Radio 3 Drama, 1981

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 are drama-related documentaries and selected readings and short stories.

Due to industrial action, the Radio Times covering the broadcast dates 1-7 August was not published


1 January 1981:
The Gondoliers (or The King of Barataria) 
By Arthur Sullivan and W.S. Gilbert. The last great hit from the fractious partnership of Gilbert and Sullivan, first seen in 1899, features two gondoliers who become republican monarchs. Duke: Eric Shilling (baritone), Luiz: Vernon Midgley (tenor), Don Alhambra: Michael Langdon (bass), Marco: Neil Jenkins (tenor), Giuseppe: Niall Murray (baritone), Antonio: Leslie Fyson (baritone), Duchess: Anne Collins (contralto), Casilda: Pamela Field (soprano), Gianetta: Marilyn Hill Smith (sop), Tessa: Della Jones (mezzo-Sop), Fiametta: Susanna Ross (soprano), Giulia: Anna Bernardin (soprano), Vittoria: Ameral Gunson (contralto), Inez: Ameral Gunson (contralto), Francesco: Ian Kennedy (tenor), Giorgio: Philip O'Reilly (bass). BBC Singers and BBC Concert Orchestra with leader John Bradbury, conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras. Producers: Robert Bowman and Ian Cotterell

4 January 1981:
Landscape of Exile
By David Zane Mairowitz. After Karl Marx’s death in London in 1883, Friedrich Engels spends the next 10 years struggling to finish Marx’s Das Kapital while Eleanor Marx is swept up in the working-class movement that leads to the birth of the British Labour Party. (The play was staged in 1979 at the Half Moon Theatre in London with Frances de la Tour as Eleanor Marx.) Friedrich Engels: John Phillips, Eleanor Marx: Julie Covington, Edward Aveling: John Rowe, Nim (Frau Demuth): Hilda Kriseman, Louise Kautsky: Helen Kluger, Karl Kautsky: Michael Mellinger, Paul Lafargue: Jean Driant, Wilhelm Liebknecht: Malcolm Hayes, John L Mahon: Billy McColl, John Burns: Michael Deacon, Keir Hardie: Malcolm Hayes, Sir Charles Warren: Patrick Barr, Officer: Christopher Scott, Scab: David Timson, Home Rule Man: Denys Hawthorne, Home Rule Woman: Sonia Fraser, Soldier: Peter Baldwin, Wounded Man: John Bull. Director: Liane Aukin. (Repeated on 25 June 1981)

7-9 January 1981:
Three Problems for Don Isidro Parodi
By Jorge Luis Borges and Adolfo Bioy-Casares, translated and adapted by Norman Thomas Di Giovanni and Susan Ashe from satirical stories first published in 1942. Serving a life sentence for a murder he did not commit, Argentine “detective” and former barbershop owner Don Isidro Parodi unravels mysteries brought to his cell by a host of flamboyant characters. Don Isidro: Peter Woodthorpe, Gervasio Molinaro: Geoffrey Beevers, Narrators: Michael Kilgarriff and Jennifer Piercey. Producer: Piers Plowright

Problem One: The Twelve Figures of the World 
Don Isidro Parodi is able to tell Achilles Molinari who killed Ibn Khaldun.

Problem Two: The Nights of Goliadkin
Don Isidro solves a murder committed on the Pan-American Express, which involves a repentant criminal and a gang of diamond thieves. 

Problem Three: The God of the Bulls 
Don Isidro reveals the true killer of the cattle baron Munagorri on an isolated estate.

