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The 2021 Shortlist

The BBC Audio Drama Awards celebrate the range, originality and cut-through quality of audio drama on air and online and give recognition to the creativity of actors, writers, producers, sound designers and others who work in this genre.

The shortlist for the BBC Audio Drama Awards 2021 has now been revealed.

The finalists will be announced on Tuesday 9 February 2021, and the winners on Sunday 21 March 2021. We hope this will take the form of a ceremony in the Radio Theatre at BBC Broadcasting House London as on previous occasions, in which case a maximum of three invitations will be allocated for each finalist entry. However, this plan will be confirmed nearer the time, taking into account any necessary social distancing and other considerations that are in place by then, in view of the current national lockdown.

The winners of the Imison and Tinniswood Awards (judged and administered by the Society of Authors and the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain) will also be announced on this date.

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Best Actor

  • Idris Debrand, Oil on Water, director Nicolas Jackson, Afonica
  • Toby Jones, Henry IV Part 1, director Sally Avens, BBC Radio Drama London
  • Robin Laing, This Thing of Darkness, directors Gaynor Macfarlane and Kirsty Williams, BBC Scotland
  • Jack Lowden, R.L.Stevenson’s Weir of Hermiston, director Bruce Young, BBC Scotland
  • Matthew Needham, Othello, director Emma Harding, BBC Radio Drama London
  • David Threlfall, Happiness!, director Gemma Jenkins, BBC Radio Drama London

Best Actress

  • Shauna Macdonald, This Thing of Darkness, directors Gaynor Macfarlane and Kirsty Williams, BBC Scotland
  • Siobhan McSweeney, Nora Webster, director Allegra McIlroy, BBC Northern Ireland
  • Maggie Steed, Suffer Little Children, director Jessica Dromgoole, BBC Radio Drama London
  • Frances Tomelty, The Ballad of Bobby Sands, director Emma Harding, BBC Radio Drama London
  • Harriet Walter, Absent in the Spring, director Catherine Bailey, Catherine Bailey Productions
  • Marcia Warren, 24 Kildare Rd, director Mary Peate, BBC Radio Drama London

Best Adaptation

  • Cane by Jean Toomer, adapted by Janice Okoh, producer John Norton, BBC Cymru Wales
  • Grossman’s War: Stalingrad by Vasily Grossman, adapted by Jonathan Myerson & Mike Walker, producer Jonquil Panting, BBC Cymru Wales
  • Oil on Water by Helon Habila, adapted by Rex Obano, producer Nicolas Jackson, Afonica
  • Oliver: Lagos to London, based on Charles Dickens, adapted by Ayeesha Menon, producer Gill Parry, feral inc
  • The Plague by Albert Camus, adapted by Neil Bartlett, producer Turan Ali, Bona Broadcasting
  • The Voyage of the St Louis by Daniel Kehlmann, adapted by Tom Stoppard, producer Sasha Yevtushenko, BBC Radio Drama London

Best Debut Performance

  • Dan Krikler, Unicorns, Almost, director John Retallack, The Story of Books
  • Libby Mai, Girl With a Pearl Earring, director Amber Barnfather, Goldhawk Essential
  • Jordan Nash, Oliver: Lagos to London, director Michael Buffong, feral inc
  • Valentine Olukoga, Half of a Yellow Sun, director Nadia Molinari, BBC Radio Drama North
  • Elliot Steel, Unite, director Barry Castagnola, Golden Path
  • Luke Wright, Christabel, director Susan Roberts, BBC Radio Drama North

Best European Drama

  • Earthquake by Janko Polić Kamov, producer Katja Šimunić, HRT Croatian Radio
  • Holidays from Suicide: a Fantastic Journey with Iggy Pop written and produced by Birgit Kempker and Anatol Atonal, SRF (Switzerland)
  • In the Absence by Manu Barceló, producer Estel Garcia and Josemari López Alcoitia, Resonar (, (Spain)
  • In Winter by Magda Woitzuck, Ida Schön, Hanno Millesi, Mark von Schlegell, Ann Cotten, Puneh Ansari, producer Christian Lerch, ORF (Austria)
  • Leaba an Bháis, by Darach Mac Con Iomaire, producer Kevin Reynolds, RTÉ (Ireland)
  • Three Lives of Dmitri Shostakovich by Pavel Molek, producer Klará Novotná, CZR Czech Radio

Best Original Series or Serial

  • 24 Kildare Rd by Katie Hims, producer Mary Peate, BBC Radio Drama London
  • Body Horror by Lucy Catherine, producer Toby Swift, BBC Radio Drama London
  • Broken English by Shelagh Stephenson, producer Eoin O’Callaghan, Big Fish Productions
  • D for Dexter by Amanda Whittington, producer Mary Ward-Lowery, BBC Bristol
  • Prostrate by Martin Jameson, producer Liz Anstee, CPL Productions
  • Someone Dangerous by Andy Mulligan, producers Emma Hearn and John Scott Dryden, Goldhawk Productions

