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Unidentified Radio Plays

I am often contacted by listeners of radio plays who ask me to identify something they heard years ago from a description (which they supply) of the plot, and ask whether a recording is available.

By definition, these plays are exceptional - otherwise they wouldn't have been remembered so vividly.

Here are some of the queries which have arrived. I am stumped by a few of them ... please email if you can help.


Nigel Deacon, Diversity website



do you recall.......


..... a play that I thought was called Johnny Valentine. It was slightly comic I think.... about a girl who works in a dry cleaners and a gangster brings in a jacket to be cleaned and is then knocked over by a car. He never returns to collect his jacket and she finds something intriguing in a pocket. I think it was a matchbook from a nightclub - then she gets a job at the nightclub... memories of this play has stayed with me for all these years and I would like to find out what it was as I enjoyed it so much. (BL)

    Hi BL - I think this is it ... COPS AND ROBBERS, by Katie Hims. 30 Apr 01, afternoon play, rpt 3 Apr 03. A dry-cleaner's assistant falls for a customer who chats her up and then, on leaving, is knocked down. How can she ever forget him? Marion ...... Amanda Root, The Inspector ...... Philip Jackson, Jonny Valentine ...... Nicholas Boulton. Producer Peter Kavanagh.

      ....Thank you so much.... you are brilliant!! - BL



TWO IDENTICAL HUSBANDS
I have been a long time wondering about a radio 4 afternoon play I heard in the early 1980's when I should have been studying at University. I recall a woman in her home when her scientist husband returns a little early from work, particularly cheerful because the teleporter experiment he had been working on had worked. He goes upstairs to change and a few minutes later his wife hears him arriving home again, this time in a bad mood because his teleporter experiment had not worked. The wife is confused as to how he had gone outside again and come back with a somewhat different version of events only for them all to discover soon enough that there were now two husbands. Not surprisingly they didn't like each other very much...I can't remember what happened next but it was a particularly gripping play., any ideas?

SB, London

    Dear SB - originally this didn't ring any bells - but then it occurred to me - could this be 'Timeslip' by Wally K Daly? The date is about right, I think.

      .......That's exactly it, your knowledge is extraordinary. I managed to find a basic synopsis - it descended into more of a farce than I remembered but still it provided an amusing hours break.Thanks ..... SB


MOTORISTS STUCK IN THE SNOW
John E asks.....

"I’ve been searching on and off of years for a horror play I heard on radio 4 in the 80’s.

It was winter time, possibly Christmas time; the play involve some motorists who set off on their journeys and end up getting stuck in snow as the weather closes in. I think there were 2 or 3 cars, who were stuck; the daylight starts to fade and as darkness falls they hear strange sounds. One by one they are picked off by a creature who comes out of the night."

ND replies..... My friend A.D. recognised this as "The Horn" by Stephen Gallagher, broadcast in 1989 in the 'Fear on Four' series, produced by Martin Jenkins.


TWO 'TIMESLIP' PLAYS
...... a supernatural play about timeslips in radio/telephone communication. Some 'timeslips' are already listed in your pages, but this one had a modern-day woman making a phone call and getting through to a military officer in a war bunker during the Battle of Britain. Can't remember the rest of the story very clearly.

Another was a sci-fi time loop story. A traveller from the future comes back to our time after an international scientific teleport experiment to transfer two cities into each other's space goes wrong. Our city is replaced by what turns out to be a nuclear blast area. The husband of the modern-day family gets involved; future traveller rings doorbell ('ding dong'), husband answers it ('I'll get it'); gets involved in an adventure to save the situation and remove the bomb before detonation. The attempt fails! 'Ding dong' 'I'll get it' - we're in a time loop as the traveller goes back to his first meeting with the husband for a second attempt! And so on ...!

(from Pic B)


FOUL PLAY ON A SCHOOL TRIP
....a school trip to the Cutty Sark (or some other preserved vessel). One of the children is found dead, apparently having fallen down a hatchway. There is an investigation.

It is suspected that the boy was abused by one of the teachers and killed himself. However it later emerges that that a different boy was involved with a teacher and threatened to talk about it, and the other boy killed him to keep him quiet.

The boy murderer climbs on to the school roof with the intention of throwing himself off, but is talked down.

