Mike Walker (radio dramatist)

Mike Walker is a radio dramatist and feature and documentary writer. His radio work includes both original plays and adaptations of novels, classical and modern. He has won Sony Radio Awards for his play Alpha (2001) and for his script for Different States (1991), and a Silver Community Award for Oxford Road on BBC Radio Berkshire, as well the British Writers' Guild award for best dramatisation for his 1996 adaptation of The Tin Drum by Günter Grass.[1] He was also part of the writing team for BBC Radio 4's The Dark House, which won a BAFTA Interactive Award.[citation needed]

He won the 2012 Bronze Sony Radio Academy Award for Best Drama with A Tale of Two Cities.[2]



His plays include:

  • for BBC World ServiceAlpha, Omega, Tide Race
  • for BBC Radio 3Babel's Tower, Darger and the Detective
  • for BBC Radio 4D Day Project, The Dark House, Uncertainty, The Patrick Nicholls Story, Buried By Glass, Three Divided By Two, Silvertown, The Making of Napoleon, Act or Die, The Sound of Fury, Orphans, Something Happened, Texas and the Poppy Fields, Different States, Caesar! (three series of plays about the rulers of Rome [2003–2007]), Plantagenet (three series of plays about the Plantagenet kings of England [2010–2012]), Spitfire!,[3] Tsar (three series of plays about the rulers of Russia from Ivan IV to Vladimir Putin[4]), The Gun Goes to Hollywood, Landfall[5] and The Stuarts (a series of plays about The House of Stuart, from Mary, Queen of Scots to Charlotte Stuart [2013-2015]).[6]

His adaptations include:

Radio plays written by Mike Walker
Date first broadcast Play Director Cast Synopsis
8 September 1990
(Recorded on 17 May 1990)
True Believers David Greenwood Dhirendra Kumar, Meera Syal and Elizabeth Mansfield 'Tony' has turned his back on his Sikh family and married an English girl. But his brother's activities threaten to destroy his happiness. BBC Radio 4 Saturday Night Theatre
19 September 1990
(recorded on 18 April 1990)
Something Happened Jeremy Mortimer Ben Onwukwe, Diana Bishop, Jonathan Firth, Mmoloki Chrystie, Kelda Holmes, Lizzie McInnerny and Trevor Nicholls How does a family recover from the kidnapping of a child, and how does the child cope? BBC Radio 4
30 September 1996 American Faith Ned Chaillet Alan Marriott, Colin Stinton, William Roberts, William Dufris, John Sharian, Kate Harper, Ed Bishop, Garrick Hagon, Bob Sherman, Tara Hugo, Morgan Deare, Steven Crossley, Norman Chancer and William Hootkins Richard Milhous Nixon's road to Watergate. BBC Radio 4
6 July 1998 – 10 July 1998 What's Inside a Girl?[Note 1] Marilyn Imrie Paola Dionisotti, Edna Doré and Luisa Bradshaw-White Gillian and her friends tackle middle age head-on – with varying degrees of damage – as they wrestle with VPL and HRT. BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour Drama
26 March 1999 J Edgar Hoover: Red Scare Ned Chaillet William Hootkins, Bob Sherman, Kate Harper and Patrick Allen The 24-year-old Hoover is assigned the task of overseeing America's first campaign against domestic communism. BBC Radio 4 Afternoon Play
2 April 1999 J Edgar Hoover: Public Enemy Ned Chaillet William Hootkins, Michael Neill, John Guerrasio, William Roberts, Mac MacDonald, Adam Sims and Dave Brooks Hoover sheds his younger self and moves into the orbit of Walter Winchell, America's radio pundit, as they wage war against gangsters, creating and destroying heroes. BBC Radio 4 Afternoon Play
9 April 1999 J Edgar Hoover: They Call Him Bobby Ned Chaillet William Hootkins and John Sharian A powerful duologue for US Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and J Edgar Hoover.

It is set in the volatile years of the Kennedy administration, when civil rights, Martin Luther King Jr. and the war against the American Mafia were high on the Kennedy agenda.

