Opening Lines

At the cutting edge of contemporary writing, five unpublished short stories read by voices new to radio.

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0101The Significance Of Hair2000020720000327

written and read by Olivia Williams.

An intriguing story about the fine line between love and obsession.

0102Still Life20000208

by Kevin Ramshaw, read by Robin Taylor.

A businessman knocks down a pedestrian, who refuses to be taken to hospital.

An unsettling and atmospheric story about guilt and obligation.

0103A Day At The Cemetery20000209

by Steve Tilley, read by Tom George.

The local cemetery is thrown into chaos when a grave digger is stung by a wasp during a funeral.

A humorous look at life, death and the universe.

0104Dad, His Shed And Elvis2000021020000326

by Alexandra Johnson, read by Fiona Clarke.

The tall stories a father tells his young daughter prove to have a lasting effect.

0105 LASTGunned Down20000211

by Antony Mann, read by Ian Porter.

A young boy witnesses his father's brutal murder.

Fascinated, he follows the metamorphosis of the murderer through prison and parole to celebrity status as a talk show host.

0201The Ascension Of Mary20000829

by Catherine Smith, read by Grace Mitchell.

While waiting in the queue at the Co-op cheese counter, Mary, a grey-haired, middle-aged woman, discovers that she can fly.

0202Pound Of Flesh20000830

by James Wood, read by Helen Ayres.

Desperate to lose weight, a woman enrols at a slimming club, but she soon discovers that its methods are far from orthodox.

0203Nobody's Perfect20000831

by Stephenie Anderson, read by Sarah Beauvoisin.

Matty Higginbotton foils a robbery with her ability to lip-read.

0204 LASTNever Any Better Sisters20000901

by Jo Carrington, read by Amy Shindler.

Sisterly rivalry leads to a bizarre case of harassment.

0301The Girl With Green Lips20020204

by Ruth Henderson.

A teenage girl desperately tries to become part of the in crowd.

0302Grip City20020205

by Malcolm Wallis.

The owner of a seaside amusement arcade refuses to pay a young man for services rendered.


by Colette Snowden.

A young couple enter a pact to permanently mark every significant date of their relationship.

0304The Shallow End20020207

by Chris Powell.

Life at a down-at-heel hotel is seen through the eyes of an elderly woman, as she takes her daily swim.

0305 LASTThink Big20020208

by Susan Davis.

Effie decides to answer a personal ad from someone seeking a big woman.

Read by Tracy Wiles


by Patrick Williams.

In 1962, a young lad in Belfast prepares for his first date, but things do not run to plan.

0402Red Sari20020730

by Amanthi Harris.

A Sri Lankan woman engaged to an Englishman is in conflict with her mother over what to wear for the ceremony.

0403How Matteo Came To Change His Name20020731

by Betty Weiner.

Venetian schoolboy Matteo Pollo changes his name to Polo.


by Pavel Nevulski.

A lecturer takes a female student on a research trip, but his intentions are rather less than honourable.

0405 LASTBeach Postcard20020802

by Leslie Wilson.

A teenager on a beach holiday with her parents is embarrassed when her mother insists on bathing topless.

0501A Gesture Of Support20030331

Written and read by Dariush Alavi.

Mr Singh believes that by ignoring racial tensions, and moving house every time trouble arises, are the best ways to protect his family.

0502Guatemala Moon20030401

By Clare Bayley and read by Bruno Lastra.

A beautifully crafted tale about the struggle to realise your dreams.

Oswaldo longs to go to the moon.

Orphaned by Guatemalan rebels while still a child, he has to learn to fend for himself and his dreams go forgotten.

Starting out as a shoeshine boy he soon progresses to being a bus conductor and then a satellite dish engineer.

He reluctantly takes responsibility for a six year old orphan, Juanita, who he befriends on the buses.

However, what seems like an added burden soon becomes the key to Oswaldo fulfilling his dreams.

0503The Other Side20030402

By David Lloyd Gently comic story about moving on.

After the death of her husband, Shirley has tried in vain to get back into the swing of things by joining various local groups, all with little or no success.

Out of curiosity, she decides to visit a Psychic who is appearing at the community hall.

This clairvoyant claims to have a message from Shirley's husband and it is during a private session at his home that Shirley realises what it is she wants from life.

0504Some Kind Of Accident20030403

By Molly Rogers Henry Parker visits his favourite park for the first time since his father was killed a year ago.

