Radio 3 Drama, 1977

Radio 3 Drama 1977

Compiled by Ian Johns

Main source of information is the BBC Genome scanned pages of Radio Times with entries edited, added to and amended for clarity and context. Also listed separately is a selection of dramatised documentaries, drama-related features, readings and short stories.


3 January 1977:
By Natalia Ginzburg, translated by Henry Reed. A two-hander by the Italian author, essayist and activist (1916-1991). Lying in bed, the morning conversation between Francesco and Marta takes an unexpectedly serious turn. Marta: Rosalind Shanks, Francesco: Christopher Guard, Concetta: Terri Lang. Director: Christopher Venning. (Repeated on 20 September 1977)

6 January 1977:
Drama Now: Haute Cuisine
By John Antrobus. “I always give ‘em haute cuisine ...always have done ... I give this town some class ... None of this take-away muck... Time was this was a beautiful seaside resort.” Larry: William Eedle, Jack: Peter Jeffrey, Low Chan: Andrew Sachs, Vi: Shirley Dixon, Brian: Andrew Seear, Deirdre: Terri Lang. Director: David Spenser

9 January 1977:
Drama Now: Simpson and Son
By Bill Morrison. Ireland, the summer of 1962. For newly graduated Jay Simpson, living is already a problem and leaving a greater problem still. Jay Simpson: Stephen Rea, Mrs Simpson: Marie Kean, Mr Simpson: Patrick McAlinney, Molly: Valerie Lilley, By: Sean Barrett, Lexie: Michael Deacon. Director: John Tydeman. (Repeated on 21 February 1978)

14 January 1977:
By Barry Collins (inspired by a brief description given by George Steiner in his book The Death of Tragedy). During the Second World War, a Russian officer stands before Red Army judges to relate his cannibalistic 60-day ordeal of survival with six other Soviet officers abandoned by their German captors in a Polish monastery cellar. (The play was first given an experimental reading by Peter O’Toole at Bristol Old Vic in January 1974 and presented in September 1975 by the National Theatre at the ICA starring Colin Blakely, directed by Peter Hall.) Captain Vukhov: Colin Blakely. Director: Alfred Bradley. (Repeated on 11 May 1977)

16 January 1977:
Drama Now: Snake
By Gerry Jones. Whilst recovering from a stroke, a man has a vivid and menacing dream which reveals to him how to cope with a real-life situation. Winner of Spain’s International Ondas Award in 1976. Sandra: Colette O’Neil, Victor: Peter Jeffrey, TV Comedian: Frank Carson, Narrator: John Rowe, Boy: Elizabeth Lindsay, Trevor: Anthony Smee, Doctor: John Rye. Music: David Cain, played by George Khan and John Royston Mitchell. Director: Martin Jenkins. (Repeat from 21 October 1975 and 24 August 1976).

20 January 1977:
Drama Now: The Double Bed
By K.F. Collingwood. “I’ve kept away all these years. If you wanted two lives I didn't care, but now I want two lives – yours and mine and yours and hers. She's very careful; no scent, no powder, no betraying handkerchief. A double bed! Four pillows! No linen or wisps of lace? How unromantic.” Adam: Michael Bryant, Sheila: Judy Parfitt, Mark: Malcolm Stoddard. Director: Christopher Venning. (Repeated on 26 October 1977)

23 January 1977:
Drama Now: A Turn for the Worse
By Peter Tegel. Annie, recovering from a nervous breakdown, focuses her survival on a neighbour's child. Annie: Elizabeth Spriggs, Barbara: Lynn Farleigh, Dan: John Baddeley, Richard: Michael Cochrane, Yvonne: Frances Jeater, Cyril: Charles Hodgson, Will: Hugh Dickson, Doctor Spicer: Paul Gaymon, Probation Officer: Carole Boyd. Director: Richard Wortley. (Repeat from 21 September 1975)

27 January 1977:
Drama Now: Identity Parade
By Marian Campbell. Victoria's life is made up of people telling her things, but nobody answers the really important questions. Victoria: Joanna David, Mother: Barbara Leigh-Hunt, Father: Peter Jeffrey, Phil: Peter Craze. With Deddie Davies, Shirley Dixon, Michael Harbour, Peter Howell, Neville Jason, Jane Knowles, Irene Sutcliffe, Mary Wimbush and pupils of South Hampstead Junior School. Guitarist: George Elliott. Director: Jane Morgan. (Repeated on 9 November 1977)

30 January 1977:
Antony and Cleopatra
By William Shakespeare. Sian Phillips and Robert Stephens play Shakespeare’s doomed power couple, who are far better at love than war. Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt: Sian Phillips, Charmian, attendant on Cleopatra: Sheila Grant, Iras, attendant on Cleopatra: Mary Healey, Antony: Robert Stephens, Octavius Caesar: Ronald Pickup, Lepidus: Lockwood West, Sextus Pompeius: Peter Woodthorpe. Friends of Antony – Domitius Enobarbus: Derek Godfrey, Eros: Sam Dastor, Scarus: Neville Jason, Dercetas: William Eedle, Canidius: Fraser Kerr. Friends of Caesar – Maecenas: Michael Goldie, Agrippa: Stephen Thorne, Dolabella: Bruce Lidington, Proculeius: Andrew Seear, Thyreus: Geoffrey Collins. Friends of Pompey – Varrius: Peter Craze, Menas: Geoffrey Collins, Octavia, Caesar's sister: Jane Knowles. Attendants on Cleopatra – Alexas: Anthony Daniels, Mardian, eunuch: Wilfrid Carter, Soothsayer: Haydn Jones, Clown: Peter Woodthorpe. Other parts: Peter Craze, Walter Hall, Steve Hodson, Andrew Seear and Paul Meier. Music: Carl Davis. Director: John Tydeman. (Repeated on 23 April 1978)

3 February 1977:
Drama Now: The Caucasian in the Woodpile
By Ken Whitmore. “Sir Gilbert was the original Grandfather of the pinstripe Mafia... one of the minor robber barons, you might say. But a forerunner of great moguls like me.” Jelbart: Ronald Baddiley, Rosemary: Margot Leicester, Abigail: Jane Lowe, Nicholas Post: Christopher Godwin, Sir William Mytholmroyd: David Mahlowe. Director: Alfred Bradley (BBC Manchester). (Repeated on 26 January 1978)

6 February 1977:
Drama Now: Concrete
By Ian Dougall. A “satirical farce inspired by the notion of private armies”. “When is a battlefield not a battlefield?... Let the hopes and fears, the aspirations and anxieties of the ordinary administrative classes be expressed for at least once in their lives! Pass the ammunition, Mavis!” George Rawk: David Ryall, Announcer: Stephen Thorne, Mavis: Percy Edwards, Bosworth: Jeffrey Segal, Smithy: Garard Green, Archie: Douglas Blackwell, Towers: Leslie Heritage, Folk Singer: John Bull, Mrs Riley: Sheila Grant. Guitar accompaniment composed and played by John Bull. Director: Richard Wortley. (Repeat from 15 June 1976)

10 February 1977:
The Book of Job
By Pamela Gravett and Terence Allbright. A “philosophical drama” which shortens and arranges the 42 chapters of the biblical story from the Authorised Version of the Bible. Job: Paul Scofield, God: Robert Harris, The Storyteller: John Rowe, Satan: Christopher Bidmead, First Messenger: Michael Deacon, Second Messenger: Steve Hodson, Third Messenger: Jeffrey Segal, Job’s Wife: Jane Wenham, Eliphaz the Temanite: Peter Woodthorpe, Zophar the Naamathite: Godfrey Kenton, Bildad the Shuhite: Malcolm Hayes. Music: Terence Allbright. Musicians: Brenda Dykes, Angela East, John Royston Mitchell, Ross Pople, Graham Saltor and Suki Towb, conducted by Terence Allbright. Director: Ian Cotterell. (Repeat from 12 May 1976)

17 February 1977:
Drama Now: The Apple in the Eye
By Margaret Hollingsworth. In this play by the Canadian playwright, we hear Gemma’s internal, free-flowing thoughts as she tries to free herself from a sense of dislocation in her marriage. Gemma, a wife: Liza Ross, Martin, her husband: Peter Marinker, Commentator: Paul Meier. Director: Margaret Etall. (Repeated on 18 November 1977)

20 February 1977:
World Drama: Antonio
By John Marston, adapted by Peter Barnes. Two 1602 plays by the Elizabethan playwright and satirist (1576-1634). The comedy Antonio and Mellida and the gory tragedy Antonio's Revenge are adapted to form one play as the playwright had originally intended. The comedy sends up romantic conventions of the time as Antonio, the son of a good duke, falls for Mellida, the daughter of Piero, the bad Duke of Venice. In the tragedy, Antonio seeks revenge on Mellida’s father for the death of his own father and the slandering of Piero’s daughter. Andrugio, deposed Duke of Genoa: James Thomason, Maria, his wife: Mary Wimbush, Antonio, his son: Edward Petherbridge, Piero, Duke of Venice: John Phillips, Mellida, his daughter: Anna Calder-Marshall. Courtiers at Piero's Court – Feliche, a Stoic: David Burke, Sir Jeffrey Balurdo, a fop: Derek Godfrey, Alberto, a soldier: Michael Harbour, Castilio, a dandy: Michael Tudor Barnes, Forobosco, a flatterer: Rod Beacham, Flavia, her servant: Joan Morrow, Catzo, Castilio's servant: Ronald Forfar, Dildo, Balurdo's servant: Peter Pratt, Strotzo, a murderer: Peter Woodthorpe, Pandulpho, Feliche's Father: David Neal, Matzagente, Prince of Milan: Christopher Bidmead, Galeatzo, Prince of Florence: Jonathan Scott. With Judy Bennett, Jo Manning Wilson, Godfrey Kenton and Denis McCarthy. Music: Carl Davis. Boy Singers: David Alp and Patrick Morgan from Wandsworth School. Director: Martin Esslin

24 February 1977:
Drama Now: Something Unspoken
By Tennessee Williams. In this little-known play by Williams, Cornelia Scott, a wealthy Southern woman, has shared her home with her secretary Grace for 15 years. Isn't it time they finally addressed the “something unspoken” between them? (Also adapted for the World Service with Sheila Gish and Anna Massey on 13 November 2004.) Cornelia Scott: Constance Cummings, Grace Lancaster: Marcella Markham. Director: Christopher Venning. (Repeat from 15 July 1975)