11 January 1981:
By Christopher Whelen. In this “weather fantasy for radio in music and words”, three characters are drawn to an imaginary book, Cumulus, which tells of an ice-bearing cloud that will return the world to a glacial state. Carl: David Buck, Monica: Elizabeth Bell, Steven: Christopher Guard. Other parts: Eva Stuart, Brian Haines and Godfrey Kenton. Music: Christopher Whelen, conducted by the composer, played by members of the English Chamber Orchestra. Technical presentation: Peter Harwood. Director: Ronald Mason. (Repeat from 23 March 1980)

22 January 1981:
Family Voices
By Harold Pinter. Originally written in 1980, Pinter’s play features interlocking monologues as the stories of a son, his mother and dead father are revealed through letters. With Peggy Ashcroft, Michael Kitchen and Mark Dignam. Director: Peter Hall. Producer: John Tydeman. (Repeated on 19 February 1981, 7 October 1990, 2 July 1991 and 22 December 1987)

25 January 1981:
Crime and Punishment
By Fyodor Dostoevsky, dramatised for radio by Bill Morrison, based on a translation by Constance Garnett. A student drop-out descends into madness as he tries to come to terms with his act of double murder. Rodion Raskolnikov: Ronald Pickup, Pulcheria, Rodion's mother: Joan Matheson, Dounia, his sister: Pauline Munro, Marmeladov: Henry Stamper, Katerina, his wife: Penelope Lee, Sonia, his daughter: Joanna David, Dmitri Razumihim: Paul Seed, Porfiry: Malcolm Hayes, Pyotr Luzhin: Peter Woodthorpe, Nastasya: Anne Jameson, Arkady Svidrigailov: Peter Jeffrey, Alyona Ivanovna: Marcot Boyd, Zossimov: Antony Higginson, Zametov: John Rye, Mrs Lippeveschal: Irene Prador, Student: David Timson, Koch: Neville Philips, Pestryakov: Melvyn Hastings, Porter: Paul Gaymon, Asst Superintendent: Hector Ross, Workman: Michael Deacon, Furrier: Peter Whitman, Nikolar: Sion Probert, Lebetziatnikov: Stephen Thorne, Lady: Kate Coleridge. Technical assistants: Jock Farrell, Janet Mitchell, David Greenwood and Anna Ashe. Director: John Tydeman. (Repeat from 23 February 1975. Also on 14 & 16 March 1976).

1 February 1981:
The Grand Inquisitor
By Fyodor Dostoevsky, adapted by John Theocharis from The Brothers Karamazov, translated by David Magarshack. Ivan Karamazov tell his younger brother Alyosha a story. In 16th-century Seville, the day after the burning of 100 heretics, Christ appears and is arrested. He remains silent throughout his interrogation by the old Grand Inquisitor. The Grand Inquisitor: Leo McKern, Ivan: John Rye. Director: John Theocharis. (Repeated on 11 April 1982)

5 February 1981:
Love’s Labour’s Lost
By William Shakespeare. In this early comedy by Shakespeare, The King of Navarre and his friends vow to study, fast and stay celibate for three years, but then the Princess of France and her courtiers arrive. The Princess of France: Anna Massey, Rosaline: Eileen Atkins, Berowne: John McEnery, King Ferdinand of Navarre: Michael Kitchen, Holofernes: Robert Stephens, Sir Nathaniel: Clifford Rose, Don Adriano de Armado: Paul Scofield, Longaville: Jeremy Clyde, Dumaine: Andrew Branch, Dull, a Constable: Christopher Biggins, Costard, a Clown: John Baddeley, Moth: Clifford Abrahams, Jaquenetta: Denise Coffey, Boyet: John Rye, Maria: Elizabeth Proud, Katharine: Frances Jeater, Marcade: Eric Allan, A Forester: Roy Spencer. Music: Derek Oldfield, played by the Allegro Ensemble. Singers: Adrian Harman and Barbara Meek. Director: David Spenser. (Repeat from 22 February 1979)

7, 14, 21, 28, 7 March February 1981:
In a Nutshell
Six comic monologues by Barry Pilton, performed by Leonard Rossiter. Producer Louise Purslow. (Also repeated on Radio 4 Extra in 2008, 2010, 2011 & 2018).

