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John Dryden



Tanya Tillett

John is a multi-award-winning writer and director who has pioneered his own distinctive style of directing radio.

His screenplay, A KIDNAPPING, written with Andy Mulligan, is currently being developed by Baby Cow Productions.

The film is based on a three-part radio drama, A KIDNAPPING, directed by John and first broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 2014. A thriller both set and recorded in the Philippines, it won BEST DEBUT PERFORMANCE for actress Jade Matthew, and was short-listed in the BEST SERIAL and BEST SOUND categories at the 2015 BBC AUDIO DRAMA AWARDS.

John was also named BEST DRAMA PRODUCER at the 2015 RADIO ACADEMY PRODUCTION AWARDS and his work was recently profiled in a major feature in the FT Arts Section published on 27 March 2015.

An original drama SCENES FROM A CRIME “a terrific crime thriller written and directed by John Dryden…with a nasty twist at the end” (Daily Mail), was broadcast on Radio 4 in March 2015. He also directed in India a three-part dramatisation of A FINE BALANCE by Ayeesha Menon from the novel by Rohinton Mistry. Both productions received five star reviews.

John is currently working as writer and director on an original 10 x 45 minutes drama series for Radio 4. The series, entitled TUMANBAY, is a fast-paced historical drama based loosely on the conflicts between the Ottoman Turks, the Persians and the Mamluks of Egypt in the 15th and 16th centuries.  It will be broadcast weekly from December 2015.

THE SEVENTH TEST, a ten-part thriller set and recorded in India, co-written with Ayeesha Menon and directed by John and based on the novel THE ACCIDENTAL APPRENTICE by Vikas Swarup, was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on 19-30 May 2014. It was short-listed for two awards at the 2015 BBC AUDIO DRAMA AWARDS, for BEST SERIAL and BEST ADAPTATION.

THE RUSSIAN GAMBLER, a modern-day take on Dostoevsky’s classic novella “The Gambler” by Dolya Gavanski and directed by John was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in November 2013. It starred Ed Stoppard as a brilliant, penniless pianist seduced by the high-stakes world of a Russian oligarch in London. “Prepare to be carried away into a world of bling, dodgy deals, dangerous liaisons… A stunning drama with a rich, atmospheric soundscape.. The Daily Mail.

THE RELUCTANT SPY, a three-part thriller set in modern-day Egypt, written and directed by John was broadcast in January 2013 on BBC Radio 4. “Writer and director John Dryden very rarely puts a foot wrong and here, yet again, he has crafted a superbly intricate thriller, set in modern-day Cairo… It bears favourable comparison to the work of Graham Greene in the tale of an innocent abroad amid a society in flux…” David Crawford, Radio Times.

BLASPHEMY AND THE GOVERNOR OF PUNJAB, a documentary/drama written and directed by John, was about the murder in 2011 of the Governor of Pakistan’s Punjab over his attempts to amend the blasphemy laws. “This stunningly good docudrama tells a true story of bravery and betrayal.” The Daily Mail. “Shocking… a modern murder story that is both astonishing and thoroughly depressing.” Miranda Sawyer, The Observer. It won a SANDFORD ST MARTIN TRUST AWARD.

PANDEMIC, a three-part drama set around a devastating worldwide viral outbreak, written and directed by John, was broadcast by BBC Radio 4 on 26-28th March 2012. It was made in Thailand and the UK and featured Emily Beecham, Ben Daniels, Alison Steadman, Michael Maloney, Paul Fox and Lars Arentz-Hansen. It won the 2012 Writers’ Guild of Great Britain Award Best Radio Drama.

RIO STORY, a hard-hitting ensemble drama made in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on 16th March 2012. Using professional and non-professional actors, and recorded on location, it was written by Chris Thorpe and directed by John.

SEVERED THREADS, a three-part thriller directed and written by John, was short-listed for a Writers Guild of Great Britain Best Radio Drama Award.

THE MUMBAI CHUZZLEWITS, directed by John and written by Ayeesha Menon, was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in January 2012. It was recorded in India and starred Roshan Seth. “A dazzling transposition of Dickens across centuries and continents…”  The Telegraph.

THE BID, a dramatised account of England’s failed bid to host the FIFA World Cup was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and BBC World Service in December 2011. FIVE DAYS IN MAY, a dramatised reconstruction of the tense negotiation that followed the 2010 general election, directed by John, was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 2010. It was short-listed for the BBC Audio Drama Awards.

His drama charting the collapse of Lehman Brothers, THE DAY THAT LEHMAN DIED, was nominated for a Sony Radio Award and received the 2010 PEABODY AWARDS in the USA and a WINCOTT AWARD.

John’s drama/documentary, HOW TO MAKE YOUR FIRST BILLION, set and filmed in Silicon Valley, California, was broadcast as part og the BBC technology season in 2010 across BBC radio and television networks and on the BBC’s website.

He has also worked with director Michael Radford (IL POSTINO) on a feature script, A SUITABLE BOY, adapted from the novel by Vikram Seth. It is being produced by Oscar nominated producer Jane Scott (SHINE).

Having directed the quirky black comedy, THE BONE TRADE, for the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, he was selected as one of six directors to participate in the Rutger Hauer Film Factory in Rotterdam in 2008, in which he directed the short horror/fantasy, ROAST CHICKEN, and which was screened at the Rotterdam Film Festival.

Other radio productions include: FATHERLAND – a feature-length thriller adapted from the best-selling Robert Harris novel; BLEAK HOUSE – described in The Times as a “…brilliant rethinking of the whole business of the classic serial…”;  “Q&A” (aka SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE) which he made on location on the streets of Mumbai and which won GOLD at  the 2008 SONY RADIO AWARD BEST DRAMA; and THE CAIRO TRILOGY, starring Omar Sharif which won BRONZE at the 2007 SONY RADIO AWARDS

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