27 February 1977:
World Drama: The Insect Play
By Karel and Josef Capek, translated from the Czech by Paul Selver. Stage version by Nigel Playfair and Clifford Bax, adapted for radio by Ian Cotterell. In this celebrated 1921 expressionist play and anti-war satire, a drunken tramp disgusted by humanity stumbles into a forest and observes the lives of the insects around him, including, militaristic ants, philosophising moths and slick parasites. The Tramp: Anthony Jackson, Lepidopterist: Malcolm Hayes. Butterflies – Felix: John Rye, Iris: Carole Boyd, Clytie: Margaret Robertson, Otto: Nigel Lambert. Marauders – Mr Beetle: Cyril Shaps, Mrs Beetle: Betty Hardy, Strange Beetle: Paul Gaymon, Ichneumon Fly: Peter Woodthorpe, Its Larva: Kate Coleridge, Mr Cricket: Michael Deacon, Mrs Cricket: Carole Boyd, Parasite: Malcolm Hayes. Ants – Chief Engineer: Peter Woodthorpe, Second Engineer: Hector Ross, Blind Ant: Paul Gaymon, Inventor: Cyril Shaps, Messenger: Michael Cochrane, Journalist: Nigel Lambert, Yellow Leader: Peter Whitman. Epilogue – Chrysalis: Judy Bennett, Moths: Margaret Robertson and Kate Coleridge, Woodcutter: Hector Ross, Woman: Betty Hardy. Music David Cain. Realised in the BBC Radiophonic Workshop by Dick Mills. Technical presentation by Peter Novis, assisted by Anthea Davies and Alyson Reed. Producer and director: Ian Cotterell. (Repeat from 1 September 1975)

3 March 1977:
Drama Now: Graphomaniacs
By Abram Tertz, translated and dramatised for radio by Nicholas Bethell. Tertz was the pseudonym of Soviet dissident Andrey Sinyavsky (1925-1997), whose sharply satirical, anti-Stalinist work led to his show trial in 1966 and a seven-year imprisonment that marked the beginning of the modern dissident movement in the Soviet Union. In this comedy, the illusions of members of an underground literary circle in Moscow are exposed. (Also produced with Paul Daneman and Peter Woodthorpe on 5 January 1968.) Paul Straustin, the novelist: Noel Johnson, Simon Gaulkin. the poet: Kerry Francis, Zinaida Straustin: Hilda Schroder, Editor: David Sinclair, Secretary: Sandra Clark, Colonel: Timothy Bateson. Producer and director: Norman Wright

6 March 1977:
World Drama: Hecuba
By David Rudkin, adapted from Euripides. In probably Euripides’ bleakest drama, Hecuba, queen of the fallen city of Troy, grieves over the sacrifice of her daughter and seeks vengeance for the loss of her son. (For her performance as Hecuba, Beatrix Lehmann was awarded The Imperial Tobacco Award for Best Radio Performance by an Actress in 1976.) Hecuba: Beatrix Lehmann, Agamemnon: Michael Aldridge, Ulysses: Maurice Denham, Polymestor: Tom Watson, Polyxena: Deborah Paige, Polydorus: Christopher Bidmead, Talthibius: Peter Williams, Old Woman: Gladys Spencer, Chorus: Janet Burnell, Ginnette Clarke, Kate Coleridge, Alison Gollings, Sheila Grant, Margaret Robertson and Norma Ronald. Sound score: Malcolm Clarke (BBC Radiophonic Workshop). Technical assistants: Jock Farrell, Anne Hunt and David Hitchinson. Director: John Tydeman. (Repeat from 14 December 1975)

10 March 1977:
Drama Now: Let’s Get This Straight
By Malcolm Quantrill. A piece by the British dramatist (1931-2009), who was better known as an architect, academic and theorist. His stage work includes the three-hander Honeymoon (1967), which originally starred Dinsdale Landen at Hampstead Theatre, and A Crucial Fiction (1970) at Soho Theatre. His work appeared on BBC radio in the 1960s and 1970s. “The dance that I dance fails to catch your eye, and my words hang about in the air unwanted. I am left with the memories of a man who once loved me – or said he did.” Ben Morris: Richard Pearson, Penny, his wife: Elizabeth Spriggs, Dr Travers: Nigel Stock, Jim Carstairs: Geoffrey Matthews, Jill his wife: Sheila Grant. Producer: John Tydeman

13 March 1977:
Forget Me Not! (Ne m'oublie pas!)
By Madeleine Louys with music by Bruno Gillet. This “entertaining tragedy in French”, set beside a moonlit lake, aims to satirise the conventions of the French romantic tradition and classical acting. It features a chorus of forget-me-nots witnessing the break-up of two lovers that will end in death. Winner of the 1976 Prix Italia for “outstanding qualities of production”. Amarabella: Martine Vlard, Kapriel: Bernard Haller. Director: Madeleine Sola

17 March 1977:
Drama Now: Incident at the Angel
By George Dures. The young hostess at a London Soho nightclub encounters a lonely Smithfield Market porter. Danny: John Hollis, Fay: Sarah Golding, First Copper: David Graham, Second Copper: Sean Arnold, Skipper: Henry Stamper, Mave: Anne Jameson, Ambulanceman: Allan McClelland. Director: Richard Wortley. (Repeat from 9 May 1976)

20 March 1977:
World Drama: The Holy Sinner
By Peter Redgrove, based on the novel by Thomas Mann, translated by H.T. Lowe-Porter, which retells the medieval legend “of the exceeding mercy of God and the birth of the Pope Gregory”. 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. Music composed and played on the psaltery by Bob Stewart. Technical assistance: Allen Harris, Moira Mann and Richard Reynolds. Producer: Brian Miller (BBC Bristol). (Repeat from 18 November 1975)

24 March 1977:
Drama Now: Will You Accept the Call?
By Jonathan Raban. A “monologue with slight interruption” puts the listener in the position of receiving a telephone call from a deranged phone-in fanatic. Bernard Voyce: Donald Pleasence, Foreign Caller: Neville Jason. Director: Richard Wortley. (Repeated on 13 July 1978)

27 March 1977:
World Drama: The Wizard who Worked Wonders
By David Turner, freely adapted and translated from El Magico Prodigioso by Pedro Calderon de la Barca (1600-1681). Set in third-century Antioch, Cyprian sells his soul to the Devil in exchange for magical knowledge, but Satan in the end is powerless against his adversaries’ faith and free will. Written two years after his most famous play, Life is a Dream, Calderon's 1637 version of the Faust legend portrays a complex view of religion, morality, nobility and contrasting peasant realism. Cyprian: David Buck, Justina: Lisa Harrow, Devil: Patrick Troughton, Moscon: Walter Hall, Oarin: David Graham, Livia: Anne Rosenfeld, Florus: Robert French, Lelius: Michael Harbour, Lysander: Lockwood West, Aurelius: William Eedle. Music: David Cain. Director: Margaret Etall. (Repeated on 19 February 1978. Also on Radio 4 on 28 February 1982 and 19 April 1992)

31 March 1977:
Drama Now: The Man Himself
By Alan Drury. Michael, abandoned by his wife, friendless and trapped in his job as a parts manager for an electronics company, finds himself drawn to right-wing fanatics. (First performed by Terence Rigby at London’s National Theatre in September 1975.) Michael: Michael Feast.. Producer: Alfred Bradley (BBC Manchester). (Repeated on 20 November 1977)

3 April 1977:
Drama Now: Audience & Private View
Two plays by Vaclav Havel, translated and adapted by Vera Blackwell, set in present-day Czechoslovakia. It features the character of dissident author Vanek, who appeared in several short plays by Havel – Audience, Private View (aka Unveiling) and Protest with a 2010 sequel to Unveiling called Dozens of Cousins – and subsequently by other authors, including Tom Stoppard.

Audience Faced with having to write a report on the political activity of Ferdinand Vanek, a dissident writer working in his brewery, the brew master asks the writer to do it for him. Can Vanek inform on himself? (Havel himself worked in a brewery.) Ferdinand Vanek: Harold Pinter, Head Maltster: Peter Vaughan. Director: Bernard Krichefski

Private View Vanek accepts an invitation to visit Vera and Michael, where he struggles to find nice things to say about their pretentiously refurbished apartment while they want him to absolve them of collaborating with the Communist regime. Ferdinand Vanek: Harold Pinter, Michael: Michael Bryant, Vera: Anna Massey. Director: Liane Aukin. (Also on 2 October 1977 and on Radio 4 on 25 June 1980)

10 April 1977:
The Present
By Guy Vaesen, from the novel by Gabriel Josipovici. A tragi-comedy that explores the emotional needs of three people in different permutations of the present. They include Minna and Reg, married and childless, sharing their North London flat with their lodger, Alex; Minna married to Alex and living in the country with their two children; Minna in hospital after a breakdown and plagued by fantasies and frightening memories; Minna and Reg trying to make sense of Alex's suicide. Alex: Michael Spice, Minna: Caroline Blakiston, Reg: Jim Norton, Tony: William Eedle, Inspector: Aubrey Woods, Doctor: Neville Jason, Hattie: Shirley Dixon, Isabel: Anne Rosenfeld. Director: Guy Vaesen. (Repeated on 20 April 1978 and 15 June 1978)

14 April 1977:
Drama Now: The Eating House
By Kathleen Morgan. A woman arrives in a strange town to work at the Eating House. She meets gentle Mick, but is attracted to the dangerous and violent Cleet as reality and fantasy begin to merge. The Woman: Jane Lapotaire, Mick: Neville Jason, Cleet: Kevin Flood, The Housekeeper: Katherine Parr, Art: Walter Hall, Billy: Peter Craze. Director: Betty Davies. (Repeat from 13 July 1976)

17 April 1977:
The Mandate
By Nikolai Erdman, translated from the Russian, and a German version by Inge-Bokg Gampert, by Peter Tegel. Erdman, a young talent admired by Maxim Gorky, wrote this wild satire in 1924. Set in Moscow in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, it features a landlord who must pretend to be a Communist, his cook, who is mistaken for the missing princess Anastasia, and his lodger, who is threatening them with the militia. (Tegel also adapted Erdman’s 1930s satire The Suicide for Radio 3 on 5 January 1978.) Hadeshda: Mary Wimbush, Pavel: Geoffrey Beevers, Varvara: Jane Knowles, Anastasia: Sarah Golding, Shironkin: Malcolm Reid, Tamara: Valerie Sarruf, Accordion Player: Tim Fearon, Smetanitch: Peter Woodthorpe, Valerian: Steve Hodson, Avtonom: David Neal, Agafangel: Jeffrey Segal, Sarchin's Wife: Irene Sutcliffe, Accordion music: Henry Krein. Director: Richard Wortley

19 April 1977:
Lunatic and Lover
By Michael Meyer. Playwright August Strindberg (1849-1912) and his tormented love life are explored in a play that won a Fringe First at the 1978 Edinburgh Festival. August Strindberg: Alan Badel, Frida Uhl: Sian Phillips, Adversary: John Richmond, Siri Von Essen: Jocelyne Sbath, Harriet Bosse: Caroline John, Von Wrangel: Walter Hall, Marie David: Jane Knowles, Przybyszewski: Peter Craze, Albert Bonnier: Jeffrey Segal, August Falck: Peter Dennis, Anna Strindberg: Joan Matheson. Director: John Theocharis. (Repeated on 7 August 1978)

24 April 1977:
Hercules and the Augean Stables
By Friedrich Durrenmatt, translated and adapted for radio by Stanley Williamson. The Swiss dramatist’s play originated as a radio drama in 1954 and later staged by some amateur groups before receiving its official premiere in Zurich in March 1963. Although set in ancient Greece, it’s clearly a satire of the playwright’s home country as he lampoons the bureaucracy of a small state. Polybios: Ronald Herdman, Hercules: Jack Carr, Deianeira: Bonnie Hurren, Augeas: Geoffrey Banks, Phyleus: Christian Rodska, Cambyses: Henry Livings, Pentheus: James Warrior, Cadmus: Peter John, Aesculapius: John Jardine, Tantalus: Kenneth Alan Taylor. Director: Alfred Bradley (BBC Manchester). (Repeated on 20 January 1980)

