Walk Right by Me (BBC Radio Four, 2002)

Christopher C. Harris’ Walk Right by Me, directed by Douglas Urbanski and produced by Claire Grove on Radio Four on 22 November 2002, will be heard at the British Library at 6.00pm on 5 November 2015 as the third in a five-part series of public listenings on the theme of ‘Inner Voices…Inner Worlds’.

Professor Hugh Chignell of Bournemouth University offers some background to this work:

‘How close do people have to get before you really know they’re there, watching you?’ (Warren in Walk Right by Me)

Gary Oldman played Warren

Gary Oldman played Warren

Walk Right by Me is one of two monologues we have chosen in this series (the other being Spoonface Steinberg) and it perhaps most perfectly reflects the theme of an inner voice and a detached and alienated inner world. The voice we hear is that of Warren, played by Gary Oldman, a man with private and disturbing obsessions.

Elisabeth Mahoney reviewed it in The Guardian as follows:

Walk Right By Me (Radio 4, Friday) was a chilling, scary prospect: a monologue from Warren (played with superbly casual menace by Gary Oldman), a damaged loner and stalker. Perfectly exploiting the intimacy of radio, the script delved us into a mind unable to distinguish between reality and fantasy, love and dangerous obsession. Tracking Carol, the unfortunate object of his affections, Warren eavesdropped on her life, and believed himself to be part of it.

What first-time radio writer Christopher Harris got right was an uncomfortable blend of sympathy and horror with his delusional protagonist, drawing us into Warren’s bleak world (his father committed suicide when he was eight; his mother has recently died) and then revealing the twisted, desperate nastiness of it.

Walk Right By Me raises a number of interesting questions. Why would the highly successful film actor Hary Oldman want to perform on radio? Oldman’s career may have been experiencing a lull at the time, between his success, for example, in The Fifth Element, Air Force One and the independent film Nil by Mouth, which he wrote and directed, and his later fame as Sirius Black in the Harry Potter films. Another questions abut Walk Right By Me concerns the awkward combination of the intimate experience of listening to Warren’s thoughts and their often distasteful and disturbing nature.


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