David H Godfrey, radio producer

Many of David H. Godfrey's plays date from the days before recording machines were available to the public. However quite a lot of his work has survived. He was the producer of 'Dick Barton' and a host of other well-known programmes.

Roger Bickerton found an interesting snippet about him, which was published in the VRPCC newsletter some years ago and which I reproduce below, with his permission. David received the following note from one of his superiors regarding a line in a Dick Barton script::

    To Mr. David H. Godfrey - DICK BARTON : POLITICAL JOKES
    27 September, 1949
    "Episode 445, page 9, speech 9 reads
    "Snowey : does that mean they've got a Stafford Cripps as well?"

    I am sure we would be well advised to leave politics out of Barton's strange world. In addition to the obvious objection, the fact that the episodes are pre-recorded might prove embarrassing. In this instance, Cripps might become seriously ill, die or resign between recording and transmission."

    Reply from Mr. David H. Godfrey, 28 September, 1949
    "Thank you for your memo of 27 September. With regard to speech 9 on page 9 of Episode 445 of the first 'Dick Barton' story, the line concerning reference to Sir Stafford Cripps was cut and also references to the Government on either side of this statement were removed from the text.

    In accordance with your instruction I will keep a very careful watch on jokes of this nature."

It's an interesting mirror of the times.

Here is a list of a few of David H. Godfrey's plays. Recordings of most of these are known to exist.


By David H.Godfrey. 8 Feb 86. Afternoon Play. Probably a repeat of the 1978 recording.

By Dodie Smith 23.12.1978. Adapted by Cynthia Pughe. Produced by David H. Godfrey, Originally broadcast 23 Dec 1978 (repeated 3 May 1986), 90m. A story about an upper-middle-class family in (I think) the 1930s / 1940s. The 'Octopus' of the title presumably refers to the tentacles (i.e. family connections) which envelop the whole play. It's a social story with a fairly strong love interest. Charles Randolph.......Robert Harris, Dora Randolph.....Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies , Hilda........Monica Grey, Margery.......Eva Haddon, Cynthia....Jo Manning Wilson, Nicholas.......Martin Jarvis, Hugh....Timothy Bentinck, Flouncy.......Susan Sheridan, Bill.......Elizabeth Lindsay , Scrap.....Bernadette Windsor. Belle, .......Barbara Couper, Kenneth Harvey....Garard Green, Edna Randolph......Irene Sutcliffe, Laurel Randolph......Gretta Gouriet, Fenny........Lisa Harrow, Gertrude.......Janet Burnell. Nanny........Margot Boyd.

By David H. Godfrey. With Ronald Herdman, Nigel Anthony, Michael Deacon. Afternoon Theatre.

By David H. Godfrey. Thirty Minute Theatre. 5 Nov 77. Cyril Shaps/Manning Wilson/Peter Tuddenham

4 Jun 77. By James Follett. SNT. Peter and Jane have retired to Spain. Each year they look forward to a visit from their daughter, Clare. She was unable to come last year, but this year when they go to meet her at Alicante Airport.... Cast: Irene Sutcliffe, Michael N Harbour, Gavin Campbell, Jane Knowles, Michael Tudor Barnes, Michael Goldie, Shirley Dixon, James Thomason, Jonathan Scott, Walter Hall, Paul Meier, Bruce Beeby, Nicolette McKenzie, Joan Matheson. Producer David H. Godfrey.

By David H. Godfrey 13.11.1976, with Manning Wilson, Joan Matheson, Sandra Clark, Nigel Lambert. Saturday Night Theatre.