BBC Radio 4 Afternoon Play
16 April 1999 J Edgar Hoover: Private and Confidential Ned Chaillet William Hootkins and David Soul J Edgar Hoover's life is reviewed by his lifelong companion and assistant director, Clyde Tolson. BBC Radio 4 Afternoon Play
11 September 2010 Spitfire![3] Amber Barnfather Rory Kinnear, Joe Coen, Samuel West, Samuel Barnett, David Horovitch, David Troughton, Stephen Critchlow, Ben Crowe, Lucas Motion, Abigail Thaw and Ruth Wilson Traces RJ Mitchell's design from creation to legend and the fortunes of two young pilots who join a frontline Spitfire squadron just as the Battle of Britain begins. Framed by recollections from veteran Geoffrey Wellum, the drama features specially made recordings of Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Spitfires. First broadcast in September 2010 to mark the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. BBC Radio 4 Saturday Play
14 March 2011 The Gun Goes to Hollywood[7] Kate McAll Steven Weber, Greg Itzin, Kate Steele, Jonathan Silverman, Jonathan Getz, Andre Sogliuzzo and Tom Virtue Imagines the behind-the-scenes ructions from the notoriously troubled set of The Pride and the Passion, Hollywood's 1957 adaptation of The Gun, by C S Forester. Frank Sinatra left the production early because of marriage difficulties with Ava Gardner, and Cary Grant, then 53, fell in love with his co-star Sophia Loren, 23. BBC Radio 4 Afternoon Play
16 December 2011 Beyond Borders[8] Dirk Maggs Timothy West, Lesley Manville, Daniel Weyman, Philip Jackson, Simon Jones and William Hope 1950, Jean Monnet is charged with planning the reconstruction of France after the Second World War. Monnet's vision is for a radical realignment of Europe, not by one nation asserting itself over another, but by negotiation, integration and ultimately, through political and economic unification. BBC Radio 4 Afternoon Play
Radio plays adapted by Mike Walker
25 October 1999 – 3 December 1999 Nicholas Nickleby[Note 2][9] Marilyn Imrie and Jeremy Mortimer Oliver Milburn, Alex Jennings, Nicola Radcliffe, Ken Campbell, Anna Massey, Richard Johnson, Tom Baker and David Bamber The story is of Nicholas's triumph against adversity: he defeats his wicked Uncle Ralph and the loathsome Squeers to carve out a life for himself, his family and the pitiful boy, Smike. Eventually he wins the hand of a beautiful girl, Madeline Bray. BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour Drama
14 December 1999 Alphabox Ned Chaillet Conrad Nelson, Gemma Saunders, Beth Chalmers, Harry Myers, Christopher Kellem, Tom George and Rosie Cavillero Alphabox is a mysterious and almost fairytale-like short story based on letters and their relationship to story-telling. In the book, a writer has his letters hand-delivered to him each day one by one, in a mysterious wooden box. BBC Radio 4 Afternoon Play
22 December 2000 The Tunnel Under the World Ned Chaillet William Hope, Bob Sherman, Laurel Lefkow and Beth Chalmers Guy wakes each morning from the same terrifying dream, but each day it is soothed away by special offers and an abundance of consumer goods.
Then, one day, he begins to recall a little more.
BBC Radio 4 Afternoon Play
29 December 2000 The League of Gentlemen Toby Swift Jonathan Coy, Raymond Coulthard and Adam Kotz A decade after the end of the Second World War, ex-major Gregory Hemmings recruits a team of disgraced former army officers to undertake a daring raid on a central London bank. BBC Radio 4 Friday Play
14 January 2002 Philomel Cottage[10] Jeremy Mortimer Lizzie McInnerny, Tom Hollander, Adam Godley and Struan Rodger When Alex meets Terry she is swept off her feet. He persuades her to leave her job and set up a business with him. BBC Radio 4
24 January 2002 Who Goes There?[11] Rachel Horan Liam Brennan, Ioan Meredith, Cyril Nri, Christopher Godwin, Harry Myers and Colin Adrian Six men are trapped by a vicious snowstorm in an Antarctic research station. BBC Radio 4 Chillers
28 January 2002 Swan Song Ned Chaillet Maria Friedman, Emily Woof, Sylvester Morand and Ray Lonnen As if from nowhere, a soprano has emerged to become the Tosca of our day – but like Tosca she carries in her heart a terrible need for revenge. BBC Radio 4
31 January 2002 I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream[11] Ned Chaillet David Soul, Harlan Ellison, Abi Eniola, Ewan Bailey, David Timson and Jason O'Mara After a computer wins mankind's last war, there is a final battle still to come, between it and the five surviving humans. BBC Radio 4 Chillers
4 February 2002 Magnolia Blossom[12] Ned Chaillet Emilia Fox, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Alex Jennings and Ewan Bailey A woman's place is definitely not in the luxury home created for her by her financier husband. But in times of trouble a woman's loyalty can challenge the presumption of men – and infidelity can be a small crime compared to others. BBC Radio 4
7 February 2002 Delta Sly Honey[11] Ned Chaillet Corey Johnson, Robert Petkoff, Sam Douglas and Ben Onwukwe A country boy exorcises his demons in Vietnam by making late-night broadcasts to phantom military units – until one of them answers his call. BBC Radio 4 Chillers
14 February 2002 Corona[11] Rachel Horan Josie Kook-Clarke, Walter Lewis, Doña Croll, John Moraitis, William Roberts and Bill Bailey When a telepathic girl and a damaged young man are hospitalised, their two minds become entwined as the nightmares of his brutal past draw her in. BBC Radio 4 Chillers
24 February 2003 In a Glass Darkly[13] Ned Chaillet Neil Dudgeon and Rebecca Egan In a mirror, a man witnesses a murderous attack on a young woman just before he meets the woman and falls in love with her. BBC Radio 4
10 March 2003 The Dressmaker's Doll[14] Ned Chaillet Juliet Aubrey, Beth Chalmers, Stephen Critchlow, Gemma Saunders, Emma Woolliams and Connie Gurie When a doll with a mind of its own comes into your life, it might be worth finding out what it wants.
Agatha Christie for the 21st century is no less chilling for moving to the driving rhythms of London's cat-walks in the cut-throat world of today's fashion.
BBC Radio 4
17 March 2003 The Case of the Perfect Carer