Along with his mother, who is finding it difficult to cope, this short journey becomes one of discovery as both find a way to move out of their troubled past.

0505 LASTA Headache20030404

By Thomas Pitts.

A young law student temping at a bottle factory befriends a female co-worker when he needs an aspirin, and he gains a new perspective on life.

0601City Of Victory20040705

by Anita Saran John

A magical tale set in Medieval India.

Jehaan lives a life of luxury as the Queen's favourite but longs for the freedom of her nomadic childhood.

Will she have the courage to follow her heart?

Read by Badria Timimi

Produced by Gemma Jenkins

0602Dali's Wife20040706

By Kefi Chadwick

Inspiration strikes from an unexpected source when a young artist sets out on a romantic quest to find his muse.

Read by Richard Firth

0603Trusting Ginger20040707

By Roger Jones.

Ginger has won respect from the officers whilst serving a life sentence, but, given the chance, would he make a run for it? Read by Andy Hockley.

0604The Monkey's Wedding20040708

By Barry Stewart Hunter.

Contemporary writing.

Set on a hillside just outside Brighton, the story makes use of an imagined dialect.

0605 LASTSome Other Life20040709

By Tim Pertwee.

Dreams clash with reality when the lives of a Western tourist and a young boy collide briefly on an Indian railroad.

0701Classic Recipes For Cauldron Cookery2005092620070819

By Sheila Burns, read by Frances Jeater.

There's nothing like fillet of fenny snake garnished with toe of frog to get the taste buds flowing.

Shakespeare's weird sisters take a break from interfering in Scottish history and turn their talents to sharing their recipes with an eager television audience.

0702Two Good Feet2005092720070826

By Richard Hollins.

Ten year-old Marcus is facing the familiar prejudice that greets him in every new situation.

On his first day at his sixth school, his ears tune in to the Yorkshire vowels of his new classmates and teachers, as he bides his time.

But Marcus has more than one surprise up his sleeve - he has two outstandingly good feet.

Read by Paul Simpson

0703Lady Play2005092820070902

By Sharon Raizada, read by Nikki Amuka-Bird.

Sonia wants to get back with her ex, but a smooth-talking card sharp sounds a note of caution.

0704The Train2005092920070909

By Zoran Zivkovic, read by Roger Allam.

A bank manager is travelling to an important meeting when he encounters God.

He is told that he can have the answer to a single question.

0705 LASTTango2005093020070916

By Caroline Sutton

Serial hobbyist Gerry takes up tango lessons in his retirement, setting his sights on Buenos Aries, leaving his wife Sheila wondering what he actually does with his evenings.

What she discovers surprises her.

Read by Susan Jameson

0801The Italian Is Not My Songbird2006071020080323

By Tara Bergin, read by Marina Blake.

Set in present-day St Petersburg, the narrator wakes up each morning to the sound of her Italian lodger who can imitate the different calls of songbirds.

his tunes set up longing in her heart.

She works in a ticket booth in the metro, watching and commenting on the passengers who walk by her every day.

she is offered a chance to play out her dreams when an artist approaches her and asks if he can paint her portrait.

0802Tierra Del Fuego2006071120080330

By Ian Dudley, read by Robert Glenister.

A family holiday turns into a living hell for the narrator, cooped up in an apartment on the Costa del Sol.

He wants peace and quiet, but his wife and daughter have other ideas.

He imagines himself as King David, surveying the masses, aloof on his balcony.

But when his wife persuades him to go to an ex-pat barbecue and karaoke night, his worst fears are realised.

All the guests have to perform a party piece and to his horror, he finds himself in the spotlight.

0803How Michael Stays Young2006071220080406

By Elizabeth Sarkany, read by Amanda Root.

Carolyn is unhappy in her marriage and watches Michael from across the road with his perfect family.

When Michael's marriage falls apart, she indulges in a fantasy that she will be the one to renew his faith in love.

She goes out of her way to attract his attention and watches his every move, neglecting her life at home.

Convinced her fantasy is about to become reality, she is devastated when Michael starts seeing someone new.

She expects things to fall back into the same old routine, but then her husband comes out with a surprising admission that gives them both hope for the future.

0804The Man In The Wilderness2006071320080413

By Michael Martin.

Unhappy memories threaten to overwhelm the story's narrator when an unnerving encounter with his next-door neighbour means that he can no longer take solace in tending his much-loved garden.

