Originally heard on BBC Radio 4 in January 2010 & Nov 2011

Written by Philip Ralph. Adapted from his original stage play of the same name.

Deep Cut is a radio adaptation of the award-winning production which has been performed at the Edinburgh Festival, in London and on tour in the UK. The central characters are Des and Doreen James, and the play follows their search for an answer as to why their 18 year old daughter Private Cheryl James was found shot dead at Deepcut training barracks on November 27th 1995.

The play was drawn together by writer Philip Ralph from verbatim transcripts of interviews, alongside publicly available documents. It traces the events surrounding Cheryl’s death from the points of view of her parents and her female Army friend Jonesy, weaving in the statements by Nicholas Blake QC, who was commissioned to carry out the judicial review, as well as, among others, comments from the independent forensics expert Frank Swann, and the journalist Brian Cathcart.

Des and Doreen are at the heart of the play and their poignant memories of their daughter alternate with bewilderment at her sudden and unexpected death. Cheryl was one of four recruits, each of whom was found shot dead between 1995 and 2002. The result of the review by Nicholas Blake in 2006 affirmed that the most likely explanation was suicide, and that there would not be a further public enquiry. Des and Doreen feel passionately that there are questions still to be answered.

Des James ….. Pip Donaghy
Doreen James ….. Janice Cramer
Nicholas Blake QC …… Simon Molloy
Jonesy …… Amy Morgan
Frank Swann ……. Robert Willox
Brian Cathcart …… Derek Hutchinson
Colonel Nigel Josling ……. Adam James
Bruce George …… Rhydian Jones

Music & Sound Design: Mike Furness
Recorded & Edited by Richard Bignell

Director: Mick Gordon
Producer: Richard Bannerman
A Ladbroke production for BBC Radio 4.

Dur: 57mins STEREO




  • Verbatim transcripts of interviews conducted by the author
  • The Deepcut Review by Nicholas Blake QC, including use of published appendices and press statements.
  • Journalism
  • Private Eye Report published 15.09.06 – Deepcut: Shots in the Dark, written by Heather Mills and Brian Cathcart
  • British Journalism Review, Vol.18, No.1 2007 – A Case of Journalism Outmanoeuvred, written by Brian Cathcart.
  • Establishment debates, reports and statements.
  • Surrey Police Press statements.
  • House of Commons Defence Select Committee’s third report of session 2005-5 on Duty of Care
  • Hansard
  • MOD: The Deepcut Review

Philip Ralph


Richard Bannerman


Richard Bignell

Composer/Sound Design

Mike Furness


Mick Gordon




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