79 Birthdays



One of the first pieces of radio drama was broadcast in 1928 under the title 'Kaleidoscope'. It told the story of one 'ordinary' British man's life - then 70 years - in sound. No recording or script of that original broadcast now exists, but the idea has always intrigued poet Michael Symmons Roberts. Now, as the average male lifespan in Britain reaches 79, this drama takes up the challenge, telling the story of Jimmy through significant birthdays on the road to his 79th.

Jimmy loses his life before it begins when he's being born. A guardian angel, Leila is waiting for him. Jimmy is desperate to know what would have happened to him had he been born. After a lot of persuasion, Leila grants Jimmy his wish, showing him his life as he spools through his birthdays, playing out the key moments in full.

Produced in Salford by Susan Roberts