White Noise by Matthew Broughton

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Afternoon Drama on BBC Radio 4

BBC Radio 4, 10 April 2012
Although close to the Olympic venues - and the hordes of visitors expected to descend on London - life in Dagenham in 2012 doesn't appear to be very attractive. Freddie (Theo Barklern-Biggs), has recently graduated from school, but cannot find a job other than to work as an unpaid intern in a gallery. His father Danny (Ricci Harnett) has drifted from job to job, and can no longer enjoy the pleasure of drowning his sorrows at the local boozer, which has been closed down and replaced by a church. Freddie's grandmother Kath (Louise Jameson) lives like a prisoner in her own home, frightened to go out in case she will be attacked.
Despite their modest circumstances, all three protagonists have dreams that they strive to fulfil. Freddie wants to become an artist, even though fellow artist Johnny (Matthew Gravelle) thinks he is talentless; Danny has secret dreams of cross-dressing, that belie the macho image he presents to the outside world; while Kath discovers quite unexpectedly that venturing into Parslow Park does not pose any danger to her.
As Broughton's play draws to a close, however, it seems that their hopes are dashed; Freddie abandons all hope of an artistic career; Danny becomes a drifter once more; while Kath is reduced to tears as she believes that she has been burgled while she was out. Yet in the midst of this apparent despair a life-changing incident occurs that brings the three of them together, while at the same time making them understand that life in Dagenham has its good sides. Commuity values still exist, just like the ducks who seem to have inhabited Parslow Park since time immemorial.
Through an ingenious blend of sound-effects White Noise gave a strong sense of what it is like to live in a close-knit community, where violence can unexpectedly break out, where youngsters high on drugs play sudoku, and market traders ply their wares to a multi-ethnic clientele. Like many areas in and around London, Dagenham has its bad sides, but life there can prove unexpectedly attractive, despite the Olympics. The director of this Afternoon Drama was James Robinson.