Top Kill by Mike Walker

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Afternoon Drama on BBC Radio 4

BBC Radio 4, 15 October 2012
Written in response to the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil-rig in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010, Top Kill imagined a similar disaster, where cutting corners on safety leads to calamity.
There was a frightening sense of inevitability about Mike Walker's drama, in which the desire for maximum profit at minimum cost overrode all concerns.  Once the crude oil started spreading all over the ocean, the managers, engineers and operators all tried their very best to limit the damage, but found themselves powerless to stop it.  The only course of action they could pursue was to try and save their own skins, irrespective of the environmental catastrophe they had caused - a fitting comment, perhaps, on the capitalist view of life.
Walker chose an intriguing name for the lead character.  In history William Barclay (aka 'Bat') Masterson was something of a legend - a US Marshal and Army scout, gambler, angler and columnist for the New York Times.  His modern-day descendant (Colin Stinton) believed in his own self-importance, but found himself utterly incapable of dealing with the task in hand.  Karen Louis (Lorelei King), tried to manage the crisis as best she could, remaining cool while everyone around her became more and more agitated, but even she could not find a way out.
It would be nice to say that Top Kill was designed to warn listeners about what might happen if safety standards were not observed on an oil rig.  However I found the play far more pessimistic, as if Walker believed that these kind of disasters are always going to happen in a profit-oriented world.