James Saunders Radio Plays

07.12.57 Women are so unreasonable
26.08.58 Dog accident
20.11.59 Barnstable
07.09.60 Alas poor Fred
01.01.63 Gimlet
01.04.64 It's not the game it was
19.05.64 The Pedagogue
26.01.65 Pay as you go
02.07.71 After Liverpool
20.01.74 Random moments in a May garden*
01.10.74 Bye bye blues
13.01.79 Poor old Simon.
13.09.79 The Island
24.10.82 The Flower Case* (dir. Richard Wortley) R3, detective-comedy, rpt 1983, R4.
13.03.88 A day at the dentist's* (Fear on Four)
12.07.88 Headlong Hall* (Peacock), dram, 90m
02.04.89 A child crying* (Fear on Four)
07.01.92 Barnstaple* (TMT)
date nk.... Nothing to declare*
date nk.... The Magic Bathroom*
date nk.... I live upstairs*

UPDATE.....A recording of "The Pedagogue" made in July 2010, produced by Nigel Deacon, with Nick Oliver playing the role of the pedagogue, is available for download. The file is 36 MB and is in MP3 format. See Weed's James Saunders site.


Narrator Michael Hordern, with Daniel Massey as Escot, the deteriorationsist; Ronald Lacey as Foster, the perfectibilian, John Grillo as Jenkison, the statu-quo-ite, and John Horsley as Cranium, the craniologist. Harry Headlong, like all Welsh squires, is fond of shooting, hunting and fishing. But he also wants the company of philosophers and dilettanti...other cast members: William, Simons, Alan Dudley, Andrew Branch, Simon Cuff, Norman Bird, John Baddeley, Richard tate, Michael Deacon, Caroline Gruber, Polly James, Joan Walker. Music by Terence Allbright, with violinist Katherine Adams and harpist Skaila Kanga. Directed by Matthew Walters.

With Dinsdale Landen, Gwen Watford and Alison Steadman, producer Richard Wortley. 10 Apr 87. RT: In the drawing-room of the Carboys' home on a spring morning, disaster looms but no one seems to take notice.

A family chats on, oblivious, whilst the house falls down around them - N.D.

Also stars Peter Howell, Sheila Grant. An earlier production, by Donald McWhinnie, was broadcast on 20 Nov 59 on the Third Programme. The play was produced for the stage in 1960 as a set of three one-acts under the title Ends and Echoes.

THE ISLAND....1979
R4, Afternoon Theatre, 13 Sep 79; rpt 14 Sep 80 on NPR's (National Public Radio in the USA) 'Earplay'. This future fantasy is set on a semi-tropical island where four sisters live in idyllic paradise. It was long ago, at the end of the twentieth century, as the last of the great men's wars flickered finally out like a spent fire that the women survivors, savages now, turned on their men returning weak and contaminated from the battle wastes and killed and ate them.

Thus began the new age of Woman. Then, as a token of blessing on the new order of things, the first girl-child was born of woman only - no man having had access. No more men children were born, or if they were they were disposed of. Their mother was the first of the unsired young. She, too, had girl children - four in number - of no man as no doubt shall they. Then, leaving her native place, she brought them to a deserted isle to see them begin, before she died, this new life of peace and harmony.

Twelve months pass when their peace and harmony is disrupted. The sisters must decide what to do when two brothers are washed up on the beach... alive.

Adapted for radio from the stage play "The Island" by James Saunders, written for and first performed by the Questors Theatre, Ealing (London, England), in June, 1975.

With Madeline Smith [Kay], Frances Jeater [Jo], Jo England [Sue, the Youngest of Four Sisters], Jennifer Piercy [Vi], Geoffrey Beevers [Pod], and Rod Beacham [Mat].

Directed by Richard Wortley. ....Jim

Play directed by Richard Wortley. A couple move into a new house, and they find the remains of an ancient photograph pinned to the inside of one of the cupboards. It's two little girls, photographed in a garden. We learn what they were doing there. It's a superb tale - stories occurring in parallel in the same house, and cutting between the two. Excellent production. ("Should have been entered for the Prix Italia but wasn't" - R.W.)

    Random Moments in a May Garden....1974
    RT notes: By James Saunders, with Barbara Jefford as Sophie. R3, 20 Jan 1974. 'Drama Now'. This elegant domestic study is set within the deceptively simple framework of a middle-aged married couple giving a small dinner party for their friends. In the background, hauntingly, is an old photograph of another family group, taken in a May garden, raising the question of transience versus permanence. The play also subtly explores Sophie's doubts on the degree of her own fulfilment. Peter Jeffrey as David Julie Hallam as Anne and Helen Worth as Katie. Garden By .......... James Saunders, Photographer .......... Anthoiny Hall, Surveyor .......... Vernon Joyner, Digby .......... Dbnys Hawthorne, Ann .......... Elizabeth Morgan, Mark .......... Hugh Dickson, Katherine .......... Ellen Sheean. Producer .......... Richard Wortley.

25m. A play about a teacher and his pupils. However, it slowly transpires that there is more to it. There are oblique references to nuclear explosions, and this is the time of the Cold War. Unfortunately my recording lacks the end credits so I am unsure of the performer or the producer. Donald Pleasance, possibly, as the pedagogue?
    I have recorded a version of this with an actor friend (June 2010) and have now done the post-editing. This is available on CD if you email. You can also read a review of it on the James Saunders website , and listen to it here . ......N.D.

Produced by Richard Wortley. Peculiar play with magical overtones.

asterisked plays in vrpcc collections.

Nigel Deacon / Diversity website
( 'The Flower Case' details corrected by Stephen Shaw - thank you .... Ed.)

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