Citizen’s Advice (the making of a documentary)


This is a six part radio series set in a Citizens Advice Bureau; on the day that a documentary is being recorded.
From the very first scene the manipulative attitude of the documentary producer to ‘do gooders’ creates a sense there is going to be more to this day-in-the-life of a Citizen’s Advice Bureau than the dedicated staff have bargained for.

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Description and extracts

It is not easy to categorise the piece, but with each episode it becomes clearer we are listening to a ‘farce of identity’; the numerous threads are driven by, identity theft, identity crisis, false identity, mistaken identity, all of which weave around the heart of the story; which is the worst act of ‘cleansed identity’ in modern history.

It is a dance of dilemmas, deceptions and misunderstandings, taking the action to delightful levels of absurdity and incredulity, culminating in numerous climaxes and anti climax. It is a farce in a similar vain to ‘The Accident Death of an Anarchist’ in that it’s main theme is a terrible reality; a story based on an Amnesty International study, the back ground to which, makes the incredulous plots of this piece appear as sane as parking cars.

Where the action is taking place in some scenes is unclear, until the convention is established that the piece is punctuated by the thoughts, interactions and dreams of the clients in the waiting room, to paraphrase ‘Apocalypse Now’; “the worry! Oh! the worry!”.

The production qualities and the imaginative use of sound and music enrich the piece considerably; the attention to detail is delightful. The sense of comradeship between the cast comes through particularly when as Advice Workers, they put their collective heads together to overcome the manipulating media company, resulting in unforeseeable

This is a piece that requires our patience to follow, as it builds slowly, but if we do make the effort, we are rewarded; it not only entertains and informs, it urges us to answer its call.
Tim Peck


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