More about Red and Blue

I met the Woman in Black yesterday!

That’s Liz White, the actress who plays the title role in what is apparently the most successful British horror film ever. She plays Julie,  a Special Forces soldier seconded to a tough SAS team on a secret mission in the deserts of Troy, in the second episode of my radio series about military wargames, Behind Enemy Lines.

Yes I know there’s no such place as Troy any more; but in this  drama the Blues – the soldiers playing the Allies –  attack fictional countries with imaginary missiles.  And Troy is as good a name for a made up country as any.  It’s all  make believe, just like the theatre and the cinema;  except IT’S  A REHEARSAL FOR REAL WAR.

Episode 1 was the story of a large scale military wargame featuring thousands of characters, played by half a dozen actors using different voices.  I wrote 10 pages of ‘radio babble’ to play in the background of some of the scenes.  And the drama concerns the attempts by the Blues (the Allied Army) to prevent the Reds from attacking Yellowland.  Yes, it sounds daft, but after a while, you start to really care about the Reds and the Blues; although frankly, no one likes those bloody Yellows!

The key role in that episode was played by Northern Irish actor Lloyd Hutchinson, who I worked with on a previous drama, an adaptation of The Faerie Queene, with Simon Russell Beale.  Don Gilet (Eastenders, 55 Degrees North) was also superb as a British officer, as was Tracy Wiles as a ‘numbers wonk’;  and so were the rest of the fabulous cast – many of them members of radio’s ‘rep company’, who can act in as many as 4 or 5 plays in a single week.

The hero of the story though is Bradley Shoreham, played by Tim Woodward – who was the youthful star of the World War II drama Wings quite some time ago, and is an actor of astonishing power and versatility, and who has made the role his own.  Bradley Shoreham is an ‘Exercise Writer’; he’s the guy who actually writes the wargames, devises the scenarios, and even doles out the weaponry. In the world of his wargame, he is God.

Today Bradley meets a senior British officer played by Bill Paterson. Can’t want to see sparks fly.

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