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Did anybody apart from Captain Sensible (honest!) and me mourn the passing of the BBC Radio 4 (and 5) soap Citizens?

Citizens hit the airwaves on 27 October 1987 BBC Radio's first new soap opera since Waggoners' Walk in the 1970's.

Set in the mythical South London suburb of Ditcham it chronicled the lives of the five young occupants (and a baby) of a house in Limerick Road.

For the first year of its existence it was seen by critics as claustrophobic, grey and politically correct and although the listening figures were reasonable for its off-peak slot (Tuesday and Thursday mornings) it was not big enough for a programme aimed at a mass audience. So after 14 months Clive Brill, who had worked on The Archers, was appointed as editor to revamp and save the programme.

The programme was perceived as polarizing the audience, appealing mainly to young males and the twice a week format (plus weekend omnibus) made it difficult to dip in and out unlike a daily soap such as The Archers. Clive Brill widened the list of characters and locations (including the inevitable drinking establishment) and introduced humour as well as drama into the scripts. However the damage was done and alas, the progamme finished on 27 July 1991.

RIP Citizens I miss you!

cast photograph

Hetty Baines (Suzi), Kate Duchene (Alex), Beverley Hills (Julia), Seeta Indrani (Anita)

Citizens In Print

Paul Donovan, Radio Companion, Grafton, 1992, 0-586-09012-6, p51

Articles about the programme appeared in the following periodicals:

The Radio Times, 24-30 October 1987, p102-3. (An article about the programme in the form of a letter from the sitting tenant of the house and a plan of the house).

The Guardian, 16 January 1989, p?

The Daily Telegraph, 30 January 1990, p?

The Times, ? July 1991, p?

The Sunday Times, Culture section, 14 July 1991, p17

The Sunday Times, Culture section, 17 August 1997, p26 (still having a go!)

Listen In

Clive Brill talking to John Walters on Soapsuds

Final Cast List

Suzi...Hetty Baynes Sally...Avril Clark Alex...Kate Duchene
Mike...Scott Farrell Toby...Christopher Godwin Jackie...Eve Gurney
Julia...Beverley Hills Joe...John Hollis Terry...Anthony Jackson
Hugh...James MacPherson June...Maggie McCarthy Ernest...Brian Murphy
Neville...David Richard-Fox Kim...Jane Whittenshaw  

Written by Christopher Reason

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