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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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  • Comment number 3. Posted by pennychamont

    on 1 Feb 2012 15:35

    With great difficulty I have found a site to add my sincere congratulations to all who produced the excellent series of afternoon plays 3 plays this week. Todays was particularly good. More like it please.

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  • Comment number 2. Posted by philthehombre

    on 1 Feb 2012 03:06

    And one must hope, no all too easy, uncelebratory quips that Aunty is a sweet old ginny thing of a drama queen.

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  • Comment number 1. Posted by Russ

    on 31 Jan 2012 18:58

    Ah yes, all clear now. Look up Saturday Thing on the website, and sometimes there are real Saturday Things, but others are Friday Things being repeated on Saturday. Friday Things are sometimes repeated Friday Things but can often be repeated Saturday Things. There are currently three Saturday Things on the R4 drama page, cos of course it includes Saturday Things repeated on 4Extra, where they are not called Saturday Things because they usually transmitted on a Sunday. No wonder the poor old iPlayer's database knickers are in a twist. Afternoon Things on 4Extra are not called Afternoon Things and can be disguised as 4Extra debut Things, because 4Extra will never admit to repeating Things previously heard elsewhere. The really rare beastie is a genuine new Friday Thing, thought to have been made extinct following a reckless driveby shooting (Mark Damazer pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to 5 years in an Oxford slammer), but is usually called a Friday Thing. Even rarer is the World Thing, occasionally to be seen advertised on Radio Drama listings with a beckoning 'Listen now' label, but beware, this is vapourware. These are deceased Things. Mind you, there's a fair sprinkling of Free Thinking Things and Night Wave Things amidst the drama listings, so beggars can't be choosers. Understandably enough though, Things on Radio 3 are never listed in the lists of Things. This is an important point of principle of course - the stations must never be seen to admit what each other is doing.

    Oh yes, yer got to keep yer wits about you these days. Things is all over the place.

    Russ

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