DIVIDED WE FALL
Comedians Josie Long and Liam Williams create a Perimeter in Radio 4 drama
BBC Radio 4’s acclaimed Dangerous Visions season returns for another year in June – and this time around there’s an added comedy element to the dystopian sci-fi strand, headed up by its new show Perimeter from acclaimed comedians Josie Long and Liam Williams.
“I made Liam watch Children Of Men because I’m obsessed with it,” says Long on the inspiration for the one-off show. “We wanted to make something that had elements of that to it, but was lighthearted and silly as well. There’s quite a lot of us taking the mickey out of ourselves in terms of what it means to try and be politically aware and be an activist but to also have a personality that’s ridiculous.”
Originally conceived as a TV show, the story focuses on two siblings (also called Josie and Liam) who live in a near-future city that’s divided by an electrified wall, and where everything has been privatised. “Things are divided between the rich and the poor,” says Williams, who states JG Ballard as another influence. “The two leads, played by myself and Josie both hate the wall, but for different reasons. Josie hates it because she thinks that it’s wrong and Liam hates it because he thinks that he’s on the wrong side of it. They both get the chance to go and live on the other side and we see how this change in fortunes affects the characters differently...”
Long says that while the story is inspired by current events, they were both keen to ensure that Perimeter was still funny. “We’re trying really hard to make points about inequality and the way our society is structured, but you need the humour. It saves it from being too po-faced. I think writing the bits that are silly and whimsical helps us deal with things like climate change and structural inequality which are just so brutal. In some ways it’s a pleasure to take these things to an absurd place. It feels quite righteous and justified!”
Also included in the season are a new adaptation of The Children Of Men, PD James’s brilliant original novel; a new comic retelling of Franz Kafka’s famous Metamorphosis; Siege, a three-part drama set in a future France dominated by fascism; and Darkness At Noon – an adaptation of Arthur Koestler’s 1940 allegorical novel set in a totalitarian country.
Radio 4’s Dangerous Visions season begins with Kafka’s Metamorphosis on 24 June.
Apparently in dystopian times it’s common practice to create ludicrous hats in the shape of beavers.