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Chiwawa by Melissa Murray

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Afternoon Drama on BBC Radio 4

BBC Radio 4, 31 March 2014
 
Reading a recent interview with television historian Lucy Worsley in The Independent, I was prompted to think about how writers and academics achieve their fame in the contemporary world.
 
According to Melissa Murray's savage comedy, the process is straightforward: make sure you manipulate the truth, crush any potential enemies and create an acceptable public profile.  Writer Gordon (Michael Bertenshaw) and his professor spouse Monica (Fenella Woolgar) are faced with this problem, once Gordon has been discovered to have written derogatory reviews of his rivals' work, using the nom de plume Chiwawa.  Together they hatch a plot to pin the blame on Gordon's one-time p.a. Jane (Pippa Nixon), in return for giving her a substantial cheque for 8K for her to begin her own writing career.
 
Jane accepts the offer, but finds her subsequent career blighted by scandal.  Hence she is forced to change direction, and starts her own blog writing coruscating reviews, once again using the nom de plume Chiwawa.
 
Marc Beeby's production created a world in which scruples count for little: what really matters is that first Gordon, then Monica and lastly Jane try to protect their burgeoning media careers.  When Monica admits that she loves Gordon - despite their decision to divorce - she acknowledges (perhaps for the first time) the presence of human weakness.  Having climbed to the top of the greasy pole of television stardom, however, it doesn't really matter what she says any more.