Morwenna Banks wins Tinniswood Award

on Sunday, 01 February 2015 22:45. Posted in Radio

Morwenna web.1

Morwenna Banks (right) with presenter Nell Leyshon (photo: BBC)

Writer and actor Morwenna Banks has won the Tinniswood Award 2015 for her audio drama Goodbye, a moving account of a friendship negotiating cancer.

Accepting the award she paid thanks to those who had taken a chance on a “cancer drama with laughs” and said Goodbye was her attempt “to make sense of the death of three friends”.

The Tinniswood Award is jointly administered by WGGB and the Society of Authors, with the prize of £1,500 donated by the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society.

Set up in memory of English radio and TV comedy scriptwriter Peter Tinniswood, who died in 2003, it is an annual celebration of the best original radio drama script broadcast in the UK.

The 2015 Tinniswood Award was judged by Sue Teddern, Amanda Whittington and Kate Chapman, and presented by dramatist and novelist Nell Leyshon at the BBC Audio Drama Awards 2015 (a full list of the awards, presented by comedian Lenny Henry, can be found on the BBC website).

Introducing the Tinniswood Award, Nell Leyshon said, “radio drama for writers is a very beautiful thing… it has exquisite intimacy. It goes straight into the listeners’ head”.

Shortlisted work was Men Who Sleep in Cars by Michael Symmons Roberts and The Good Listener by Fin Kennedy.

The Tinniswood Award was announced alongside the Society of Authors’ new audio drama Imison Award, this year presented to E.V. Crowe for How to Say Goodbye Properly.

WGGB member Neil Gaiman won a BBC Audio Drama Award for Outstanding Contribution to Radio Drama.

Previous winners of the Tinniswood Award have included Hannah Silva, Colin Teevan, Murray Gold, Mike Bartlett and Rachel Joyce.

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Morwenna Banks with BBC Audio Drama Awards host Lenny Henry (photo: BBC)

Tinniswood Award 2014: shortlist announced

on Tuesday, 06 January 2015 10:00. Posted in Radio

The Tinniswood Award 2014 is presented to the best original radio drama script by any writer broadcast in the UK from 1 October 2013 to 31 October 2014. 

The Award is jointly administered by the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain and the Society of Authors, with the prize of £1,500 sponsored by the Authors’ Licencing and Collecting Society. The judges this year were Sue Teddern, Amanda Whittington and Kate Chapman.

The winner will be announced on Sunday 1 February 2015 at the BBC Audio Drama Awards, alongside the Society of Authors’ Imison Award and the Audio Drama Awards categories.

The shortlist is as follows:

Goodbye by Morwenna Banks

Produced by Heather Larmour, BBC Northern Ireland, 75’, BBC R4

Morwenna Banks.finalLizzie and Jen have shared everything. When Lizzie is diagnosed with cancer their worlds are turned upside down. Together the friends negotiate the stages of her treatment and see their friendship tested and redefined in ways they could not have predicted. And when they learn that Lizzie doesn't have much time left, they struggle to do the hardest thing of all. To say Goodbye.

The judges said: A skilled combination of funny, moving, achingly sad and extraordinarily life-enhancing, despite the subject at its heart.

Morwenna Banks (left) is well-known as an actor and writer. Her first feature The Announcement won several awards and her latest feature film Miss You Already, directed by Catherine Hardwicke, is set for release in 2015. Current projects include the comedy Damned for Sky Arts television (co-written with Jo Brand); Shush, a new Radio 4 series co-starring and co-written with Rebecca Front; a further new Radio 4 series reprising cult sketch show Absolutely, winner of the 2014 BBC Audio Drama Award for Best Scripted Comedy (Live Audience); and a new series of Up the Women for BBC 2.

The Good Listener by Fin Kennedy

Produced by Boz Temple-Morris, Holy Mountain, 45’, BBC R4

FinKennedy.finalIntelligence agents at GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters) are tracking three young British Muslims as they head for Syria. Henry Morcombe, an experienced GCHQ analyst, is tasked with establishing whether they intend to deliver humanitarian aid or join the armed conflict. How to protect the public, while keeping within legal and ethical boundaries, is far from straightforward, and tensions emerge as the team responds to unfolding events.