Laurence T

ND replies..... Greg Linden recognised this as "Death Drop" by B.M.Gill, dramatised by Jill Hyem. Summary of BBC info: Saturday Playhouse, 20 June 1992... 12-year old David falls to his death during a school outing. The headmaster calls it a tragic accident. David's father sets out to investigate the true cause.With Kenneth Cranham, Gemma Churchill, Peter Penry-Jones, Irene Sutcliffe, Keith Drinkle, Mark Murphy, Melinda Walker, Gordon Reed and Gary King. Producer Cherry Cookson. 90 min ......and..... I've just realised that we've had this query before - scroll down the page!


BODY ORGANS TALKING TO EACH OTHER
About 20 - 30 years ago, I head a play on BBC Radio 4, about the inner workings of the human body. All the body's parts had names such as Brain and Eyes, Nose, Ears, Left Arm etc, and they all spoke. Each morning Brain would start shouting at Eyes telling them to wake up. This would usually end in them having an argument between each other until someone like Mouth or Tongue intervened. Throughout the day, as the person who owned the human body moved about and did their everyday things, the internal body parts would talk to each other. The play was funny and really clever.

Mark E.

ND replies - this sounds like Giving Up by J.C.W.Brook.


SPOOKY PLAY
......which frightened the life out of me, about a man and his wife and his daughter living in a new house, continuously disturbed during the night by frightful noises coming from under the floorboards - like pipes banging together. As far as I can remember, at the end, it turned out that his family were not actually there and he had buried them under the floorboards.

Steve O.

ND replies - I don't remember this, but my friend Dave says that it sounds like 'The Antagonist' by Roger Lambert. World Service, date unknown, but billed as 'a ghost story for Christmas', sometime in the mid-1980s........ thanks Dave. My recording gives the cast as follows: Graham Roberts, Carole Hayman, Helen Worth, Peter Wheeler, Geoffrey Banks, SM Peter Barker, producer Tony Hawkins - ND.

ND UPDATE..... The play has been identified by Tim Kemp. It is "The House On Pale Avenue", http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00wr8s9. It is occasionally repeated on Radio 4 Extra. Thanks, Tim.



PLAY NARRATED BY A HOUSE
Around 1976. The programme reproduced fragments of conversations and sounds which had become part of the fabric of the building. I remember discussing it with people at work. The only piece of 'dialogue' I recall (imperfectly) was the repetition of something along the lines of 'Nine-five, breakfast time'.

Elaine M.

ND replies - my friend NM tells me it's 'August 2026: There Will Come Soft Rains' by Ray Bradbury. It used the resources of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop under the direction of Malcolm Clarke.... thanks Norman.


HOLE APPEARING IN THE GROUND
David S asks: ....a play set somewhere in the northern isles and about a hole appearing, possibly in a farmyard? It turns out to be an entrance into a refuge from a much earlier time, reflecting the current threat of a nuclear war, repeating the far distant past.

ND replies..... possibly "Tremor", by John Tarrant. There is a minor earthquake, and afterwards, a mysterious hole in the ground has appeared. Broadcast sometime around 1981; 30 minute theatre....


ENDLESS CORRIDORS
...and another query from David S: .....a play about an entrance in an ordinary house that goes deep into the earth and is partly explored. The scene is one of endless corridors or halls and many flights of steps.

ND replies..... this one is much more recent; Mike Walker's superb sci-fi dramatization of 'Recordings Recovered from the House of Leaves'. Here's part of what I wrote about it when it was broadcast on 28 Oct 2011: ........"an amazing tale by Mark Danielewski. Will Navidson and his family discover a labyrinth behind a door which suddenly appears in their home.

Navidson, celebrated adventure photographer, is fascinated. His partner Karen senses danger and insists that the door be kept permanently locked. But one night after a row, Navidson unlocks the door, opens it, and goes through. He finds rooms beyond rooms, all windowless, all unlit, and corridors which shrink and grow and sometimes disappear".



UNIDENTIFIED PLAY ABOUT CHESS
An email from Jon G has arrived .... it concerns a radio play about chess, which has stuck in his mind for thirty years:

...........I must have been between about 7 and 15 years old, so the broadcast date would be sometime between 1975 and 1983. It was probably on Radio 4, but it could have been Radio 3. I can't remember what day of the week or time of day it was on.

