were – well, I had no lines actually. My job was to walk with DS Morgan from the wall to the table where the actors were sitting, and then to indicate by gentle breathing noises that there were actually TWO coppers present, not one.

Yes, I had a non-speaking role in a radio drama; and I AM proud of it.

The first take was something of a disaster I have to admit.  Somehow, Sally and I managed to march in unison, which means that for the radio listener, we were in effect one person.

Having mastered this basic radio technique – if you don’t speak, WALK LOUDLY – I felt my performance improved with every take.  I walked behind Sally, again and again, carefully watching her pacing and stepping out of synch with it.  And after Sally spoke her first line, when the waiter came along, I stepped to one side to make way for him  with several thundering footsteps, and exhaled in annoyance. Yes, that’s me – the annoyed exhalation moment!

I have to say, being in the scene is a great way to get close to the actors’ performance. Normally in radio, after the initial readthrough around a table, the writer sits in a different room to the actors, except to chat or discuss a scene.  But to be so close to these amazingly gifted guys  at work was a joy. David and Hettie, who had never met before this recording, had an amazing chemistry right from the start; and their two characters rip the piss out of each other all the time, sometimes shockingly so,  using verbal articulacy as both bludgeon and rapier.

So I was as I say inspired to see them act  at such close quarters.  And they, in turn, were doubtless inspired by the feet-thumping and audible exhalations of DC Beckett.  Yes, I stole the scene, and perhaps even the show, and I’m not too humble to admit it. (!)

The Art of Deception Series II will be broadcast on Radio 4 mornings and evenings from the 20th December; the final ep is on Christmas Eve.

Sharing and Bookmarking:

If you enjoyed this article, please consider bookmarking it or spreading the word via your favourite social media channel:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Digg
  • Reddit
  • Technorati
  • Tumblr
  • Posterous
  • Google Bookmarks
  • RSS

Keyword-Matched Posts:

If you enjoyed this post, you might find these others interesting:

  1. On the Radio Drama Experience
  2. Getting Away with Murder, Mr Schofield
  3. TX: Breaking Point