28 April 1977:
Drama Now: The Flood
By Peter Fieldson. A road sweeper feels compelled to build an ark in his back yard. Stanley: Geoffrey Matthews, Voice: Walter Hall, Mary: Katherine Parr, Kate: Sandra Clark, Charlie: Malcolm Reid, Geoffrey: Nigel Lambert, Assistant: Sarah Golding, PA: Nicolette McKenzie. Director: Richard Wortley. (Repeat from 1 August 1976)

1 May 1997:
The Pilgrim’s Progress
By John Bunyan, adapted by Edward Sackville-West from the stage version by W. Nugent Monck. A quadraphonic production using Vaughan Williams’ score for a Home Service production (5 September 1943). Christian: John Gielgud, John Bunyan: Timothy West, Hopeful: Martin Jarvis, The Evangelist: John Justin, Mr Worldly Wiseman: Norman Shelley, Apollyon: Trevor Martin, Giant Despair: Trevor Martin, Obstinate: Steve Hodson, Pliable: Leslie Heritage, Help: David Sinclair, Goodwill: Roger Snowdon, Timorous: Leslie Heritage, Mistrust: Michael Burlington, Watchful: David Graham, Discretion: Norma Ronald, Piety: Jan Edwards, Charity: Rosalind Adams, Prudence: Alison Gollings, Judge: Roger Snowdon, Envy: Peter Williams, Superstition: Leslie Heritage, Pickthank: Michael Shannon, Demas: Roger Snowdon, Shepherds: Steve Hodson, Leslie Heritage, Angel: Norma Ronald. Music: Vaughan Williams, performed by the BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra and BBC Northern Singers, conducted by Sir Charles Groves. Soprano: Delyth Jones. Contralto: Elsa Kendal, Tenor: Robin Leggate, Baritone: Christopher Underwood, Chorus Master: Stephen Wilkinson. Technical Supervision: Adrian Revill. Music recorded by: Don Hartridge and mixed by: Bill Aitken. Musical Adviser: Ernest Warburton. Director: Bennett Maxwell. (Repeated on 8 January 1978 and 25 December 1988)

2 May 1977:
The Tempest
By William Shakespeare. This 1974 production was the first Shakespeare play to be recorded in quadraphonic sound. Prospero, the right Duke of Milan: Paul Scofield, Miranda, his daughter: Jane Knowles, Ariel, an airy spirit: Ronnie Stevens, Caliban, a savage and deformed slave: Patrick Stewart, Iris: Patricia Hooper, Ceres: Prudence Lloyd, Juno: Doreen Walker, Alonso, King of Naples: John Justin, Sebastian, his brother: Charles Kay, Antonio, brother to Prospero, the usurping Duke of Milan: Michael Spice, Ferdinand, son to the King of Naples: Richard Kay, Gonzalo, an honest old lord: Timothy Bateson, Adrian: Anthony Daniels, Francisco: Alan Rowe, Trinculo, a jester: Terry Scully, Stephano, a drunken butler: Roy Kinnear, Master of a Ship: Alan Rowe, Boatswain: William Sleigh. Music: David Cain, performed by Mike Westbrook, Clive Heath, Christopher Hogwood, Brian Godding, Roger Potter, John Royston Mitchell and Tristan Fry, conducted by the composer. Recorded in quadraphonic sound by Adrian Revill. Director: Ian Cotterell. (Repeat from 24 March 1974. Also on 17 November 1974 and 3 December 1981)

3 May 1977:
Drama Now: Fun Balloons
By Dan Haworth. “The engineers want all the jobs they can get, they're on a productivity bonus… [but] the computer prints out more jobs than they're likely to do to make sure there isn't a shortfall.” Meryl: Cleone Rive, Tom: Alan Rothwell, Jeff Gibbs: Ronald Baddiley, Rod Parton: Jonathan Pryce. Director: Alfred Bradley (BBC Manchester). (Repeated on 19 January 1978)

5 May 1977:
By Fyodor Dostoevsky, translated and adapted by Russian émigré actor Boris Isarov. Based on an 1873 short story and performed by Isarov, this monologue finds a drunken writer hearing the voices of recently buried corpses in a cemetery. Director: Ian Cotterell. (Repeated on Radio 4 on 14 September 1977)

8 May 1977:
World Drama: Black Snow
By Mikhail Bulgakov, translated by Michael Glenny, dramatised by Liane Aukin. Written in the late 1930s but first published in 1967, Bulgakov’s novel sees him settling scores with the acting impresario Stanislavski for mutilating his work on stage as he pokes fun at 1920s theatrical life in the Soviet Union. It tells of a failed novelist, Sergei Maxudov, who has a book suddenly accepted for the stage, which propels him into a cut-throat theatrical world tainted by Soviet politics, censorship and egomania. Maxudov: David Wood, Ivan Vassilyevich: Simon Lack, Bombardov: Neil Stacy, Likospastov/Demyan Kuzmich: Timothy Kightley, Agapenov: Adrian Cairns, Ilya Petrovich/Romanus: Ronald Forfar, Ilchin/Stage Manager: Laurence Payne, Misha Panin/Patrikeyev: Norman Mitchell, Stepanovich: Nat Brenner, Thomas Strizh: Peter Whitman, Polixena Vassilievna: Susan Bovell, Ludmilla Silvestrovna: Kathleen Michael, Veshnyakova: Mary Griffiths. Other parts played by Elizabeth Havelock, Kathleen Michael and Peter Whitman, with Cyril Royall (tenor) Jeremy Watkins (bass), Christopher Northam (piano) and John Turner (guitar). Director Brian Miller (BBC Bristol). (Repeated on 23 October 1977)

15 May 1977:
The Hunter Gracchus
By John Robinson. In this play by the American dramatist, the myth existing in a young man's mind corresponds to the reality around him. Gracchus: Philip Oxman, Gilga: Peter Marinker, Erma/Virgin: Miriam Margolyes, Our Lady/Mother: Margaret Robertson, Father: David March, Pheasant: Valerie Murray, Ghost: Clifford Norgate, Chamois: Nicolette McKenzie. With the voices of Shirley Dixon, William Eedle, Leslie Heritage, Anne Rosenfeld, John Rowe and Irene Sutcliffe. Music: Malcolm Clarke (BBC Radiophonic Workshop). Director: Martin Esslin. (Repeat from 22 August 1976)

19 May 1977:
The Axe Murderer
By Nicholas Roe. “Neither upper, middle, nor lower class is the axe murderer. for terror and insanity respect no lines of superficial value. Indifferent to bank accounts and rigid social structures, those who deal in axes deal in equality.” Lionel: Peter Sallis, Melanie: Angela Pleasence, Louise: Richenda Carey, Percy: Ronald Herdman, Man/Announcer: Esmond Rideout. Producer: Mary Price (BBC Bristol). (Repeat from 31 August 1976)

22 May 1977:
The English Department
By Jonathan Raban. In this “radio comedy for graduates”, the tutors of a provincial university are gathered round a conference table to decide the final degrees of their students, including the cynical and promiscuous Trotman. Gavin Trotman: David Buck, Alec Grace: Stephen Murray, Gladys Choate: Diana Olsson, Raymond Stone: Don Troedsen, Griffith Williams: Douglas Blackwell, William Waterton: Lockwood West, Randall Edwards: Kenneth Shanley, David Holland: Sean Barrett. Director: Richard Wortley. (Repeated on 4 June 1978)

24 May 1977:
Drama Now: Send-Up
By Elizabeth Troop. Amidst life in a future, totalitarian England there remain seeds of rebellion. Humphrey, narrator, private-eye, cop: Nigel Anthony, Jock, chauffeur and companion: Robert Trotter, Esme Pastmaster, ex-gaiety girl and film star: Irene Sutcliffe, Disc Jockey: David Hamilton, Advertising voice-over: John Pullen, Colin, a nice young man: Paul Meier, Meg, a pretty young girl: Joanna Wake, Delilah, black and beautiful: Valerie Murray, Geoffrey, Esme's ageing son: John Rye, Owl Eyes, member of a commune: Christopher Bidmead, Jalko, girl of ghotul: Karen Ford, Daddy, Meg's father: Patrick Barr. Director: Martin Jenkins. (Repeat from 17 August 1976)

29 May 1977:
Drama Now: Vampirella
By Angela Carter. The first radio play by the acclaimed author and poet (1940-1992) finds Count Dracula’s daughter, on the eve of the First World War, wondering if true love can free her from her mouldering existence in the family castle in Transylvania. Carter later rewrote the play as the short story The Lady in the House of Love in her collection The Bloody Chamber. Countess Vampirella/Elizabeth Ba’athory: Anna Massey, Count Dracula/Sawney Beane/Henri Blot: David March. Hero: Richard O'Callaghan, Mrs Beane: Betty Hardy. Director: Glyn Dearman. (Repeat from 20 July 1976. Also on Radio 4 on 15 November 1992 and Radio 4 Extra on 2 January 2016)

2 June 1977:
The Violent Sun
By Hans Fors, translated from the Swedish by Diana Webster. This “play in six tableaux” by the Finnish-Swedish writer and theatre director (1933-1993) was originally Finnish radio’s entry for the 1976 Prix Italia. “This is Edith at about 12, I think. We were living in Raivola on the Carelian isthmus in Finland, but we spent the winters in St Petersburg so that Edith should receive a good education. We were still rich at that time.” Edith: Tammy Ustinov, Her Mother: Rachel Kempson, Singa: Gwyneth Guthrie, Claudia: Jeni Giffen, Voice: Martin Heller. Director: Stewart Conn (BBC Scotland)

5 June 1977:
Oh Glorious Jubilee! (or The Merited Triumph of Zebediah Grimpot Esq).
Book and lyrics by Clifford Hanley. Music by Ian Gourlay. “A nice family play with music and a moral”, charting bizarre goings-on during Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, which was staged at Leeds Playhouse in 1970. Tomkins/Irish Cocklemonger: Meg Johnson, Grimnot: David Mahlowe, Henrietta: Linda Gardner, Sylvia: Carole Hayman, Amelia/Black Bertha: Kathleen Helme, Alex: June Barry, Torauil/Sohertike: Peter John, Scrump: John Franklyn-Robbins, Tom: Russell Dixon, Shorthouse/Solario: John Jardine, Verger/Scheider: Kenneth Alan Taylor. Director: Alfred Bradley (BBC Manchester) (Repeated on Radio 4 on 12 & 19 June 1978)

9 June 1977:
Au salon avec Feydeau
By Georges Feydeau, translated and adapted for radio by Peter Meyer. Three of the 20 or so monologues by the French playwright (1862-1921), originally written for actors to perform at charity concerts and in fashionable drawing rooms. With music from the Belle Epoque era performed by Groupe Instrumental de Paris. Director: Glyn Dearman (Repeat from 6 July 1976)

