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The Transfer by Nick Perry

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The Transfer by Nick Perry. Dir. Toby Field. Perf. David Schofield, Rachel Austin, Simon Armstrong. BBC Radio 4, 12 Feb. 2015. BBCiPlayer http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b051vr32 to 14 Mar. 2015.

Thematically speaking, "The Transfer" rehearses a plot most famously employed in Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman" about a washed-up male protagonist desperately trying to retain his self-respect in a harsh and unforgiving world. He make several calls to generate business, but finds that no one really wants to know. In the end he is forced to contemplate the miseries of his existence.

In Nick Perry's drama the protagonist is football agent Danny Provisor (David Schofield), who desperately wants to persuade Serbian starlet Stavko Illich (Mirza Koluder) to sign for a club, so as to obtain the financial wherewithal that will enable Danny to pay the care-home fees for his wife, suffering from Alzheimer's. All of the action takes place on transfer deadline day, where players are bought, sold, exchanged or put on loan like samples from a meat-market. The media play a significant part in whipping up the frenzy of activity, with up-to-the-minute reports on which players have switched clubs, and who are likely to make switches as the day unfolds.

The frenzied atmosphere was adeptly communicated in Toby Field's production through the use of real-life broadcasts from Radio Five Live taken from deadline day in January. Presenters communicated with correspondents such as Ian Dennis about what was happening in breathless tones; the latest transfer news seemed far more important than politics or war.

Caught up in this situation, and desperate to clinch the deal, Danny was on the phone to clients, contacts, as well as his son Jonathan (Daniel Abelson) from five o'clock in the morning. However nothing seemed to go right for him, in spite of all his efforts to sustain an optimistic fašade. In the end we were left wondering what the point actually was: football is only a game, after all. Or is it? Perhaps it is the media's fault, as well as those involved in administering the game, for making deadline day such a life-or-death occasion.