A BBC awards scheme that launched the careers of actors such as Stephen Tompkinson and Richard Griffiths has named this year’s winners, with all the recipients being cast in a major seven-part adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s Sword of Honour trilogy.
The Carleton Hobbs bursary award, which this year marks its 60th anniversary, gives four actors graduating from drama school a contract with the BBC Radio Drama Company. Formerly known as the BBC Repertory Company, actors working with the RDC perform in plays, series, dramatisations and readings that are broadcast on Radio 3, Radio 4, the World Service and Radio 4 Extra.
This year’s winners have all been cast in an adaptation of Waugh’s Sword of Honour – which comprises the novels Men at Arms, Officers and Gentlemen and Unconditional Surrender. Sword of Honour has been dramatised by Jeremy Front for Radio 4 and will be broadcast in September.
Rebecca Wilmshurst, who runs the awards, said: “This year’s talented winners are guaranteed a fascinating run of professional challenges during their time with the BBC Radio Drama Company; from working with inspiring directors, well-known actors and leading writers to taking on a wide range of contemporary material and classic plays. Radio gives actors a unique chance to play against physical type and be whatever their voice allows them to be. What’s more – the links they build to radio can go on to last a lifetime.”
The Carleton Hobbs bursary is aimed at students graduating from courses run by accredited drama schools across the country. Via the scheme, the BBC seeks “distinctive, versatile radio voices to form the next season’s Radio Drama Company”.
The winners of the awards are Georgie Fuller (Rose Bruford College), Arthur Hughes (Royal Welsh College of Music and Dance), and RADA students Harry Jardine and Joel MacCormack.
The BBC has also announced the winners of the Norman Beaton fellowship, which runs alongside the Carleton Hobbs bursaries. Carys Eleri and John Norton will also be in Sword of Honour. The fellowship offers two contracts to the Radio Drama Company to actors who, though professional, have not come into the industry via an accredited drama training route.