The plot concerned a man (a teacher?) who was given a talking chess computer as a retirement gift. He became more and more obsessed with beating it, to the exclusion of everything else. If he tried to cheat, it would respond with the phrase "That is an illegal move, George", in a robotic-sounding voice.

Eventually, in desperation, he attempted to unplug the machine, but somehow was killed by electrocution. As he died, he heard the words "That is an illegal move, George" from the computer.

Any ideas, anyone?


4 Dec 12


COMEDY PLAY WITH TERENCE ALEXANDER
....A radio play in the early 1980s on the BBC (Radio 4?) which included Terence Alexander and by William Douglas-Home. Would like to find it again; one of the funniest plays I have ever heard.

Tim C

ND replies..... sounds like "The Chiltern Hundreds' by William Douglas-Home, which starred the actor you mention. An excellent play. It was originally broadcast in 1975 and was repeated once or twice.


BANK ERROR IN YOUR FAVOUR
..... a recording of an 11.00 am comedy “financial” play, 10 – 15 years ago. There were two plays about a year apart.....essentially a series of letters exchanged between an older man and a lady in a bank. A bank error transferring a large sum to the man , who disappeared with the proceeds....he developed a relationship with the lady and ended up in Australia, saving hs daughter’s vineyard, making so much money that he bought the bank. All beautifully read and really quite funny.

Chris H

ND replies..... this is 'Capital Gains', starring Peter Jones. The initial play (broadcast 5 Apr 94, written by Colin Johnson) was so successful that it spawned a short series.


TIME-SHIFT PLAY
...broadcast late one night; quite short, America; the story based on a time-shift scenario. A man travelling by coach across America would dine in restaurants with uncannily similar environments ( I remember mention of green plastic chairs); he met the same people in each place - a bit like Gerry Jones' Time After Time. Could have been an American author as it was set in the West. '70's or '80's.....

Derek S


ANOTHER NAZI PLAY
...about the Third Reich, and their attempt to hi-jack the 1936 Olympic Games, held in Germany, and turn it into a propaganda exercise for the master race. They were going to split the medal tally for the U S A into 'blacks' and 'whites', but when they calculated it, black America would have pushed Germany into second place.

.....ND comment ....Clive Lever has searched around and has now identified this as 'Conflict of Doves' by David Buck. Note also a related play by Lavinia Murray, "Momentum" (see radio 3 page, Jim's list).


IRISH POLITICIAN
A leading Irish politician has a son with learning difficulties who is very easily led. He is groomed by a paramilitary organization and persuaded to take part in a terrorist attack. Unknown to him the motive was to embroil the son in a scandal which would end his father's career.


IRISH BARMAN
Set in a London pub. The Irish barman isn't interested in politics, but some IRA sympathizers try to make him defect to their bar down the street. He kicks them out. Then the Falklands War begins. Ireland remains neutral. The barman gets victimised. Eventually he goes to the IRA bar he'd been avoiding at the beginning of the play. Around 1988-89; title anyone?

.....ND comment ....Clive Lever has now identified this as Alan Berrie's "The Queen's Arms".


MAN LOVES A COMPUTER
Sci-fi, mid 70s. A man is sent on a solo mission to a distant part of the galaxy. His computer is given a female voice and a human personality. They fall in love. When the spaceship is damaged by a meteor, the only way to survive is to cannibalise the computer, which will destroy its personality. Honor Blackman plays the computer.
...from Clive Lever

.......ND comment......I think it's 'Sophie', by Stewart Farrar, with Honor Blackman and Tony Anholt, 25.9.1975.


SIMILAR PLAY....
Another play resembling the above in that a computer falls in love with a human. This time it's a comedy. The computer doesn't have the vocabulary to express its feelings, so instead of printing out 'I love you' it says 'Isle of Bute', because that's phonetically the closest it can get.
...from Clive Lever


SET IN A HOSPITAL
A patient in a hospital keeps having dreams in which Archers characters keep appearing. Majorie Antrobus turns up as a ward sister and asks 'have you done your stools today?'
...from Clive Lever

.......ND comment......Sounds like Outpatients, by Rhys Adrian. Marjorie's patients keep wandering off, if I recall correctly...


