Brookside makes its debut as a national radio soap next week when a version of the Channel 4 soap breaks on commercial radio. The hunt is under way for a sponsor.
“Brookside: the radio series” will be broadcast to approximately 95 per cent of the UK’s commercial radio audience through deals struck with more than 30 stations, including Atlantic 252.
Three 90-second episodes a day will air for two weeks from January 17 in the run up to January 30 when on Channel 4, the discovery and exhumation of Trevor Jordache’s body from beneath his wife’s patio is covered in five episodes on consecutive nights.
However, while the Liverpool soap’s radio foray is in part designed to promote the TV storyline, it is also intended as a pilot to full-scale launch of the soap on radio 52 weeks a year.
This could happen as soon as April, providing a sponsor is found, according to Lin Glover, joint managing director of Glover Langford Lynds, the radio consultancy appointed by Channel 4 to develop the deal.
“Three potential sponsors are now seriously in the frame. We expect to close a deal in the next couple of months. But even if we don’t, there are contingency plans. Channel 4 really wants to see this as an all-year-round radio series,” she says.
It is the first time a TV drama will have been adapted as a radio series, although Channel 4 did run a short test on one station two years ago when edited highlights were broadcast on Liverpool’s Radio City, sponsored by Warburtons.
But this time, the treatment is a real programme and tailored for radio, says Channel 4 marketing director Wendy Lanchin.
* Channel 4 is spending a total of £400,000 promoting the Jordache plotline. The promotion includes a national 48-sheet poster campaign.