Inside Story: Radio that's licensed to thrill

STUDIO

This is Air-Edel Studios, a former theatre near Baker Street in London, but for our purposes it is the office of M, the head of the British secret service. Later it will serve as various locations in Jamaica. Radio drama is about making movies in the mind. The actors imagine themselves in a situation and behave accordingly. Although people are used to the spectacular visuals of the James Bond movies, the dramatisation allows the listener to hear Bond's inner thoughts, his vulnerability and his strength, which is what you read in the original book too.

LUCY FLEMING

The niece of Ian Fleming and a successful actress in her own right, Lucy is best known for her role in the Seventies BBC drama Survivors, and plays a librarian in this play. Lucy is part of the Fleming estate's organisation of the celebrations to mark the centenary of her uncle's birth.

HUGH WHITEMORE

The scriptwriter. Hugh is a distinguished playwright and screenwriter who won Emmys for The Gathering Storm about Winston Churchill's marriage to Clementine, and for Concealed Enemies about the Alger Hiss case. His films include All Creatures Great and Small and 84 Charing Cross Road. He is an expert on the writing of Ian Fleming and it's very helpful to have him on set if he hears something he wants to express slightly differently he can do last-minute changes.

MARTIN JARVIS

Director of the play and an award-winning actor himself. Together, he and I run the Jarvis & Ayres independent production company, which has made numerous radio plays for the BBC, including Alan Ayckbourn's Woman in Mind and Michael Frayn's Towards the End of the Morning. As well as working with the actors, the director is thinking about the soundscape that will need to be put in later to help create the effect for the listener. This is the moment when Bond is given the assignment to go to Jamaica to investigate the disappearance of a British agent. So you will hear outside the pouring rain of a cold, wet London before James jets off to the sunny Caribbean.

JOHN STANDING

A consummate actor, John has this wonderful Old Etonian quality. This play is set in 1957 and the men in these secret service roles were ex-military officers. So the voice should sound military and old school, and John's does. He is currently appearing in the West End play Shadowlands.

JANIE DEE

Miss Moneypenny. She is a brilliant actress with a wonderful voice. You just know that Miss Moneypenny is cool, gorgeous and frightfully efficient the sort of woman who can run an office where nothing should go beyond the four walls. Janie's voice is low and elegant and you just sense the glamour. She's also in the stage play 'Shadowlands'.

TOBY STEPHENS

James Bond. Our 007 appeared in the feature film Die Another Day, where he played the villain Gustav Graves, opposite Pierce Brosnan as Bond. Toby is also well-known for the part of Edward Fairfax Rochester in the BBC television adaptation of Jane Eyre. Eon Productions own the rights to James Bond, and they said they would give us permission to do this one-off, once-and-once-only dramatisation to mark the centenary of Ian Fleming's birth. They wanted casting approval of whoever played Bond and Toby was their No 1 choice and ours too. Fortunately for us, he was in London and he said yes. I can imagine that as an actor it would be rather appealing to say "My name is Bond, James Bond".

PETER CAPALDI

The Armourer. Peter is known for his role as a megalomaniac spin doctor in the BBC2 political satire The Thick of It. I think Ian Fleming based the armourer on a real secret service expert. Peter is very good at suggesting a man who knows a great deal about guns and has everything at his fingertips: the range of a particular type of gun, even the type of holster that's not going to inhibit the drawing of that weapon. For the secret service it's a practical conversation that happens daily, and Peter captures that perfectly.

THE SCRIPTS

The sound of rustling paper can ruin a take. So holding the script is quite a skill. Actors have different approaches to the problem you can see that John uses a file, while Peter, Jane and Nicky tear out the single pages they need. Toby is different again, using a chunk of pages as a firm base so that he can silently turn them over.

THE MICROPHONES

The two mics give stereo spread, so that you can sense movement from left to right. The actors will move around within six or seven feet of the microphone to give the effect of leaving or entering the scene. The circular thing in front of the microphone is a "pop shield" to stop the explosive pop sound that you sometimes get from a "P" or an "F".

LOUD HAILER

This prop is used by one of Dr No's henchman to shout from a motorboat. Listeners recognise a difference between a loud voice and a megaphone, just as they notice the difference between the unwrapping of a parcel made from newspaper and one made from tissue.

THE BOOK

If the actor needs additional information on a scene beyond that which is contained in the script, then the original book is the ultimate source.

THE TELEPHONE

An original 1957 telephone so that we can hear the authentic sound of the heavy receiver and the revolving dial.

GREEN LIGHT

This lights up when the engineer, Nick Taylor, signals that he is ready to record a take. There is a red light above the booth to show that recording is in process, and another red light outside the studio to warn people to stay outside or risk ruining a take.

WHITE DOOR

This leads into the booth and also to a table stocked with drinks and nibbles. It is important to avoid rumbling stomachs because, amazingly enough, the microphones pick them up.

THE BOOTH

Jordanna Tin plays one of Dr No's henchwomen, Miss Taro. Dr No himself is half Chinese, half German and raised in New York, so we thought the best actor to play him would be David Suchet, who does not appear in this scene. Next in line is Inika Leigh Wright, who plays several roles, including the receptionist at the Blue Hills Hotel in Jamaica. At the back is myself, Rosalind Ayres, the producer. Schedule juggling is part of the producer's art: John and Janie are both in Shadowlands with Charles Dance at the Wyndham's Theatre; Toby Stephens is appearing in The Country Wife at the Haymarket. We have to work around their matinees and so on but at least we know they are going to be in London. To my left are Kosha Engler, who plays Dr No's henchwoman Miss Chung, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, who plays the Jamaican club-owner Pus-Feller, and Tom Bullen, the assistant engineer. At the front, in his headphones, is Nick Taylor, the engineer, who can tell you very quickly when something sounds wrong.

NICKY HENSON

Chief of Staff, Secret Service. The son of comedian Leslie Henson, his TV credits include Fawlty Towers and EastEnders, and he has appeared in feature films including Vera Drake and Syriana.

The first radio dramatisation of Ian Fleming's 'Dr No' will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in April. Producer Rosalind Ayres tells Ian Burrell how the Bond classic will come to life without visual aid

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
News
i100
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger & Credit Control Assistant

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Ledger & Credit Control...

Recruitment Genius: Junior PHP Web Developer

£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Guru Careers: Front End Web Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: Our client help leading creative agencies ...

Christine McCleave: FP&A Analyst

£36,000 - £40,000: Christine McCleave: Are you looking for a new opportunity a...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot