Martyn Wade Radio Plays

17.08.78 Some say John the Baptist 60m
23.08.79 All too Human 60m
22.11.79 The Dog's Life 60m
10.07.80 *The Pot of Gold (Plautus), dram.
03.10.81 *Warren 30m
09.11.81 *The House of Learning
24.06.82 Over the Hills and Far Away
24.06.82 *Creative Writing
27.12.82 *Over the hills & far away (Percy Grainger)
02.06.84 The trade of man SNT
29.10.84 *Young Coleridge
09.11.84 The House of Learning, rpt
15.06.85 *Behavioral Sciences
23.09.86 *An impression of Mr. d'Arcy 30m
01.07.87 *Another way of living 45m
15.12.87 *Aristophanes against the world
26.03.89 *Goodnight to Flamborough (Wm.Baines)
26.03.89 Soul Searching 30m
30.12.90 *The Birds
12.07.90 Happy Families
07.02.91 *A Routine Operation (Fear on Four)
12.07.92 *Burn the Aeneid 60m
10.08.92 The new party
22.11.92 *A routine operation 30m
21.12.92 Gondal (E.Bronte)
06.04.93 Lover come back 30m
20.08.95 Before and after summer
11.05.96 Peter Grimes 90m SNT
01.09.96 *Before and after summer 120m (Gerald Finzi), rpt
30.06.97 Secure Within 90m
20.07.97 The small house at Allington (Trollope), dram. 4 x 60m
06.08.97 *Wesley, biography, 3 progs. "Love Divine"
01.02.98 The Last Chronicle of Barset (Trollope), dram 5 x 60m
07.06.98 The ceremony of innocence 100m (Ben Britten)R3
07.11.98 The Warden (Trollope), dram. 2 x 60m
29.06.99 Bodies and Souls rpt. 8.5.01
07.01.00 Bookcases. 30m - 2 series.
19.04.00 *Another Shakespeare 45m
25.08.00 *Dogged Persistence 45m
09.01.01 *Miss Kilmansegg and her precious leg (T.Hood), dram
01.02.01 Book Lovers
16.06.01 *Wakefield (Hawthorne), dram
24.06.01 My Last Duchess (Browning), dram. 60m.
30.06.01 *Stepniak
11.11.01 *The Woman in White (Collins), dram. 4 x 60m
28.01.02 Hell: An Anthology 20m R3
23.12.02 *Blue veils and Golden Sands 45m
30.08.03 The Book of Love (Hazlitt) 2 x 60m Classic Serial
25.01.04 *The Pallisers (Trollope), 10 x 60m Classic Serial
17.05.04 *Hermit Lucas
22.06.04 *The Other Constance Chatterley, 45m
01.08.04 *Bartelby the Scrivener, 55m
28.03.05 On Earth, in Heaven
22.04.05 *Alias George Eliot, 45m
05.08.06 Pepita's Daughter, Saturday Play
29.08.06 *Keeping the Score, rpt. 2014
24.01.07 The Bringer of Peace, 45m
26.11.10 *Moeran's Last Symphony
28.11.12 *The Healing of Sergei Rachmaninov, 45m
08.04.13 The Little Otleys, 5 x 15m
02.06.14 The Little Ottleys, 5 x 15m
05.04.18 *Holbein's Skull
27.02.17 *The Wells Way, 45m
30.03.20 About Love, 5 x 15m

date nk Life after death
date nk The King who made a Magic Carpet

Compiled by Barry Pike

asterisked plays known to exist in VRPCC collections


by Titus Maccius Plautus, translated and adapted by Martyn Wade, produced by Cherry Cookson. 10 July 1980, Radio 4, rpt 26 March 1982. Cast:

STOCK Nigel................Euclio
GOOD Christopher...........Lyconides
BOYD Margot................Eunomia
VOSS Philip................Megadorus
BALDWIN Peter..............Strobilus
KARPF Eve..................Phaedria
FRASER Sonia...............Staphyla
MCSTAY Michael.............Anthrax / Cashier
RYE John...................Congrio / Man in Queue
KIDD Josie.................Flute Girl
-Greg Linden

With Freddie Jones, Nigel Hawthorne, Mary Wimbush, Philip Voss, Bill Nighy, Lockwood West. 90m.

The life of Percy Grainger - concert pianist and composer. Grainger had enormous ability as a performer and as a composer when arranging folktunes. His two-piano music is excellent; sometimes a superb realization of the tune (as in "Spoon River") or sometimes way over the top (e.g. "Blithe Bells), but above all, it is fun. This play is based on the biography by John Bird.

One of the most surreal radio plays I've heard. Identical twins go through some bizarre experiences at the local Poly. Meanwhile, at a family committee meeting, Dad drops a bombshell. He is leaving.

A rather peculiar comedy of manners. A couple find that friends are moving house, and offer to put them up when there's a delay in the chain....that's when the problems start.

-A wonderful biographical play about William Baines, the Huddersfield composer who showed such promise and who died very young of tuberculosis. Baines combined an impressive pianistic technique with a most unusual keyboard style; conservative but with a unique use of dissonance. Some of his earlier pieces owe something to Chopin, but his later work is very atmospheric - "Tides", "The Lone Wreck", and "Goodnight to Flamborough" are outstanding works. He did a very original setting for piano solo of "Cherry Ripe"; richly dissonant, but withdrew it just after publication, perhaps because Cyril Scott had published a similar (slightly less interesting) version a year or two earlier. His studies are only for the technically very able. Few have heard of Baines but Eric Parkin has recorded some, and he is very good. About fifteen years ago a friend and I found a big pile of Baines' music outside Batley library- for sale, for a pittance, because no-one had borrowed it.

An unpleasant little tale in the "Fear on Four" series.

14 Jan 96:The Classic Serial- The Barchester Chronicles
Barchester Towers, adapted by Martyn Wade. Ep.3 ... The romantic goings-on heat up. With Alec McCowen as Septimus Harding , Juliet Aubrey as Eleanor Bold, Simon Russell Beale as Slope and Rosemary Leach as Mrs Proudie. Belinda Lang , Michael Cochrane , Margaret Courtenay , Jilly Bond , Jonathan Keeble , Zulema Dene Patience Tomlinson, Stephen Critchlow , Geoffrey Whitehead and Roger May. Producer: Cherry Cookson. Rptd Fri 2.00pm. DrGrantly ...... Stephen Moore, Sally Carter .......... Maria Carrigan, Roscoe Carter .......... Mark Benton, Winnie .......... Judi Earl.

The life of composer Ben Britten: his personal and professional life , the foundation of the Aldburgh Festival, and some of the people who appeared in his works. With Julian Wadham, Anna Massey, John Wood, Alan MacNaughtan, dir. Cherry Cookson.

Harry has been married to Joyce for longer than he cares to remember... and now she is starting to experience reincarnation...with David Horovitch, Marcia Warren, Gerrard McDermott. Dir. Cherry Cookson.

A light comedy - a young man convinces his father that he has great literary skills, by finding a heap of Shakespearean manuscripts, including an unknown play. With James Grout and Julian Rhind-Tutt. Dir. Cherry Cookson.

An excellent doggy comedy, written for Joan Sims. A lady inherits a troublesome, vicious dog. When she takes him to obedience classes, things develop in a way that no-one could have foreseen. Stars Elizabeth Spriggs, with James Grout and Julian Rhind-Tutt. Dir. Cherry Cookson.

Based on Thomas Hood's satirical poem about the corrupting influence of money. A famous lady is found clubbed to death with her own prosthetic leg. With James Grout, Rachel Atkins and Stephen Critchlow. Dir. Cherry Cookson.

Based on a Browning poem, which was inspired by a fresco of an Italian aristocrat's wife. With Roger Allam, Emily Mortimer, Tim McInnerney and Robert Hands; dir. Marilyn Imrie.

Follows the fictional adventures of a small book club. With Geraldine James, Maggie Steed, Roger Lloyd Pack and Stephen Critchlow. Dir. Cherry Cookson.

A man devises a plan to leave his wife for a short while and observe her behaviour from the flat opposite. But after a while - does he really want to go back? With David Haig, John Rowe, Richenda Carey and Jonathan Keeble. Dir. Cherry Cookson.

The story of Olive Garnett, sister of a Russian translator, and her association with revolutionaries and other nonconformists, including a Russian who is on the run.

An adaptation of the Victorian thriller by Wilkie Collins; an excellent tale which went out in Radio 4's Classic Serial slot, and which was rebroadcast by BBC7 in the April 2003. The drama begins with the main character, Walter, meeting the woman in white on Hampstead Heath. This is a story of love and deceit, around a plot to force two women to change identities, with Toby Stephens, Juliet Aubrey, Emily Bruni and Jeremy Clyde. There have been two other dramatisations of this story broadcast as serials by the BBC in 1960 (with Beryl Calder,Simon Lack,Monica Grey, Philip Leaver) and in 1969 (with Denys Hawthorne, Margaret Wolfit, Jan Edwards and Patricia Gallimore).

The representation of hell in literature. With Alex Jennings and Gerard McDermott. Compiled by Martin Wade.

Biographical play about the rediscovery of Delia Derbyshire, composer of electronic music, and famous for her realisation of the "Doctor Who" theme. Interesting perspective on the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. With Sophie Thompson.

A two-part dramatisation of William Hazlitt's "Liber Amoris". Hazlitt, the essayist, was 43 when he fell passionately in love with a young woman half his age. He became paranoid and jealous in his pursuit of her, and if he was like the production suggests, was not an attractive character. Tim McInnerney was Hazlitt, Claire Skinner was Sarah, and the other cast members were Alison Steadman, Imelda Staunton, Julian Wadham, William Houston and John Bett. The producer was Marilym Imrie.

.........I have never read any of Trollope's novels, but I listened to the first episode of this serial and thought how well-done it was. Here's what RT said about the series of ten 60-minute episodes, before the first one was broadcast, slightly paraphrased:

It's taken Cherry Cookson ten years to transform THE BARCHESTER CHRONICLES and THE PALLISERS into radio dramas. Cookson and Martyn Wade have given themselves a freer hand with the later, political novels. "It seemed sensible to tackle the Palliser novels as a sequence", says Cookson, "because there are characters who run right through, and there are long chunks one wants to leave out, so this gave us the freedom to concentrate more on four of the six original novels". The result is this 12-part Classic serial which owes something to a recent TV adaptation but which is significantly different from it.

Cookson believes that a factor in Trollope's popularity os the strength of his women characters. "He portrays men of that time as feckless whereas the women are strong, feisty and could easily do their husbands' jobs.......the whole thing sets off with a Victorian lady being forced to abandon-quite rightly- a reckless young man and marry someone who, at first sight, seems rather dull. Their story is dominant and the novels are all about the consequences of marrying for position or money rather than for love...............after recording PALLISERS in November, my resolution was not to do another serial"......however, Cookson is lined up to produce three Women's Hour serials this year.

Cast -David Troughton, Ben Miles, Sophie Thompson, Anastasia Hille, Adrian Lukis, Frances Jeater, Mark Bazeley, Bertie Carvel, Chris Moran. Music by Elizabeth Parker. First episode was broadcast on 25th Jan and it's going out on Sundays at 3pm, R4.

22 Apr 05. Mary Ann Evans took the pseudonym George Eliot when she started her career as a novelist. But she found that someone else claimed to have written her work. This is the story of her imposter - a man called Joseph Liggins. With Deborah Findlay as Evans and Adrian Scarborough as Liggins. Also stars Nicholas le Prevost, John Bett, David Collings, John Rowe. Rpt. BBC7, Feb 08. (below)

...excerpt from BBC7 newsletter, Feb 08:
Alias George Eliot...Many of you have let us know how much you are enjoying our current broadcast of Middlemarch, a dramatisation of George Eliot's novel. Now you can hear Martyn Wade's play of the curious tale of Marian Evans, the woman better known as George Eliot. Starring Deborah Findlay, Nicholas Le Prevost, Adrian Scarborough and David Collings.