1: A Man Who Hates Monologues
Performed by Richard Briers

2: The Antipodes
Performed by Eileen Atkins

3: A Matter of Economy
Performed by Stephen Murray

12 June 1977:
The Homecoming
By Harold Pinter. A fractious north London family’s nightly battles are disrupted by the arrival of a long-lost son, Teddy, and his wife, Ruth, from America. (Vivien Merchant originated the role of Ruth in its 1965 premiere for the Royal Shakespeare Company.) Lenny: Nigel Anthony, Sam: Malcolm Hayes, Joey: Ray Lonnen, Teddy: Jim Norton, Ruth: Vivien Merchant. Director: Guy Vaesen. (Repeat from 18 April 1977 on Radio 4)

16 June 1977:
The Good Journey
By Gerard McLarnon. This is one of half a dozen radio plays by the Irish playwright (1915-1997). “Every summer my grandfather made a good journey. He made it in a pony trap with an old crony called Henry Hetherington. But several times I and two other children were added for ballast. This is an account of a well ballasted journey.” (Betty Hardy also appeared in a Third Programme production on 31 December 1956). Narrator: Allan McClelland, Grandfather: Patrick Magee, Henry Hetherington: Andre Morell, Aunt Martha: Eithne Dunne, Mrs O'Hara: Pauline Delany, Peter: John Olohan, Carmel: Frances Tomelty, Alphonsus: Caroline Hunt, First Woman: Betty Hardy, Second Woman: Elizabeth Begley, Mr Kirk, the milkman: Steve Hodson. Director: Michael Heffernan (BBC Northern Ireland)

19 June 1977:
World Drama: A Fairy Tale
By Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, translated by Susanne Flatauer and adapted for radio by Martin Esslin. An adaptation of Goethe’s 1794 story The Fairy Tale of the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily, which explores the divide between the world of the inner and outer senses and how to bridge them. Teller of the Tale: David Davis, Prince: Gabriel Woolf, Beautiful Lily: Rosalind Shanks, Peasant: David March, Peasant's Wife: Freda Dowie, Ferryman: James Thomason, Will-o'-the-Wisps: Peter Craze, David Graham, Serpent: Mary Morris, First King: Patrick Barr, Second King: Douglas Blackwell, Third King: William Eedle, Fourth King: Godfrey Kenton. Music: Hans Heimler. Director: Martin Esslin. (Repeat from 9 September 1976)

26 June 1977:
Dead Soldiers
By Philip Martin. A play by the writer best known for the striking 1970s BBC TV drama series Gangsters. Commuting home on the London Underground, Michael Mallory meets a drunken pseudo-Scotsman, with some apocalyptic results. Michael Mallory: David Brierley, Robbie Burns: Tom Watson, Joanna Mallory: Marian Diamond, Dottie Bing: Elizabeth Cassidy, Passenger: Garard Green, Barman: Peter Craze, Cab Driver: William Eedle. Director: Richard Wortley. (Repeat from 27 July 1976)

30 June 1977:
Drama Now: The Bargeman’s Comfort
By Peter Tinniswood. “It is a small pub, is The Bargeman's Comfort. It lies on the banks of the Grand Northern Alliance Canal. Coots call among the brick dust sometimes. It is about to be demolished.” Edwin Hammond: Christian Rodska, Tommy Dutton: George A Cooper, Mossy: Jane Lowe, Vernon Boddington: Geoffrey Banks, Mrs Higson: Elizabeth McKenzie. Director: Tony Cliff (BBC Manchester). (Repeated on 2 February 1978)

3 July 1977:
Drama Now: Savages
By Christopher Hampton. First seen at the Royal Court in London in 1973, Hampton’s acclaimed play is rewritten for radio by the author. In 1970 Brazil, a British embassy official is kidnapped by revolutionaries while Brazilian Indians are being systematically slaughtered. (Tom Conti, Michael Pennington and Glyn Grain also appeared in the original 1973 Royal Court production.) West: Ian Holm, Carlos: Tom Conti, Mrs West: Anna Massey, Crawshaw: Michael Pennington, Elmer Penn: Paul Maxwell, Brigg: Norman Shelley, Investigator: Jonathan Scott, Pereira: Glyn Grain, Kumai: Neville Jason. Director: Guy Vaesen. (Repeated on Radio 4 on 11 September 1977)

7 July 1977:
Drama Now: The Caveman Cometh
By John Henry Jones. Ulysses and Diomedes, trapped in the cave of the Cyclops Polyphemus, try to plot their escape, knowing that all their colleagues have been eaten and they are next on the menu. Ulysses: Peter Jeffrey, Diomedes: Michael Gambon. Music: Peter Howell (BBC Radiophonic Workshop). Director: Bernard Krichefski. (Repeat from 12 September 1976)

10 July 1977:
An Account of What Happened When King Harold The Long-lived Wintered his Sixth Summer in England, Assembled the People and Wanted to Abdicate
By Paavo Haavikko, translated from the Finnish by Diane Tullberg. The work of Paavo Haavikko (1931-2008), one of Finland's leading poets and playwrights, included ironic re-creations of Scandinavian sagas. This play deals with a Danish king, Harold the Seafarer, who also ruled over parts of England. King Harold, called the Long-lived: Haydn Jones, Erik, a nobleman: Neville Jason, Jael, a nobleman: William Eedle, Shipowner: Patrick Barr, Merchant: Paul Meier, Fisherman: Peter Craze, Woodcutter: Clifford Norgate, Narrator: Leslie Heritage. Director: Martin Esslin. (Repeat from 17 October 1976)

14 July 1977:
Drama Now: Skin Deep
By Peter Hawkins. By putting his heart and soul into their home, a man has neglected his partner. The Man: Freddie Jones, The Woman: Jane Lowe. The Drummer: Bob Turner. Director: Alfred Bradley (BBC Manchester). (Repeated on 1 March 1979)

17 July 1977:
Drama Now: The Golden Pathway Annual
By John Harding and John Burrows. The authors and actor Mark Wing-Davey recreate their original stage roles in this episodic comedy about Michael, a working-class lad, who navigates life from after the Second World War to the swinging Sixties, using a yearly set of children's encyclopaedias as his guide. With John Burrows, John Harding. Mark Wing-Davey, Denise Bryer and Timothy Bateson. Director: Ian Cotterell. (Repeated on 7 May 1978)

21 July 1977:
The God of Glass
By Peter Redgrove. An African man, paroled after serving 18 years of a life sentence, turns up in a Cornish village. He is seen as a shaman after quelling demonic hysteria from which a worldwide cult builds around him. Redgrove’s play, later reworked as a novel, was inspired by The Exorcist and won the 1978 Imperial Tobacco Award for Best Original Radio Play. The production was recorded in July 1975, but only had one belated broadcast. According to Neil Roberts’ Redgrove biography A Lucid Dreamer, Redgrove believed he had enemies at the BBC who wanted to suppress his work because of its sympathetic portrayal of “witchcraft”. Geoffrey Glass: Yemi Ajibade, Sylvie Pendennis: Anna Cropper, Judge: Malcolm Hayes. Act 1 – Mary Ann Rose: Sheridan Fitzgerald, Father Alex: John Graham, Father John: John Rye, Dr Trewin: Alan Dudley, Joan Pendennis: Kate Coleridge, Acolyte: Roger Gartland. Act 2 – Mostyn: Anthony Hall, Mrs Trevelyan: June Barrie, Mrs Anchorage: Nancy Gower, Constable Twig: Peter Woodthorpe, Big Cleric: Esmond Rideout, Biggest Cleric of All: Alan Dudley, Cedric: Rex Holdsworth, Clerics: John Graham, Anthony Hall, Malcolm Hayes, Disc Jockey, Radio 1: Paul Burnett, Professor Clem Coward: Trader Faulkner, Commentator, Radio 4: Bryan Martin, Prime Minister: Bill Wallis, George: Rex Holdsworth, Midwife: Ruby Luscombe. Act 3 – with the voices of Malcom Hayes, Paul Lavers, David Pointing and Esmond Rideout. Epilogue – Chorus of Women: June Barrie, Elizabeth Boxer Penelope Brownjohn, Elizabeth Chater, Diane Collett, Nancy Gower, Moira Hamilton, Ruby Luscombe, Mollie Petrie, Naomi Sager, Christine Winter. Folk singer: Bob Stewart. Rock music: Grisly Glow. Music composed and conducted by Sidney Sager with the Academy of the BBC. Special effects: BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Technical assistance: Tony Bowers, Rod Lewis and Richard Reynolds. Director: Brian Miller (BBC Bristol)

28 July 1977:
Drama Now: That Oceanic Feeling
By John George. Is Gethin at the crossroads of his life or has he already reached the end of the final road? He has tried so many things, gone so many ways, but all he wants now is to be with Mam, to feel her hugs and her warmth. Gethin: Nigel Anthony, Sophie: Gwen Watford, Headmaster: Cyril Shaps, Phil: Douglas Blackwell, Marie: Jane Knowles, Dr Bull/First Motorist: Timothy Bateson, Rev Ambrose: Neville Jason, Mr Strange: Michael Goldie, Second Motorist: Michael Tudor Barnes. Director: Gerry Jones. (Repeated on 6 April 1978)

31 July 1977:
By Slawomir Mrozek, translated by Teresa Wrona and Maciej Wrona with Robert Holman. A 1975 play by the Polish dramatist (1930-2013), first produced by director Andrzej Wajda in Krakow. Two East Europeans – one an immigrant worker and the other an “intellectual” – live together in a basement flat in a West European city. What keeps them together and why do they never return home? AA: Jim Norton, XX: Nigel Anthony. Director: Martin Jenkins. (Repeated on 12 March 1978)

2 August 1977:
The Ritual of the Stifling Air
By Paul Green. In this experimental piece, the author explores the power of ritual by creating an imaginary ceremony that the quasi-mystical societies connected to the Nazi regime might have performed to contact the spirit of Hitler. Magus: Clive Swift, CIairvoyante: Illona Linthwaite, Acolyte: Michael Deacon. Music: Vincent Crane. Technical assistance: Alan Ward, John Colvin and Richard Edis. Director: Michael Rolfe. (BBC Birmingham)

4 August 1977:
Drama Now: L.M.F (Lack of Moral Fibre)
By John Antrobus. In this comedy, a former wing commander and his business partner, Dennis, who run a pub on the moors in Cornwall in 1970, are visited by a stranger and share memories of Flare Path Molly. (Also produced by John Tydeman for Radio 4 on 20 February 1999 with Richard Briers and Brian Murphy.) Wing Commander Teddy Wilmot: Charles Gray, Dennis: Bryan Pringle. Other parts: John Antrobus and David Graham. Director: David Spenser. (Repeat from 10 October 1976)

7 August 1977:
The Merchant of Venice
By William Shakespeare. A quadrophonic production of Shakespeare’s endlessly problematic play. The Duke: John Ruddock, Antonio: Patrick Barr, Bassanio: Christopher Bidmead, Lorenzo: Peter Craze, Gratiano: Malcolm Reid, Salerio: David Neal, Salanio: William Eedle, Clerk to the Court: Marcus Campbell, Launcelot Gobbo: Steve Hodson, Old Gobbo: Richard Goolden, Shylock: Alan Badel, Jessica: Sarah Badel, Tubal: Jeffrey Segal. In Belmont – Portia: Anna Massey, Nerissa: Jane Knowles, Balthasar: Leslie Heritage, Stephano: David Neal, Prince of Morocco: Brian Sanders, Prince of Arragon: John Rye. Music: Christos Pittas, who conducts the Philomusica of London and singer Martyn Hill. Studio managers: Anthea Davies, Enyd Clowes. Director: Ian Cotterell. (Repeat from 3 October 1976)

