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Val McDermid's Village SOS

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Val McDermid Val McDermid 01:00, Friday, 19 August 2011

Ed's note: Next week you can hear Val McDermid's five part Woman's Hour drama Village SOS on Radio 4. It's part of a larger project that includes a BBC One series and a BBC Learning campaign. More details at the end of this post - PM.

village sos logo

It was a bizarre pitch. "We're making a reality show about projects designed to help struggling village communities regenerate their economies. And we'd like you to write a murder mystery drama serial based round the Village SOS concept."

Because, of course, there's nothing that regenerates a village economy like a juicy murder...

But I was intrigued, because I do believe crime fiction is the perfect vehicle to shine a light on the society we live in. Also, I hadn't written any radio drama for more than ten years, and I've always enjoyed a challenge. So I said yes.

It turns out the biggest challenge was to keep the distance between reality and fiction.

I live in a seaside village in Northumberland. I chose to set the drama in a seaside village in Northumberland.

Now I'm awaiting transmission with deep trepidation, hoping friends and neighbours don't make the mistake of thinking these murderous villagers are based on them.

Val McDermid is an award-winning crime writer

  • Listen again to Val McDermid on Woman's Hour from Friday 19 August talking about the project.
  • The five part Woman's Hour Village SOS ties in with a BBC One series and BBC Learning campaign. In the BBC One series, six villages were given BIG Lottery Fund grants to start a rural enterprise. In the Woman's Hour Drama, Val has written about a seventh, fictional village which receives a grant to turn a deconsecrated chapel into a performing arts centre. But on the day of the planning committee results, the project manager is found murdered in the chapel and so DCI Marion Bettany, played by Helen Baxendale, is called in to investigate.
  • Village SOS will run every weekday from Monday-Friday, August 22-26, at 10.45am and 7.45pm on Radio 4. An omnibus edition can be heard on Radio 4 Extra on Saturday, August 27 at 12 noon.
  • Follow Radio 4 on Twitter or see a full list of Radio 4 accounts on Twitter
  • Join the Radio 4 page on Facebook

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