Sir Lenny Henry finalist in 10th BBC Audio Drama Awards

Lenny Henry stands at a lectern with his arms outstretched smiling
Lenny Henry at the 2015 Audio Drama Awards

Sir Lenny Henry’s reprisal of The Lenny Henry Show on Radio 4 has been revealed as a finalist for the 2021 BBC Audio Drama Awards. A Best Actress nomination for Maggie Steed in Suffer Little Children, and a Best Actor nomination for David Threlfall’s portrayal of madcap entertainer Ken Dodd in Happiness! also feature in the list. This year marks the tenth anniversary of the awards celebrating the best and brightest in the field. 

Productions in the running for Best Adaptation include The Voyage of the St. Louis, adapted by Sir Tom Stoppard, and Oliver: Lagos to London – a reimagining of the Dicken’s classic by Ayeesha Menon. Oliver: Lagos to London also sees a Best Debut finalist in its young rising star Jordan Nash for his role as Oli. 

The last 12 months have shone a light on the joy, comfort and escapism that audio drama offers, but it has also proved a hugely challenging time. To mark the efforts made over the past year a new Year Of Reinvention category has been added, recognising productions that have responded to the extraordinary circumstances brought about by the pandemic.   

All winners will be ‘virtually’ crowned in an online ceremony on Friday 26 March, further details of which will be announced nearer the time. 

The BBC Audio Drama Awards recognise the hard work, creativity and dedication of professionals across the sector, from actors to writers, producers, and sound designers. The awards showcase diverse artistic endeavours, a wide range of formats, tackling an array of themes, and spanning both on air and online productions. As the biggest commissioner of audio drama globally, the BBC is proud to highlight the achievements of the sector.

The categories are judged by a team of industry experts including actors Adjoa Andoh, Ruth Jones, Neil Dudgeon, and journalist Baz Bamigboye. In its ten-year history, the BBC Audio Drama Awards has presented trophies to an array of talents including Andrew Scott, Dame Sian Phillips, Sir John Hurt, Vicky McClure, Sir Ian McKellen, Neil Gaiman, Monica Dolan, Alexei Sayle and The Archers.

The BBC Audio Drama Awards cover audio dramas first broadcast in English in the UK between 1 October 2019 and 31 October 2020 or first uploaded/published/released for free listening online in the UK during the same period. Productions may be entered from anywhere in the world subject to these criteria. In addition, the Best European Audio Drama welcomes dramas in other languages than English.

Entries were welcome from all makers of audio drama, and were not restricted to BBC broadcasts. Each programme producer could enter up to four categories (one entry only per category). The audio drama had to be submitted exactly as broadcast or uploaded. There was no entry fee.

The Imison Award is administered by the Society of Authors and the Tinniswood Award by the Society of Authors and the Writers’ Guild.  Winners of both these awards for audio drama writing will also be announced at the online ceremony.


Full list of finalists

Best Actor

  • This Thing of Darkness – Robin Laing
  • Othello – Matthew Needham
  • Happiness! – David Threlfall

Best Actress

  • This Thing of Darkness – Shauna Macdonald 
  • 24 Kildare Road – Marcia Warren
  • Suffer Little Children – Maggie Steed

Best Debut

  • Unicorns, Almost – Dan Krikler
  • Half of a Yellow Sun – Valentine Olukoga
  • Oliver: Lagos to London – Jordan Nash

Best Original Single Drama

  • The Likes of Us
  • Eight Point Nine Nine
  • Magnitsky the Musical

Best Original Series

  • 24 Kildare Road
  • Broken English
  • Body Horror

Best Adaptation

  • The Voyage of the St Louis
  • Oliver: Lagos to London
  • Grossman’s War: Stalingrad

Best Use Of Sound

  • Cane
  • Over and Out (Murmurs)
  • The Grey Man and other Lost Legends

Best Scripted Comedy (Longform)

  • Tristram Shandy – In Development
  • The Musical Life of Boudicca
  • Alone series 2

Best Scripted Comedy (Sketch)

  • The Skewer
  • Agendum series 2
  • The Lenny Henry Show

Best Online Or Podcast

  • Tribulation
  • Murmurs
  • Unwell: A Midwestern Gothic Mystery

Best European Drama

  • In Winter
  • Earthquake
  • Holidays from Suicide 

Year Of Reinvention

  • The Plague
  • Lockdown Theatre Festival
  • Connections

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