Save The BBC World Service Drama petition was launched by Archie Graham, the Chair of Trustees of theatre company Tiata Fadhozi, in direct response to the announcement on 23rd September that the World Service will cease broadcasting its annual plays from next year.
In an e-mail to the World Service staff, Craig Oliver from Global News, wrote: “Sadly, World Service will no longer schedule regular drama output. This means that the current contract with Audio & Music to provide around 14 plays per year will end on 31 March 2011.
“I would like to pay tribute to those production teams, actors and writers who have provided our listeners with exceptional radio drama for more than 75 years.”
The petition, which has received 3103 signatories to date, aims to put pressure on the BBC World Service to reconsider its decision to axe “such a strategically important service in the literary and cultural landscape” says the website.
World Service Drama is a small jewel in the large crown which is the BBC
Steve Chambers, a playwright and radio dramatist, comments: “BBC World Service Drama provides a unique opportunity to writers to create and broadcast drama which speaks to the world about the world.
“World Service Drama is a small jewel in the large crown which is the BBC but it is a very precious stone which should be polished with care and enjoyed. Any attempt to cut it must be fought.”
Other comments from participants, include:-
‘No matter who we are or where we are in this world we need drama. We crave stories that illuminate and satisfy, stories that explore and explain. For years the BBC World Service has done that admirably and recently many producers have worked with deceased budgets because they have believed in what they were doing. To remove drama from the service entirely is a tragedy and an act of cultural barbarism. I am very cross.’
‘I recently returned from a remote region in the south of Guyana where many of the population have been regular listeners to the BBC World Service. This service is now shrinking and philistine politicians are intent on even more shrinkage. People in the area, which is a mainly English-speaking region complain that they can now only receive Brazilian programmes.’
‘Having lived abroad, the BBC World Service was a life line at times. To lose the radio plays and the cultural outreach they bring would be a great shame and a huge loss. Radio plays offer huge value for money and importantly enrich the lives of the listeners, wherever they may be. Thanks for listening.’
Make your voice heard at www.savethebbcworlddrama.com