A high-profile launch of a new audiobook narrated by Stephen Fry – ‘The Missing Lines’, which frustrated listeners with its abrupt ending – was today revealed to be part of an awareness campaign for Missing People.
The campaign, built around the launch of the new audiobook across leading podcast platforms on Monday 8 January, has caused unease in just three days since its launch. Having downloaded the audiobook, listeners found the story ends abruptly after three minutes – when the main character, Marcus, goes missing after being coerced into working with a county lines drugs gang. The next eight chapters are filled with nothing but an eerie silence. The listener is deprived of a resolution to the story, reflecting the real-life experience of the thousands of people whose loved ones go missing every year.
In the final chapter released today, Stephen Fry explains that the podcast is not broken, but is in fact a partnership with Missing People designed to reflect the feeling that many parents have when their loved one is missing. It’s a story with no ending, one that leaves the listener in limbo indefinitely.
Fry, a longstanding patron of Missing People, has been involved in several previous Missing People initiatives. He has also previously appeared in a short film for the charity voicing an emotional appeal for families missing loved ones to help get missing people home for Christmas. Stephen recalls the time he famously went missing: “I myself went missing at a time of crisis in my life, but I was fortunate enough to be reunited with my loved ones. Not everyone gets that reunion.”
For ‘The Missing Lines’ campaign, created by House 337, the agency came up with the idea for a story about a missing child, then wrote the opening pages and invented a fictional author, who was given the name M.S. Singh.
House 337 approached Fry to narrate the opening pages for the audiobook which is being distributed via Apple and Spotify’s podcast platforms. The agency has also been promoting it on audio network Acast, via other podcasts and hosts, and through influencers across all social platforms. The artwork was displayed on over 60 DOOH sites donated by Ocean Outdoor, and across 250 sites donated by JCDecaux across the UK.
Watch Stephen’s reveal on our page, and learn more about the charity below.Find out more