Berkely Mather Radio Plays

Berkely Mather was the pseudonym of John Evan Weston Davies, b. 25.02.1909, d. 07.04.1996. A thriller/mystery author, he also wrote numerous uncollected short stories, plays for screen, radio and TV. Career : professional soldier in the Army for 30 years, rose to rank of Lt.-Colonel. Received the Crime Writers' Association award for TV plays in 1962, and became its Chairman in 1966. His radio work dates back to 1955, and current research provides the following information :-


Letter from a Lady ....1973
R4 28.3.1973/2015 Dandy Nichols/Sean Barrett

The Consolation Prize ....1967
R2 1.11.1967/2015 Donald Sinden/Philip Morant/Barbara Assoon

Letter from a Lady ....1964
Light 24.6.1964/2040 Margot Boyd/Geoffrey Matthews

The Consolation Prize ....1961
Light 25.10.1961/2031 Donald Sinden/Philip Morant


The Meisterspringer ....1985
6 episodes, R4 21.4.1985 26.5.1985 Christopher Good/Melinda Walker

The Hard Buy ....1968
8 episodes, R2 27.6.1968 22.7.1968 John Rye/John Hollis

The Sand Leopard* ....1961
8 episodes, Light 31.7.1961 18.9.1961 Neil McCallum/Christine Finn/Malcolm Hayes.

The Pagoda Well ....1959
6 episodes, Light 10.8.1959 14.9.1959 Cyril Shaps/Denys Blakelock/Richard Hurndall/Barbara Assoon


19.10.1966 Letter From A Lady ....1966
Margot Boyd/Geoffrey Matthews

15.6.1963 Letter From A Lady* ....1963
Margot Boyd/Geoffrey Matthews

13.1.1962 The Consolation Prize ....1962
Donald Sinden/Philip Morant/Barbara Assoon


Returned Without Thanks*....1967
23.1.67 Lt. Prog


Meritorious Service ....1984
R4 25.9.1984/1100 David Sinclair/Penelope Lee/Peter Howell/Frederick Treves

Touch Of An Angel ....1963
Light 12.3.1963/2000 Marjorie Westbury/Denys Hawthorne/George Hagan

A Necklace For The Warriors ....1963
Light 12.2.1963/2000 David Spenser/Garard Green/Alexander Browne/Andrew Sachs

Apprentice To Danger* ....1962
Light 29.8.1962/2100 John Baddeley/Jeffrey Ashby/Peter Claughton/Gwen Day Burroughs

Bed & Breakfast ....1960
Light 19.7.1960/2130 Eva Stuart/Sheila Grant/Freda Dowie/Haydn Jones


The Hard Buy....1968
8 x 30m, starting 27 Jun 68, thriller


The Blue Ox ....1965
Home Service1.5.1965, 2030; with Bruce Beeby/David Spenser/Geoffrey Wincott


BIRD'S EYE VIEW*....c1963


Serial; episode titles in order: The Charter, Through the Ditch, The Hi-Jackers, The Rendezvous, I'll Settle for Leopards, The Leopard, The Long Dive, Surface Break.

"Radio Times" contains a little information about some of the above. Under the title "The Policeman of Titiano", Victor Francis wrote:

'How is a character born? He comes into the world - on to the printed page, across the air-waves - with a past already behind him and an eventful future already predestined. Yet where, and how, did it all start? To trace the roots of 'The Maresciallo', whom you will meet for the first time tonight, you would have to go to the warm shores of the Mediterranean, to the fierce and lovely moors of Yorkshire, to the bare and cup-littered rooms of a score of police officers in unlovely police stations in as many towns. For the Maresciallo (pronounce it 'Marshello') has two fathers, no mother and comes of a host of influences.

