Imison Award 2017


James Fritz won both the Imison Award and the Tinniswood Award 2017 for his audio drama Comment is Free. He was presented with the award by Tim Stimpson at a ceremony at the BBC hosted by Lenny Henry. 


The Imison Award honours the best original script by a writer new to audio drama. The judges for the 2017 award are Stefan Buczacki, Isla Gray, Christopher William Hill, Catherin Johnson, Jamila Gavin, Marcy Kahan, Hilary Robinson, Mike Walker, and Elizabeth-Anne Wheal. 

COMMENT IS FREE by James Fritz

Produced by Becky Ripley, BBC Radio & Music Bristol

A fiercely current, socially relevant and dramatic depiction of free speech and mob mentality. A skilfully crafted cacophony of hundreds of voices, the script uses social media as a powerful and contemporary means of comment.

James Fritz

James’ first stage play Four Minutes Twelve Seconds (Hampstead Theatre downstairs and Trafalgar Studios) was nominated for an Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate and won him the “Most Promising Playwright” prize at the Critics Circle Theatre Awards 2015.

His other plays include: The Fall which he wrote for the National Youth Theatre’s 60th anniversary season in 2016; Ross & Rachel which returns to Battersea Arts Centre in April; and Parliament Square, which won a Bruntwood Prize in 2015, and is currently in development with The Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester. His second radio play, Death of a Cosmonaut, will be broadcast on Radio 4 in April. Twitter: @JamesFritz


Produced by Peter Kavanagh, BBC Drama London

What should a philosopher’s moral goal be:  fame or obscurity? Original, unpredictable, and an out and out thriller, this hilarious satire plays with the politics and insecurities of academia, as a fading professor, an ambitious post graduate student, and a Ukrainian pole-dancer compete to lay their hands on a famous philosopher’s last work.

James Meek

James Meek grew up in Scotland, lived and Ukraine and Russia in the 1990s, and now lives in England. He has published seven works of fiction – five novels and two books of short stories. Among the novels are The Heart Broke In (Shortlisted for the Costa Prize), We Are Now Beginning Our Descent (Winner of the Prince Maurice prize) and The People’s Act of Love (Booker Prize longlisted, winner of the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize and the Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year). His non-fiction title Private Island won the 2015 Orwell Prize for books. Reviews for The Virtues of Oblivion included: ‘Oblique, clever intriguing play’, Sunday Times; ‘A twisting thriller that features fine performances’, Observer; ‘Gripping’, The Times.


Produced by Sasha Yevtushenko, BBC Drama London

This is a tightly focused and cleverly manipulative tale, providing a snapshot glimpse of a life destined to unravel. Tommy is the guileless protagonist, seemingly unable to forge any link between action and consequence. The dialogue is razor sharp, shot through with an appealingly dry wit and sparkling flashes of gallows humour.

Jonny O’Neill was born, raised, educated and is a proud product of the East End of London. Jonny was one of six writers commissioned to script for C4’s Coming Up 2014 and has now written 10 scripts for BBC 1’s EastEnders.  Previously Jonny was selected as a member of the BBC Writersroom 10 and his first play The Royal Duchess Superstore was produced in September 2014 at The Broadway Theatre, Barking and The Half Moon.

Read the full press release