Heavy Toll – SoundCloud


Heavy Toll is a short radio documentary which was created by Salford University student Tabitha Konstantine broadcast on BBC Radio 4 Extra in June of 2017. The documentary itself is ‘a dramatic story about a train driver and guard who witnessed a suicide(1). The documentary didn’t go unnoticed as it was awarded ‘Best Student Radio Feature’ at the annual Charles Parker Radio Awards in Sheffield(1). It has been described as “a truly powerful story, beautifully and sensitively handled.  It had excellent mixing and very revealing interviews which paint a horribly vivid, very human picture of train suicides and their effect on train staff.” (2).

The fact that it was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 Extra was part of the prize for creating it, it is unsurprising that it was broadcast on this station due to the vast flexibility throughout it, Radio 4 Extra’s remit states that “the remit of Radio 4 Extra is to provide speech-based entertainment” and that “its schedule should include comedy, drama, stories, features, and readings”(3). This means that listeners of all ages and backgrounds can listen to this station to discover new and interesting content from aspiring producers, I would consider it the BBC Three of BBC Radio.

Straight away the show is hard-hitting, the words were clear and bold with the soft music in the background explaining this is the best way she could have edited this story as it doesn’t give suspense or tension It just straight up gives the reality of the situation to the listeners. The contributors were accompanied by actuality soundbites that are relevant to what is being told, these effects help cut the interview up and make the listener become immersed in the show, helping them paint a vivid visual picture in their head. The way silence was used greatly raised the tension of the story being told, it gives the listener a chance to stop and think about what has happened.


  • (1) Staff.salford.ac.uk. (2017). Salford Staff Channel-Home | University of Salford, Manchester.

[online] Available at: http://staff.salford.ac.uk/newsitem/5684

[Accessed 22 Oct. 2017].


  • (2) Cpatrust.org.uk. (2017). Charles Parker Prize – Winners 2017 | The Charles Parker Archive Trust. [

online] Available at http://www.cpatrust.org.uk/prize/prizewinners-2017/

[Accessed 22 Oct. 2017].


  • (3)Radio 4 Extra Service Licence. (2016). [ebook]

[online] Available at: http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/assets/files/pdf/regulatory_framework/service_licences/radio/2016/radio4extra_apr16.pdf

[Accessed 22 Oct. 2017].



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