11 August 1977:
Drama Now: Awayday
By Franz Xaver Kroetz, adapted by Anthony Vivis. A monologue in which a mother on a train journey with her small baby considers the forthcoming meeting with the child’s father. Mother: Penelope Lee. Director: Bernard Krichefski. (Repeated on 5 April 1979)

12 August 1977:
Me and Mr Blake
By Peter Everett. One of half a dozen radio plays by the Hull-born author (1931-1999), which explores the life and work of William Blake through the eyes of his wife of 45 years, Catherine. Catherine Blake: Rosemary Leach, William Blake: John Shrapnel, Tatham: Jonathan Scott, Flaxman: Anthony Newlands, Fuseli: Sandor Eles, Mary Wollstonecraft: Cari Hedderwick, Sophia: Jane Knowles, Butts: Timothy Bateson, Hayley: Gavin Campbell, Scholfield: Michael Goldie, Varley: Rod Beacham. Director: Richard Wortley

14 August 1977:
Music to Murder By
By David Pownall. In this Paines Plough production, Pownall intertwines the lives of two composers: Carlo Gesualdo, a 16th-century Italian Prince, and Philip Heseltine (alias Peter Warlock), who committed suicide in 1930 after a career as a music critic and composer. Helen Euterpe: Mary Ellen Ray, Federigo /Carafa: Edward Adams, Philip Heseltine: Stephen Boxer, Carlo Gesualdo: Eric Richard, Maria D'Avalos: Fiona Victory, Additional singing: Diana Kyle. Music: Gesualdo. Director: Guy Vaesen. (Repeat from 7 November 1976. Also on 15 June 1990)

18 August 1977:
By Kate Van der Grift. George takes a job on a Turkish cargo ship and meets the strange blustering Sabri, who is making his last voyage. Sabri: Alfred Marks, George: Peter Marinker, Captain: John Bennett, Mustafa: Kevork Malikyan. Director: Liane Aukin. (Repeat from 25 November 1976)

21 August 1977:
By Lorenzino de’Medici in an English version by Carlo Ardito. Lorenzino de’Medici, of the famous Florentine family, wrote this comedy in 1536 at the age of 22. Aridosio, a miser: Stephen Murray, Marc Antonio, his brother: Peter Bull, Lucrezia, Marc Antonio’s Wife: Mary Wimbush, Aridosio’s sons – Tiberio: John Rye, Erminio: Martin Jarvis. Cesare, suitor to Aridosio’s daughter: Geoffrey Collins, Lucido, Erminio’s servant: John Moffatt, Ruffo, a pimp: Ronnie Stevens, Livia, his ward: Rosalind Shanks, Alfonso, her father: Alan Dudley, Briga, Alfonso’s servant: Alaric Cotter, Jacopo, a priest: Jack May, Mona Pasqua, Erminio’s nurse: Kathleen Helme, Prologue: Michael Tudor Barnes. Director: John Tydeman. (Repeated on 11 October 1979)

23 August 1977:
Spoon River
By Paul Meier, adapted from Edgar Lee Masters’ 1915 collection of free verse that collectively narrates the epitaphs of the residents of a Midwest American town. With the voices of David Buck, Blain Fairman, Susannah Fellows, Don Fellows, Bessie Love, David March and Nicolette McKenzie. Director: Hallam Tennyson. (Repeated on 11 July 1978)

25 August 1977:
Drama Now: Buffet
By Rhys Adrian. A businessman, stressed by the economy, wife and mistress, needs a quick drink in the buffet before going home, but it’s going to be a long night. (Also produced as a BBC1 Play for Today on 2 November 1976 with Tony Britton, Amanda Barrie and Nigel Hawthorne.) Freddie: Richard Briers, Joan, his wife: Irene Sutcliffe, Bertie: John Humphry, Ann: Shirley Dixon, Arnold: James Thomason, Arthur: Paul Meier, Richard: William Fox, Frank: Michael Tudor Barnes, Jack: Geoffrey Matthews, Harold: Gerald Cross, Steward: Hugh Walters, Stewardess: Valerie Murray, Porter: Walter Hall, Ticket Collector: Garard Green, Barmaid: Cecile Chevreau, John: Frederick Treves. Director: John Tydeman. (Repeat from 26 September 1976. Also on 16 March 1980 and as Radio 4’s Afternoon Play on 8 June 1985)

28 August 1977:
Li’le Jimmy Williamson
By David Pownall. The life and times of James Williamson (1842-1930), a British businessman, philanthropist and Liberal MP for Lancaster. Jimmy Williamson: Robert McIntosh, Doctor Loco: Will Tacey, Jesse: Harriet Walter, Maud: Fiona Victory, Singer/Mrs Storey: Noreen Kershaw, The Rev Melville/Wall: Stephen Boxer, Shed/Jimmy Williamson Sr: Charles Haggith, Storey/Lloyd George: Graham Roberts, Marton/Gladstone/Colonel Halley: Leader Hawkins, Hodkinson: John Jardine. Music: Stephen Boxer. Director: Alfred Bradley (BBC Manchester). (Repeated on 22 June 1978)

1 September 1977:
Drama Now: Dreams to Damnation
By Jacek Laskowski. “Somebody in these parts has been selling home-made liquor. He also puts poison in selected bottles. The deaths were too random to have come from one distillation. And the victims were all important Party officials.” Gerhard: Richard Kane, Peters: Martin Heller, Anna: Alison Gollings, Dominic: Gregor Fisher, Alfred: Arthur Boland, Roland: Brian Carey. Director: Stewart Conn (BBC Scotland). (Repeated on 2 November 1978)

4 September 1977:
By Gabriel Josipovici from the translation by Richmond Lattimore. Described by the author as “a mad and highly irreverent reworking of Aeschylus’s Agamemnon”, this breaks down the story of Agamemnon’s triumphal return from Troy, and subsequent murder by his wife, Klytemnestra, for sacrificing their daughter, into fragments of sounds and words. Agamemnon: Timothy West, Klytemnestra: Jill Balcon, Cassandra: Maureen O'Brien, Watchman: Timothy Bateson, Herald: John Rowe, Chorus: Christopher Bidmead, William Eedle, David Graham, Leslie Heritage, Jeffrey Segal, Children: Shirley Dixon, Jane Knowles. Singers: Martyn Hill, Members of the BBC Singers and Philomusica of London. Music: Christos Pittas. Technical assistance: Jock Farrell, Lloyd Silverthorne, Penny Leicester and Roy Milani. Radiophonic realisation: Dick Mills. Director: John Theocharis. (Repeat from 14 November 1976)

11 September 1977:
Essence of a Woman
By Menzies McKillop. “Nigel! There's a good boy. Come down at once., The nice gentlemen have said they won't shoot you ... Nigel! Speak to me. I'm your Mother.... You're to push the red button. Nigel. That will allow you to reply.” Mother: Sheila Latimer, Nigel: Bill Paterson, Policeman: John Young, Director/Lord Filmkirk: Brown Derby, Secretary: Carol Holmes, Pilot: John Bett, Theo: David McKail, Fiona: Mary Ann Reid, Psychiatrist: Bryden Murdoch, Vicar: Arthur Boland, Solicitor: Ian Ireland. Director: Gordon Emslie (BBC Scotland). (Repeat from 24 October 1976)

15 September 1977:
The Year of the Goats
By Lari Williams. A play by the Nigerian actor, playwright, poet, critic and essayist. “To know that you will have no children by me is hard enough to take, but when you refuse to marry another woman, it hurts me that you will live and die to be inherited by your lazy brothers ...don't leave it too late. You have enough money.” Jimo: Mark Heath, Lola: Jumoke Debayo, Awero: Muriel Odunton, Boseh: Glenna Forster-Jones, Mr Dawodu: Olu Jacobs. Director: David Spenser.

18 September 1977:
Spanish Fly
By Tom Mallin. A dying novelist has a crisis identity, so her schoolmaster husband tries to make a home movie about her life using children from their local village. Melissa Manchester: Gwen Watford, Ramirez: Rod Beacham, Mother: Irene Sutcliffe, Simone/Girl: Penelope Reynolds, Harold/Headmaster: Walter Hall, Child Melissa: Jean Rogers, Grandfather/Old Spaniard: Timothy Bateson, Edgar/Narrator: Michael Tudor Barnes, Clarissa: Anne Rosenfeld, Elizabeth/Roberta: Heather Bell, Politician/Priest/Waiter: Kenneth Shanley, Rosemary/Wardess: Mary Clare Nash. Street Interviews: David Bellan. Technical team: Marsail MacCuish, David Greenwood and Penny Leicester. Director: Richard Wortley. (Repeated on 30 April 1978)

25 September 1977:
By William Trevor. A 61-year-old Irish spinster schoolteacher reflects on her life after reading in the newspaper the horrific fate of a former pupil who married a British soldier serving in Belfast. (Filmed in 1983 with Wendy Hiller.) Attracta: Mary Wimbush, Sarah Crookham: Sylvia Coleridge, Mrs Bamford: Anne Jameson, Mrs Marsh-Hall: Betty Baskcomb, Lady Faste: Grizelda Hervey, Dr. Friendman: Douglas Blackwell, Aunt Emmeline: Eithne Dunne, Archdeacon Flower: Haydn Jones, Geraldine: Heather Bell, Attracta as a child: Kate Binchy, Mr Devereux: Kevin Flood, Mr Ayrie: P.G. Stephens, Maisie: Roisin Donaghy, Mr Puree: Allan McClelland, Barbara: Judy Bennett, Penelope Vade: Elizabeth Bell, Gangster: Stan McGowan, Mr Jameson: Denys Hawthorne. Director: Michael Heffernan. (Repeated on 25 May 1978. Also repeated as Radio 4’s Monday Play on 12 February 1979)

29 September 1977:
Drama Now: Vienna ABC
By David Marshall. In this “comedy farce”, Len and Kay are producing a story outline for a TV documentary on Lenin, which is stifling Kay's embryonic romantic novel about Kafka. Len: Geoffrey Matthews, Kay: Miriam Margolyes. Director: Richard Wortley. (Repeat from 23 December 1976)

1 October 1977:
Drama Now: Flood
By Patricia Finney. Since writing this play aged 18, Finney (b. 1958) has become a prolific novelist of historical fiction. It’s based on the Sumerian version of the biblical Flood. It describes how the angered gods unleash all the elements to destroy man and his world, but the god Ea decides to save one man. Ishtar: Rosalind Shanks, Ea: John Westbrook, Enlil and: Peter Marinker, Man: Michael Tudor Barnes, Aruru: Irene Sutcliffe, Anu: Norman Claridge, Shamash: Peter Wickham, Nannar: Malcolm Gerard, Ereshkigal: Elizabeth Bell, Wife: Heather Bell. Music: Anthony Smith-Masters, performed by Sebastian Bell (flute), Richard West (clarinet), Graham Whiting (trumpet), Anne Collis (timpani) and Marilyn Sansom (cello). Technical presentation: Anna Smith, assisted by Anthea Davies and Roy Fraser. Director: David Spenser.