1: An Instant Opinion
“Nowadays, the key question in any political or philosophical movement is: ‘Can we get it on a badge?’” (Repeated on 20 September 1982)

2: New York, New York
“I got myself wedged on a train, and immediately it left the station a knife-fight began, apparently to the death”. (Repeated on 26 September 1982)

3: Power Struggles
“He first came to public attention as defender of the earth’s ozone layer, which was threatened by intensive American aerosol deodorant usage.”

4: Dear Mother of God!
“And lo! There also appeared an enormous great basilica, 500 car  parks, infinite miracle hamburger stands and souvenir shops”. (Repeat from 10 October 1982)

5: Hold the Back Page 
“The paper’s policy is to identify with the man in the street – unfortunately, our man in the street seemed to have escaped from some sort of asylum.” (Repeated on 17 October 1982)

6: Einstein, Watch-maker 
“As science and the microchip redesign the world in their image, it seems the most obsolescent piece of merchandise is man.” (Repeated on 23 October 1982)

8 February 1981:
Passing Through
By Rhys Adrian. A railwayman and creature of habit, who enjoys a solitary life, finds his routine broken forever when a stranger starts up a conversation with him in the pub. (Also adapted for BBC2 on 7 May 1982 with Ian Richardson, Lee Montague and Rosalie Crutchley.) Richard: Hugh Burden, Patrick: Harry Towb, Beth: Diana Bishop. Director: John Tydeman. (Repeated on 14 March 1982. Also Radio 7 on 9 February 2010 on Radio 7 & on 4 Extra on 16 November 2017)

12 February 1981:
The Joking Habit
By David Cregan. “This is the story of a love affair that never had a chance, and the reason for that, at any rate, was simple.” Clee Philips, a social worker: Sheila Allen, George Philips, her husband: Moray Watson, Francis Hedley, her lover: Barry Foster, Her sons – Monty: Anthony Hyde, Andy: Nigel Greaves, Miss Harp, an investigator: Elizabeth Spriggs, BBC Correspondent: Geoffrey Beevers, Mrs Armstrong: Sonia Fraser, Mr Armstrong: Leonard Fenton, Sylvia, their daughter: Diana Bishop, Another daughter: Josie Kidd. Other parts played by Patrick Barr, John Church, Judy Franklin and Alexander John. Director: John Tydeman. (Repeat from 14 September 1980. Also on 2 September 1982 and as Radio 4’s Afternoon Play on 13 April 1985)

15 February 1981:
Comic Cuts
By Elizabeth Troop. Although now confined to a wheelchair, elderly cartoonist George Tubbs finds his mind is as agile as ever as he recalls the past – especially two spiky young evacuees fostered by him and his wife. George Tubbs: Maurice Denham, Evie Tubbs: Rosemary Leach, District Nurse: Sonia Fraser, Miss Robson: Judy Franklin, Sharon: Susan Sheridan, Peter: Kathryn Hurlbutt, Wayne: Christopher Scott, First GI: John Webb, Second GI: Martyn Read. Director: Richard Wortley.

16 February 1981:
Folie a Deux
By David Mercer. “A story for two voices” in which a cleric admits lustful thoughts. A rare original radio play by the acclaimed playwright and television dramatist. With Michael Hordern and Kate Binchy. Director: Alfred Bradley (BBC Manchester). (Repeat from 29 January 1974. Also on 9 December 1976)

17 February 1981:
The Kingdom of Allemonde
By Garry O’Connor. Maggie Teyte was the greatest Melisande of her day. Her life uncannily paralleled the role in which she made her name. Maggie Teyte: Anna Massey, Narrator: Brian Haines. Other roles played by Brian Carroll and Adrian Egan. Singing voice of Maggie Teyte as a young girl: Susanna Ross. Accompanist: Stephen Wilder. Technical presentation: Anna Smith. Producer: Chris de Souza