Best Original Single Drama

  • The Ballad of Bobby Sands by Tom Kelly, producer Marc Beeby, BBC Radio Drama London
  • Eight Point Nine Nine by James Fritz, producer Becky Ripley, BBC Bristol
  • Happiness! by Ian Billings, producer Gemma Jenkins, BBC Radio Drama London
  • The Likes of Us by Roy Williams, producer Mary Peate, BBC Radio Drama London
  • Magnitsky the Musical by Robert Hudson and Johnny Flynn, producer Sasha Yevtushenko, BBC Radio Drama London
  • The Other Tchaikovsky by Harriet Madeley, producer Andrew Wilkie, Prison Radio Association

Best Podcast or Online Audio Drama

  • Children of the Stones by AK Benedict and Guy Adams, producer Simon Barnard, Bafflegab Productions
  • Fake Heiress by Vicky Baker and Chloe Moss, producer Sasha Yevtushenko, BBC Radio Drama London
  • Murmurs by Janina Matthewson, Tom Crowley, Beth Crane, Chris and Jen Sugden, producers James Robinson, John Norton, Helen Perry, and David Devereux, writers Janina Matthewson, Beth Crane, Tom Crowley, Greer Ellison, Eno Mfon, Jesse Schwenk, Chris and Jen Sugden, and Robert Valentine, BBC Cymru Wales
  • The Sink by Natasha Hodgson, producer Andy Goddard, BBC Studios
  • Tribulation by Adam Jahnke, producer Greg Cooler, ListenUp Audio
  • Unwell: a Midwestern Gothic Mystery, producers Jeffrey Nils Gardner and Eleanor Hyde, HartLife NFP

Best Scripted Comedy (Longform)

  • Alone by Moray Hunter, producer Gordon Kennedy, Absolutely Productions
  • Charles Paris: A Doubtful Death by Jeremy Front, producer Sally Avens, BBC Radio Drama London
  • The Musical Life of… by Dan Kiss and Dave Cribb, producers Dave Cribb and Tom Price, The Rubber Chicken
  • Reincarnathan by Tom Craine and Henry Paker, producer Harriet Jaine, Talkback
  • Tim Key’s Late Night Poetry Programme by Tim Key, producer James Robinson, BBC Cymru Wales
  • Tristram Shandy: In Development by Christopher Douglas, producer Gary Brown, BBC Radio Drama North

Best Scripted Comedy (Sketch Show)

  • Agendum by Joel Morris and Jason Hazeley, producer David Tyler, Pozzitive
  • The Lenny Henry Show by Tasha Dhanraj, Max Davis, Nathan Bryon and Tom Melia, Nathan Roberts, Athena Kugblenu, Michael Odweale and Kim Fuller, producer Sam Michell, Douglas Road Productions and Tiger Aspect
  • Newsjack by 34 members of the Great British public, producer Leila Navabi and Hayley Sterling, BBC Studios
  • SeanceCast by Charlie Dinkin and Zoe Tomalin, producer Benjamin Sutton, Hat Trick
  • The Skewer, creator and producer Jon Holmes, Unusual Productions
  • Thanks a Lot, Milton Jones by Milton Jones, James Cary and Dan Evans, producer David Tyler, Pozzitive

Best Use of Sound

  • Bar Answer, sound by Steve Bond, producers Nicolas Jackson and Steve Bond, Afonica
  • Cane, sound by Nigel Lewis, producer John Norton, BBC Cymru Wales
  • The Grey Man and Other Lost Legends, sound by Steve Bond, producers Joby Waldman and Steve Bond, Reduced Listening
  • Islands, sound by Chris Watson and Ruth Kennington, producer Kevin Brew, RTÉ Ireland
  • The Kubrick Test, sound by Alisdair McGregor, producer Boz Temple-Morris, Holy Mountain
  • Over and Out (Murmurs Ep 1), sound by Catherine Robinson, producers John Norton, James Robinson and David Devereux, BBC Cymru Wales

The Year of Reinvention

  • Connections, producer Polly Thomas, Naked Productions
  • A Fortunate Man, producer John Norton, BBC Cymru Wales
  • Free Your Mind, producer Noemi Gunea, Cheap Thrills
  • Goblin Market, producer Jessica Dromgoole, BBC Radio Drama London
  • Lockdown Theatre Festival, producers Bertie Carvel, Jeremy Mortimer, Steve Bond, Jack Howson and Joby Waldman, Reduced Listening
  • The Plague, producer Turan Ali, Bona Broadcasting

In the event that circumstances should mean we are unable to proceed as planned with these awards, the BBC reserves the right to suspend, postpone or cancel the process at any point.