Ambiguous Loss by Michael Butt

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Afternoon Drama on BBC Radio 4

BBC Radio 4, 14-16 January 2014
This is the kind of socially conscious drama that BBC Radio 4 does very well, designed to raise awareness of a specific problem frequently left unaddressed.  Aidan (Ewan Bailey), a happily married father of two, has unaccountably gone missing; his wife Sally (Heather Craney) suspects at first that he has either gone to another woman, or staying with friends, but discovers to her horror that he has apparently vanished. 
Toby Swift's production explored the effect this disappearance had on the family.  Sally discovered that her husband had been seriously in debt, and she now had to look after the financial affairs.  Their son Gene (Joel MacCormack) managed to pass his exams, but could not survive his university course, in the belief that helping the family survive was far more important.  Their daughter Carmella (Georgie Fuller) neither slept nor ate well, but at least managed to persuade her mother to register Aidan's details with an online Missing Persons Bureau.
Swift's production tried to explain Aidan's behaviour by looking back at his past life - especially the difficult relationship with his mother Helen (Carolyn Pickles), which led to Aidan having bouts of severe depression during his adolescence.  He had never recovered from his father's sudden death; we learned in episode one that Aidan had chosen to disappear on precisely the same day that his father, Leonard, had died.
Told in confessional style, with the protagonists speaking direct to the microphone rather than talking to one another, Ambiguous Loss was a powerful piece of theatre, encouraging us not to blame anyone if a person should disappear; it is neither the individual's fault nor that of their family.  It's more important to understand why the disappearance should have taken place.  I look forward to the following two episodes.