DEMOCRACY, a drama-documentary by SARAH WOODS, inspired by Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, BBC R4, 3pm September 17

Drama-documentary by SARAH WOODS, inspired by Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, one of the most influential political texts ever written, transposed to the UK of today and featuring members of the British public. 

In 1831, Alexis de Tocqueville travelled to North America on a nine month trip that led him to conclude that democracy was unstoppable and would spread across Europe. His concerns about democracy – the dangers of self-interest and materialism; the tendencies towards mediocrity; the risk of populist, despotic leaders and the silencing of minorities – echo clearly into the present day. 

In this drama, set in today’s UK, an elderly man checks himself out of a Preston hospital and hitchhikes south. He says his name’s Alexis de Tocqueville and that he needs to find out what has happened to democracy. As he travels around the UK, he talks to ordinary people about their perceptions of the current state of democracy and the challenges it faces. Can democracy offer us the world – and the leaders – that we need? 

Featuring voices of real people from across the UK.

Listen here.

Directed by Emma Harding, BBC Audio Drama Wales

Sarah Woods is an award-winning playwright and systems thinker who has written over 30 plays, series, adaptations and drama-documentaries for BBC Radio, including Borderland, which won the Tinniswood Award for Best Audio Drama at the 2018 BBC Audio Drama Awards.