retitled from The Case of the Perfect Maid[15]
Jeremy Mortimer Richenda Carey, Joanna Monro, Carla Simpson, Richard Firth and Joan O'Norman[Note 3] Renting a flat to elderly sisters in a converted dower house should be a simple job for an estate agent, but Kate finds Bernice anything but easy.
Then valuables start to disappear.
BBC Radio 4
6 April 2003 One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich[16] Ned Chaillet Neil Dudgeon, Philip Jackson, Paul Chan, Jonathan Tafler, Ben Onwukwe, Bruce Purchase, Matthew Morgan, Marty Rea, Stephen Critchlow, Ben Crowe, Seun Shote and Peter Darney When Solzhenitsyn's shattering picture of Stalin's prison camps became an international best-seller in 1962, it seemed to signal a thaw in the Cold War. But Solzhenitsyn was a prophet about to be dishonoured in his own land, and the uncensored version of the novel did not appear until 1991 – the year after Solzhenitsyn's citizenship was restored in Russia. Following the routine of a single day in the camps, the story is a dynamic demonstration of human resilience. BBC Radio 4 The Saturday Play
17 January 2004 The Ipcress File[17][18] Toby Swift Ian Hart, James Laurenson, Jonathan Coy, Fenella Woolgar, Peter Marinker, Jamie Bamber, Kerry Shale, Adam Tedder, Rachel Atkins, John Sharian, Raad Rawi and Declan Wilson Len Deighton's gripping cold war thriller became a popular icon of British cinema.

Mike Walker's dramatisation re-discovers the novel and its unnamed and defiantly non-establishment narrator as his new job in the intelligence service ensnares him in a plot to brainwash scientists and trade them across the iron curtain.

BBC Radio 4 Saturday Play
5 June 2004 The Long Wait[Note 4][19] Toby Swift In Normandy on 5 June 1944, Nicole is getting ready to go out with her German boyfriend, despite the nightly air raids. A German army band is throwing a jazz concert in a hall in Caen when the singer, Mitzi, is called away on urgent business by Father Pierre. He is the blind, elderly padre who realises that his cover as a double agent has been blown, just as coded messages are coming through to the French resistance that the invasion is about to happen. BBC Radio 4
5 December 2005 – 30 December 2005 David Copperfield Jeremy Mortimer and Mary Peate Robert Glenister, Michael Legge, Gerard McDermott, Deborah Findlay, Colleen Prendergast, Susan Jameson, Amy Marston, Harry Myers, Paul Bradley, Richard Firth, Geoffrey Whitehead, Adrian Scarborough, Shaun Dingwall, Diana Quick, Eve Best, Emily Wachter, Flaminia Cinque, Nicholas Le Provost, Alex Tregear, Carl Prekopp, Geoffrey Streatfield, Joanne Froggatt, Helen Longworth, Selina Griffith and Steven Williams A new dramatisation of the semi-autobiographical novel which Dickens called "his favourite child". BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour Drama
18 February 2007 Hooligan Nights[20] Toby Swift James Daley, Pamela Banks, Stephen Greif, Carl Prekopp, Gerard Horan, Freddy White, Gerard McDermott, Jamie Borthwick, David O'Dell, Sam Dale, Bethan Walker, Paul Richard Biggin, Joseph Kloska, Emma Noakes and Saikat Ahamed The brutal world of London gangland in the 1890s is brought vividly to life in an innovative new musical created by writer Mike Walker and composer Mike Woolmans.

