The Wainwrights by Tom Wainwright

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Afternoon Drama on BBC Radio 4

BBC Radio 4, 5 November 2013, BBC Podcasts
Like a wheel rolling down a hill, this anarchic comedy-drama grew more and more outlandish as the action unfolded.  Farmer Barry (Joe Hall) changes radio stations and heard himself as the star of a new radio drama.  Surprised to find himself in that position, he tries to control his fictional representation but finds that circumstances are running away with him.  In the end the inhabitants of the village turn against him - having heard his portrayal on radio - and the only way he can try to recover his reputation is to track down the broadcasters responsible.
With strong reminiscences of The Archers, The Wainwrights was extremely funny, but at the same time made some trenchant points about the nature of identity.  We all have our public faces - and sometimes that face bears little relationship to what we "really" feel.  Yet that public face is what people become accustomed to; that image is often very difficult to change.  The cast - including Alex Tregear, Adam Gillen and Carolyn Pickles - thoroughly enjoyed themselves in this production.
For those with longer memories, The Wanwrights had another intertext; the parody of The Archers, first broadcast in 1961 in the Hancock series under the title The Bowmans.  In that programme, Tony Hancock played a soap actor who annoyed his fellow cast-members so much that they decide to kill him off, only to find that Hancock himself doesn't want to die.  The comedy of the episode arises from the way in which the actors try to stick to the prepared script - where Hancock's character dies - while Hancock tries to resist ("I'm not dead yet!").  Likewise in The Wainwrights Farmer Barry tries to resist the representation prepared for him in the script, with equally anarchic results.