Ben R. Atkinson

Charlie and the Moon

Charlie and the Moon is an interactive radio drama, designed to encourage children to listen to and enjoy radio drama in a new way. It was one of the first interactive radio dramas to take illustrations, place it alongside audio and let listeners have a choice in how the story develops.

In 2013, Ben was working with Hannah Webster-Sudborough on a final project for our BA(Hons) Media Production degree at the University of Lincoln. At that time, we were producing radio programmes and drama through a small production company, Dreaming Tiger Productions. With a focus on children’s media, we’d previously produced Rose (a radio drama based on a re-telling of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, The Little Briar Rose) and The Cheese Thief (a short film which introduced primary school students to the study of Modern Foreign Languages), embarking on Charlie and the Moon made perfect sense.

For this piece, we were delighted to be able to work with local actors Peggy Read and Keighan Sutton who provided the voices for both Grandma and Charlie. Keighan’s mum even stepped in to provide a voice, as did other students from the University of Lincoln, playing a number of small parts in the final radio drama. We were also lucky to work with Natasha Rimmington, a final year Illustration student who provided all the illustrations from the Charlie and the Moon drama.

Charlie and the Moon was an exciting project to work on, it was ahead of it’s time and one of the first interactive radio dramas to be produced. It was also one of the first radio drama products to be specifically aimed at the children’s market and it foreshadowed future platforms such as Pottermore (which came out the following year) and the Black Mirror choose your own adventure TV series. To date though, no interactive radio dramas have been released in the style of Charlie and the Moon, so to that end it still exists as a leader in its field and a great example of how the boundaries of radio drama can be stretched to include more interactive features.