A BETTING SCAM
A play on Radio Four, several years ago, on the subject of a betting scam. It was based on races with only four runners. It revolved around the story of a guy who had the brilliant idea of mailing racing tips to 256 people, knowing that, as it was a four horse race, 64 would be correct. This went on until there were 4 people who had received three winners.

However, one of these was a maths teacher who eventually worked out what was going on. There was a twist at the end of what was a very entertaining play.

Arthur K


EDINBURGH DOCTORS
15-20 years ago (around 1991-1996) - radio play about a group of Edinburgh doctors awaiting interviews for fellowship of a college (FRCS or similar). Very acute observation of the Edinburgh 'Mafia'. Possibly a Monday Play or radio 3. BBC Scotland.

Simon P

Mike R wrote as follows - sounds like "Smart Boy Wanted", by Colin Douglas. 1991.


LIVERPOOL, STOLEN TRUCK....
Mid seventies, set in Liverpool, a truck and its load (I think whiskey) is stolen and disappears. It is finally found hidden behind a false wall in a garage leading into one of the tunnels built by Joseph Williams, "The Mole of Edge Hill"....

Dave P


DUKE OF KENT....
-relationship with father, mistress Julie de St. Laurent; his time in North America; his recall to England to marry to secure an heir to the throne.

Probably refers to the 4th son of George III, 1820s, who was eventually Queen Victoria's father.....I vaguely remember this play, but cannot recall the title - help, anyone? By Neville Teller? Or Royce Ryton? - ND

    Simon P emailed me as follows:
    sounds like Julie and the Prince by Louis Robinson, a one hour R4 play, produced in Birmingham and directed by Peter Leslie Wilde. The date was 28 Feb 2004 according to your lists......

    thanks Simon.......ND



WAR THEME....
Sam West narrating, music, lyrical....

Jude

ND replies.......not sure about the first one.....the second one sounds like "Autumn Journal", by Louis MacNeice.


FOUR HORSEMEN...
....a play about the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse, done like a comedy; a radio 4 interviewer is covering a equestrian show. But she realises that these 4 horsemen are not what she was expecting and things get frightening. For some reason I have the title" Comrades " in my mind ... broadcast date c. 2007.

John F

ND replies .....possibly 'Cavalry' by Dan Rebellato. Four men are preparing for the last battle...


Three questions from 'laurence', UK:

SCHOOL TRIP, PUPIL FOUND DEAD
(a) On a school trip (I think to a maritime museum), one of the pupils is found dead. Investigations suggest he killed himself because he was being abused by one of the teachers, but one person isn't so sure and digs deeper.

It eventually transpires that he was killed by another pupil because he found out another pupil was having an affair with a teacher and threatened to expose them. The play ends with the killer climbing the school gym in a bid to kill himself, and has to be talked down by the dead boy's father.

Ideas, anyone? I thought perhaps 'Swimmer' by Christopher Russell, but it doesn't quite fit.

Dave P replied...I'm pretty sure this is 'Death Drop' by B.M.Gill, 20 Jun 1992.

RESIDENTS' EARS TURNED ORANGE
(b) In a small town, one morning it is discovered that some of the residents' ears have turned orange. An amusing take on sexuality and coming out.

Again - I can't help. Can anyone recall this? - N.D.

A CATHOLIC PRIEST'S MONOLOGUE
(c) A monologue; a Catholic priest bemoans the current state of things - not, as I remember, by Alan Bennett, but it could easily have been.

N.D. reply - It's Wally K. Daly's play, "For I Have Sinned", starring Bernard Cribbins, Aug. 2001.

All of them, as I remember, were on Radio 4 in the "afternoon play" slot; the first two during the 1990s, the third in 2001 or early 2002.


UNKNOWN TITLE, 1950s
....a play concerning at least two men who looked for the word which created the world. The one who found it was struck by a hand holding a sword above his head. (Judith R.)

Ideas, anyone? Possibly Louis MacNeice? ......... - ND.


AN ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM.....
I once heard a great radio play with two characters (man and woman) and an elephant in the room. My am-dram company wants to do it as part of a triple bill, but I can't find it anywhere. It was broadcast in Britain, on the BBC. Also.....

Dave P replied...I remember a play from the early eighties called 'All we need is an Elephant' or 'All we need now is an Elephant" which I think starred Bernard Cribbins...