3 October 1977:
Drama Now: Morning Glory
By Peter White. In a Dublin kitchen, an old woman wakes to find herself paralysed and alone. Through the hours that follow, she pieces together what must have happened to her, realising how little chance there is of being discovered. The Old Woman: Marie Kean, Her employer: Betty Hardy, Millie: Pauline Delany. Director: Michael Heffernan (BBC Northern Ireland)

9 October 1977:
Drama Now: Rocklife
By Peter Tegel. An elderly English couple have retired to a tough, simple life on a Greek island where unexpected visitors and a gift prompt musings on the meaning of life. Leo: Stephen Murray, Sybil: Pauline Letts, Alex: Steve Hodson, Helen: Lesley Dunlop, Voice: Peter Wickham. Musicians: Chris Wilson, Chris Ball and Michael Wright. Music: David Cain. Director: Richard Wortley. (Repeated on 3 September 1978)

12 October 1977:
Drama Now: Buffo
By Peter Everett. One of half a dozen radio plays by the Hull-born author (1931-1999) in which a young man, Sam, visits for the first time the house where his mother has recently died. Why does he persuade Maud and Tim, a reclusive brother and sister who shared the house with his mother, to sell up and go to Italy? Maud: Sylvia Coleridge, Tim: Lockwood West, Sam: Geoffrey Beevers, Kidd: David Graham, Cilia: Anne Rosenfeld. Director: Richard Wortley

16 October 1977:
The Waves
By Virginia Woolf, abridged for radio in 1955 by Louis MacNeice. Virginia Woolf's most experimental novel, first published in 1931, charts the lives of six friends from childhood to late middle age through a series of soliloquies with short choral interludes. Choral Voice: Peggy Ashcroft, Bernard: John Rowe, Susan: Faith Brook, Neville: Lyndon Brook, Rhoda: Caroline Blakiston, Louis: Nigel Hawthorne, Jinny: Penelope Wilton. Director: Guy Vaesen. (Repeat from 7 October 1976)

21 October 1977:
Drama Now: Webster’s Revenge
By Margaret Hollingsworth. “I think It's very important for married couples to be able to communicate, don't you? After all. I'm preaching it all the time to the parents of my problem kids, so it's time I did something about it myself.” Stanley: Henry Knowles, Lara: Toby Robins, Hannah: Margaret Robertson, Mrs Pettigrew: Barbara Mitchell, Bosola: Edward Kelsey. Director: Margaret Etall. (Repeated on 27 April 1978)

24 October 1977:
The Dust
By David Blake Kelly, based on the autobiography of Irish sculptor and stone carver Seamus Murphy (1907-1975). Seamus Murphy: Kevin Flood, Gargoyle: J. G. Devlin, Facemould: Patrick McAlinney. With the voices of Michael Golden, Harry Webster, Allan McClellan, Frank Grimes, Pauline Delaney, P.G. Stephens and David Blake Kelly. Harmonica: Alfie Kahn. Director: Maurice Leitch. (Repeat from 22 July 1976)

28 October 1977:
By Heinrich von Kleist in a version by Robert Nye, adapted for radio by John Powell. An 1808 tragedy by the German playwright (1777-1811) that Goethe declared was “the product of a diseased imagination”. Kleist envisions an Amazon attack on Achilles and his fellow Greeks as they lay siege to Troy with the intention of capturing young Greek warriors and taking them back to their Amazon empire to ensure the continuation of the Amazon lineage. Greek Kings and Generals – Antilochus: Trevor Martin, Odysseus: David Buck, Diomedes: Gabriel Woolf, Achilles: Martin Jarvis, Adrastes, a Captain: David Valla, Automedon, the Charioteer: Sean Barrett, Myrmidon: Clifford Norgate, Dolopian Captain: Patrick Tull, Aetolian/Herald: Edward Kelsey. The Amazons – Penthesilea, Queen of the Amazons: Barbara Jefford, Prothoe, a Princess, her companion: Rosalie Crutchley. Amazon Princesses – Meroe: Eva Haddon, Asteria: Rosalind Shanks, The High Priestess of Artemis: Kathleen Michael, Arsinoe: Sheila Grant, Amazon Girls and Warriors: Jane Knowles, Elizabeth Proud, Olwen Griffiths, Eva Stuart. Music: David Cain. Musicians: Symphoniae Sacrae, Members of the Tilford Festival Bach Choir, David Corkill, Terry Emery and Barry Quinn (percussion), Clive Heath (organ). Special sound: David Cain and Richard Yeoman-Clarke (BBC Radiophonic Workshop). Director: John Powell. (Repeat from 22 August and 21 November 1971)

1 November 1977:
Drama Now: Combined Subjects
By Yvonne Mallett. “Dear Miss Taylor, I have yet to receive any work from you... Dear Professor Grey, My essay on Bennett will be ready soon... Dear, Annette, I so enjoyed our talk over tea yesterday... Dear Peter, Thanks again for a very pleasant afternoon. Annette Taylor: Anna Calder-Marshall, Professor Grey: Timothy West. Director: David Spenser. (Repeated on 23 February 1978)

23 November 1977:
The Duck Variations
By David Mamet. The playwright describes his 1972 play as Opus 10 – a piece with 14 variations on the theme of the duck. The scene is a park in a large North American city overlooking a great lake, where two old men are passing the time of day. George: Cyril Shaps, Emil: Harry Towb. Director: Ronald Mason. (Repeated on 28 July 1978)

27 November 1977:
Drama Now: A Touch of Daniel
By Peter Tinniswood. The dramatist adapts his own 1969 comic novel, which introduced his popular character Uncle Mort. Young Carter Brandon struggles for love in a world of fearsome matriarchs and taciturn relatives with his cousin, the baby Daniel, the only person who really understands him. Carter Brandon: Christian Rodska, Pat: Stephanie Turner, Mrs Brandon: Liz Smith, Mr Brandon: Graham Roberts, Uncle Mort: George A Cooper, Auntie Lil: Eileen Derbyshire, Mrs Partington: Daphne Oxenford, Uncle Stavely: Geoffrey Banks, Jessie Lewis: Fiona Walker, Linda Preston: Sharon Duce, Daniel: Judy Bennett, Sid Skelhorn: Peter Wheeler. Director: Tony Cliff (BBC Manchester). (Repeated on Radio 4 on 6 November 1978 and 18 July 1987, and often on Radio 4 Extra from 2012-2015)

29 November 1977:
By Ian Dougall. Inspired by the incident chronicled in Thomas de Quincey’s Confessions of an English Opium Eater in which the essayist claimed a 15-year-old Soho prostitute saved his 17-year-old self, this play describes her feelings towards him. Ann: Angela Pleasence, Thomas de Quincey: Hugh Ross. Director: Richard Wortley

9 December 1977:
Drama Now: Two Gentlemen of Hadleigh Heath
By Tom Mallin. Lance and Julia peel a few layers off the skin of their marriage and, in an atmosphere heavy with dislike, much is revealed about owning dogs and walks upon the heath. Lance: Hugh Dickson, Julia: Marian Diamond. Director: Richard Wortley. (Repeat from 30 December 1976)

11 December 1977:
Drama Now: The Force of Habit
By Thomas Bernhard, translated by Neville and Stephen Plaice. A black comedy by the Austrian author (1931-1989) in which a circus manager and other players have spent 22 years rehearsing in vain a performance of Schubert's Trout Quintet. Caribaldi the Ringmaster: David March The Juggler: Donal Donnelly, Caribaldi's Granddaughter: Anne Rosenfeld, Lion Tamer: Allan McClelland, Clown: Michael Tudor Barnes. Director: Ronald Mason. (Repeated on 21 July 1978)

15 December 1977:
A Sorrow Beyond Dreams
By Michael Kustow, from the semi-autobiographical 1972 novella by Peter Handke, translated by Ralph Mannheim. In this monologue, a man recalls his Austrian mother’s life, which spanned the rise of the Nazis, the Second World War and the postwar consumer economy, and which ended in her suicide. With Gawn Grainger. Producer: Ian Cotterell. (Repeated on 6 July 1978)

18 December 1977:
Lancelot and Guinevere
By Gordon Honeycombe, based on the last two books in Le Morte d’Arthur by Thomas Malory. This dramatisation concentrates on the disastrous love affair between Lancelot and Guinevere and the resulting destruction wrought upon England, Arthur, and the noble Virtues symbolised by the Round Table. (The play was reworked for six performances at the Old Vic in 1980, this time based around an imprisoned Malory, played by Timothy West, with music by David Cain and directed by Martin Jenkins.) Sir Lancelot: Norman Rodway, Queen Guinevere: Anna Massey, King Arthur: Peter Jeffrey, Thomas Malory: Timothy West, Sir Bors: Martin Jarvis, Sir Ector: John Rowe, Sir Gawaine: Richard Pasco, Sir Bernard: Cyril Luckham, Sir Melliagance: Barry Foster, Sir Mador: Clifford Norgate, Sir Mordred: Christopher Bidmead, Sir Lavaine: Malcolm Reid, Sir Gareth: Steve Hodson, Sir Agravaine/Sir Bedevere: David Neal, Elaine: Hannah Gordon, The Lady: Nicolette McKenzie, Priest: Patrick Barr, King of North Wales: David Neal. Music: Derek Oldfield, played by members of the Allegro Ensemble. Director: Martin Jenkins. (Repeated on 23 July 1978)

22 December 1977:
Drama Now: The Restorer
By Christopher Whelen. In this “radio music drama”, the first of seven plays by the playwright and composer (1927-1993) to mix words and music, a mysterious picture hanging in a Dutch museum exercises a strange fascination on a visiting Englishman. Henry Sparks: Paul Scofield, Rachel Brewster: Nicolette McKenzie. Willem (The Restorer): Christopher Bidmead. “Cupcake”, a Waiter: Paul Meier, Professor Martha Spellborn: Joan Matheson, Dr Johann Weg: Jeffrey Segal. Small Boy: Jo Manning Wilson, Henry’s Father: Douglas Blackwell, Henry, a boy: Jean England, Henry's Doctor: Leslie Heritage, Celia, aged 10: Olwen Griffiths. Other voices: Shirley Dixon and Terri Lang. Music: Christopher Whelen, performed by players from the English Chamber Orchestra. Director: Martin Esslin. (Repeat from 2 December 1976)

25 December 1977:
World Drama: The Importance of Being Earnest
By Oscar Wilde in the original four-act version, edited by Owen Dudley-Edwards. John Worthing: Richard Pasco, Algernon Moncrieff: Jeremy Clyde, The Hon Gwendolen: Barbara Leigh-Hunt, Cecily Cardew: Prunella Scales, The Rev Canon: Maurice Denham, Miss Prism: Sylvia Coleridge, Lady Bracknell: Fabia Drake, Mr Gribsby: Gerald Cross, Lane: Richard Burnett, Merriman: Jonathan Scott. Music: Terence Allbright. Director: Ian Cotterell. (Repeated on 19 November 1978 and 5 May 1989. Also on Radio 4 on 18 August 1983)

29 December 1977:
The Night Nurse Slept in the Day Room
By Rhys Adrian. Jack has discharged himself from the hospital while Tom is still a patient. Every Tuesday, they meet in this bar and, eventually, talk. Jack: Hugh Burden, Tom: Peter Woodthorpe. Director: John Tydeman. (Repeat from 5 October 1976)


2 January 1977:
The Man without Ideology
Written and narrated by J.P. Stern. Drawing on original documents, this offers a portrait of artisan Johann Georg Elser, who almost killed Hitler in November 1939 by placing a bomb in a beer hall in Munich. Johann Georg Elser: Ronald Pickup. With Eva Haddon, Anne Jameson, Malcolm Hayes, Nigel Lambert, Hector Ross, Alan Rowe, David Ryall and Peter Williams. Director: Martin Esslin. (Repeat from 1 April 1975)

4 January 1977:
The Irresistible Appeal of the Dumb Blonde
Charles Marowitz (1934-2014), the American-born director and playwright who co-founded the Open Space Theatre in London in 1968, reflects on the importance of sex appeal.