The judges said: An ever-relevant subject, treated with wit, pace and a real understanding of the craft. Highly compelling radio.

Fin Kennedy (left) is an award-winning playwright, freelance dramaturg and producer and Co-Artistic Director of Tamasha, where he will become Artistic Director in 2015. He has written for Soho Theatre, Sheffield Crucible, Southwark Playhouse, Half Moon, The Red Room and BBC Radio 4, and his plays are also produced internationally. He is writer-in-residence at Mulberry School in east London and founder of Schoolwrights, the UK's first playwrights-in-schools training scheme.

Men Who Sleep In Cars by Michael Symmons Roberts

Produced by Susan Roberts, BBC Radio Drama North, 44’, BBC R4

Michael Symmons Roberts.finalOne night in the week preceding England’s first World Cup fixture, three men whose lives have been turned upside down by the recession sleep in their cars on the streets of Manchester. They listen to the radio for company, hearing the build-up to the World Cup, where some of the most powerful men in the world of sport compete on the world stage. As the play develops we gradually learn how these three came to this, and how their lives interconnect.

The judges said: Timely, visceral and lyrical, this play examined the underbelly of contemporary urban life in surprising ways.

Michael Symmons Roberts (left) is one of Britain’s leading poets. His six poetry collections and his work for radio and as an opera librettist have won him many awards. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and of the English Association. The Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy has described him as “the clearest and purest voice currently sounding in British poetry”. He is Professor of Poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Previous winners of the Tinniswood Award, established in memory of English radio and TV comedy scriptwriter Peter Tinniswood, who died in 2003, have included Hannah Silva, Colin Teevan, Murray Gold, Mike Bartlett and Rachel Joyce.

BBC radio rates increased

on Monday, 04 August 2014 15:44. Posted in Radio

The Writers' Guild has agreed to an increase of 1% in minimum rates for BBC radio writers. The increase, effective from 1 August 2014, emerged from a meeting of the Radio Writers Forum, which also includes representatives of the Society of Authors and the Personal Managers' Association (representing writers' agents).

But the Guild said it regards the rise as a "disappointing interim increase". General secretary Bernie Corbett said: "This is way below the current level of increase in the cost of living. BBC staff have been offered £800 a year, which for someone on £50,000 a year is 1.6% and for someone earning the national average of £26,500 is over 3%. Once again writers are being undervalued. We are continuiing our negotiations with the BBC in the hope of achieving a fairer settlement in the near future."

For an established writer on a standard two-transmissions contract, the rate per minute goes up from £91.73 to £92.65; for an episode of The Archers the fee goes up from £920 to £929. The agreement also covers short stories, abridgements, features and talks, prose and poetry.

For full details click here.

Radio Award winners

on Monday, 27 January 2014 10:15. Posted in Radio

The winners of the BBC Audio Drama Awards were announced last night in London


The Tinniswood Award

The Tinniswood Award 2013 is presented to the best original radio drama script by any writer broadcast in the UK over 1 July 2012-31 October 2013. The Award is jointly administered by the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain and the Society of Authors with the prize of £1,500 sponsored by the Authors’ Licencing and Collecting Society.

Winner: Marathon Tales by Colin Teevan and Hannah Silva (pictured, above, with Fiona Shaw)

Imison Award 2013

The Imison Award honours the best original script by a writer new to radio broadcast in the UK over 1 July 2012-31 October 2013. The Award is administered by the Society of Authors, and judged by members of its’ Broadcasting Committee. The prize of £1,500 donated by The Peggy Ramsay Foundation. The following writers have been shortlisted:

Winner: The Loving Ballad of Captain Bateman by Joseph Wilde with Tim van Eyken.