Jim from Canada replied....... probably "A Resounding Tinkle" by N.F.Simpson, 20 July 1960. A suburban couple bicker about the dimensions of an elephant they've had delivered; whether they live in a semi-detached house or a bungalow; about admitting door-to-door comedians, and whether equipping eagles with parachutes and spectacles is a worthy cause......

This play was first performed at the Royal Court theatre, London, on 1 Dec 57. The broadcast play was introduced by Martin Esslin and starred Alison Legatt (Middie Paradock), Deryck Guyler (Bro Paradock) and Betty Hardy (Uncle Ted). Other parts by Haydn Jones, Keith Williams, John Bryning and Kenneth Bright; producer Charles Lefeaux.



PARROT BEING FLUSHED AWAY.....
have you ever heard a play in which a parrot ends up being flushed down the toilet after speaking out of turn? I am looking for that one too.

Very interesting website, by the way...

A.P., from the frozen north.

Reply from Clive Lever and S.W:

I remembered hearing a play about a mynah bird on Producer's Choice on BBC7, and thought it may have been one of Cherry Cookson's choices. I asked Gerard McDermott and he said that he starred in the play in the part of the bird, with Marcia Warren in the role of the wife, and somebody called David in the role of the husband. Armed with that, I found this on the 'Diversity' Cherry Cookson page:


Mon 16 Feb, 11:00 - 11:45 45 mins (29 June 1999) Bodies and Souls By Martyn Wade. Harry's long and tedious marriage to selfish Joyce reaches an all-time low when she begins to experience reincarnation. Her claims that the simplest domestic item contains the soul of a long-lost loved one has Harry reaching for desperate measures. With David Horovitch, Marcia Warren and Gerrard McDermott.

Cherry Cookson- "One of the joys of radio drama is having one of those ideas which couldn't possibly work in any other dramatic form. Bodies and Souls, one of the most popular afternoon plays of recent years, was written by Martin Wade. The theme of this domestic black comedy is revenge; one of the main roles is that of the talking mynah bird who is bought by the husband to annoy his very irritating wife. She has become obsessed by the idea of reincarnation, convinced that everything around them, even the plants in the garden, have been taken over by the souls of various famous personalities. The husband plans his revenge with a visit to the local pet shop. David Horovitch and Marsha Warren join forces with Gerard McDermott as the bird in this entertaining comedy".....

Could this be the second play in this lady's enquiry?


Many thanks, Clive, for following this up for us......ND.


A PLAY ABOUT KING ARTHUR....1985/5
In 1984/5 I heard a play about King Arthur and his knights and they came back when England was most at need and I seem to remember that they took part in WWII as fighter pilots.

Does this ring a bell with anyone?

J.G.C


TOTALITARIAN GOVERNMENT IN THE FUTURE

..........a play in the early hours of the morning on the world service around 10 years ago.

It was a depressing description of life in the UK under some kind of seemingly new government which became increasingly totalitarian. In the end, all undesirables, criminals, etc were rounded up and herded into an increasingly small area where they would presumably finish each other off.

Grateful for any information.

Gwyn

This sounds like "2004", by Wally K. Daly, broadcast in 1996 by World Service. - N.D.


EEL IN A RESTAURANT
I was listening to it on a journey up to Yorkshire. My journey ended but the play hadn't. It was about a preserved eel in a restaurant. Strange, I know but I'm curious to know how it ended. Can't remember the title.

J.W.

I think this was part of a series by Nick Warburton: On Mardle Fen - The Twisted Eel - N.D..


MINERS TRAPPED UNDERGROUND......
Two miners trapped underground; periodically the oxygen level would fall and the walls would seem to collapse. But they are really twins in utero being born and the collapsing walls represent contractions.

Farah

A.S. sent the following comments:_
.........................This would be the play mentioned under your Michael Bartlett listing ... GETTING OUT....1979 - by Christopher Russell, with Ian Holm & James Bolam. Producer: Michael Bartlett; broadcast 5-Jan-1979 . It was in the series Just Before Midnight. When Michael was directing Dirty Tricks (which starred James Bolam's opposite number Rodney Bewes) I talked about it with him. I seem to recall that to get the claustrophobic feeling of the twins in the womb, he had the two actors crouched up on chairs, sitting back to back.


