This is a review of an audiobook with a difference in that it’s not actually a book. Riverside is an audio-drama based on a popular weekly serial in The People’s Friend magazine. Thanks to Rachel for having me as part of the tour and for providing an Audible version of Riverside for review. There’s a chance for you to win one of five audio copies too so look out for that later in the post.
The feel-good, life-affirming story of love, friendship, family, and new beginnings!
Changes are coming to the riverside town of Ryemouth, and while some of the community are excited by new beginnings, others are finding it hard to let go of the past.
A new 14-episode audio soap with a cast of loveable characters you’ll want to laugh and cry along with.
Susan and her boyfriend Dave can’t wait to open their new café and deli, The Old Engine Room. But Susan’s dad, George, is not so thrilled. He’s never approved of Dave, who used to hang out with the wrong crowd. Can the happy young couple win George round?
Mary and Ruby have been friends since the first day of infant school, even though their lives have turned out very differently. Mary has a contented family life with husband George and daughter Susan. Poor Ruby has never been so lucky in love. Then she meets her teenage crush in surprising circumstances. Mary has her doubts about the charming Paul. Will Ruby finally get her own happy ever after?
Dave wants to put his past behind him. His dream is to make a success of the business, and one day be a good husband and father, like his own dad, Mike. Yet, he’s forced to keep a secret from everyone he loves. Who should he turn to for help out of a tricky situation?
When the community comes under threat from developers, can everyone put their differences to one side to defend the town they love?
Riverside is full of romance, heartbreak and secrets, as well as gentle wit and humor.
I used to read The People’s Friend magazine many years ago when I was much younger than the target audience I expect. My mum’s elderly friend used to pass it on. I really enjoyed all the gentle stories and especially the ones which carried on into the following weeks. Sometimes, the story stopped in such an exciting place you couldn’t wait to get the next week’s copy!
Riverside has all the drama, gossip, romance and family issues you’d expect in a TV soap opera. With different people voicing the characters, I quickly came to know each one and was soon deep into the story. The narrators really brought out the personalities of each character. I enjoyed getting to know them and finding out the little dramas, challenges, secrets and happy times they all experienced.
Just like when I used the read the magazine, each episode ended with a cliffhanger, some more dramatic than others. I intended to listen to just one episode a day as I would have done with a radio/tv soap drama but sometimes it was just too exciting and I had to carry on! With each episode lasting around fifteen minutes, for me they were the perfect length to listen to when I drove to visit my mum.
Confession time – I’ve never listened to The Archers as I didn’t think it would be my kind of thing! But having enjoyed this audio-drama so much, I might need to give that a go. I found Riverside a very engaging and entertaining story to listen to. Riverside is a warm, amusing and charming listen full of community spirit, love and friendship.
You can buy your copy of Riverside on Audible here: Riverside
Giveaway to Win 5 x Audio copies of Riverside (Open to UK/US)
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About the Authors
Ian Skillicorn is a publisher, producer and writer. He has written the script for the Riverside audiobook drama based on Glenda’s stories and characters. He also directed and produced the audiobook. Ian’s publishing imprint, Wyndham Books, publishes best-selling fiction by some of the best-loved novelists in the UK and Australia. He was a podcasting trailblazer, producing streaming audio programmes in the early 2000s well before the podcast revolution.
Glenda Young is a best-selling author and award-winning writer. She’s written Riverside, a weekly soap opera published in The People’s Friend magazine since 2016. Meanwhile, she is the author of two successful book series – gritty sagas set in a northeast mining village in 1919, and cosy crimes set in modern-day Scarborough. She has also written official TV tie-in books for ITV’s Coronation Street.
About the Narrators
Dave McClelland has enjoyed a busy career in Film, TV, theatre and radio, in both the UK and Canada. Recent television credits include Coronation St, Emmerdale, Doctors, Broken, and Compulsion, and he’s recently worked in the horror movie Black Daruma, to be released later this year. Dave worked as a radio host with CBC whilst living in Canada, and since returning to the UK, he’s put his voice to work in radio dramas, audiobooks, and voiceovers.
Melanie Crawley is an actor and voice artist. She recently produced and performed in the political theatre project ‘Next Left: Test Track Trace’ at Theatre Deli Sheffield, the northern UK tour of ‘Tannie & Tannie’ by Claudine Bennent and in various ‘All Female Shakespeare’ productions at Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester. She has narrated around 50 audiobooks from her studio in Sheffield where she also works as a corporate and commercial voice artist and as an actor for radio / audio comedy and drama. Her most recent audio projects include ‘The Age of Love’ a podcast for ‘Festival of the Mind’ by Christopher Green, ‘Sketch Up’ a series of comedy radio sketches which she also performed at Leicester Comedy Festival. For screen, Melanie’s recent projects include ‘Truck’ part of the Council Culture Online TV series and ‘Tea and Cake’ one of the ‘Monarchy Monologues’ for Act Your Age. She writes, performs and produces the narrated audio-drama podcast: Low Light.