Other awards:

Best original audio drama (single play): Billions by Ed Harris, produced by Jonquil Panting, BBC Radio Drama for Radio 4

Best audio drama (series or serial): An Angel at My Table, written by Janet Frame, adapted by Anita Sullivan, produced by Karen Rose, Sweet Talk for Radio 4

Best audio drama (adaptation): Sword of Honour by Evelyn Waugh and dramatised by Jeremy Front, produced by Sally Avens, BBC Radio Drama for Radio 4

Best scripted comedy drama: Love and Sweets 3: Grand Canyon by Richard Marsh, produced by Ben Worsfield, Lucky Giant for Radio 4

Best scripted comedy (studio audience): Sketchorama: Absolutely Special, written by Pete Baikie, Morwenna Banks, Moray Hunter, Gordon Kennedy and John Sparkes, produced by Gus Beattie, Comedy Unit for BBC Radio 4

Best online or non-broadcast audio drama: Doctor Who: Dark Eyes, written by Nicholas Briggs, produced by David Richardson for Big Finish

Full list of winners:

Radio awards shortlists

on Saturday, 21 December 2013 09:37. Posted in Radio

Shortlists have been published for the Tinniswood and Imision radio awards 2013, administered by the Writers' Guild and the Society of Authors.

Tinniswood Award 2013 Shortlist

The Tinniswood Award 2013 is presented to the best original radio drama script by any writer broadcast in the UK over 1 July 2012-31 October 2013. The Award is jointly administered by the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain and the Society of Authors with the prize of £1,500 sponsored by the Authors’ Licencing and Collecting Society. The judges were Louise Doughty, Marcy Kahan and David Pownall. We are pleased to announce the shortlist:

Dusty Won't Play  - by Annie Caulfield

In 1964, at the height of her fame, Dusty Springfield was arrested in South Africa for refusing to play to segregated audiences. Detained, deported and accused of publicity seeking by some fellow celebrities back home, she inspired others to cancel segregated tours. She didn’t change the world, but she did do something

Once Upon A Time There Was A Beatrix - by Lavinia Murray

Combining fact with fantasy, we imagine a day in the life of the young Beatrix Potter as a child, and glimpse at the roots of her creativity. 19th century London: Helen Beatrix Potter is 14 years old and lives in Kensington with her parents. Her younger brother, Bertram, has just gone off to boarding school. Life has changed irrevocably and Beatrix realises that she faces years of isolation and parental indifference. She is on the verge of vanishing within the social mores around her. Today, Beatrix has to find her own life. When she visits the local cemetery, she finds herself at the centre of a rather frightening hunt for a young rabbit, and discovers a way to excel.

Imo & Ben  - by Mark Ravenhill

Benjamin Britten's Gloriana, commissioned for the Queen's Coronation Gala in 1953, was, according to Lord Harewood 'one of the greatest disasters of operatic history'. This play tells how Imogen Holst moved to be near Britten in Aldeburgh to support him as he worked on the score in the months leading up to the premiere

Marathon Tales - by Colin Teevan and Hannah Silva

This play ingeniously combines the stories of a number of Marathon runners ancient and modern; the original Pheidippides, Atalanta, Hippomenes, Abebe Bikila, John Tarrant the “Ghost Runner”, Dorando Pietri the “People’s Champion”; pioneer of women's running Kathy Switzer, and contemporary amateur and professional runners preparing for the London Marathon

So you want to write radio drama?

on Wednesday, 11 December 2013 12:42. Posted in Radio

Extracts from a new book by producer Claire Grove and writer Stephen Wyatt

For a new book published by Nick Hern Books, award-winning radio writer (and long-time Guild member) Stephen Wyatt teamed up with radio producer Claire Grove to guide newcomers through the world of radio drama. As we reported last month, on 18 November Claire Grove died from cancer: you can read an obituary in Ariel magazine. Claire worked with numerous writers during her career in radio, and we publish these extracts, with kind permission of Nick Hern Books, as a tribute to her.

Writers’ Guild members can buy a copy of the book with a 25% discount and free UK postage and packing (total price £9.74) by ordering from Nick Hern Books using the voucher code WGGBRADIO at checkout. Voucher valid until 31 March 2014.

SoYouWantToWriteRadioDramaIntroduction, by Claire Grove

I love radio drama. I am a shamelessly enthusiastic listener and I’ve had the enormous pleasure of working in it for many years as a producer and director. Why do I love it? Because it can take me anywhere the writer wants to take me. It gives me the freedom to imagine complete worlds. It can take me to places where I could never actually go in life. I love the vast range of subjects that it embraces and the sheer volume of it splurging out of the radio on a daily basis. Thrillers, romances, fantasy, gritty urban; there’s something for everyone here. I love the fact that the word is king, that I can imagine complete characters from the timbre of an actor’s voice and that a sudden silence can stop me in my tracks because I simply have to discover what happens next. And it fits in with a busy life. I can listen to it on my iPod while I’m walking, in the car while I’m driving, or at home while I’m doing other things.