4 January 1977:
Hobson on Hobson
Harold Hobson retired as drama critic of The Sunday Times on 1 August 1976, a job he had done for nearly 30 years. He reflects on his life and theatre-going career with Anthony Curtis. Producer: Bernard Krichefski

14 February 1977:
Gielgud and Richardson
Martin Jenkins invites John Gielgud and Ralph Richardson to reminisce about their careers while they were appearing together in Harold Pinter’s No Man’s Land at the National Theatre. (Repeat from 10 May 1976)

19 February 1977:
The White Snake
The legend of the White Snake goes back at least as far as the T’ang dynasty and has parallels in Western myth and literature. As a tale and later as an opera, its various incarnations have been shaped by time, taste and politics until its suppression in the Cultural Revolution of 1966. Research: Lim Poh-Sim. Narrator: Christopher Bidmead. With Eva Haddon, Ann Rosenfeld, Godfrey Kenton, Rod Beacham and John Rowe. (Repeated on 1 July 1979)

22 February 1977:
From a Newgate Calendar: The Trials of Captain Kidd
By Rayner Heppenstall. Drawing on original sources, this details the trials of Captain Kidd, the infamous pirate hanged in Wapping in 1701. With the voices of Michael Tudor Barnes, Christopher Bidmead, Douglas Blackwell, David Graham, Leslie Heritage, Peter Howell, Malcolm Reid, John Rowe, Jeffrey Segal, Jonathan Scott and James Thomason. Producer: Martin Esslin

15 March 1977:
Child of Adam
A celebration of Walt Whitman (1819-1892) by Anne Stevenson. Whitman: David Buck. With the voices of Eddie Matthews, Peter Woodthorpe, Peter Marinker and Margaret Robertson. Producer: Maurice Leitch. (Repeat from 8 July 1976)

28 March 1977
Christopher and his Kind
Christopher Isherwood, in a conversation with novelist and critic Paul Bailey, reflects on the formative experiences of his life that informed his novels,

7 April 1977:
The Secret Workshop
Compiled and narrated by Ian Rodger. At the time of its first broadcast, this programme estimated that, each year, radio’s market for drama attracted more than 10,000 scripts from writers in many parts of the world. Ted Allan, Stan Barstow, Frederick Bradnum, James Hanley, Don Haworth, Bernard Kops, Henry Livings, Alun Owen, Allan Prior, Jonathan Raban, David Rudkin, Andrew Salkey, Tom Stoppard and William Trevor talk about radio and the part it has played in their lives.

27 April 1977:
King Lear Through the Ages
By Martin Jenkins. King Lear, arguably Shakespeare's greatest tragedy, has attracted all the major actors from Richard Burbage and Thomas Betterton to John Gielgud and Paul Scofield. This programme examines the history of the play in the English theatre. With Timothy Bateson, Bruce Beeby, Gavin Campbell, Geoffrey Collins, Walter Hall, Alan Rowe, Brian Sanders and Jonathan Scott. Director: Ian Cotterell. (Repeated on 18 October 1978)

29 April 1977:
Elected Friends
By Andrew Motion and Anne Stevenson. When Edward Thomas and Robert Frost met in London in 1913, neither had yet made his name as a poet. Despite their close friendship being curtailed by Thomas’s in death in action at Arras in April 1917, each was vital to the other’s success as poets. Narrator: Geoffrey Banks, Robert Frost: John Franklyn-Robbins, Edward Thomas: Paul Webster, Helen Thomas: Ann Aris, Eleanor Farjeon: Cynthia Michaelis. Producer: Fraser Steel (BBC Manchester). (Repeated on 11 February 1979)

17 May 1977:
An Estate in my Head
By Peter Yapp. A portrait of Lady Hester Stanhope (1776-1839), a British aristocrat, adventurer, antiquarian and niece of prime minister William Pitt, who became renowned for her Middle East adventures, dressing as a man, visiting harems and leading archaeological digs. Lady Hester: Jill Balcon, Charles Meryon: Alan Rowe, Narrator David Strong. Other voices: Irene Sutcliffe, Nicolette McKenzie, Christopher Masters, Michael Tudor Barnes, James Thomason, Kevin Brennak, Haydn Jones, Paul Meier, Douglas Blackwell, Neville Jason, Leslie Heritage, Walter Hall and Garrick Hagon. Director: Christopher Venning. (Repeat from 19 October 1976)

26 May 1977:
Imperfect Sympathies
By Aidan Higgins. A “radio mosaic” that conjures up the essayist and poet Charles Lamb (1775-1834) and some of the writers and thinkers who helped to shape the intellectual climate of his times. Charles Lamb: Peter Woodthorpe, Crabb Robinson: Denis McCarthy, Leigh Hunt: Christopher Bidmead, Byron: John Rye, Chateaubriand: Malcolm Hayes. With Carole Boyd, Alan Dudley, Anne Jameson, Haydn Jones, Clifford Norgate, Hector Ross, John Samson and James Watts. Director: John Theocharis. (Repeat from 13 November 1975)

5 June 1977:
The Voice of Ellen Terry
Richard Bebb analyses five surviving recordings of the greatest of Victorian actresses, made for the Victor Company in 1911. The programme includes speeches from: The Winter's Tale, Act II Sc 1; The Merchant of Venice, Act IV Sc 1; Much Ado about Nothing, Act II Sc 1; Romeo and Juliet, Act IV Sc 3 and Hamlet, Act IV Sc 5. Producer: Bennett Maxwell. (Repeat from 11 October 1975)

14 June 1977:
The Larks of Dean
By Michael Oliver. The story of 19th-century cotton spinners and weavers who were “musicioners” living in the valley of Dean, near Burnley in Lancashire. Based on the memoirs of Moses Heap , who died in 1913. Moses Heap: Leslie Sands. Other parts: David Mahlowe and Alan Rothwell. Music transcribed by Michael Oliver, edited by Michael Coe and conducted by Stephen Wilkinson. Director: Patricia Brent. (Repeated on Radio 4 on 8 December 1977 and 12 February 1989)

18 June 1977:
The Voice of Henry Irving
Richard Bebb investigates the career of Sir Henry Irving (1838-1905) through the way recordings by the great Victorian actor were discovered. They include one of him performing a speech from Alfred Tennyson's Becket, the play he was appearing in at the Theatre Royal, Bradford, where he collapsed on 13 October 1905 and died later that night. Producer: Bennett Maxwell. (Repeat from 23 October 1975)

28 June, 5, 15, 22 & 29 July 1977:
Shakespeare and the Histories
Five talks reflecting new insights in Shakespeare scholarship concerning the history plays. (Repeated on 21 & 28 April, 5, 12 & 19 May 1978)

1: Figures of God's Majesty Anthony Tuck, Senior Lecturer in Medieval History at Lancaster University, considers the contrasting images of kingship in Christopher Marlowe’s Edward II and Shakespeare's Richard II in the light of new historical research into the two reigns.

2: The Henry VI Trilogy: History into Drama Emrys Jones, Fellow of Magdalen College and Reader in English Literature at Oxford University, suggests why the three Henry VI plays were, in their time, such an exceptionally ambitious theatrical venture, creating a new kind of drama: the secular history play.

3: The Divine and the Secular John Harvey. Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, argues that the claim for a divine scheme of justice in the history plays is at odds with Shakespeare's impulse to a drastic secularisation of history and drama.

4: William Shakespeare and Richard III Charles Ross, Reader in Medieval History at the University of Bristol, considers the hostile Tudor attitude to the reign of Richard III, and compares it unfavourably with some modern interpretations of his career.

5: Perkin Warbeck and Henry VIII: History, Drama and Truth R. A. Foakes, Professor of English at the University of Kent, explores the nature of historical and dramatic truth, as reflected in John Ford's Perkin Warbeck, and Henry VIII, attributed mainly to Shakespeare and Fletcher.

4 & 5 July 1977:
Elisabeth Bergner
A two-part conversation with the acclaimed actress (1897-1986), whose stage career flourished in Paris and Belin before coming to Britain in 1933. Martin Esslin, former head of BBC Radio Drama, discusses her career, including working with Bertolt Brecht, her friendship with Albert Einstein, JM Barrie’s last play written specially for her, a stormy relationship with Bernard Shaw and meeting Samuel Becket. Producer: Bernard Krichefski. (Repeated on 17 & 24 May 1978)

12 July 1977:
A Quest for Andersen
A feature about Hans Christian Andersen, compiled by John Theocharis (from the biography by Elias Bredsdorff and additional material by Erik Haugaard). Andersen: Richard Pasco, The Writer: Derek Jacobi, The Scholar: Gerald Cross, Dame Fairy-Tale: Betty Hardy, Edvard Collin: Alan Rowe, Mrs Wulff: Kate Coleridge, Jenny Lind: Deborah Paige, Boy Andersen: Peter Whitman, Dickens: Haydn Jones, Specialist: Garard Green, Dr Meisling: Hector Ross. Music: Glynis Jones (BBC Radiophonic Workshop). Director: John Theocharis. (Repeat from 4 August 1975)

19 July 1977:
Flaubert in Egypt, 1849
The travel notes and letters of Gustave Flaubert, adapted for radio by Elizabeth Troop, presented by Brian Hewlett. Flaubert: Christopher Bidmead, Maxime du Camp: Neville Jason. Producer: John Theocharis. (Repeated on 24 July 1978)

31 August 1977:
The Prophet of Albion
Poet and critic Kathleen Raine offers a study of the poet and visionary William Blake. With Nigel Anthony as Blake. Producer: Hallam Tennyson

5 September 1977:
A College in a Purer Air
By Lesley Montgomery. A portrait of Lucius Cary, 2nd Viscount Falkland (c. 1610-1643), and the group of clerics and literary figures who gathered at his Oxfordshire manor house of Great Tew in the 1630s. With Paul Scofield and Haydn Jones. Producer: John Scotney. (Repeat from 2 January 1976)

