Shout to the Top by Roy Boulter and Louise Wener

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Drama of the Week on BBC Podcasts

BBC Radio 2, 25 September 2012
With a distinguished cast of writers (Boulter is a drummer with The Farm, Wener a former front singer of Sleeper), with music created by Brian Rawling and Marky Bates, producers of such luminae as David Bowie, Faithless and Dido, this one-off drama had an impeccable pedigree.
The story followed a well-trodden path of three young women forming a band, the Velveteens, which wanted to take on the world. From humble beginnings in back-street pubs, they carved out a reputation for themselves, and ended up by being offered a record deal. Success, it seemed, could come to everyone so long as they were prepared to work for it.
Inevitably, of course, there were problems.  The band members seemed incapable of agreeing with one another, for fear of being exploited. Arguments ensued; and one of them threatened to leave.  However they resolved to stay together for the good of the band.
The musical numbers, performed by the actors themselves (Fiona Macrae, Samantha Robinson, Hannah Arterton), were entertaining enough, but tended to hold up the development of the plot.  Shane Richie appeared as the band's manager (as well as being the father of one of the members); we learned that he had already been involved in the music business with his late wife, a talented singer who failed to make the grade. Richie reprised his EastEnders act of the well-meaning Londoner who just didn't understand what his nearest and dearest were thinking.
Toby Swift's production proved mildly diverting, but offered few surprises. I am old enough to remember Howard Schuman's Rock Follies, the ITV series from the Seventies, that told a similar tale far more entertainingly.