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The Imison Award

This award, established in 1994, perpetuates the memory of Richard Imison to acknowledge the encouragement, support and friendship he invariably gave to all writers, and particularly those working in the medium of radio.

The Imison Award is presented annually to the best audio drama script by a writer new to the medium and which, in the opinion of the judges, is the best of those submitted.

Applications for the 2016 award are now closed. The winners will be announced on 31 January 2016, at the BBC's Audio Drama Awards.

Entries for 2017 will be open from the beginning of next year. If you would like to receive notification and an entry form, please contact Jo McCrum.













Imison winner E.V. Crowe and Tinniswood winner Morwenna Banks collecting their awards. (Images: BBC)

The purpose of the Award is to encourage new talent and high standards in writing for radio, and it is awarded for the best original radio drama script by a writer new to radio.


Bill Nighy, patron of the Award, says:

'Acting on the radio was my apprenticeship when I was young and if anything should threaten BBC Radio 4, I would have to consider leaving the country. Radio is an essential part of our cultural identity and radio plays are mysterious and cool.' 


The Imison Award 2015

The 2015 Imison Award went to:


And the shortlistees were:

GOODBYE by Morwenna Banks

THE MAN IN THE LIFT by Tom Connolly

PARIS, NANA AND ME by Caroline Horton



Produced by Abigail Le Fleming, BBC Drama, 45’, BBC R4

Lucy has lived on army bases all her life. Arriving at the latest base is only bearable because her father, Martin, has sworn that he’ll just be doing a desk role and then leaving the Army. Lucy really needs him to leave: she’s had enough of changing schools and the pressure means she’s starting to experience stress-related symptoms. Lucy's Mother has developed her own unusual coping mechanisms. Then Martin drops his bombshell: he’s actually going to Mali for six months as a UN Peacekeeper. In desperation, Lucy turns to the Military Families’ Deployment Guide to find ways to help her family, but every piece of advice she follows goes wrong. 

The Judges said: A highly original take on army life.  With wit, feeling and brilliantly economical dialogue, the play subverts clichés about bravery - and about who does the fighting and why.

EV Crowe (above) made her Royal Court debut in 2010 with KIN and was shortlisted for the Most Promising Playwright at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards. Her most recent plays were I CAN HEAR YOU (The Other Place, RSC).  VIRGIN (Watford Palace Theatre/nabokov), LIAR, LIAR (Unicorn Theatre) and HERO (Royal Court, Olivier Award winning JTU Season). She is currently under commission to the National Theatre, Royal Court Theatre, and the Unicorn Theatre. Emma was part of Jack Thorne’s writing team for GLUE (E4/Eleven Films, Episode 5).

You can listen to a clip of How To Say Goodbye Properly by clicking here, and read the script here.


GOODBYE by Morwenna Banks

Produced by Heather Larmour, BBC Drama, 72’, BBC R4

Lizzie and Jen have shared everything. When Lizzie is diagnosed with cancer their worlds are turned upside down. Together the friends negotiate the stages of her treatment and see their friendship tested and redefined in ways they could not have predicted.  And when they learn that Lizzie doesn't have much time left, they struggle to do the hardest thing of all. To say Goodbye.

The Judges said:  A memorable and wonderfully observed play on a subject that touches many of us. Beautifully balanced, it was funny and moving, but never mawkish.

Morwenna Banks (left) is well known as an actor and writer. Her first feature THE ANNOUNCEMENT won several awards and her latest feature film MISS YOU ALREADY directed by Catherine Hardwicke is set for release in 2015.  Current projects include the comedy DAMNED for Sky Arts television (co-written with Jo Brand), SHUSH a new Radio 4 series co-starring and co-written with Rebecca Front, a further new Radio 4 Series reprising cult sketch show ABSOLUTELY (winner of the 2014 BBC Audio Drama Award for Best Scripted Comedy (Live Audience), and a new series of UP THE WOMEN for BBC 2.

You can listen to a clip of Goodbye by clicking here, and read the script here.
Morwenna Banks is one of the three writers who’ve written the series 2 of UP THE WOMEN currently airing on BBC2 and available on BBC iPlayer


THE MAN IN THE LIFT by Tom Connolly

Produced by Karen Rose, Sweet Talk, 45’, BBC R4

A lift repair-man, John has brief snatches of dialogue with the tower block residents which the lift services. John’s small talk reveals all kinds of things. Bereavement and feelings of abandonment stand out amongst the general impression of isolation and loneliness that pervades the flats. One day, John is gone – his work apparently done – and his effect on the people that share the lift is palpable. Tacit nods and uncomfortable silences start to be replaced by conversations, and real communication.

The Judges said: THE MAN IN THE LIFT embraces the medium of radio whole-heartedly, transporting the listener from floor to floor and story to story in this idiosyncratic and often very touching examination of disparate lives in a block of flats.

Tom Connolly (left) is a director & writer of award-winning short films for the BBC and Channel 4, and has directed commercials across the globe. His debut novel, THE SPIDER TRUCES (Myriad) was critically acclaimed and Tom has been commissioned to adapt it for Endor Productions (Hilary Bevan Jones). His second novel, set in New York City, MEN LIKE AIR is to be published in March 2016. He has written and will direct the feature film BONITA for producer Andrew Bendel (Blue Horizon Productions).

You can listen to a clip of The Man in the Lift by clicking here, and read the script here.

Tom Connolly’s short story OUT OF THE DEPTHS is available on BBC iPlayer.


PARIS, NANA AND ME by Caroline Horton

Produced by James Robinson, BBC Drama, 45’, BBC R4

Writer and performer Caroline Horton took her ninety year-old Grandmother on one last trip to Paris. Having grown up hearing her Nana's vivid stories of the city, Caroline excitedly planned their Parisian adventure. But it's hard to have an unforgettable trip with someone who can't remember what they were doing yesterday. And sight-seeing is not much fun with somebody who is virtually blind.

The Judges said: A beguilingly simple story, this exuberant, charming and moving play skilfully avoids sentimentality and predictability. 

Caroline Horton (above) was nominated for a 2013 Olivier Award (Outstanding Achievement in Affiliate Theatre) for YOU'RE NOT LIKE THE OTHER GIRLS CHRISSY, the show also won The Stage Award for Best Solo Performer 2010. Her follow up play, MESS, won Best Ensemble at The Stage Awards 2012 as well as an Argus Angel Award in 2013. Her latest show ISLANDS is on at The Bush and she tours a new solo show, PENELOPE RETOLD (Derby Theatre) in the Spring. Caroline is currently an associate artist at Birmingham Rep.

You can listen to a clip of Paris, Nana and Me by clicking here, and read the script here.

Caroline Horton’s play ISLANDS is currently at the Bush Theatre until 21 February 2015.


Related links

The Imison 2012

Imison and Tinniswood past winners



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