Perhaps the strongest was the nostalgia my coauthor Berkely Mather and I felt for the warmth and colour of the Mediterranean in general, and Italy in particular. It is all part of the Maresciallo. So are those very special ingredients of the Italian character, which can laugh - and which can explode. So are those characteristics of the of the police officer who is efficient as well as human - characteristics which I learned to recognise in all those bare rooms I used to visit as a crime reporter.

And then, once upon a time, the Army took Berkely Mather to Yorkshire, and someone else also took me to Yorkshire (which is another story). But the Maresciallo happens to have a Yorkshire-born wife and is not free of the philosophy that "there's nowt so strange as folk". Once, he was a P.O.W. in Yorkshire, our Maresciallo. There, he met Doris, a farmer's daughter, and when the war ended, he married her and took her back to his village of Titiano. There, Doris runs a café. The Maresciallo, the local Police Chief - well, some would say he runs Titiano.'

Mather wrote in "Radio Times" the week his serial 'The Sand Leopard' started:

'I love the freedom and spaciousness of sound radio, so when the BBC asked me for an 8-part serial, I accepted the commission gladly. It came during the cold, wet weeks at the beginning of this year, and, at the time, I was building a boat I was going to sail in the Mediterranean in August and September. When I wrote the story, I suppose my thoughts just projected themselves forward - to the Mediterranean and lashings of hot sun. Boat and story developed together. The boat had already been named 'Tai Mo Shan' before her keel was laid, and they say that it is bad luck to change a boat's name, but I was very much tempted to switch to 'Sand Leopard'.

Oh, well, perhaps I'll build another boat, perhaps I'll write more about Geth Straker, Perry, Casey and Sergei. I might set the new story within sight of 'Tai Mo Shan', which is a mountain I could see from my house on The Peak in Hong Kong. That boat I will call 'Sand Leopard', and meantime, I hope you will enjoy the story beginning today, which tells how Straker gets involved with dope-peddling, murder and a beautiful girl.'

And to preface the serial "The Hard Buy":

'Once, in the early days of the last war, I was sent to the Arabian Gulf. During this mission, I had to visit a small sheikhdom between Kuwait and Bahrain. A poor old man, nearly blind, came out to the ship, rowed by his son, an equally ragged and emaciated creature. We asked the old man if he'd row us ashore to see the Sheikh. He told us that, if he were the Sheikh……….

I went there again 12 years later. The old man now owned 11 Rolls-Royces and 15 Cadillacs, a magnificent yacht and his own private aircraft. You guessed it? They'd struck oil - literally - and the Sheikh's income was now some $12,000 per day. Try as he might, he could never manage to spend more than a couple of hundred dollars each week. The question is : what would you use for money if you wanted to buy something from somebody who already had too much of it already? In this story, I've suggested one currency at least.'


6 stories co-written with Victor Francis, Light Programme, 2.11.1964 to 7.12.1964

No. 1 23.1.1967 "Returned Without Thanks"
No. 2 30.1.1967 "Honesty's The Best Fiddle"
No. 3 6.2.1967 "The Stake-Out"
No. 4 13.2.1967 "Just A Detail"
No. 5 20.2.1967 "The Paragon"
No. 6 27.2.1967 "Never Let Your Left Hand Know…….."
No. 7 6.3.1967 "All That Glitters Isn't Brass"
No. 8 13.3.1967 "Quick Returns"

No. 1 6.4.1970 "Magic Carpet George"
No. 2 13.4.1970 "The White Dacoit"
No. 3 20.4.1970 "A Duck In Bombay"
No. 4 27.4.1970 "The Fakir's Tree"
No. 5 4.5.1970 "The Wrong Conclusion"
No. 6 11.5.1970 "Wullie The Clock"
No. 7 18.5.1970 "The Second Chance"
No. 8 25.5.1970 "Drummer Brady"

The notes after the list of plays first appeared in 'The Circular Note', published by VRPCC, April 2007, and are reproduced by permission of the editor, Roger Bickerton...many thanks.

.....ND, Jun 2013.

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