A BBC Radio 4 and Film London presentation, The City Speaks – A Film For Radio was a series of six short radio plays inspired by a scenario produced by writer Peter Ackroyd.
Six artist film-maker and writer teams collaborated to create the 14-minute films from Ackroyd's narrative, presented on Radio 4's Afternoon Play slot in March 2008. Listeners also watched the stories unfold with a simultaneous "red button" screening of each of the tales, and on the BBC Film Network website.
The City Speaks is a visual and narrative feast celebrating London as a great cosmopolitan city. Ackroyd's opening introduces Virgin Day, in which an old parchment is discovered in the ancient church of Saint Mildred in Bread Street. It describes an apparition in the church of the Virgin Mary who had given a promise to appear again in a thousand years if the people of London retain their faith in her and follow the teachings of her son.
The stories developed by the creative teams range from humorous to highly emotional, from heart-warming to the frankly bizarre, including a depiction of Canary Wharf which resembles the Emerald City in the Wizard Of Oz, voodoo goddesses who wander the streets of East London casting evil before them as they go, and a tube station that exists beneath the capital, but does not appear on any map.
The creative teams who took up the challenge were:
Alnoor Dewshi and Lin Coghlan for Pushing
Joe King, Rosie Pedlow and Mike Walker for I Am Not You Are Not Me
Inge Blackman and Mark Norfolk for Broken Chain
Esther Johnson and Mehrdad Seyf for YALDA
William Raban and Alison Joseph for Ayshe's Tale
Sam Brady and Nick Warburton for Make Your Way
They were assisted on their projects by composer David Pickvance, BBC sound designers and Film London's production department.