Michelene Wandor Radio Plays

There is a lot on this page, as one might expect from such a prolific and experienced writer: a list of radio credits, a synopsis of each (plays, dramatisations, and musical broadcasts - for Michelene is also a musician), and finally my own remarks on a few of them. Michelene has written an interesting piece for us entitled "Working as a radio writer", and this can be found on the RADIO PLAYS page (click the icon on the left) under ARTICLES3. Nearly all of the following recordings exist in VRPCC collections, and the complete digitised set of Michelene's scripts is also available to anyone who is interested. Please email.


1978 Correspondence
1979 Dust in the Sugar House
1980 The Unlit Lamp (Hall), dram
1981 Aurora Leigh (Browning), dram
1981 Precious Bane (Webb), dram
1982 The Ultimate Astonisher
1983 Lolly Willowes (Warner), dram
1984 An Uncommon Love
1984 Friend to friend
1984 Kipps (Wells), dram
1985 Venus Smiles (Ballard), dram
1985 A Consoling Blue
1986 The Nine Tailors (Sayers), dram
1987 Persuasion (Austen), dram
1987 Helbeck of Bannisdale (Ward), dram
1987 Whose Body? (Sayers), dram
1987 Gardens of Eden (play based on own poems)
1988 The Dwelling Place (Cookson), dram
1988 Peter Pan (Barrie), dram
1988 Fanny Burney's Cheltenham Diary, adaptation
1989 The brothers Karamazov (Dostoyevsky), dram
1989 Separation (Kempinski), adaptation
1989 Frenchmen's creek (du Maurier), dram
1991 The Mill on the Floss (Eliot), dram
1991 Killing Orders (Paretsky), dram
1991 The courtier, the prince and the lady
1991 A summer wedding
1991 Ben Venga Maggio
1992 A Question of Courage (Darke), dram
1992 A Rose from Blighty (Darke), dram
1992 The King's general (du Maurier), dram
1992 Love and Friendship
1993 Deadlock (Paretsky), dram
1993 Bitter Medicine (Paretsky), dram
1994 Jane Eyre (Bronte), dram
1994 The Jungle Book (Kipling), dram
1994 Power Cut
1995 Body of Glass (Piercy), dram
1995 The Go-Between (Hartley), dram
1995 The long road to freedom (Mandela), abridgement
1995 Arms and the Man (Shaw), adaptation
1995 The Piano (Campion/Pullinger), dram
1995 Orlando and friends
1996 New for old - 8 retold Greek myths
1996 Pride & Prejudice (Austen), dram
1996 Crumbs: short story
1996 Scarlet and Black (Stendhal), abridged
1996 The Tailor of Panama (le Carre) abridged
1996 Greensleeves: original play
1996 The devil in the cupboard - short story
1997 Ethan Frome (Wharton), dram
1997 Gone to Earth (Webb), dram
1997 The Mill on the Floss (Eliot); different dram
1997 The Queen of Spades (Pushkin), dram
1998 The Moonstone (Collins), dram
1999 Hemlock and After (Wilson), dram
1999 Corridors of Light and Shadow
1999 A lifelong passion
1999 The shade catcher
1999 In the cage (James), dram
1999 The clock of heaven: the story of John Harrison, biog.
1999 Toccata & Fugue - short story
2000 A country house (Edwards), dram
2000 Of Abrupt Self
2000 The diving bell and the butterfly (Bauby), abridged
2001 National Velvet (Bagnold), dram
2001 The Holiday (S.Smith), dram
2002 The Millstone (Drabble), dram
2002 Via Angelica
2002 Out of sweetness
2002 Enchantment
2003 The little photographer (du Maurier), dram
2003 Zuleika Dobson (Beerbohm), dram
2004 Every Eye (Isobel English), dram
2004 The Perfect Courtier
2004 She fell among thieves (D. Yates), dram, 60m
2004 Every Eye (Isobel English), dram
2006 Lady Chatterley's Lover (David Lawrence, dram)
2007 The making of a Marchioness (Burnett), dram
2008 Tulips in Winter
2009 Heartburn

# They do it with mirrors (Christie)
# Cards on the table (Christie)
# The man in the brown suit (Christie)
# They came to Baghdad (Christie)

#=not broadcast

MUSICAL ITEMS: see listing further down the page


Correspondence A divorced woman becomes a mature student. Radio 4, l978. 45 mins. Starring Maureen Lipman.

Dust in the Sugar House Feature on the life and work of writer Antonia White. Radio 3, l979. 45 mins.

The Unlit Lamp Dramatisation of novel by Radclyffe Hall. Radio 4, l980. 90 mins. Starring Caroline Mortimer.

Aurora Leigh Dramatisation of verse-novel by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Radio 3, l981. 70 mins. Starring Sara Kestelman.

Precious Bane Three-part classic serial dramatisation of novel by Mary Webb. Radio 4, l981. 55 mins each. Starring Miriam Margolyes.

The Ultimate Astonisher Feature about the life, work and ideas of writer Dorothy Richardson. Radio 3, l982. 45 mins. (Copy in National Sound Archives.)

Lolly Willowes Dramatisation of novel by Sylvia Townsend Warner. Radio 4, l983, 45 mins.

An Uncommon Love Play based on the diaries of Victorian man-of-letters Arthur Munby, and his secret love and wife, maid-of-all-work, Hannah Cullwick. Radio 4, l984. 90 mins.

Kipps Five-part classic serial dramatisation of novel by H. G. Wells. Radio 4, l984. 55 mins each. Starring Paul Daneman.

Friend to Friend Feature about friendship of two working-class women at the turn of the century. Radio 4, l984. 45 mins.

Venus Smiles Dramatisation of short story by J. G. Ballard. Radio 4, l985. 45 mins.

A Consoling Blue Feature about Jean Rhys and her writing of Wide Sargasso Sea. Radio 4, l985. 30 mins

The Nine Tailors Dramatisation of thriller by Dorothy L. Sayers. Radio 4, l986. 120 mins. Starring Mary Wimbush.

The Brothers Karamazov Eight-part classic serial dramatisation of the novel by Dostoyevsky. Radio 4, l989. 55 mins each. Starring Stuart Wilson, Michael Malone, Eleanor Bron.

Persuasion Three-part classic serial dramatisation of novel by Jane Austen. Radio 4, l987. 55 mins each. Starring Juliet Stevenson.

Helbeck of Bannisdale Dramatisation of novel by Mrs Humphry Ward. Radio 4, l987. 90 mins.

Whose Body? Dramatisation of thriller by Dorothy L. Sayers. Radio 4, l987. 90 mins.

The Dwelling Place Dramatisation of novel by Catherine Cookson. Radio 4, l988. 90 mins.

Peter Pan Adaptation of play by J. M. Barrie for radio. BBC World Service, l988. 60 mins.

Fanny Burney's Cheltenham Diary Adaptation of diaries about the King's visit to Cheltenham in l788. Radio 3, l988. 40 mins.

Separation Adaptation of play by Tom Kempinski for radio. BBC World Service, l989. 60 mins.

Frenchman's Creek Six-part dramatisation of novel by Daphne du Maurier. Radio 4, l989. 30 mins each. Issued as BBC Enterprises Cassette.

The Mill on the Floss Five-part classic serial dramatisation of novel by George Eliot. Radio 4, l991. 60 mins each.

Killing Orders Six-part dramatisation of thriller by Sara Paretsky. Starring Kathleen Turner. Radio 4, l991. 30 mins each.

A Question of Courage Five-part dramatisation of novel about suffragettes by Marjorie Darke. Radio 5, l992. 30 mins each.

A Rose from Blighty Five-part dramatisation of sequel by Marjorie Darke. Radio 5. 30 mins each.

The King's General Dramatisation of novel by Daphne du Maurier. Radio 4, l992. 90 mins.

Deadlock Six-part dramatisation of thriller by Sara Paretsky. Radio 4, l993. 30 mins each. Starring Kathleen Turner and Martin Shaw.

Bitter Medicine Six-part dramatisation of thriller by Sara Paretsky. Radio 4. 30 mins each. Starring Sharon Gless. Repeated twice on BBC7: 2003 and Jan 2004.

