Loughborough University
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Hilda, Mabel and Me

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posted on 2014-11-26, 13:38 authored by Carolyn S. Scott Jeffs
This thesis explores the work of three women practitioners in radio and examines the process of writing radio drama through a mixture of criticism and practice. It analyzes early theories about radio drama and compares them with those of today, in order to ascertain whether the early ideas are still relevant. Starkey points out that radio has been relatively undertheorized (2004: 204), so this evaluation of the practice of writing radio drama adds to knowledge of the medium as a whole. The work focuses on two women practitioners from the past: Hilda Matheson, whose book Broadcasting (1933), was the first single authored text on radio and broadcasting by a woman published in English (Crook 1999: 12) and Mabel Constanduros, who was a prolific writer and actress of the time, specialising in comedy. Matheson s ideas are compared with those of Val Gielgud and other early theorists, which were more accepted at the time. This analysis leads to close examination of a debate at the heart of radio drama, that being whether noises or dialogue are the best method of storytelling. Finally there is a consideration of the author s own writing practice, using three broadcast radio plays, 21 Conversations with a Hairdresser, 15 Ways to Leave Your Lover and Jesus, The Devil and a Kid Called Death. This provides insight into the changing methods of writing for radio. The findings create a story design for writing the Radio 4 Afternoon Drama. Final written drafts are included, along with audio copies of the plays as they were broadcast. Several different types of criticism create the theoretical base, including works on cultural theory, feminist theory and reception theory, as well as texts on radio, screen, play and comedy writing.



  • The Arts, English and Drama


  • English and Drama


© Carolyn Scott Jeffs

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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.

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  • en

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