Wiltshire's one-man soap Acrebury marks 40th year

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Media captionGerry Hughes is the creator, writer and the only actor in radio soap Acrebury

A radio soap opera on BBC Wiltshire produced and performed by one man who played all the characters is marking its 40th anniversary.

Acrebury was created by librarian Gerry Hughes and was played on hospital radio before moving to BBC Wiltshire in 1994.

The soap ended in 2000 but has been revived to coincide with the radio station's 25th anniversary.

Creator Mr Hughes said: "During the BBC years there were an awful lot of characters. I counted 85 at one point."

'Higher pitch'

The quirky soap was aired on a daily basis during the 1990s on Radio Wiltshire.

Based in a fictional Wiltshire village, it is described by Mr Hughes as full of "gossip, scandal, affairs, murder, laughter, tears...just everyday life".

Each character, played by Mr Hughes, was recorded and then mixed in with sound effects for the final broadcast version.

He said: "I would say it's like blending colours, like blending two colours to make a third.

"For the female voices, I would go to a higher pitch and then if I go to the back of the throat and 'age' it, I have the mother of that character.

Image caption Mr Hughes first aired his radio soap on hospital radio in Swindon before it moved to BBC Wiltshire

"If I make it a little bit more Wiltshire - that's her aunt."

Mr Hughes also worked at BBC Wiltshire managing the music library when the station first started broadcasting in 1989.

Although the final episode it set to be aired on Tuesday, 24 June, the village and its inhabitants may live on.

"What I do aim to do is finally write the novel of Acrebury, so maybe the future of Acrebury will be in print or online," added Mr Hughes.

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