Jane Eyre....1994
Four-part classic serial dramatisation of novel by Charlotte Bronte. Radio 4, l994. 60 mins each.
The Radio Times describes our other classic drama, Jane Eyre, as an 'atmospheric and faithful' work. This four-part Michelene Wandor dramatisation of Charlotte Bronte's novel can be heard from 14-16 Jan 2004 and the final part on 19 Jan. The play is directed by Cherry Cookson and stars Sophie Thompson in the lead role and Ciaran Hinds as Mr Rochester. This classic love story was voted the tenth best novel of all time in the recent BBC Big Read competition. (info. from BBC7 newsletter, 10 Jan 04)

The Jungle Book Five-part dramatisation of stories by Rudyard Kipling. Radio 5, l994. 30 mins each. Issued on BBC Enterprises Cassette. Starring Eartha Kitt.

Power Cut Short story. Radio 4, l994. 15 mins.

Body of Glass Dramatisation of novel by Marge Piercy. Radio 4, l995. 90 mins. Starring Eleanor Bron.

The Go-Between Abridgement of novel by L.P. Hartley. Radio 4, l995. 10 x 15 mins.

The Long Road to Freedom Abridgement of autobiography of Nelson Mandela. BBC World Service, l995. 12 x 15 mins.

Ethan Frome Dramatisation of novel by Edith Wharton. Radio 4, l997. 90 mins.

Arms and the Man Adaptation of play by G.B. Shaw for radio. BBC World Service, l995. 60 mins.

The Piano Three-part classic serial dramatisation of novel by Jane Campion and Kate Pullinger. Radio 4, l995. 60 mins each. Audio Cassette: BBC/Polygram

New for Old Myths retold; eight re-written Greek myths, in modern settings. Radio 3, l996, 13 mins each.

Pride and Prejudice By Jane Austen. Dramatised for the World Service English programme. Fifteen parts, l5 mins each. 1996.

Gone to Earth By Mary Webb. Three-part classic serial. Radio 4. 60 mins each.

The Mill on The Floss 15 episodes dramatised for BBC English World Service, l997.

The Queen of Spades Original play based on Pushkin short story. Radio 4, 90 mins, l997.

Crumbs Short story. Radio 4. 1996.

Scarlet and Black By Stendhal. Abridged for Radio 4, 10 episodes, 15 mins each. 1996. Audio Book, BBC.

The Tailor of Panama By John le Carre. Abridged for Hodder Headline audio cassette. 1996.

Greensleeves Original radio play, Radio 4, 90 mins. Not yet broadcast.

The Moonstone By Wilkie Collins. Dramatised in 15 x 15 min. episodes for BBC English, World Service. 1998.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly By Jean Dominique Bauby. Abridged, with sound, for World Service Drama. 60 mins. 2000. Starring Tim Piggott-Smith.

Hemlock and After By Angus Wilson. Dramatised for Radio 4's Classic Serial slot; 2 x 60 mins. l999. Starring Derek Jacobi and Anna Massey.

Corridors of Light and Shadow A fantasy encounter between Henry VIII and Isabella d'Este, during a weekend in Mantua. Location sound, and fictional script. Produced by Piers Plowright. Radio 3, 45 mins, l999.

A Lifelong Passion Impressionistic story of the relationship between Nicholas and Alexandra, based on memoirs, diaries and letters. 45 mins, Radio 4, l999.

The Shade Catcher The search for Charlotte Mew. Impressionistic feature on early 20th century writer. Starring Fiona Shaw. 45 mins. Radio 4, l999.

In The Cage By Henry James. Dramatised for Radio 4. 60 mins. 1999.

The Clock of Heaven The story of the discovery of Longitude and the life of John Harrison. 45 mins. Radio 4, 1999. Starring Barbara Flynn, Nicky Henson, Finetime Fontayne.

A Country House Dramatisation of short story by Dorothy Edwards. Radio 4, 2000. 45 mins. Starring Jane Lapotaire.

Of Abrupt Self Programme about John Blow's Ode on the Death of Purcell, docu-drama. Radio 4, 30 mins. 2000.