Working with Claire, by Stephen Wyatt

Claire Grove and I worked together in radio for over ten years, most recently on the Classic Chandler dramatisations and two original plays about Raymond Chandler’s experiences in Hollywood, Double Jeopardy and Strangers on a Film with Patrick Stewart as Chandler. My other radio work includes many dramatisations and original plays, including Memorials to the Missing (2007) and Gerontius (2011), both of which won the Tinniswood Award for best radio drama script.

I had been in discussions with Nick Hern about doing a book called So You Want to Write Radio Drama? for some time when I had one of my best ideas ever and asked Claire to write it with me. She accepted and immediately the project came alive. There have been books on radio drama before by writers and books written by producers and script editors but so far as I know this is the only book which represents a genuine collaboration between a writer and a producer/director.

And Claire was a wonderful person to collaborate with. Totally positive, totally focused, totally enthusiastic, totally generous. Writers without hesitation gave permission for extracts from their work or their insights into their work to be included because they loved her and loved working with her. Anybody within the BBC who could help or provide information gave it because it was Claire who was asking and they all knew, respected and loved her too.

We were always in total agreement about how we wanted the book to be. As honest, practically useful, up to date and informative as we could make it, based directly on our own experience. We wanted to take readers through the whole process of what’s involved in writing a radio drama, from having the germ of an idea all the way through to commissioning and production. We wanted to create exercises to encourage writers to explore their own ideas and offer extracts from outstanding radio writing to inspire them. And we wanted to avoid pomposity, condescension and above all any whiff of contemporary academic media theory.

As a result, very early on we made a decision that a single anonymous voice simply wouldn’t work. We needed to write in our own voices about what we each knew about best as a writer and a producer/director. What Claire wrote in this book is, for those of us who knew and loved her, a reminder of her enthusiasm, her generosity, her perception and her no-nonsense intelligence. For those who didn’t know her, I believe she has left words to help and inspire new radio writers and I feel very privileged to have collaborated with her on it.

New Faces: Radio Drama In The Midlands

on Tuesday, 12 November 2013 14:28. Posted in Radio

A Writers' Guild West Midlands event - Wednesday, December 11, 7.30pm - 9.30pm

In recents months two important chairs have been filled in BBC Radio Drama. Sean O'Connor has taken the reins at the The Archers. Meanwhile Jessica Dromgoole is helming the landmark World War I drama, Home Front. Sean and Jessica will join us to talk about their shows, the craft of Radio Drama and opportunities within the industry.

Sean O'Connor was a producer on The Archers in the late 1990s, before moving on to TV shows such as EastEnders, Hollyoaks & Minder. He has also directed extensively in theatre, including his own adaptations of Vertigo, Marnie and Romeo & Juliet, as well as producing a film version of Terrence Rattigan's The Deep Blue Sea. His book Handsome Brute was published this year.

Jessica Dromgoole has directed in theatre and radio, winning various awards including the Prix Italia for Original Radio Drama, a BBC Audio Drama Award for Best Audio Drama, and a bronze Sony Radio Academy Award for Best Drama. Between 1988 and 1991 Jessica was Artistic Director of the Finsborough Theatre, since when she's been New Writing Co-ordinator for the BBC.

This event is FREE to members of the Writers' Guild and £5 for non-members. Attendees are invited to a festive drink in The Mailbox afterwards.

Booking details

Video never laid a glove on the radio star

on Monday, 09 September 2013 20:42. Posted in Radio

Paul Bassett Davies on his new sitcom Reception, and the ongoing appeal of radio


Morwenna Banks, Adrian Scarborough and Amit Shah - stars of Reception, written by Paul Bassett Davies

People who say they don't listen to radio are like people who claim they never pay attention to advertising. They're probably absorbing more than they think, and you'd have to live in a hut on a remote island to avoid hearing any radio at all. But the hut would need to be sturdy enough to never require the attention of builders.