Lisa Armytage is an experienced actor in film, tv and theatre, and an established audiobook narrator. After a season with the National Youth Theatre, she trained at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London, soon afterwards emigrating to Australia. She is best known as Dr Beverley Marshall in the iconic Aussie soap, ‘Neighbours’, and the lead female role in the Australian romantic movie ‘Cool Change’. Also in Australia, Lisa was a main cast member in the TV mini-series ‘The Lancaster-Miller Affair’ and ‘Miraculous Mellops’ and took guest roles in ‘’Cop Shop’, ‘Cell Block H’, ‘The Flying Doctors’, ‘Police Rescue 2’, ‘A Country Practice’, ‘Sky Trackers’, ‘Heartbreak High’ and ‘All Saints’. Since returning to the U.K in 2003 Lisa returned to working in theatre before narrating a wide range of audiobook genres. She has recently completed her third audiobook for best-selling British-Australian novelist Anna Jacobs, and has voiced animations and dramas, of which ‘Riverside’ is the latest.
As a Voiceover Artist, Gerard Fletcher can be heard currently voicing ads on TV and commercial radio stations worldwide (as well as major supermarkets) and has narrated 2 audio books and documentaries for BBC, ITV, Channel 5, Paramount and History Channel.
He is also the calming onhold voice of many major companies including DPD, The National Trust and Halfords and The Sheffield Tram!
He’s a musician and has published works for commercial sound libraries and theatre.
Trained at LAMDA. TV includes “The Crown” Series 5 (Netflix), “Sherwood” (BBC), “Get Even” (BBC/Netflix), “Emmerdale” (ITV),”Girlfriends” (ITV), “Happy Valley” (BBC), “Coronation Street”(ITV), “In the Club” (ITV), “The Accused” (BBC) “The Street” (BBC), “Shameless” (BBC). Feature Film: “Gold” (2018), “The Messenger”.
Gerard has performed in radio drama (BBC Radio 3, 4 and 4 Extra and Wyndham Books) and presented Screwfix’s YouTube channel for 2 years!
Glen McCready trained at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art where he graduated with honours. Screen credits include Signor in Years and Years (BBC), Henry Bowater in Hotel Portofino (Britbox Original) and Jack in the indie feature Above the Clouds. Stage credits include Eddie in Blood Brothers and Sgt Trotter in The Mousetrap (both in the West End). Glen works extensively as a voice actor with numerous credits in animation (including Granitface in the animated feature Dragon Rider), video games (including Maximillian in Evil Genius 2 World Domination), audiobooks (including Conan Doyle’s The Lost World), audio drama and radio drama.
As an award winning voice artist and actress, Penelope Rawlins is known for her work in animation, audio drama, narration, video games, audiobooks, theatre, radio and television.
Known for her authentic children’s voices – Penelope can be heard on Netflix in Rainbow Rangers (voice of Lavender and Indigo), in Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger, voicing Jackson Jet on the Kartoon Channel, CBBC in Ninja Express, Amazon Prime in Uma & Devan Namaste! and the title role of Mini Wolf. Other animation includes Mighty Smighties, Captain Virat, Pomi & Nar, Hubert & Takako, The Amazing Adventures of Kika & Bob, Lulu Zipadoo and the voices of Princess Rhea and Princess Hera in the popular series SpacePops.
Penelope has voiced over 300 audiobooks and was nominated by Audible for Narrator of the Year. Favourite titles include; Gorillas in the Mist, Journey to the River Sea, The Turn of the Screw, Homeland: Carrie’s Run, Homeland: Saul’s Game (based on the CBS television series).
An extensive list of computer games and Warhammer titles, Penelope voiced Maleneth in series 1 and 2 of Realmslayer, opposite Brian Blessed’s Gotrek. As a stage actress for many years in regional and national theatre, Penelope played opposite Tommy Steele in Chaplin: The Musical. National tours include: Brief Encounter, Butterflies Are Free, Present Laughter, The Railway Children, The Lady Vanishes and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?
Radio dramas for the BBC include: Proust’s In Search of Lost Time, The Professor, The American Senator and Portrait of a Lady.
She wrote and produced her first play Pigeons in 2019 which sold out at the Hen & Chickens Theatre, London to 5 star reviews.
Becky Wright is best known for her many years on The Archers, playing Nic Grundy.
Toby Laurence is Freddie Pargetter in The Archers.
Social Media Links
Dave McClelland = @mcclellanddave
Melanie Crawley = @melaniecrawley
Lisa Armytage = @LisaArmytage
Glen McCready = @McCreadyGlen
Penelope Rawlins = @PenelopeRawlins
Toby Laurence = @TobyLaurence