ATA Girl – original audio drama stories of female pioneers in aviation and gender equality

A new audio drama series inspired by real female heroes of World War II is coming out in April 2018.

 The first release in the groundbreaking new Big Finish Originals range, ATA Girl, created by Louise Jameson (Doctor Who, Bergerac, Tenko) and produced by Helen Goldwyn (Waking the Dead, Doctors, Doctor Who), tells the stories of the courageous women of the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) in a society dominated by men. They saw and experienced firsthand the struggles of both civilian and military life in wartime, and their actions helped contribute to a more equal society

From the UK and beyond, a hundred and sixty eight female pilots, alongside the men, transported a vast range of aircraft from the factories to the squadrons, often flying in perilous weather conditions and without radios or instrument instruction.

 One in ten ATA pilots died.

 Told as a series of reminiscences from former pilot Amelia Curtis (played by Alicia Ambrose-Bayly – Darklight, Mongrel Country), the stories in this new series aim to honour these unsung heroes of WWII, whose shared passion for flying contributed so much to the war effort and who represented one of the first examples of equality in the workplace for women in the UK.

 

1.1 Up In The Air by Gemma Page

1.2 Dancing With A Spitfire by Victoria Saxton

1.3 Flying Blind by Helen Goldwyn

1.4 Grounded by Jane Slavin

 

“I first heard of these brave women a decade ago, and the potential that lay in their untold story fired my imagination,” says creator of ATA Girl, Louise Jameson. “Big Finish invited me to pitch for a series, mixing fact with fiction, so we could bring these World War II pilots to life. The very next day they came back to me with a ‘yes’.

 

“Four one-hour dramas (all by female writers) and a host of marvellous actors later, we have a breathtaking, moving, dynamic series, affectionately known as ATA Girl. These unsung heroines have finally been given a voice.”

 

This project pays homage to its pioneering roots, with a predominantly female cast and production team. Producer Helen Goldwyn explains: “As the themes throughout each episode were so resolutely female and embedded in the experience of ‘being a woman’, Director Louise Jameson and I agreed that it would be interesting to work with an all-female production team on this occasion. The only exception was our script editor, John Dorney, who shall henceforth be known as an honorary woman!

“And what a joy the process has been. There’s definitely something magical about the energy in a roomful of creative women, all focused on the same goal.”

The first episode of ATA Girl will be released on International Women’s Day – the 8th of March 2018.

All four episodes of ATA Girl, out for release in April, are available from www.bigfinish.com at a pre-order price of £17 on download.

And to celebrate the launch of the new Big Finish Originals range, the seven new Originals titles will be available for an exclusive pre-order deal of £120 in an Originals bundle. Each Originals release is also available as an individual download.

www.bigfinish.com / Twitter: @BigFinish / Facebook: TheBigFinish / Instagram: @BigFinishProd

 

Executive Producers: Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs

Producer: Helen Goldwyn

Senior Producer: David Richardson

Writers: Helen Goldwyn, Jane Slain, Gemma Page, Victoria Saxton

Director: Louise Jameson

 

PRICING: ATA Girl – Pre-order: £17 on download / General Release: £20 on download from www.bigfinish.com

 

Sales Enquiries – Tel: 01628 824 102 / Email: sales@bigfinish.com

Press Enquiries – Tel: 0207 240 9959 / Email: paddy.freeland@bigfinish.com

 

ABOUT BIG FINISH PRODUCTIONS

Big Finish Productions, pioneers in audio drama, started life in 1998. Growing from being virtually a cottage industry, it has blossomed into one of the biggest publishers of audio drama in the UK, releasing an ever widening range of great audio plays.

Among its continuing, award-winning output, Big Finish makes licensed drama productions such as Doctor Who, Torchwood, Blake’s 7, Dark Shadows, The Avengers, The Prisoner, The Omega Factor, Callan, Star Cops and Survivors. On top of all this, the company has been producing a growing number of dramas based on classic works including Dracula, Frankenstein, The Phantom of the Opera and Treasure Island as well of the works of Shakespeare and HG Wells.

Helen Goldwyn, producer: “Working on ATA Girl has not only been incredibly creatively fulfilling but has also given me a great insight into the history of women’s rights in Britain. I knew nothing about the Air Transport Auxiliary before we began and certainly wasn’t aware of the female pilots who made such a significant contribution to the war effort, whilst also (unbeknownst to them) changing the employment landscape for future generations of women. (Interesting to note that although the ATA women represented one of the first examples of equal pay for women, we still struggle, 70 years later, to match that kind of equality.)

“As the themes throughout each episode were so resolutely female and embedded in the experience of ‘being a woman’, Director Louise Jameson and I agreed that it would be interesting to work with an all-female production team on this occasion. The only exception was our editor, John Dorney, who shall henceforth be known as an honorary woman! And what a joy the process has been. There’s definitely something magical about the energy in a roomful of creative women, all focused on the same goal. And yes, I will confess, it was an unusually emotional process…but in the very best and inspiring way.

“From the hours of research, to the outstanding cast we were able to assemble, to the unbridled enthusiasm of every actor who came to the studio and the expertise of every engineer, designer and composer involved, the whole project has had a special feeling about it from the start. I’ve certainly been on a high since we started!

All I can say is a heartfelt thank you to all who contributed and of course to Big Finish for the opportunity to bring the spirit of these amazing women back to life.”

Louise Jameson, director: “I first heard of these brave women a decade ago, and the potential that lay in their untold story fired my imagination. Big Finish invited me to pitch for a series, mixing fact with fiction, so we could bring these World War II pilots to life. The very next day they came back to me with a ‘yes’. Four one-hour dramas (all by female writers) and a host of marvellous actors later, we have a breathtaking, moving, dynamic series, affectionately known as ATA Girl. These unsung heroines have finally been given a voice.”

 

THE CAST

Alicia Ambrose-Bayly (Amelia), Anna Andresen (Daphne), Matt Barber (Walter Richardson/Daniel), Nathalie Buscombe (Judith), Tor Clark (Rebecca), Kate Copeland (Pauline Gower), Oliver Dimsdale (David Stein/Cadet), John Dorney (Nurse Norris/Major Charlie Blackthorn/Roger), Amy Downham (Tilly/Operations Officer), Nigel Fairs (Freddie/Norman/Mr Thomas), Helen Goldwyn (Chile/Anna Leska/Elizabeth Bryant), Holly Jackson Walters (Felicity/Jackie Cochran/Billet Mate), Louise Jameson (Rose), Gemma Page (Dorothy Fury/Barbara), Lucy Pickles (Widdley), Lydia Piechowiak (Susan De Winter), Jess Robinson (Jeanette), Jane Slavin (Mrs Cook), David Warwick (Harry/Mervyn Symms), Matthew Wellman (Eric/Flight Captain Bryant), Claire Wyatt (Mina). Other parts played by members of the cast.