11 September 1977:
James Agate
An appreciation of the diarist and drama critic (1877-1947) compiled and presented by Anthony Curtis. With the voices and views of Peter Cotes, Alan Dent, Sir John Gielgud, Sir Harold Hobson, John Laurie, Matthew Norgate, Dilys Powell, Eric Shorter, Kenneth Tynan and Herbert van Thal. Readers: Timothy Bateson and Anthony Newlands. Producer: John Theocharis. (Repeated on 5 September 1978)

17 October 1977:
Portrait of a Love Affair
By Denis Constanduros. The relationship of artists Dora Carrington (1893-1932) and Mark Gertler (1891-1939) are told through their letters and Carrington’s diary in the years during and after the First World War. Dora Carrington: Selina Cadell, Mark Gertler: Peter Alexander. Narrator: Manning Wilson. Producer: Brian Miller (BBC Bristol)

17 October 1977:
The Passionate Shepherdess
By Maureen Duffy. A portrait of dramatist Aphra Behn (1640-1689), whom Virginia Woolf called the first professional woman writer in English literature. During the 1670s and 1680s, Behn was one of the leading playwrights for the Restoration stage, as well as a novelist and poet, and best known for her play The Rover (1677). Aphra Behn: Annette Crosbie. Narrator: Henry Knowles. With Sheila Mit, Michael Tudor Barnes, Roy Spencer, Timothy Bateson, Diana Raworth, Christopher Scoular, Alan Rowe. Director: Christopher Venning

31 October 1977:
Inside the Tower Gerard de Nerval: Timothy West. With Rod Beecham, Bruce Beeby, Gerald Cross, Nicolette McKenzie, Jonathan Scott and Manning Wilson. Music: Malcolm Clarke (BBC Radiophonic Workshop). Director: Hallam Tennyson. (Repeated on 12 September 1978)

13 November 1977:
One of the Damned
By Fred C Ball. “A search for the identity of Robert Tressell, author of The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists”. The Narrator: Leonard Fenton, Robert Tressell: Jim Norton, Kathleen: Irene Sutcliffe. With Rod Beacham, Douglas Blackwell, Peter Craze, Shirley Dixon, Peter Howell, Nicolette McKenzie, Jonathan Scott, Jeffrey Segal and James Thomason. Music: Martin Goldstein. Producer: John Theocharis. (Repeated on 24 April 1979)

2 December 1977:
English As She is Broadcast (or Let’s All Agree to Say Marjarine)
In 1926, the British Broadcasting Company set up an Advisory Committee on Spoken English. For 13 years its distinguished members deliberated on problems of pronunciation as guidance for announcers, but their recommendations were also published and widely reported. Drawing on the BBC's written archives, Paul Ferris charts the progress of the most concerted effort in the history of the language to regulate the way we speak it. Bernard Shaw: Allan McClelland. With Michael Tudor Barnes, Timothy Bateson, Walter Hall, Brian Hewlett, Fraser Kerr, Henry Knowles, Penelope Reynolds, Ann Rosenfeld and Manning Wilson. Consultant: Hazel Wright. Producer: Alan Haydock. (Repeated on 29 April 1978)

12 December 1977:
A Slight Angle
A portrait of C.P. Cavafy (1863-1933), considered one of the most distinguished Greek poets of the 20th century. Constantine Cadafy: David March. With Michael Tudor Barnes, Timothy Bateson, John Gabriel, Anthony Newlands, Roy Spencer, Manning Wilson and Yashar Adem. Director: John Theocharis. (Repeated on 2 August 1979)

20 December 1977:
Sound Drama before Marconi
Dr W.M.S.Russell discusses the life and works of the Roman dramatist Seneca, of whom T.S. Eliot said: “His plays might be practical models for broadcasted drama”. Producer: Alastair Wilson. (Repeated on 25 August 1978)

22 December 1977:
Shakespeare and Baroque Art
In this shortened version of the British Academy Shakespeare Lecture, Nicholas Brooke (1924-1998), Professor of English Literature at the University of East Anglia, explores the idea that Shakespeare's dramatic art developed in ways that closely parallel the visual work of his contemporaries in Rome, from Caravaggio to Bernini. (Repeated on 26 May 1978)

25 December 1977:
Rattigan’s Theatre
In this repeat from 1976, Terence Rattigan (1911-1977) reflects on his 40-year career in the theatre, which includes the plays French Without Tears and Cause Celebre. Presented by Anthony Curtis. With contributions from Peggy Ashcroft, Alan Ayckbourn, John Gielgud, Harold Hobson, Roger Machell, Sheridan Morley, Laurence Olivier, T. C. Worsley and Emlyn Williams. Producer: Christopher Venning. (Repeat from 30 March 1976)

29 December 1977:
The Captive Vision
A study by Professor Ilse Graham of the revolutionary German writer and dramatist Heinrich von Kleist (177-1811), who committed suicide aged 34. As German literature scholars David Luke and Nigel Reeves have observed, he saw human nature as “a riddle” with everything that seemed straightforward becoming “ambiguous and baffling”. Von Kleist: Ronald Pickup. Other extracts read by Elizabeth Bell and Wolf Kahler. Producer: Anthony Vivis

30 December 1977:
The Austrian Miracle
Charles Marowitz talks to leading Austrian dramatists about their links with the international avant-garde and their own literary tradition. With H.C. Artmann (1921-2000), Wolfgang Bauer (1941-2005), Thomas Bernhard (1931-1989), Peter Handke (b. 1942) and Ernst Jandl (1925-2000). Producer: Louise Purslow. (Repeat from 25 April 1976)


5 January 1977:
The Lady of Shalott
Peggy Ashcroft reads Tennyson’s poem. Courtesy of the Tennyson Society. (Repeat from 30 August 1967)

13 January 1977:
Memories of a Childhood Friendship by Don Haworth (read by Bernard Cribbins)
After hitting a youngster in the eye during a game, an unemployed shoe-mender strikes up a friendship that lasts all summer, until he gets a job again. Producer: Alfred Bradley (BBC Manchester). (Repeat from 26 December 1975)

17 January 1977:
Dickon and David by Laurence Lerner (read by the author)
Short story by the South African-born literary critic, poet and novelist (1925-2016). (Repeated on 11 April 1977)

23 January 1977:
Regret by Guy de Maupassant (read by Denholm Elliott)
A 72-year-old man wonders whether the woman he always loved, but who was married to a friend, ever loved him. Translated by Roger Colet. Producer: Gordon House. (Repeat from 15 June 1976. Other readings on Radio 4 on 25 January 1978 and 7 October 1983.)

6 February 1977:
The Wreck of the Deutschland by Gerard Manley Hopkins (read by Paul Scofield)
This reading of the poem originally aired on 7 December 1975, the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the SS Deutschland on the Kentish Knock, off the Thames Estuary. Producer: Shaun MacLoughlin

11 & 18 February 1977:
Letters of a Chinese Lady
Two programmes based on the letters of Kwei-li, a Chinese noblewoman writing in the early 20th century, first collected and published in 1914 as Golden Lillies. She reflects on home life, the gardens, her longing for her husband often away on business, her life with his mother and, later, the Westernised ambitions of her children and the changing atmosphere of a new China. Kwei-li: Carole Boyd, Tangi-si, her son: Anthony Smee. Director: John Theocharis. (Repeated on 9 & 16 April 1978)

16 February 1977:
Death of the Word by Gabriel Josipovici (read by the author)
A man broods over the death of his father, but is the father actually dead? (Repeat from 29 October 1976)

19 February 1977:
A Happy Family by Lu Hsun (read by Alec McCowen)
A short story by the influential Chinese writer (1881-1936) in which a writer struggles with an article that tries to describe the “happy family”. Producer: Kay Patrick. (Repeat from 18 December 1978)

19 February 1977:
A piece of dramatic propaganda from 1960s China in which an uncle discovers a new world. With Douglas Blackwell, Paul Meier and Valerie Murray. Producer: Piers Plowright. (Repeated on 17 February 1979)

12 March 1977:
The Drunken Boat by Arthur Rimbaud (read by Ronald Pickup)
Rimbaud’s poem in a previously lost 1930s translation by Samuel Beckett. Producer: Martin Esslin. (Repeated on 20 July 1977)

22 March 1977:
Rebecca’s Story by Antonia Fraser
The author’s idea of what the first Mrs de Winter was really like – and Daphne du Maurier's reply. Producer: Guy Vaesen

6 April 1977:
Me Out There by Tom Hamill (read by Patrick Garland)
A meditation on the author’s five fingers.

2 May 1977:
Stories of the Baganda (read by John Nagenda)
African folk tales translated by the Ugandan author and columnist.

30 May & 3 June 1977:
Antimony by Leonardo Sciasci (read by Gabriel Woolf)
Two extracts from a novella, narrated by a young Sicilian miner, whose experiences fighting in the Spanish Civil War have led him to the deepest self-reappraisal. Translated by Alfred Alexander. Producer: Richard Wortley. (Repeated on 4 & 11 May 1978)

8 June 1977:
The Midnight Court
A reading of Frank O'Connor’s translation of the Bacchanalian Irish poem written by Bryan Merryman, a County Clare teacher, in the 18th century. Unmarried women present their case against the men of Munster to a fairy court. (This has also been performed in other productions on the Third Programme in 1947 and 1956 (with Cyril Cusack and Adrienne Corri.) Poet: Sean Barrett, Bailiff: Daphne Heard, Girl: Roisin Donaghy, Old Man: Kevin Flood, Queen: Pauline Delany. Director: Mary Price (BBC Bristol)

14 September 1977:
A Story of Don Juan by VS Pritchett (read by David March)
In this 1941 short story by Pritchett (1900-1997), a night in which the great lover Don Juan must sleep alone turns into supernatural cuckolding. (First heard on Radio 4 on 10 August 1977)

28 September, 5, 12, 19, 26 October, 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 November, 7, 14 & 21 December 1977:
The Faerie Queene
By Edmund Spenser, abridged in 13 episodes by Terence Tiller. This vast allegorical poem, following the adventures of various medieval knights, was dedicated to Elizabeth I. Reader: Gary Bond. Narrator: John Westbrook, Other voices: Penelope Reynolds, Kenneth Shanley, Jonathan Scott, John Rye, Gabriel Woolf, Brian Hewlett, Roy Spencer, Elizabeth Bell, Timothy Bateson, Denis Goacher, Jane Knowles, Nicolette McKenzie, Anne Rosenfeld, Christopher Guard, Timothy West, Hugh Dickson, Gary Watson, Peter Wickham, Alan Rowe, Jill Balcon and Margaret Wolfit. Additional music: Roger Limb (BBC Radiophonic Workshop). Producer: David Spenser

25 October 1977:
Solid Objects
By Virginia Woolf (read by David March) Woolf charts one man’s growing obsession with the “solid objects” of glass, china, and iron he finds on a beach or around the city of London. His magpie-like attraction to shiny objects continues when he enters Parliament.

15 November 1977:
The Black Cat by Edgar Allan Poe (read by James Stewart)
The Hollywood star reads his favourite Poe poem, abridged by Neville Teller. (Repeat from Radio 4 on 28 September and 31 December 1973. Also 2 February 1975)

Many thanks to Ian Johns for compiling the entries.

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