26 Nov 2010; R4. Another excellent biographical play by Martyn Wade about a little-known English composer who died in 1950 from the after-effects of injuries incurred during the First World War. Moeran's first symphony was well-received by the public, and he was commissioned to write a second. The play goes from there.

It starred Tim McInnerney as Jack Moeran, Kate Binchy as his landlady, Sean Froudist Walsh, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Nicholas Boulton and Geoffrey Whitehead. The producer was Cherry Cookson.

28 Nov 2012: Afternoon Drama - Biographical play about Rachmaninov, by Martyn Wade. It tells the story behind the composition of his 2nd Piano Concerto. At 22, Rachmaninov composed his 1st Symphony and awaited its premiere with nervous anticipation. He was in a state of heightened emotion, having dedicated the piece to his lover Anna Lodyzhenskya, the wife of his best friend. His passion for her inspired the work. Glazunov, who conducts the piece, is drunk and the premiere is a disaster. Rachmaninov fears he will never compose again. He has a long period of writer's block. Eventually his cousin Natasha suggests a visit to a hypnotherapist who claims he can cure the composer and enable him to start work on the piece he wants to write next - a second piano concerto. It's worth noting that the concerto (the one used in the film Brief Encounter) is dedicated to Nikolai Dahl, the hypnotherapist who restored Rachmaninov's faith in his ability to compose. Rachmaninov ....... Jamie Glover, Anna ....... Lydia Leonard, Natasha ....... Alison Pettitt, Tolstoy ....... Philip Voss, Glazunov ....... Stephen Critchlow, Dr Dahl ....... Ian Masters, Producer: Cherry Cookson. Indie (Goldhawk Essential).

2013-04-08, The Little Ottleys
15-minute drama. Series 4, 5 x 15m. Ep. 1: It is early Autumn in the year 1916.Bruce Ottley, having gone to America toescape the Zeppelins and to live withMadame Frabelle, has returned toEngland. Though divorced from Edith he is still residing in the spare room of the house in Sloane Street, Knightsbridge, to the dismay of Aylmer.

2014-06-02 The Little Ottleys
15 Minute Drama. Series 5. 5 x 15m. Based on characters from Ada Leverson's trilogy of novels, Martyn Wade draws the delightful and romantic entanglements of the Ottleys to a close. In episode 1, Edith, Aylmer and Bruce, in this infernal, triangular charade seem as helpless and doomed as they ever were. Edith's scheme of shuttling between Aylmer (the love of her life) and Bruce (her hopeless former husband) collapses. What, Edith wonders, is to be done? Produced and Directed by Tracey Neale.

Martyn Wade's HOLBEIN'S SKULL (R4, 1415, 5 Apr 18) was another of his 'biographical' plays. He has written about Percy Grainger, William Baines, Ben Britten, Delia Derbyshire, Jack Moeran and Sergei Rachmaninov. Holbein is the first artist he has used as a subject, and the play was light and playful, inspired by Holbein's painting 'The Ambassadors'. In the picture there is a collection of ephemera surrounding the two men, causing historians to interpret it in different ways. Martyn's play imagines two French ambassadors to the court of Henry VIII negotiating Henry's argument with the Pope. They are persuaded to have their likenesses put onto canvas. Holbein seems fairly amiable but he is definitely a bit odd, and we learn that he likes painting skulls. Jean de Dinteville was played by George Farthing, Georges de Selve by Sam Alexander, and Holbein and the King by Clive Hayward. The producer was Tracey Neale. ND, Diversity Website Review, Apr 2018.

19 Mar 19: The Wells Way
By Martyn Wade. Authors Herbert Wells (H.G.) and George Gissing are at a crisis point in their lives. Each would like to be more like the other. Wells is tired of space and time travel and Gissing has no money. They meet up. Herbert Wells: Julian Rhind-Tutt, George Gissing: Joseph Millson, Jane Wells: Jade Matthew, Gabrielle Fleury: Louiza Patikas. Producer: Tracey Neale. Rpt.

Nigel Deacon

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