National Velvet Dramatisation of novel by Enid Bagnold; 2 x 45 mins. Radio 4, 2001.

The Holiday Dramatisation of novel by Stevie Smith. 60 mins. Radio 4. 2001.

The Millstone Dramatisation of novel by Margaret Drabble. 5x 15 mins. Radio 4. 2002.

Via Angelica Short story. Radio 4. 2002.

Out of Sweetness Contemporary retelling of the the Samson story. 20 mins Radio 3, 2002. Starring Eleanor Bron

Enchantment Original play about passion. 15 mins. Radio 4, 2002.

The Little Photographer Dramatisation of a story by Daphne du Maurier. 45mins. Radio 4, 2003

Zuleika Dobson Dramatisation of novel by Max Beerbohm. 60 mins. Radio 4, 2003.

They do it with Mirrors
Cards on the Table
They Came to Baghdad
The man in the Brown Suit

-Abridgements of novels by Agatha Christie for Macmillan Audiobooks. (2001-2003.)


Gardens of Eden:
(play based on own poems, with music specially written by Michael Nyman). Radio 4, l987. 40 mins.

Ben Venga Maggio:
(Poem-play woven round Italian carnival music from the Renaissance. Music played by Musica Antiqua of London). Radio 3, l990. 45 mins.

The Courtier, the Prince and the Lady:
(play set in Renaissance Italy, drawing on Machiavelli and Castiglione as source material.Produced by Piers Plowright. Music by Josquin and his contemporaries). Radio 3, l990. 40 mins.

A Summer Wedding:
(drama to frame the music written for the celebration of the wedding of Cosimo de Medici, in Florence in l539. Produced by Graham Dixon and Piers Plowright. Music played by Musica Antiqua of London). Radio 3, l991. 90 mins.

Love and Friendship:
(two pastoral plays by Spanish Renaissance writer and composer, Encina. Recreated with music played by Musica Antiqua of London). Radio 3, l992. 30 mins.

Orlando and Friends:
play inspired by 'Orlando Furioso', epic poem by Ludovico Ariosto. Produced by Piers Plowright. Arranged music from fifteenth century, and played by own group, SIENA. Radio 3, l995. 45 mins.

Corridors of Light and Shadow :
45-minute fantasia to evoke Mantua, past and present. Authentic, location sound, recorder music (MW), and an encounter between Henry V111 and Isabella d'Este. Producer Piers Plowright. Radio 3, 1999.

Michelene's website is at

where details of her stageplays and other work can be found.

Nigel Deacon / Diversity website


26 Feb 96:The Piano (notes from RT)
Michelene Wandor 's three-part dramatisation of the book of the film by Jane Campion and Kate Pullinger. At the age of six, Ada McGrath takes a vow of silence and learns to express herself through her piano. 1: Scotland.Ada McGrath: Stella Gonet, YoungAda: Susan Sheridan, Deiwar: John Duttine, Alisdair Stewart: David Bannerman, Wyston: Robert Robertson, Mr MacGregor: Andrew Melville, with Eileen Nicholas, Jan Shand and Kim Durham. Original music by Anthea Gomez played by the composer and Christian McKay Producer Sue Wilson.

------The Clock of Heaven by Michelene Wandor (R4 10 Nov 99) was a play crammed into about one-half its proper length concerning John Harrison, the clockmaker who succeeded in producing a clock design which revolutionised navigation because of its amazing accuracy. The most surprising thing about this play was that it was still coherent in spite of the time allocated to it, which says much for Ms. Wandor's skills as a playwright. (VRPCC newsletter, Dec 99)

THE LITTLE PHOTOGRAPHER, by Daphne du Maurier, dram. Michelene Wandor
R4 19 Mar 03 1415
The local photographer becomes captivated by the young, beautiful and bored Madame la Marquise when she calls in to be photographed whilst on holiday. A story of passion, disappointment, and murder. With Sian Thomas as Madame and John McAndrew as the photographer, with Nickie Rainsford, Robert Harper, Pauline Whitaker and Alice Ford. Directed by Geni Hall-Kenny. (VRPCC newsletter)

Original story about Cellini and his times, told through the eyes of perseus and Medusa. Radio 3, 20m. With Eleanor Bron and Oliver Ford.