19, 26 February, 5, 12, 19, 26 March, 2 & 9 April 1981:
By Malcolm Bradbury and Christopher Bigsby. Eight-part comedy serial about a hapless lecturer in the dysfunctional English department of a red-brick university. Possibly the only sitcom to have originated on Radio 3. Patterson: Lewis Fiander, Professor Misty: Richard Vernon, Vice-Chancellor: John Barron, Jane: Judy Parfitt, Melissa: Maureen Lipman, Cuthbertson: Richard O'Callaghan, Victor: Hugh Thomas, Amy Spade: Maggie Steed, Probity: Jack May, Mary: Frances Jeater, Mrs Vice-Chancellor: Irene Prador, Sandra: Liza Hayden, Bannerji: Tariq Yunus, Jake: Philip Davis, Valerie Candle: Leueen Willoughby, Inspector Firestone: David Tate, Ancient Boy: Patrick Barr, Hotel Manager: Rowland Davies, The Landlady: Patricia Hayes. Producer: Geoffrey Perkins. (Repeated on Radio 2 from 30 June-18 August 1981)

22 February 1981:
Petals of Blood
By Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, dramatised by Mary Benson. This adaptation of a 1977 novel by the Nobel Prize–nominated Kenyan writer is set in just after independence in 1963. The lives of four young people, suspects in the murder of three African directors of a foreign-owned brewery, become intertwined against a backdrop of change in their village and in Kenya itself. Munira: Joe Marcell, Wanja: Millie Kiairie, Nyakinyua: Jumoke Debayo, Inspector Godfrey: Rudolf Walker, Abdulla: Alton Kumalo, Joseph: Anni Domingo, Karega: John Matshikiza, Njogu: Lionel Ngkane, Njunguna: Victor Lindsay, Muturi: Frank Singuineau, Lawyer: Tony Osoba. Other parts played by Clarke Peters, Christopher Asante, Hugh Quarshie, Willie Payne, Kwesi Kay, Mark Heath, Elizabeth Adare, Willie Jonah, Danny Schiller, Trevor Cooper, Amadoo Maddy, Shope Shodeinde, Jill Lidstone, Bernadette Windsor and Louis Mahoney. Director: Christopher Venning. (Repeated on 6 May 1982).

26 February 1981:
The Caucasian Chalk Circle
By Bertolt Brecht, translated by Eric Bentley. At the end of the Second World War, two Russian villages are arguing about a valley. To help resolve the dispute, a famous folk singer and his company of actors give a public performance of the legendary story of The Circle of Chalk in which two women, each with a justifiable claim to be the mother of a young child, are put to an extraordinary test by a drunken judge. The Prologue – Delegate: Michael Spice, Ateko: Martin Friend, Surab: Brian Haines, Makina: Petra Davies, Kato: Tammy Ustinov, Tractorist: Jenny Twigge, Peasant Woman: Josie Kidd, Wounded Soldier: Philip Sully. The Play – Jussup/Shauwa/Musician: Nigel Anthony, Lavrenti/Invalid: Peter Baldwin, Cook/Granny Grusinla: Margot Boyd, Groom/Second Farmer: Fred Bryant, Musician/Stableman: John Bull, Aniko/Fat Woman: Petra Davies, Peasant/Doctor: Martin Friend, Man with Milk/Innkeeper: Brian Haines, Georgi Abashwili/Grand Duke: Roger Hammond, Ironshirt Corporal: Anthony Jackson, Singer/Irakli: Peter Jeffrey, Peasant Woman: Josie Kidd, Grusha Vashnadze: Miriam Margolyes, Arsen Kazbekl/Flrst Lawyer: Geoffrey Matthews, Niko Mikadze/First Farmer: Michael McStay, Ironshirt/Rider: Bill Monks, Simon Shashava: Jim Norton, Azdak: Bill Paterson, Bizergan Kazbeki/Second Lawyer/Mika Loladze: John Rye Drunk Peasant/Blackmailer: Danny Schiller, Adjutant/Ironshirt: Michael Spice Natella Abashwili/Mother-in-law: Eva Stuart, Big Boy/Ironshirt: Philip Sully, Merchant/Wedding Guest: Jenny Twigge, Maro/Ludovica: Tammy Ustinov. All sound effects by members of the company. Director: Martin Jenkins. (Repeat from 1 June 1980)

