A few months ago I spent the day with Savvy Productions for the recording of a radio play: Deadheading. I played the part of set photographer capturing behind the scenes moments as well as creating the promotional images to be used online by the BBC.
Taken as separate portraits in a front room in Delph, there is a bit of jiggery pokery to show the characters in the opening scene’s burnt out shed with garden implements hanging menacingly in the background….but more of those later.
The play may be set on an a sun-drenched allotment but I drove over a very wintery Saddleworth Moor in a blizzard to get there. Quite a terrifying journey, but it was worth it to have the door opened by the rather fabulous Miriam Margolyes who plays Crime Scene Manager Jo Blake.
Deadheading is a Crime Comedy written by Queen of Crime Val McDermid. It has a natural history documentary style narration and explores the habitat of the detective story in the wild landscape of a Lancashire allotment.
Here’s Val, on location with my garden fork which I took along as a last-minute prop for sound and visual effects. I shall be listening for it digging in the outdoors scenes.
It’s like Trigger’s broom, that fork. It’s earned it’s keep purely by allowing me to actually go into a ironmongers shop and ask for ‘fork handles’. Other bit parts in the final images went to my trusty rake and spade.
In between takes we took a few photos of the production team, trying to take it seriously.
We were going for ‘Charlie’s Angels’ but as soon as Director & Producer Justine Potter got out her two fingered gun, it sent Val into hysterics, whilst Sound Design Engineer Eloise Whitmore politely managed to stifle her giggles.
There was plenty more innuendo ridden laughter, on and off set with lines from the play, but also with some hilarious, insights from the actors.
Naming no names, I think from the photo above you might be able to guess the cheekiest cast member.
Here are the other members of the Deadheading Cast:
Playing the ‘Alpha Female’ DSI Alma Blair, is the brilliant Julie Hesmondhalgh.
There is the slightly dim southern sidekick, DS Jason Trotter played by John Hollingworth.
‘Narrator’ of the wild habitat of the crime story and Wannabe Detective/Chair of the Allotment Brian Masters is played by Jonathan Keeble.
‘Opportunist’ Allotment Holder Eric Ollerinshaw is played by the lovely Alan Rothwell who has an amazing ability to strike a different pose and expression with every click of the shutter.
Seeing his face takes me back to my school days and watching him on Picture Box, the archetypal ‘kind faced man’.
Last but not least there is Victoria Brazier who plays willing workhorse PC Sparks.
I’ve not heard the play yet so I shall be tuning in whilst I crack on with the decorating as it starts tomorrow on BBC Radio 4.
Another Radio Drama post here: Craven.