What those people mean, of course, is that they don't make a point of listening to radio. Maybe, like the man who once read a book and didn't like it, they once heard a radio play they didn't think much of. Which can happen. Hundreds of plays a year are broadcast on BBC radio, and if all of them were to your taste it would probably mean you didn’t have any. But if earnest dramas about social issues aren't your cup of artisanal tea, it's quite possible that the following day you could hear a sci-fi thriller that exploits the medium's extraordinary imaginative potential to mind-bending effect. You never know.

I've written several radio dramas, and now I've written a radio sitcom called Reception, which is currently being broadcast on Mondays at 11.30am on BBC Radio 4. It's my second foray into radio sitcom: over twenty years ago I co-wrote a sitcom with Jeremy Hardy, which I also performed in. The first series was called Unnatural Acts, then the name was changed to At Home With The Hardys. The show was both a sitcom and a pastiche of a sitcom, in the same way that The Young Ones was, on television. Listening to it now, it seems pretty hit-and-miss. Some of it holds up well, and some of it makes me cringe. I wonder with hindsight whether I should have learned more about writing a conventional sitcom before attempting to subvert the genre. Tellingly, the show's playful surrealism works best when it's firmly rooted in character and story. In some ways Reception reflects this lesson: character is at its heart; it obeys the formal rules of the genre, and it attempts to combine the restrictions of the format with the unique qualities of radio to create a series of intimate stories about friendship in the workplace. Does it succeed? The audience will decide that.

How radio’s solo parents came alive

on Wednesday, 27 February 2013 10:05. Posted in Radio

Sue Teddern on an idea that keeps on running


Writer Sue Teddern (centre) with actors Liz White and Julian Rhind-Tutt

February 2013: I am in Studio 60A at the BBC’s New Broadcasting House and have been instructed by producer David Hunter to swap my comfy Timberlands for a pair of scruffy, strappy stilettoes from the props cupboard. For this is my 'Colin Dexter moment'. I am to play non-speaking Hilary, who must sashay past Tom (Julian Rhind-Tutt) and Rosie (Liz White) in a hotel breakfast room. I sashay with feeling, even though the shoes pinch. If you listen really hard to episode 4 of, you might just hear me.

I’ve written a fair amount of radio over the years but is my long runner. Series one was broadcast in 2009 and starred Kris Marshall as dumped dad Tom and Maxine Peake as stroppy single mum Rosie who meet online. Top actors are always juggling several choice gigs and, if they’re unavailable, radio’s an easy medium to re-cast, which is why Julian and Liz now have the starring roles. A fifth series will be recorded in August.

Flashback to the late 1980s: I’m attending a class at London’s City Lit in writing for radio. The inspiring tutor, Olwen Wymark, gets us to create a scene starting with: ‘What the hell do you think you’re doing?’ For some reason, I come up with the image of a divorced dad who has his little girl on Saturdays and never knows what to do when she needs to use a public loo. Does he wait outside and look like a pervert? Or does he go in with her … and look like a pervert? His dilemma is solved by a passing mum. And thus are born Tom and Rosie, two emotionally raw single parents looking for love.

They lived in my head for years. After writing 13 episodes of Birds of a Feather, I dusted them off as the central characters of a potential new TV sitcom. Twice. Nothing doing.

Imison and Tinniswood Awards - call for entries

on Friday, 08 February 2013 12:14. Posted in Radio

Revised submission deadline: Wednesday 10 July 2013. Revised transmission period: 31 July 2012 until 31 October 2013

The Imison Award - £1,500

We would like to offer our congratulations to the 2012 winner Do You Like Banana, Comrade? by Csaba Székely, produced by Marion Nancarrow, Radio Drama London for Radio 4. Listen again on Radio 4, 2.15pm on Wednesday 20th February. Read more about the 2012 Imsion. Read more about the BBC Audio Awards.

The Imison Award encourages new talent by rewarding the best original radio drama script by a writer new to radio. The work must have been broadcast in the UK from 31 July 2012 until 31 October 2013 and be the first dramatic work by the writer(s) that has been broadcast. When submitting 15-minute episodes from a series or serial we will require consecutive episodes (including the first episode) to make up at least 45 minutes. An adaptation for radio of a piece originally written for another medium will not be eligible. There is no entry-fee and submissions are accepted from any nominating party. Submissions must consist of:

  • A completed nomination form;
  • Three copies of the writer's original script and a CD of the broadcast (further copies may be requested)
  • Aupporting statement, synopsis and author biography (no more than 250 words each - please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

The prize is judged by the Broadcasting Committee of the Society of Authors. We are grateful to the Peggy Ramsay Foundation for donating the prize money. Read Alison Joseph’s views on the judging process.

