HUNTINGDON: A new soap opera just for the town

HUNTINGDON Community Radio (HCR) is preparing for a summer launch and when it starts broadcasting, one of the first things you will hear is the new radio soap called Huntsford. Set in a hairdressers called the Wavelength Hair Salon, the show will be on ai

HUNTINGDON Community Radio (HCR) is preparing for a summer launch and when it starts broadcasting, one of the first things you will hear is the new radio soap called Huntsford.

Set in a hairdressers called the Wavelength Hair Salon, the show will be on air for five minutes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays with a 15-minute omnibus on Sunday afternoons.

Will the drama bring Huntingdonshire to a halt? Will there be cliffhangers like there are in The Archers, the longest running radio soap in the world? Only time will tell, but we can tell you that at the end of episode one a child seems to have fallen into the river.

Yes, it's a tense moment, especially as you have to wait two days to find out if little Harry is going to sink or swim.


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Harry, 14, who is played by 15-year-old Euan West from Eaton Socon, is the son of the salon owner, Sandra (Moira Healy) who is divorced but very likely to start a new romance with hunky Rick (Kim Loader) who calls in for a haircut just as someone runs into the shop to break the news that Harry is in the river.

Gorgeous Rick ends up forsaking his coiffeur to rush Sandra to the river in his car.

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The humour in the series, director Scott Andrews says, is carried by the Sandra's salon staff - Tanya (Madeleine Harris) the 17-year-old scatterbrain trainee hairdresser, and deputy salon manager Alvin who is played by the head boy at Hinchinbgrooke School, Adam Gotch, 16.

Tanya (who has an appalling telephone manner) keeps dropping things and breaking things and Alvin (ever so slightly camp) is lost when it comes to anything practical.

The oldest of the actors is Pamela Holley, 78, from Hartford, who plays Maggie the owner of Huntsford's quaint old sweet shop.

The actors came forward to audition after an appeal in The Hunts Post.

"I didn't want to meet them," said Mr Andrews, "I wanted to hear them, so we made the scripts available to download and we set up an answering service so people could play their parts over the phone.

"We had 60 applicants for 15 parts but we will need more actors as we add more characters."

Currently, there is a team of eight scriptwriters and each five-minute episode takes an hour to record and an hour and a half to edit. Although the very first episode took three hours in post production.

Mr Andrews, who has directed shows for Simads (St Ives Music and Drama Society) added: "We'll get quicker. HRC is run by the community for the community and the whole point is that the audience should be able to relate to the characters.

"People have said that Huntsford is of a very high standard - some people even said that it is as good as The Archers. When the show begins we will have some CDs to give away in the town of interviews with the characters.

"We hope the series will be fun but we will also tackle issues. Fourteen-year-old-Harry, for example, goes out with his friends and comes home drunk."

INFORMATION: A recording venue is needed for Huntsford and a post-production technician to do all the editing to make the final recordings ready for air with the background sounds and sound effects. The technician needs to be a volunteer and the venue offered for free. To get involved with HCRfm e-mail scott.andrews@hcrfm.co.uk

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