Radio is great for telling spooky stories. The Parson was part of a series called Voices from the Grave, made by BBC7.
Each play was based on an existing local legend from around the UK, and mine was inspired by the ancient pagan tradition of Bottlekicking in my parents’ home village of Hallaton. The reality is pretty horrific, so turning it into a horror story was easy. Somebody has cheekily posted a version of the broadcast on YouTube.
We added another level to the story by taking over the scrolling text which digital radio broadcasts alongside every programme. Usually, this just carries basic information about what’s on, but we transmitted a stream of text reflecting the characters’ thoughts in each scene. It was the first radio play ever to do so.
The Sunday Times had some nice things to say about the series:
“Four new and unashamedly lurid ghost stories… the best by far is tomorrow’s The Parson, written by David Varela. It is taut and offers a genuinely original twist on how a Christian cleric manages to defeat pagan blood rites.”Sunday Times