1 March 1981
Pawn Takes Pawn
By Jacek Laskowski. When playing chess, Levin is able to cut himself off from humanity. But the people he plays against are human and fallible and provide traps from which he can’t escape. Aaron Levin: Alan Dobie, Ivan Bolmar: John Castle, Mark Estep: William Nighy, Alexandroff: Patrick Troughton, Lemaitis: Peter Baldwin, Morozov: Chris Fairbank, Trubleff: Trevor Cooper, Jakes: Andrew Seear, Dobson: Michael Graham Cox, Elizabeth Harding: Elizabeth Rider. With Leonard Fenton, Patrick Barr, Graham Faulkner, Roger Hammond and Philip Voss. Director: Jane Morgan. (Repeat from 27 December 1979)

5 March 1981:
Priest and Confessor
A double-bill by Wally K Daly. A priest sits waiting in the confessional on a Saturday night. A man approaches the confessional for his first confession for many years. What are they both thinking? Priest: Richard Briers, Confessor: Tony Haygarth. Producer: Martin Jenkins. (Repeat from 9 November 1975)

8 March 1981:
Native Honours
By James Rankin. “I see myself as an enlightened humanist...The Polynesian loves gaiety. Why should he not go fishing? I teach him mathematics as well. I'm no idealist with my head in the clouds. Would it not be worse if I stayed in my ivory tower and played the great man? You want to go back to Scotland. To Edinburgh. To tea parties? Robert Melville: John Shedden, Beth, his wife: Diana Olsson, Carl Carlsson: Tom Criddle, Tod, Beth’s brother: John Bott, Beamish: James Cairncross, Dr Andrew Grant: Ian Stewart, Meachan: Henry Stamper, Drummond: Michael Elder. Flageolet played by Robert Pettigrew. Director: Stewart Conn (BBC Scotland). (Repeated on 16 May 1982)

12 March 1981:
Radio Theatre 81: House Wives
By Louise Page. Clementine Houlden’s desire to enter Parliament as a Labour MP isn’t welcomed by her husband, Stephen, and mother, Dot, so she has to struggle alone as her ex-suffragette granny Violet once had to do. (The play was performed at the Derby Playhouse, directed by Vanessa Whitburn, as part of a BBC/Arts Council scheme to commission new work for the radio and theatre.) Clementine Houlden: Juliet Stevenson, Jessica: Deirdre Doone, Violet: Kathleen Helme, Dot: Pauline Letts, Stephen: Mark Brignal, Bill: Derek Watson, David: Richard Derrington, Returning Officer: Stephen Hancock, Director: Vanessa Whitburn (BBC Birmingham). (Repeated as Radio 4’s Monday Play on 5 October 1981)

15 March 1981:
A Patriot for Me
By John Osborne, adapted for radio by Anton Gill. Osborne’s 1965 play, set in Austria-Hungary and Poland between 1890 and 1913, follows the rise and fall of Alfred Redl, an admired lieutenant in the Austro-Hungarian army, who battles his sexuality while blackmailed into becoming a spy for the Russians. Alfred Redl: Gary Bond, Siczynski/Stanitsin/“Lady Godiva”: Haydn Wood, Steinbauer/von Taussig: Sean Arnold, Young Man/”Marie Antoinette”: John McAndrew, Von Mohl: Norman Rodway, Albrecht/Paul: Martyn Read, Hilde: Kathryn Hurlbutt, Col Obtensky: Robert Lang, General von Hotzendorf: Patrick Barr, Countess Delyanoff: Jill Bennett, Kunz: John Church, Baron von Epp: John Moffatt, Ferdy: Philip Fox, “Tsarina”/Mischa/Viktor: Richard Gibson, Stefan Kovacs/Dr Sehoepfer: Gordon Reid, Von Kupfer: Anthony Hyde. Narrator: Alexander John. Director: John Tydeman. (Repeated on 28 January 1982 and 16 January 1994)

