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The Raft of the Medusa

By Simon Armitage, inspired by Derek Jarman. With Catherine Cusack. Preceded by Jonathan Watts on Jarman and art and accompanied on BBC iPlayer by a new film by Richard Heslop.

Written by Simon Armitage. Set in the near future, after months of continuous rain all coastal areas of the UK are flooded. Bella and Jude are marooned on their farm in Kent with dwindling supplies, made all too clear by the arrival of a stranger who 'floats' in.

This radio drama was inspired by Derek Jarman and provides the soundtrack to a new film by Richard Heslop, which can be seen on the Radio 4 website.

Shortly before his death in 1994, Jarman was considering making a film based on Theodore Gericault's The Raft of the Medusa which depicts a group of desperate men, abandoned on a raft at sea. He wrote about it in his notebook, but the film was never made.

Taking clues from Jarman, Simon Armitage's radio drama is also inspired by flood and isolation. Richard Heslop worked as Jarman's cinematographer and his accompanying film is inspired by Jarman's passion for painting and colour as well as Armitage's script. The music is by another of Derek Jarman's collaborators, Simon Fisher Turner.

Before the play, Jonathan Watts introduces listeners to Derek Jarman's 'first' art form - painting - in which he found a welcome escape. From an early age he delighted in collage and the primacy of paint.
Contributors include Richard Heslop Timothy Hyman, Tacita Dean, Simon Fisher Turner, Richard Salmon and William Fowler.

Sound design by Alisdair McGregor
Music by Simon Fisher Turner

Directed by Jeremy Mortimer
Producers: Jeremy Mortimer and Kate Bland

A Cast Iron Radio and Film London Artists' Moving Image Network production for BBC Radio 4
Supported by Arts Council England.

1 hour


  • Introduction

    Jonathan P Watts introduces The Raft of The Medusa project

    Duration: 12:55

  • The Raft of the Medusa

    The Raft of the Medusa written by Simon Armitage

    Duration: 46:11


Role Contributor
Bella Amaka Okafor
Jude Catherine Cusack
Gregor Gabriel Constantin
Writer Simon Armitage
Director Jeremy Mortimer
Producer Jeremy Mortimer
Producer Kate Bland


Watch The Raft of the Medusa

Watch The Raft of the Medusa

You can watch The Raft of the Medusa here

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