Loosely based on the book by Clarence Rook, it recounts the criminal career of Alf, a self-styled Lambeth hooligan.

BBC Radio 3 Drama on 3
2 November 2008 – 9 November 2008 On The Beach[21] Toby Swift Richard Dillane, Claudia Harrison, William Hope, Indira Varma, James Gordon-Mitchell, Jonathan Tafler, Inam Mirza, Stephen Critchlow, Chris Pavlo, Dan Starkey, Jill Cardo, Robert Lonsdale and Gunnar Cauthery In the aftermath of a nuclear war, a deadly radioactive cloud is moving slowly towards Australia, one of few places on Earth where life still exists. BBC Radio 4 Classic Serial
22 August 2010 – 29 August 2010 No Highway[22] Toby Swift William Beck, Alison Pettitt, Paul Ritter, Naomi Frederick, Fenella Woolgar, Lauren Mote, Tony Bell, William Hope, Jude Akuwudike, Sean Baker, Sam Dale, Michael Shelford, David Seddon and Christine Kavanagh 1948. The future of Britain's transatlantic aviation industry rests on the success of a new plane – the Rutland Reindeer. One has crashed already and an eccentric government scientist believes more will follow. The race is on to prove his theory before Reindeers start to fell from the sky. BBC Radio 4 Classic Serial
26 December 2011 – 30 December 2011 A Tale of Two Cities[23] Jessica Dromgoole and Jeremy Mortimer Robert Lindsay, Jonathan Coy, Alison Steadman, Karl Johnson, Lydia Wilson, Andrew Scott, Paul Ready, James Lailey, Tracy Wiles, Simon Bubb, Carl Prekopp, Adjoa Andoh, Daniel Cooper, Clive Merrison, Gerard McDermott, Paul Moriarty, Christopher Webster, Adam Billington, Rikki Lawton and Alex Rivers Set in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution, these five episodes show the plight of the French people under the brutal oppression of the aristocracy in the years leading up to the revolution, and the corresponding savage brutality of the revolutionaries toward the former aristocrats in the years immediately following.

Won the Bronze Sony Radio Academy Award for Best Drama in 2012.[2]
BBC Radio 4 Afternoon Play


  1. ^ Based on the original story by Michele Hanson
  2. ^ Dramatised by Mike Walker and Georgia Pritchett
  3. ^ Joan O'Norman was included in the cast credits but is an anagram of Joanna Monro used to conceal one "character" being a disguise
  4. ^ Written by Sarah Daniels based on a story by Mike Walker


  1. ^ "Music Details for Tuesday 4 February 1997". ABC Classic FM. ABC. 15 February 2007. Retrieved 19 September 2008.
  2. ^ a b Sony Radio Academy Awards 2012 – Best Drama Archived 19 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b BBC – Saturday Drama – Spitfire!
  4. ^ Walker, Mike. "Tsar: An epic chronicle of the Russian leaders". www.penguin.co.uk. Retrieved 24 March 2021.
  5. ^ "Saturday Play: Landfall". BBC Radio 4. BBC. 19 March 2011. Retrieved 15 October 2011.
  6. ^ "BBC Radio 4 - the Stuarts".
  7. ^ BBC – Afternoon Play – The Gun Goes to Hollywood
  8. ^ BBC – Afternoon Play – Beyond Borders
  9. ^ BBC – Woman's Hour Drama – Nicholas Nickleby
  10. ^ BBC – Agatha Christie – Philomel Cottage
  11. ^ a b c d Chillers
  12. ^ BBC – Agatha Christie – Magnolia Blossom
  13. ^ BBC – Agatha Christie – In a Glass Darkly
  14. ^ BBC – Agatha Christie – The Dressmaker's Doll
  15. ^ The Case of the Perfect Carer retitled from The Case of the Perfect Maid
  16. ^ BBC – The Saturday Play – One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
  17. ^ BBC – Saturday Play – The Ipcress File
  18. ^ Radio review – Drama, Moira Petty, The Stage, 19 January 2004
  19. ^ BBC – Press Office – D-Day radio – The Long Wait
  20. ^ BBC – Drama on 3 – Hooligan Nights
  21. ^ BBC – Classic Serial – On The Beach
  22. ^ BBC – Classic Serial – No Highway
  23. ^ BBC – Afternoon Play – A Tale of Two Cities