19 March 1981:
Radio Theatre 81: I Love My Love
By Fay Weldon. Recorded on location in Devon and London, Weldon’s comedy-drama follows a life-swap experiment organised by a magazine in which urban sophisticate Cat heads to Devon to cook, clean and care for gentle, sexually repressed shopkeeper Derek while dowdy country-lover Anne goes to London to run the chic apartment of Cat’s ad exec husband, Mark. (The play was also directed by Pedr James at the Northcott Theatre, Exeter, as part of the BBC/Arts Council scheme to commission new work for radio and the theatre.) Cat: Meg Davies, Anne: Gabrielle Lloyd, Derek: David Bradley, Mark: Christopher Reich, Lyn: Kay Adshead, Radio Announcer: Christian Rodska. Director: Shaun MacLoughlin (BBC Bristol). (Repeated as Radio 4’s Monday Play on 28 September 1981)

22 March 1981:
Aurora Leigh
By Elizabeth Barrett Browning, dramatised by Michelene Wandor. This verse novel, written in 1857, is the story of a witty, charming woman who is torn between love for her cousin and passion for her work. Aurora: Sara Kestelman, Romney Leigh: John Shrapnel, Aunt: Joan Matheson, Lady Waldemar: Elizabeth Bell, Marian Erie: Elizabeth Proud. Music: Jenny Sprince. Director: Liane Aukin. (Repeated on 24 June 1982)

26 March 1981:
Swan Song
By William Grant. “Time was, I could remember every single livin’ second that had ever acted on me, I saw instant movin’ pictures inside here. Now there's nothin’ but a grey jog.” (The play was first directed by Patrick Sandford at Perth Theatre as part of the BBC/Arts Council scheme to commission new work for radio and the theatre.) Wullie: Alec Heggie, Katac: Janet Michael. Songs performed by Mary McGookin, Alison Forsyth, Clunie MacKenzie, Ann Louise Ross, Janis Tallis, Robert Handleigh, Finlay MacLean, John McGlynn and David Peate with John Sampson (penny-whistle). Technical presentation: Tom Anderson and Ian Cowie. Director: Stewart Conn

29 March 1981:
By David Hare, adapted from his 1978 stage play. Susan Traherne, still haunted by her experiences as a Resistance fighter in occupied France, is angrily disenchanted with her post-war life in Britain. (A Radio 4 production with Miranda Richardson, directed by Catherine Bailey, was on 30 September 2006.) Susan Traherne: Jane Lapotaire, Raymond Brock: John Rowe, Alice Park: Zoe Wanamaker, Codename Lazar: Michael Spice, Frenchman: Jean Driant, Leonard Darwin: Geoffrey Palmer, Mick: Nigel Greaves, Louise: Rowena Roberts, M Aung: Frank Singuineau, Mme Aung: Zohra Segal, Dorcas Frey: Lolly Cockerell, John Begley: Graham Faulkner, Sir Andrew Charleson: John Bott, Another Frenchman: John Church. Director: Richard Wortley. (Repeated 2 January 1983 and on 4 Extra on 18 June 2017)

2 April 1981:
Radio Theatre 81: Risky City
By Ron Hutchinson. Suffering a head injury after a pointless argument on a Saturday night in Coventry, a speechless Boko lies in intensive care wondering what led to this situation. (Risky City was performed in a musical version at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, directed by Michael Boyd, as part of the BBC/Arts Council scheme to commission new work for radio and the theatre.) Boko: Terry Molloy, Jimmo: Trevor Harrison, Alitk: Tony McEwan, Mr Mulvane: Denys Hawthorne, Mrs Mulvane: Freda Dowie, Miss Kyle: Patricia Gallimore, Headmaster: Stephen Hancock, Councillor: Ralph Lawton, Ellis: Gareth Armstrong. Director: Roger Pine (BBC Birmingham). (Repeated on 1 November 1981)