Read by Clive Swift

By Michael Martin, read by Clive Swift.

The story's narrator is immensely proud of his garden.

He watches in disapproval as his young neighbours allow their garden to run wild.

He makes judgements about them, criticising their slovenly and dissolute ways.

But who is losing a grip on reality?

0805 LASTUpside Down2006071420080420

By Donna Daley-Clarke, read by Adjoa Andoh.

Katrina is mesmerised by her beautiful daughter performing cartwheels and trapeze stunts at a half-term circus class.

The handsome French instructor suggests she might like to try it, too.

Maybe she will.

0901The Scientific Approach20070723

by Aidan Courtenay.

When a young man confesses to being in love with his best friend Angela, he suddenly becomes invisible.

Read by Jonathan Forbes.

0902The Perfect Fit2007072420090125

by Julie-Ann Rowell.

The purchase of an exquisite pair of dance shoes offers hope to a troubled young couple.

Read by Emily Chennery

Series showcasing cutting-edge contemporary writing.

By Julie-Ann Rowell, read by Emily Chennery.

The purchase of a pair of dance shoes offers hope to a young couple.

0903The Police Is Your Friend20070725

by Kachi A Ozumba.

Pastor Ayo Olusola waits for his paperwork at a Nigerian police station.

Read by Anthony Adesida and Kachi A Ozumba.

0904Creating Harmony20070726

By Jake Elliot, read by Andrew Lincoln.

A new reality TV show hosted by a mysterious lifestyle guru promises its contestants the key to happiness.

0905 LASTRising Laughter2007072720090118

By Dave Pescod, read by Susan Brown.

After she overhears the couple next door sharing a joke, a woman becomes determined to reintroduce laughter to her own home.

Series showcasing cutting-edge contemporary writing.

By Dave Pescod.

A woman becomes determined to reintroduce laughter to her own home.

1002Teeth *20080826

By Drew Gummerson.

Plagued by his lack of teeth, Rodney hatches an extraordinary plan to obtain the ultimate set, and with it his son's respect.

Read by Nick Ball.

1004Pink Or Blue2008082820130412 (BBC7)
20130413 (BBC7)

By Elizabeth Wells, read by Maggie Blake.

Gender stereotyping and dysfunctional families are seen through a teenager's eyes in small-town Canada.

By Elizabeth Wells. Gender stereotyping and dysfunctional families through a teen's eyes.

Series showcasing cutting-edge contemporary writing.

In Elizabeth Wells's story, gender stereotyping and dysfunctional families are seen through a teenager's eyes in small-town Canada.

Read by Maggie Blake.

1005 LASTAfter Oxford *20080829

By Phil Robinson, read by Tom Goodman-hill.

A man revisits the city where he fell in love with his wife.

Alone now, he searches for traces of her in every aspect of the place.

1401The Wild20120720

A return of the series which gives first-time and emerging short story writers their radio debut.

Unspoken tensions between a husband and wife escalate during a harsh Alaskan winter in this emotionally charged tale by Gerri Brightwell.

Read by Trevor White

Produced by Gemma Jenkins

Gerri Brightwell received an M.A. in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. She has two published novels: Cold Country, and The Dark Lantern. She teaches as part of the Creative Writing program at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.


Jay Barnett's quirky story about a dog you could set your watch to.

A return of the series which gives first-time and emerging short story writers their radio debut. Jay Barnett's quirky story is about a dog you could set your watch to.

Read by Alex Lanipekun.

Produced by Robert Howells

Jay Barnett writes and reads short stories for his spoken word blog His short story 'Boy' was published in Jawbreakers, the first National Flash Fiction Day anthology. He is an editor for Hackney based radio station NTS, and every other Monday hosts the 'Down Your Ward' show on Whipps Cross Hospital Radio.

1403 LASTThe Cairn20120803

By Sophie Hampton. The ascent of a mountain assumes heightened significance for a climber.

A return of the series which gives first-time and emerging short story writers their radio debut.

The ascent of a mountain assumes heightened significance for a climber in this poignant tale by Sophie Hampton.

Read by Anthony Calf

Produced by Gemma Jenkins

Currently studying for an MA in Creative Writing at Sheffield Hallam University, Sophie Hampton's short stories have been published in the Eastern Daily Press, Scribble Magazine and the Best of MA Writing 2011.