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24 September 2014

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You are in: Cumbria > RaW > Taken by Water

Linda, Renate, Mary and Howard in the studio

Linda, Renate, Mary and Howard

Taken by Water

Mary Tinkler has gone from strength to strength in her achievements with Inside Lives and RaW...

Mary Tinkler

Mary Tinkler

Mary was born in 1963, the third of four children. Her childhood was spent in Somerset, Surrey, Wales and South London. Mary moved to Preston in 1981 to study and work as a special needs teacher. Married with one teenage son, she now lives in Langdale and runs a holiday cottage.

She initially got involved with the BBC by joining an Inside Lives group in Cumbria where she wrote two 2 minute stories for BBC Radio Cumbria. This involved spending some time with a small group, learning a few story-telling techniques, then recording her story.

After that, there was no holding her back. She was asked to participate in writing and recording a drama for radio as part of the BBC's RaW literacy campaign. The BBC invited 4 people who had never met, and in just twenty one hours they produced a twenty minute drama and got a taste for writing more.

Mary Tinkler, Linda Nkomo and Renate Rejmar

Mary, Linda and Renate

The four people went along to some workshops and had a go at team-writing a 30 minute radio drama. To complicate matters further, two of the team had English as their second language.

Linda Nkomo and Renate Rejmar who live in Salford, but are originally from Zimbabwe and Poland, were joined by Mary Tinkler from Cumbria and Howard Simon from Chorley for a series of workshops under the direction of Marie Crook.

The workshops were intensive, with the team having to come up with characters and ideas for their play as quickly as possible. Getting-to-know-you exercises revealed that everybody had a strong relationship to water: some couldn't swim; a couple had phobias of it. So they decided early on to set the play in a swimming pool.

The characters had to be based on themselves as they would also be performing, so they developed 3 female characters that are having swimming lessons with a male instructor. The title, ‘Taken by Water’ came out of a short piece of writing that Linda wrote in the very first workshop.

BBC GMR’s Richard Fair and Kate Dinsdale handled the production side of the drama, directing the recording session and editing the final programme, adding sound effects and atmosphere.

Katherine Beacon from Northern Exposure - who work with new writers, also helped offering guidance and advice. Katherine agreed to come and speak to the group about writing radio drama and the BBC’s commissioning process.

BBC sound effects department at work!

BBC sound effects department at work!

The recording itself was an adventure – with only 3 hours available to complete the whole thing. The swimming pool setting proved difficult in terms of sound effects, but we had on hand some help from the BBC drama department who sent down an experienced sound technician with a bucket of water!

Mary and Howard are both keen to continue writing for radio, so much so that Mary is already working on a new drama that she hopes will catch the eye (or should that be ear) of the BBC in Manchester.

Hear Mary's Audio

You can hear Mary's Inside Lives stories and the Taken by Water radio drama on the top RHS of this page.

last updated: 22/05/2008 at 15:25
created: 29/11/2005

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