BBC Radio 4

    A name change for dramas on Radio 4

    Commissioning Editor

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    I am writing this a few days after the first Audio Drama Awards, which I hope you agree is an exciting departure for drama that is heard but not seen. I just wanted to let you know about a change we are putting in place on Radio 4 next month.

    As from February 18th we are going to re-name some of the drama slots, so that the drama in Woman's Hour (and the repeat broadcast after Front Row) becomes 15 Minute Drama, Afternoon Play becomes Afternoon Drama, Saturday Play becomes Saturday Drama and Friday Play becomes Friday Drama.

    Not rocket science, I know, and  there will be no difference to what you are hearing in the actual contents of the programmes.

    So why are we doing it?

    The drama on Radio 4 is part of the BBC's drama push whose tag line is Original British Drama - you will see it on your screens shortly - and we decided that this was an opportunity to bring the drama output on Radio 4 into line with the rest of the BBC.

    I always refer to myself as the commissioning editor of drama, the people within the BBC who make our programmes refer to themselves as drama producers, I think we all generally refer to what we see on television and listen to on the radio as drama, not as plays. Or to put it another way we don't really make plays, we make drama.

    Two pictures convinced me that we were on the right path - a picture of Kenneth Branagh scowling as Victor Schtrum and his family in last year's Life and Fate more completely sums up what we do than a picture of a bunch of thesps on a stage a long long way away.

    Don't get me wrong I love the theatre - I used be a theatre director - but that's not what we do, and I am not sure that is how you see what we do.

    So we changed the names of the slots - but not the programmes we are putting into them.

    Jeremy Howe is commissioning editor for drama, Radio 4

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