By David H. Godfrey. Thirty Minute Theatre. 17 Apr 76. Judy Bennett/John Rowe/Carole Boyd

By R.D.Wingfield; 19 Dec 1973. ........extract from VRPCC newsletter, Oct 03..... Rodney Wingfield writes..."Cleft Stick" was a play that nearly did not get bought. I had submitted it and was confident that it would be accepted. I was in Broadcasting House on an entirely different matter when the Script Editor for this slot called me in and said that he was afraid they would have to reject "Cleft Stick" because the Script Reader had given it a poor rating. He showed me that Script Reader's report which said that he had guessed the ending right from page 1. This was ridiculous, and it was obvious he had fallen for one of my "red herrings" and had not read beyond the first few pages. I asked the Script Editor, as a favour to me, to read the play himself. He did, and the next day 'phoned to say he thought it terrific and that they would be buying it. If I hadn't been at the Beeb that day, it would have been rejected".

remarks from ND....a radio gem; murder, double-crossing villains, and the biter bit. Produced by David H. Godfrey.

18-03-1973, By James Carey. Adapted by Peter Cotes. With Michael Turner and Bloke Modisane "God Almighty! What the hell's that? . . . . Sounded like a rock fall and not far away, either. Let's get out of here and fast. Get back, man. The bloody roof's coming down." William Gilbert -Michael Turner, Carl Gilbert -Nigel Lambert , Norah Gilbert -Hilda Kriseman, Avis Gilbert -Eva Haddon , Sam -Sean Barrett, Joseph -Lionel Ngakane , George -Bloke Modisane , Roberts -Brian Haines , Doctor -Hector Ross, Producer -David H Godfrey.

23-10-1972. By Christopher Salkeld. With Elizabeth Sellars and Hector Ross. The play is set in a Roman province in the middle east during the time of Tiberius Caesar. The governor is faced with the same sort of problems which would have occurred in any colonial system of more recent years. Cast: Paulinus, the commander of the garrison.... Michael Kilgarriff, Proculus, a civil servant.... Edward Kelsey, The Governor .... Hector Ross, Claudia, his wife.... Elizabeth Sellars, Persephone, a greek slave.... Jo Manning Wilson, Representatives of the people : Joseph.... Lewis Stringer, Zambri.... Brian Haines, Longinus, a centurion.... William Eedle, The Historian.... John Ruddock; adapted and produced by David H Godfrey.

31/05/1972 A play for radio by Peter Yeldham. The action of the play starts in Broome, Western Australia, and continues at sea in a pearling boar bound for waters east of Christmas Island. Coggins -Martin Friend, Cliff Bennett -Nigel Graham , Tom Norton -Kerry Francis , Clarry Ford -Bruce Beeby , Jimmy Hana -David Valla , Kito Yogushi -Ronald Herdman. Producer David H Godfrey.

06/05/1972; By Michael Kittermaster. Hector Ross / Brian Wilde. Commentator -Ronald Herdman, Wykes -Brian Wilde , Hospital Reception Clerk -Olwen Griffiths , Dr. Travers -Nigel Havers , Headmaster -William Eedle , Mrs.Moxon -Barbara Bolton , Henry Moxon -Hector Ross , Scott-Prentice -Michael Harbour , Young Moxon -Alaric Cotter , Young Wykes -Brian Hewlett , Pomfret -David Gooderson , Dawson Edward -Kelsey , Miss Granger -Betty Baskcomb , Todhunter -Douglas Blackwell , Bartlett David Valla. Producer - David H Godfrey.

The Tragic Muse ....1972
By Henry James, adapted by Mary Hope Allan. 28/02/72. Oh to be here at last! In the most famous green room in Europe! Look see that dress hanging on the clothes tree! It's enough to see all of this. . . All the great artists of this great theatre. Their portraits surround me and I hear voices. Nicholas Dormer Geofrey Beevers, Lady Agnes Dormer Lydia Sherwood, Grace Dormer Clare Horne, Biddy Dormer Kate Binchy, Gabriel Nash Dinsdale Landen, Waiter John Rowe, Peter Sherringham Alexander John, Julia Dallow Elizabeth Proud, Madame Carre Gladys Spencer, Mrs. Roothe Betty Hardy, Miriam Rooth Elizabeth Morgan, Mr. Carteret Carleton Hobbs, Basil Dashwood Michael Kilgarriff, Mlle Voisin Katherine Parr, Florry Tresilian Jane Knowles, Producer David H Godfrey .

By R.L.Stevenson, ad. Giles Cooper; 90m. Dramatisation of R.L.S.'s classic comic tale of a large cash prize which goes to the last survivor. Producer David H Godfrey.

