Peter Redgrove Radio Plays

Peter Redgrove (2 Jan 1932 to 16 Jun 2003)

The poet Alan Brownjohn, writing in the TLS, described Redgrove: “He had been a scientist, and was now a brilliantly-talented no-nonsense mystic”. The paradox of “no-nonsense mystic” seems fitting for Peter Redgrove. He was a poet, dramatist, novelist and short story writer.

Some obituaries state that he graduated from Cambridge in Natural Sciences while others that he left without graduating. At Cambridge he was a founder member of “The Group” among other poets such as P J Kavanagh, Martin Bell, D M Thomas, Peter Porter and Edward Lucie-Smith, he also founded the magazine Delta. He published frequently and received Arts Council awards (in 1969, 1970, 1973, 1975, 1977 and 1982) and other prizes, culminating in the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry in 1996.

There is an archived collection of his work kept at the University of Sheffield.



Here are some descriptions of plays by Peter Redgrove. Four of them are described in more detail on separate pages, which can be found by clicking on the links.

18 Sep 94. R3. 90m. A mythological thriller. Strange murders are being committed by something resembling a large black horse.

5 May 92, R3. Linking stories where people tell their story to a psychiatrist. With Anne Atkins [Dr. Anne], Janet Dale [Dr. Kate], Kathryn Hurlbutt [Dr. Sophie], Susan Mann [Laura Grey], Sheila Kelley [Mary Grey, Laura's Mother], Gordon Reid [Harry Grey, Laura's Father], David Holt [Bob Grey, Laura's Brother], Struan Rodger [Michael aka Rose's Husband], Kathryn Hunt [Patty], Tamsin Greig [Elly / The Ghost of Goldengrove], Mary Wimbush [Mrs. Bright], David Robb [John, the Fountaineer], Susan Jeffrey [Damaris, the Nature Spirit], Andrew Wincott [Rupert], Lisa Bowerman [Jemima, Rupert's Wife], Simon Chandler [Peter], and Veronica Needa [Yuko]. Producer Nigel Bryant.

25 Aug 87, R3. The master thief has to carry out three impossible thefts to get the girl he wants. Dramatised for radio by Peter Redgrove from the Grimm Brothers' folktale, "Der Meisterdieb (The Master-Thief)", first published in 1814. With James Kerry [The Master-Thief], Eric Lander [The Innkeeper / The Colonel], Christine Pollon [Granny Quantro], Alan Dudley [Ian, the Old Man / The Archbishop], Jennifer Piercey [Eartha, the Old Woman], Paul Gregory [The Count, Lord Rollie / Omelette], Andrew Branch [Eclair / George Chaplin, the Chaplin], Mark Buffery [Fromage], Jonathan Tafler [Sauté], Sheila Grant [The Countess, Lady Constance], and Maryon Ellor [Sister to the Master-Thief]. Music Composed and realised by Stephen Rollings. Directed by Brian Miller in Bristol.

Adapted from Grimms' Fairy Tales by Peter Redgrove. 14 Aug 87, R3. Produced by Brian Miller. When a king is ill, he sets a contest to decide which of his three sons, one of whom is a simpleton, will succeed him. The sons toss feathers into the air to direct their expeditions.... the youngest son, Dummling, is guided to a trap door where he finds a family of helpful frogs. Grimald ..........Terrence Hardiman, Rudolf ......Pavel Douglas, Dominic (Dummling)....Andrew Branch, Gretchen ..........Jennifer Piercey, Matilda/Zoe ............Susie Brann, Mother Toad ...........Sheila Grant, King (Old and Young)...Michael Tudor Barnes.

This was the second of six plays adapted from Grimms' Fairy Tales by Peter Redgrove:

1. Ashiepaddle - 11 August 1987
Genome link: http://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/schedules/radio3/1987-08-21#at-21.25

2. The Three Feathers - 14 August 1987
Genome link: http://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/schedules/radio3/1987-08-21#at-21.25

3. The Juniper Tree - 18 August 1987
Genome link: http://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/schedules/radio3/1987-08-21#at-21.25

4. The One Who Set Out To Study Fear - 21 August 1987
Genome link: http://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/schedules/radio3/1987-08-21#at-21.25

5. The Master-Thief - 25 August 1987
Genome link: http://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/schedules/radio3/1987-08-21#at-21.25
6. The Flounder - 28 August 1987

6 Aug 86. Afternoon play. 45m. A writer taking a holiday in deepest Cornwall ventures into the Valley of Trelamia, which is believed to be haunted... by a great snake. Cast - John: James Aubrey, Rose: Maggie Tarver , Clemence: Sarah Badel, Mrs Treviles: June Barrie, Joshua: John Church, Barman/Policeman: Graham Padden, Young man: Mark Audley. Directed By: Brian Miller, BBC Bristol.

Radio 3, 29 September 1985 19.15.
Genome link: http://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/schedules/radio3/1985-09-29#at-19.15

Afternoon Theatre, BBC Radio 4 FM, 7 March 1984, 15.00, 45 min. Joanna: Maggie McCarthy, Dr Exeter-White: Benjamin Whitrow, Sam Mellish: Jerold Wells, Toby/Cooper: Tim Meats, Ron/Governor: John Linstrum, Judge: Paul Nicholson, Mrs Petit/Wardress: June Barrie. Other parts played by: Richard Curnow and John Linstrum. Directed by Brian Miller at BBC Bristol.