SHE FELL AMONG THIEVES, by Dornford Yates, dram. Michelene Wandor.
R4 1430 15 May 2004; Saturday play. With Honor Blackman, William Chandos, Tim Frances, Jessica Lloyd, Robert Whelan, Jane Collingwood, Harry Myers. Director- Chris Wallis. A Watershed production.

......................One of our most experienced radio dramatists, Michelene Wandor, was responsible for Every Eye (R4 1415 26 Aug 04) by Isobel English. This was a complicated love story set in London and Ibiza. Hatty is a pianist, young and ambitious and desperate to fall in love. She meets Cynthia, an older woman who encourages her to follow her heart, and Jasper, a friend of her uncle. There were some surprises in this gentle and interesting story, and it was well-cast and produced. Cyn was played by Jennie Stoller. (N.D., VRPCC newsletter, 2004)

Lady Chatterley's Lover....2006
By David Lawrence, dramatised by Michelene Wandor. 2 x 60m, beginning 23 Sep 06.

In Lawrence's classic exploration of the nature of sexual love, young beautiful Constance is married to Lord Clifford, wounded in the 1914-18 World War and now wheelchair-bound. Her life at Wragby Hall is bleak and lonely; until an encounter with Oliver Mellors changes everything.

Constance Chatterley ...... Lia Williams
Clifford Chatterley ...... Roger Allam
Oliver Mellors ...... Robert Glenister
Mrs Bolton ...... Lynn Farleigh
Hilda ...... Jasmine Hyde
Sir Malcolm ...... David Rintoul
Duncan Forbes ...... Julian Rhind-Tutt
Director Marilyn Imrie.

    ND comment - excellent dramatisation. The scenes which caused so much fuss in the 1950s and 60s are handled with understanding and sensitivity.

The Making of a Marchioness....2007
1 Apr 07. Classic Serial.

Michelene Wandor's dramatisation of Frances Hodgson Burnett's romance.

Emily Fox-Seton is 34, comes from good stock, and has no money. She supports herself helping the well-to-do ladies of Mayfair with their shopping and other chores. Then Lady Maria invites her to a country house party to help with the guests, and Emily's life changes forever.

Lord Walderhurst ...... Charles Dance
Lady Maria ...... Miriam Margolyes
Emily Fox-Seton...... Lucy Briers
Narrator ...... Joanna David
Mrs Cupp ...... Amelda Brown
Jane Cupp ...... Charlie Brooks
Mrs Brook ...... Lorelei King
Cora Brook ...... Antonia Bernath
Lady Agatha ...... Amara Karan
Cook ...... Jenny Lee
Batch ...... Nicholas Collett
Alec Osborn ...... Colin Tierney
Hester Osborn ...... Anjali Jay
Music composed by Richard Taylor.
Producer Chris Wallis.

Last Night I Dreamed....2007
17 May 07. A reading, not a dramatisation. Appeared in a series of stories celebrating the centenary of Daphne du Maurier's birth.

4/5. The Last Mantegna, by Michelene Wandor, read by Elizabeth McGovern.

The two people sitting at separate tables in a Los Angeles cafe might be writers, but things are not always what they seem. His laptop holds an amazing secret, and the notebook she is reading belonged to her grandmother.

Play about the 17th-century philosopher Spinoza. R3, 5 Oct 08. Spinoza was excommunicated from Judaism by rabbis in Amsterdam after his rationalist philosophy led him to the conclusion that there is no such thing as the immortal soul and that God is made in the imagination.

Moira Petty, in "The Stage", commented: Wandor gave his play substance and energy by imagining that Rembrandt - a stylish cameo by Timothy Spall - was an acquaintance and that Cromwell had sent his diplomat George Downing (John McAndrew) to recruit Spinoza as a spy. Wandor even managed a potted history of Spinoza’s mathematically formulated arguments.

This play made the last 8 for the 2008 Tinniswood Award.

Dramatisation of Nora Ephron's novel, 5 x 15m, for 'Woman's Hour'.

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