Black Roses: The Killing Of Sophie Lancaster

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The radio drama department at BBC Manchester have created some brilliant radio dramas over the years. Radio as a medium being so very different to T.V, the tackling of the sensitive and the tragic tends to be less driven by ratings and an urge to pull the sensation and melodrama levers, leaving space for understated subtle, experimental narratives. I’m a big fan of BBC radio, and I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve turned on on a Saturday afternoon after the trek back from the launderette and been completely lost to a play for an hour.

It’s with this in mind that I want to draw your attention to the Wednesday play on Radio 4 next week.

Black Roses: The Killing Of Sophie Lancaster, written by Simon Armitage alongside Sophie’s mother Sylvia, tells the story of Sophie Lancaster who was attacked in Stubbylee Park in Bacup, Lancashire in August 2007. She later died of her injuries.

To quote the Radio 4 blurb to accompany the play,

Aged twenty, Sophie suffered fatal injuries while cradling her boyfriend Rob’s head in an attempt to protect him from a ferocious attack by a group of youths. Rob survived but Sophie went into a coma and never recovered.

Sophie was an intelligent bookish child who showed signs of wanting to be different from an early age. Political, vegetarian, a pacifist, Sophie had left school with A levels and was thinking about what to do with her future when it was taken so brutally from her.

Sophie and Rob dressed in a unique way, expressing their individuality as creative artistic people through goth-style clothes, piercings and make-up, which provoked the fatal attack in the early hours of that Saturday morning. Sophie had been dating Rob Maltby, a 21-year-old art student for three years.

The case caused much outcry and debate at the time it happened, and it’s perhaps with this in mind that the debate programme that night will also be on Black Roses, and the issues raised by the play, and by the killing of Sophie Lancaster. Both programmes air on the 4th anniversary of her death.

Black Roses: The Killing of Sophie Lancaster, Wenesday 24 August, 14:15 on BBC Radio 4

Black Roses Debate, Wednesday 24 August, 20:00 on BBC Radio 4

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