.........Update - a recording of this play has been found - N.D.


A DAY IN THE LIFE OF.....
-a boy, in which an old woman cut the strings of children's kites with her big scissors, and decapitated birds, stringing the heads around her as a necklace. The boy was an artist. He came across two old women who urinated into their well before offering him a drink from it.

Jane, Australia.

.....This rang a bell as I'd listened to this just recently, so a quick search came up with ... The Tyger Hunt by Lavinia Murray.

Lavinia Murray's play imagines a surreal day in the life of the young William Blake. With a runaway tiger on the loose, William is out with his sketch pad to capture the magic of a truly enchanting and extraordinary afternoon.

William ...... Barney Clark
Mrs Blake/Mary Capper/Smock race runner ...... Pippa Haywood
Mr Blake/Broadsheet yeller/Innkeeper ...... David Fleeshman
Tol Tiddle Doll/Matchsyick seller ....... Jonathan Keeble
Ann Capper/Corncutter ...... Kathryn Hunt
Dog/Drunk/Bellows mender ...... Seamus O'Neill
Music consultant: Philip Tagney; directed by Pauline Harris.
Last on: 29 Jul 2008 14:15 BBC Radio 4
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b008crmn

.......N.W, Cornwall, UK.



A haunted cathedral....1997
The story of a cathedral which was the site of mysterious deaths of boys every 50 years or so - it turned out that a supernatural horror was built into the cathedral ... broadcast 1997.

Paula

ND replies.......It sounds like "The Stones of Muncaster Cathedral", 1996, repeated 1997, by Robert Westall. One of my 'top 10' radio plays.


ON ILKLEY MOOR.........c1995?
A radio play in which the scenes were linked by the tune "On Ilkley Moor Ba' Tat", but whistled. I don't usually like listening to whistling, but this was beautiful.....can anyone supply the title / author / date of this play?

D.P.


ND replies.......This is 'The Colliers' Cathedral' by Robin Brooks; 22 May 1984, with Jon Strickland/Hilda Schroeder. A cross between "Hobson's Choice" and Monty Python's "Four Yorkshiremen" sketch - no exaggeration - and an excellent comedy.


SHOEMAKER ATTENDING TO A NAZI OFFICIAL
A play set just before WW2 and involved a person going to Germany to attend to a member of the Nazi hierarchy. During his stay he finds out intimate physical details about senior party members from their wives. The play ends with Winston Churchill during VE Day celebrations where the shoemaker is being congratulated on having boosted morale with new lyrics to 'Colonel Bogey' mocking Hitler and his cronies.

Secondly, a series set in old Edinburgh, possibly 19th century. I only heard snippets, but the main character was a police officer and he was very friendly with a woman who operated a brothel.

Ian James

ND replies ..........The first play is "Dear Dr. Goebbels", by Neville Smith, broadcast in 2001. Here's what I wrote at the time:

Philip Morgenstein never realised when he applied for his first job that he would be fitting Dr. Goebbels with surgical boots at his private mansion a few months later. In Dear Dr. Goebbels, by Neville Smith (R4, 1415, 30 Nov 01), something of Goebbels' private life is revealed. Most people have never heard of Morgenstein, but he was offered an honour by Churchill (which he refused because his boss was not offered one) on the strength of the little ditty he wrote making fun of the Nazi leadership and their unfortunate medical conditions, sung by squaddies to the tune of "Colonel Bogey":

Hitler, has only got one ball
Goering, has two but very small
Himmler has something similar
But poor old Goebbels has no balls at all.

The second item is "McLevy", by David Ashton. There have been several series of this excellent 'police drama'.

N.D.



PETER TINNISWOOD?
...........A play set in London on a Sunday morning; a "sound montage". One of the parts consisted of a group of pigeons which kept repeating "cheep bloody cheep". That's all I can remember, other than, as usual for Tinniswood, it was hilarious.

Doug Lewis
    Les Smith emailed me as follows: "The play is not by Tinniswood, but by Louis de Bernieres and is called 'Sunday Morning in the Centre of the World'.



PATRICK HAMILTON
a radio play about the family life of Patrick Hamilton, the Sussex born playwright? (Rope, Gaslight?)  - not at all sure when I heard it.  I can remember that much of the action took  place in a house in Hove and his sister and mother played  prominent roles.

