Following the success of the first series of An Everyday Story of Afghan Folk, the groundbreaking drama returns for another week this April on BBC Radio 4.
The drama follows The Archers format and reflects rural life through the interwoven stories of several families in one village. The programme allows listeners through the back door into the homes of ordinary people, but the characters in An Everyday Story are far from Ambridge: their village is situated in one of the world’s most dangerous political hotspots.
An Everyday Story of Afghan Folk was first broadcast on Radio 4 last June. In April 2013 listeners can return to the same village, the same characters and some interesting new stories. It is based on PACT Radio’s The Pulay Poray (“Across the Borders”), which is made for and by Pashtuns on both sides of the Pak-Afghan border.
Producer Anne-Marie Cole comments: “None of the human, emotional storylines have been lost but this time around I think the drama has a slightly more political edge. It tackles the education of women and the pressure on them to marry and it examines the effect on the whole family where there are two rival wives. It also tries to show how it is to live in a zone where strangers arrive demanding hospitality and unmanned drones fly overhead. Accept uninvited guests and the risk grows that pilots many thousands of miles away might target you, press a button and drop a missile on your house.”
Writer Liz Rigbey says: “There is certainly a political edge to the programme but, remember, this isn’t Panorama, it’s drama. That means that it’s character-led, not issue-led. It has come to us direct from the people of the borders and it is right that we reflect their wide range of views and attitudes, no matter how startling some might be to Western listeners. I believe that drama can offer a different perspective on this war-torn part of the world. People there, like people anywhere, are trying to get on with their daily lives. Allowing listeners to identify with their joys, fears and problems can perhaps make us feel there is not such a yawning chasm between us and the grim headlines from the area.”
The corrupt landowner, the poor farmer, the yearning lovers, the henpecked husband who longs for a son – they will all be recognisable to British listeners but the context of these characters is new. They live in the Taliban heartland where international terrorists hide out, the terrain is wild and mountainous, where the only law is tribal law and there is no road, no electricity and no mobile phone signal – although weapons are commonplace and there are hi-tech drones with a payload buzzing overhead.
An Everyday Story of Afghan Folk 2 will be broadcast daily in 5 15 minute episodes between April 15-19th at 1045 and repeated at 1945.
There will be no Wednesday morning broadcast at 1045, instead listeners can tune in at 1945 and listen online.
It is an Above The Title Production for Radio 4 and is based on an original PACT Radio production.