By Stewart Farrar. 6 x 30m, beginning 17 Jul 71. A serial for radio in six parts with Martin Jarvis and Patricia Gallimore. 'Just think what you have here. Biodar - the first radar in the world, so far as we know, that can pick up sentient life and locate it exactly. It can pin. point a man in thick wood-land.... it can lock on to a hare running across a field ... and male and female can be distinguished with increasing accuracy.' Ep. 1: The Black Arc. Producer: David H Godfrey. ('Genome' says 20 Jul 71).

CAT & MOUSE GAME....1971
May 1971. Police thriller by R.D.Wingfield. With Hugh Burden, Michael Kilgarriff, Jill Shilling, Wilfrid Carter, Douglas Blackwell, Sheila Grant, Leslie Heritage, Nigel Havers. Producer David H Godfrey.

By W. S Maugham, ad. Joan O'Connor. 12 Aug 1970. Set just after the ending of the First World War. The wife of a military man publishes a set of poems. To begin with he regards he writing as just a harmless hobby, but when the volume becomes a best-seller, and he learns that parts of it are perhaps autobigraphical, he has to re-think. 45m. With Carleton Hobbs, Hector Ross, Dorritt Wells, Myrtle Reed, John Gabriel, Frederick Bennett, Wilfred Carter, Andrew Sachs, Peter Tuddenham, Monica Grey, Anne King, John Bryning. Producer David H. Godfrey.

14 Nov 59. By Anthony Berkeley. 90m. Adapted for radio by H. Oldfield-Box. A very objectionable, mentally unbalanced woman is found dead after a dance. Did she commit suicide, or was she murdered? Multiple twists in the story. Stars High Burden, Trevor Martin, Simon Lack, Hamilton Dyce, Judy Bailey, Joan Newall, John Scott, Philip Cunningham, Monica Kirton, David Bird, Shelia Mannehan, Molly Rankin, Keith Williams, Arthur Ridley (not as advertised). Play expertly produced by David H. Godfrey.

28 Jul 59, 30m. By Ray Bradbury. Thirty Minute Theatre, Light Programme, BBC. Adapted by Jack Pullman, produced by David H. Godfrey. A married couple living in the year 2931 are on the run and travel back in time to 1957. Cast: Sue....Jane Jordan-Rogers, Roger....David March, Carlos....Raf de la Torre, Simms....John Wyse, Joe....Stuart Nichol, Al/waiter....Errol MacKinnon.

Effective little supernatural tale from the BBC's "Thirty Minute Theatre" slot fifty years ago. A woman visits a doctor; she has a premonition. Producer David H Godfrey. Rebroadcast 22 May 54 was by NBC (New York Broadcasting Company). Don't know the original broadcast date.

OH, WHISTLE AND I'LL COME TO YOU....1949 and 1963
By M.R. James. Home Service, Christmas Eve, 1963 from 1130-1200 hrs. Mrs. Spenlow.........Hilda Kriseman, Professor Parkins.........Michael Hordern, Brown............Earle Grey, Purdom..........James Thomason, Rogers...........Rolf Lefebvre, Colonel Wilson.......Austin Trevor, Chambermaid.........Sheila Grant , Waiter...........Anthony Hall. Special effects by the BBC Radiophonic Workshop; adaptation by Michael & Mollie Hardwick; produced by Charles Lefeaux. It was made available by BBC Transcription Services as part of a series called "Mysterious Circumstances" - 26 half-hour plays in all. Some were originally broadcast on the domestic network, others not.

An earlier version was b'cast on The Light Programme on Monday 7 February, 1949. This was play no. 2 of a series of 9 under the overall title of "The Man In Black", all arranged for radio by John Keir Cross and all introduced by Valentine Dyall. The cast list was :- Professor Parkins............George Owen, An antiquarian.............Malcolm Hayes, Colonel Wilson............Charles Lefeaux, A maid.......Denise Bryer. Produced by Martyn C. Webster and David H. Godfrey. (R.B.)

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