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The Underwater Cathedral

Episode 1 of 3

By Martin Cathcart Froden. 4 Extra Debut. In a beguiling tale about exploration, a young man pushes his body to extremes. Read by Stuart McLoughlin.

The series which gives first-time and emerging short story writers their radio debut.

In Martin Cathcart Froden's beguiling tale about humankind's desire to conquer the natural world, a young man answers the siren call of the sea and pushes his body to extremes.

Read by Stuart McLoughlin
Produced by Gemma Jenkins.

15 minutes

Last on

Mon 1 May 2017 21:00

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Martin Cathcart Froden on The Underwater Cathedral

It’s hard to know exactly where The Underwater Cathedral came from. Childhood visits to the Vasa Museum in Stockholm and white hot summers on a tiny sailing boat in the Baltic archipelago probably had something to do with it. Reading about endurance too – cyclist Miguel Indurain’s resting pulse of 28 BPM, and diver Stig Severinsen holding his breath for 22 minutes. Then there was that documentary about free diving I watched while I should have been doing something more important.

Writing, like diving, is essentially a solitary experience. Observing milieus and characters, chronology and dialogue bustling about the harbour of your mind. Allowing an editor into that space, and being open to other ideas, influences, interpretations, can be pretty tricky. But from past experience I know my work is always better once it’s been through the mill of others – my wife, usually my friend Emma, occasionally Gail. A friend of someone at a playgroup my five-year-old goes to, who we had heard was half Greek. And this time Gemma at the BBC, whose insightful contributions brought out the best in the story.

Before the written word became our currency, everything was told. Passed on, performed, sometimes embellished, usually remembered. People used to gather around fires to listen, hearing life explained in story form, and later around the wireless, for the latest news or the oldest sagas. To see my story go from silent sentences in a notebook, to a page in an actor’s hand, to words spoken to a wide audience is exhilarating. In a way I’ve travelled backwards in the story telling tradition, from words written to words proclaimed. I’m grateful to have been invited to make my own small contribution, and I hope you enjoy The Underwater Cathedral.  


Role Contributor
Writer Martin Cathcart Froden
Reader Stuart McLoughlin
Producer Gemma Jenkins


  • Sun 21 Jul 2013 19:45
  • Sun 4 Oct 2015 00:30
  • Mon 1 May 2017 11:00
  • Mon 1 May 2017 21:00



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