- many thanks for your web site.

Trisha Purchas

Details, anyone? I vaguely remember this from a few years ago but can't recall the title - N.D.


UNKNOWN AUTHOR
I have a play on tape, although not the whole play, probably from Radio 4, which is about a man called Lob, or Robin Goodfellow. It's Midsummer's Eve and an enchanted wood appears in Lobb's garden. His house guests all have one thing in common - they all want a second chance. Entering the wood gives them a new beginning. When they return to Lobb's house, the enchantment wears off.

It is a wonderful play - characters include Dearth - an artist - played by Sir Paul Scofield, Lady Caroline, Matey - the Butler. Can anyone remember the play's title?

Hilary Field

Cora Flynn sent the following message: "It sounds like "Dear Brutus" by J.M.Barrie. I can find two performances on radio 4: 15.3.69 and 2.1.87, neither of which feature Paul Scofield, but perhaps Hilary heard a different production on World Service?"


A PLAY WHERE ALL THE CHARACTERS ARE WORDS, c2000

Julia Bourhill, South Africa

That's an easy one - sounds like David Pownall's "I want to go home" - a fascinating play about the development of language over the last 1000 years....N.D.


NEPTUNE PLAY
A play broadcast (possibly R3 or World Service) to mark the anniversary of the discovery of the planet Neptune on 23 Sep 1846. Details, anyone?


A CONCRETE CLOCK
In 1964 or maybe 1965 I remember listening to a play which was about two people writing to each other in America and England where they were both building a concrete clock.

Is it possible for you to give me more information and maybe where I could get a recording?

Keith W.

To my astonishment I have found a recording of this .... I was recently sent a Nevil Shute play called 'Trustee from the Toolroom', a superb adventure which starts with a yacht being scuppered in a storm. About 30 minutes in, a Congreve clock (not concrete!) comes into the story ..... it stars Simon Lack & Inia Te Wiata. Saturday Night Theatre, 90m, 22 Aug 1964..... a Congreve clock is one where a ball bearing runs around a little track......they're not particularly accurate....N.D.


LURKING MADMAN, UNKNOWN TITLE & AUTHOR, c 1968

When I was a child I remember being terrified by a Saturday Night Theatre play, which I heard when it was repeated the following Monday afternoon.  

The plot, such as I can remember it, concerns a man who either experiences a case of deja vue or else relives a dream he had had the night before. A string of incidents take place during the day which seem strangely familiar, culminating in his idea that a woman who is hosting a party will make a grand entrance down the staircase, only to be murdered by a madman who is lurking outside the house when she opens the front door. 

Could this be "Somebody's Going to Die", by Edward Bruce which went out on 30-11-68. or "Only Fair to Warn You" by John Hyatt 15-02-69, which was broadcast during the half term holiday?

T.M.

ND comment- slightly before my time....can anyone help?
    D.G, Salisbury, emailed as follows:

    I also heard this frightening play as a child. No radio play has ever made a bigger impression on me. I think it is “The Raven” by Alfonso Sastre broadcast on Saturday Night Theatre on the 31st of Dec 1966.

    The play takes place in the winter when a group gathers in a house where the previous year the lady of the house had been murdered by a man who had knocked at the door. Everybody has a strong feeling of déjà vu and one of the group comments how snow had fallen on him from a tree just like it had done the year before. After rising tension the woman who had been murdered the year before walks down the stairs and joins the group as if nothing had happened. She asks why everybody looks as if they have just seen a ghost! Then somebody knocks at the door and, although everybody is aghast, the woman opens the door and history repeats itself
    .....................(many thanks - ND)



THREE TRAMPS DIGGING A GRAVE....
I came in on this play late, but it seemed to be about three tramps who ended up digging a hole to bury themselves in, as they had finally had enough of life. There was a argument about who would fill the hole in. Very funny; wish I knew what it was called and if anyone has it.

Mike Lewis

.......ND comment......sounds like "Six Feet Under, by Stuart Kerr; 3 Apr 94. The three men are not tramps; they're inmates - or rather, patients, who've escaped from a hospital and are trying to reach Harrogate on foot. But they run out of steam, and decide there's an easier way out. And yes, vrpcc has a recording.


 

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