On 13 October 2000, to celebrate Harold Pinter’s seventieth birthday, BBC Radio 4 broadcast a new recording of A Slight Ache with the author himself playing Edward. What stood out in this production was the defined acoustic presence of the matchseller, Barnabas. The original recording, aired almost forty years earlier by the BBC Third Programme, on 29 July 1959, was much more ambivalent in this regard, sparking decades of scholarly debate as to whether the old man is really there. This article analyzes that remarkable shift in sonic portrayal through the context in which A Slight Ache was originally produced, its later reincarnations for stage and screen, as well as the changing academic climate in which it has been critically received. As a result, A Slight Ache must be regarded as a transmedial play, crucial to Pinter’s career development, and not as a quintessentially radiophonic event.

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