Murray Gold wins Tinniswood Award for radio drama

on Sunday, 27 January 2013 19:34. Posted in Radio


Tinniswood Award winner Murray Gold at the BBC Audio Drama Awards (pic: Anne Hogben/WGGB)

Kafka the Musical by Murray Gold has won the 2012 Tinniswood Award for the the best original radio drama script by any writer broadcast in the period 1 January 2011 – 30 June 2012. The Award is jointly administered by the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain and the Society of Authors. The prize of £1,500 to the winner is generously sponsored by the ALCS (the Authors’ Licencing and Collecting Society). The judges are Meg Davis, Jonathan Myerson and Tim Stimpson.

Audio Drama Award winners announced

on Monday, 30 January 2012 09:56. Posted in Radio

stephen-wyattStephen Wyatt wins Tinniswood Prize for best script

The winners of the first ever BBC Audio Drama Awards were announced last night at a ceremony hosted by actor David Tennant in the Radio Theatre at BBC Broadcasting House, London.

The awards aim to celebrate and recognise the cultural importance of audio drama, on air and online, and to give recognition to the actors, writers, producers, sound designers, and others who work in the genre.

In conjunction with the Society of Authors and The Writers’ Guild of Great Britain, the winners of the Imison and Tinniswood Awards were also announced and presented by playwright and Guild President, David Edgar.

The winners were:

Tinniswood Award for Best Radio Drama Script 

Gerontius by Stephen Wyatt

Imison Award for Best Radio Drama Script by a writer new to radio

Amazing Grace by Michelle Lipton

Best Audio Drama

Lost Property - The Year My Mother Went Missing by Katie Hims (Producer: Jessica Dromgoole, BBC Radio Drama for Radio 4P)

Best Actor in an Audio Drama

David Tennant, Kafka: The Musical by Murray Gold (Producer: Jeremy Mortimer, BBC Radio Drama for Radio 3)

Best Actress in an Audio Drama

Rosie Cavaliero, Lost Property: A Telegram From The Queen by Katie Hims (Producer: Jessica Dromgoole, BBC Radio Drama for Radio 4)

Best Supporting Actor/Actress in an Audio Drama

Andrew Scott, Referee by Nick Perry (Producer: Sasha Yevtushenko, BBC Radio Drama for Radio 4)

Best Scripted Comedy Drama

Floating by Hugh Hughes (Producer: James Robinson, BBC Radio Drama for Radio 4)

Best Online Only Audio Drama

Rock by Tim Fountain (Producer: Iain Mackness, Made in Manchester for The Independent Online)

Best Adaptation

The History of Titus Groan dramatised by Brian Sibley (Producers: David Hunter, Gemma Jenkins and Jeremy Mortimer, BBC Radio Drama for Radio 4)

Best Use of Sound in an Audio Drama

Bad Memories by Julian Simpson (Producer: Karen Rose, Sweet Talk Productions for Radio 4)

Innovation Award

The Unfortunates adapted by Graham White (Producer: Mary Peate, BBC Radio Drama for Radio 3)

Read the full shortlists for the Awards

Shortlists announced for first ever BBC Audio Drama Awards

on Wednesday, 11 January 2012 21:48. Posted in Radio

The shortlist for the first ever BBC Audio Drama Awards has been announced. The awards aim to celebrate and recognise the cultural importance of audio drama, on air and online, and to give recognition to the actors, writers, producers, sound designers, and others who work in the genre.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony to be held on Sunday 29th January 2012 in the Radio Theatre at BBC Broadcasting House in central London and presented by actor David Tennant. In conjunction with the Society of Authors and The Writers’ Guild of Great Britain, The Imison and Tinniswood Awards will also be announced and presented by playwright and Guild President, David Edgar.

View the full shortlists

Update: Guild President David Edgar's article about the Awards in The Guardian