Written by Radio, Theatre

The Permanent Way

After I recently saw The Power of Yes, it became apparent that this was not the first production that David Hare had produced in this way.
In 2004, there was The Permanent Way, a National Theatre/Out of Joint co-production that carried out a similar dramatised investigation into the state of British railways following privatisation and through a spate of accidents that seemed to occur partly as a bi-product of that.
Obviously, you can’t just watch plays “on-demand” unless they’re one of the few that make it to DVD release. For the most part, you can only hope that the script has been published – and all of David Hare’s have been by Faber and Faber, including The Permanent Way.
But I knew it was also broadcast on Radio 3, so I hunted through my old recordings (I record far more than I can hear), and what do you know – I had an mp3 copy of it!
What a fabulous play it was. I listened to it yesterday – mostly on a train as it happens as I returned from Oxford. It’s another devastating indictment of mistakes both avoidable and unavoidable. And John Prescott really doesn’t come out of it very well at all.
What a shame that plays like this aren’t available to download at sites like iTunes? Despite being dramatised for radio by an independent production company, Catherine Bailey Limited. Searches of Amazon, iTunes and Audible don’t find it. While the play may have limited life expectancy as a CD, digitising audio and then selling it on iTunes should be straightforward shouldn’t it? Surely it’d unlock loads of additional revenue for the independent producers concerned?
In the meantime, my Psion Wavefinder recording dutifully kept from its 2004 broadcast will have to do me…