This play was the fourth in a series of five broadcast under the heading “The Spine-Chillers”. It begins in mid-conversation between two people who, we gradually learn,are an investigative television journalist, Joanna, and an ex-convict, Sam. The ex-convict is in the shady business of artificially aging objects in order to sell them as antiques. Joanna hears from Sam that at his last prison there were some strange and possibly frightening practices involving a meat processing and canning factory within the prison.

Joanna embarks on an investigation which leads her to meet again a double Noble prize winning scientist, nick-named Dracula in White by the prisoners. She had tackled this scientist on one of her programmes about his advocacy of the need for the state to stockpile food for “when the bomb drops”; the play is very much of the Cold War period. Partnered by Sam and with the help of organized crime bosses concerned about the mysterious events leading to prisoners disappearing, Joanna conceals herself inside a prison. Redgrove is fond of paradox and gives us the lovely line: “We’ll have to break into prison”. In the prison we find out just what the government (with the help of Dracula in White) have been doing and are planning to do. I have no wish to spoil the plot further…

The play is a sort of 'Jonathan Swift meets Dr Strangelove', with echoes of Swift’s satire “A Modest Proposal” and the Dracula in White character as the scientist tool of the government following a terrifyingly inhuman logic.
(...notes from Alistair Wyper; many thanks. )
Genome link: http://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/schedules/radio4/fm/1984-03-07#at-15.00

Synopsis (from http://za-phantoms.livejournal.com/): "Mr. Highsticker employs a group of psychic investigators to examine a most haunted home owned by a scholar of magicks quite evil, a man who reportedly made his home haunted on purpose by sacrificing his closest friends. So enthusiastic are they that they don't seem to realize they are less investigators here and more sacrifices themselves..."" Cast: Conrad Phillips ... Highsticker, Sarah Jane Bickerton ... Diana, Nat Brenner .... Bernard, Susan Engel ... Esther, Alan Moore ... Adrian, Amanda Murray ... Sally, Matthew Adams ... Dentist. Music by Sydney Sager. Directed by Brian Miller. Jacky Hodgson, curator of the Redgrove Collection (Sheffield University), says the broadcast date was 24 Jun 84, 1945-2100hrs.

SIN DOCTOR....1983
R4, 7 Apr 83. 75m. A police detective investigates the death of a mysterious doctor.

10 Jan 82. An adult fairy tale. 70m. A female investigator looks for the answer to a riddle - to become the best detective in the world. If she succeeds, she will inherit untold millions. Anghared Rees (sp?), Timothy Bateson, Benny Lee, Conrad Phillips, Nicholas McArdle, Sean Probert, Michael Tudor Barnes, Guy Gregory, Jack Holloway, Julia Hills, Brian Gear, Derek Graham, Paul Wilson, David Ponting. Produced in Bristol by Brian Miller.

    Florence Florent answers an ad for a feminist detective. Her employer, Dee, teaches her how to handle divorce cases operatically and together they build a thriving business. So how did she end up married to the ailing and very wealthy Dan?Winner of the Prix Italia for 1982. Cast: Florence Florent ........Angharad Rees, Dan ......Timothy Bateson, Dee .........Benny Lee, Battersea .......Conrad Phillips, Tall Boy & the New Dan ....Guy Gregory, Tuxedo .......Jack Holloway, Harry Aitch ..........Nicholas McArdle, Godstop .......Sion Probert, Prosper Butler ...Michael Tudor Barnes, Other parts: Julia Hills, David Ponting, Brian Gear, Derek Graham and Paul Nicholson. (sorry - can't remember where this synopsis came from)

15 Oct 80, rpt. 12 Jun 81. With Martin Friend, Richard Moramt, John Franklyn-Robbins. A man with a new interest in bees investigates a bee sect.

Radio 3, 21 July 1977 21.35.
Genome link: http://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/schedules/radio3/1977-07-21#at-21.35

Radio 3, 20 November 1975 23.00.
Genome link: http://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/schedules/radio3/1975-11-20#at-23.00

R3, 18 Nov 75. By Peter Redgrove, based on the novel by Thomas Mann (Der Erwählte, 1951); translated by H.T. Lowe-Porter. Music composed and played on the psaltery by Bob Stewart. Technical assistance by Allen Harris, Moira Mann and Richard Reynolds. Produced in Bristol by Brian Miller. (World Drama) The story -- a tale of sin, guilt and redemption -- was taken by Mann from the medieval German epic poem 'Gregorius vom Stein' by Hartmann von Aue, and has been creatively structured for radio by a modern poet. Cast: Sibylla ............Barbara Jefford , Grigorss............Richard Warwick , Liberius...........Clifford Norgate , Probus.........Hector Ross , Fisherman....Nigel Lambert , Wife.....Constance Chapman , Lamb.........Tony Robinson , Maitre Poitevin.....Trader Faulkner, Major-Domo.....Hector Ross , Roger.....Clifford Norgate , Jeschute......Sheila Grant , Abbot.......Peter Williams , Flann........Tony Robinson , Mahaute......Pauline Letts , Willo.........Steve Hodson , Grimald........Hector Ross , Chamberlain...........Nigel Lambert .

Radio 3, 19 June 1973, 21.50.
Genome link: http://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/schedules/radio3/1973-06-19#at-21.50

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