5 April 1981:
Troilus and Cressida
By William Shakespeare. The doomed love affair between Trojan warrior Troilus and Cressida plays out in a world warped by 10 years of war. (Director David Spenser played Troilus in John Tydeman’s Third Programme production on 25 September 1964.) Troilus: Michael Pennington, Cressida: Maureen O’Brien, Ulysses: Norman Rodway, Pandarus: Nigel Stock, Thersites: Alan Howard, Hector: Terrence Hardiman, Nestor: Sebastian Shaw, Agamemnon: Gabriel Woolf, Ajax: David Buck, Achilles: John Rye, Paris: Jeremy Clyde, Patroclus: John Bull, Diomedes: Philip Sully, Helen: Petra Davies, Cassandra: Sheila Grant, Aeneas: Gordon Dulieu, Calchas/Prologue: John Westbrook, Menelaus: Peter Baldwin, Alexander: Gordon Reid, Priam: Leonard Fenton, Andromache: Sonia Fraser, Helenus: Graham Faulkner, Margarelon: Trevor Cooper, Deiphobus: Lee Harrington, Servant to Paris: Brian Carroll. Music: Christos Pittas. Director: David Spenser. (Repeat from 6 March 1980)

9 April 1981:
By David Pownall with Paines Plough Theatre Company. Inspired by Celtic legends, Pownall transposes characters from a 12th-century monk’s epic poem, The Castle Raid of Cooley (about Ulster hero Cuchulain fighting off the armies of Queen Maeve of Connacht), to 1979 and the Pope’s visit to Dublin. (Beef was first performed at The Arts Centre, University of Warwick, directed by John Adams for Paines Plough, as part of the BBC/Arts Council scheme to commission new work for radio and the theatre.) Cusack: Richard Leech, Con: Garrett Keogh, Cuckoo: Gerard Mannix Flynn, Ali: Sean Caffrey. Fergus: James Donnelly, Maeve: Fiona Victory, Janet: Anne Haydn, Director: Ian Cotterell. (Repeated on 13 May 1982)

11 April 1981:
Sternian Epistles
By David Montrose. The literary shots fired at a professor’s biography of Laurence Sterne escalate alarmingly into full-scale war. Professor Sterne: Robert Stephens, Bryant: Paul Shelley, Sims: Oliver Ford-Davies. Director: Matthew Walters. (Repeated on 10 September 1981)

16 April 1981:
Radio Theatre 81: Watches of the Night
By Stephen Jeffreys. The problems of separation and reunion are highlighted through the experiences of four young people from the declaration of war in 1939 to the VE Day celebrations in 1945. (The play was first performed at the Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal, directed by Ian McKeand, as part of the BBC/Arts Council scheme to commission new work for radio and the theatre). Graham: Gerard Mulgrew, Jean: Alison Peebles, Ruth: Adele Griffiths, Martin: Robert Pickavance. Director: Alfred Bradley (BBC Manchester) 

19 April 1981:
Swallows on the Water
By Alan Plater. An adaptation of Player’s stage play, first seen at Hull Arts Centre in 1973, in which a man encounters Charlie, an eccentric friend from his university days, who is determined to make count every second of his remaining life. Charlie: David Threlfall, Harry: Richard Kay, Liz: Sally Gibson, Jones: Malcolm Hebden, Jane: Yvonne Edgell, Sergeant Brown: Peter Wheeler. Director: Caroline Smith. (Repeated on Radio 4’s Afternoon Theatre on 3 October 1982)

21 April 1981:
The Two First Nights of The Seagull (or How Chekhov Nearly Abandoned Writing for the Stage)
By L.W. Bailey. Chekhov’s The Seagull was a triumph when it opened at the Moscow Arts Theatre on 17 December 1898. But it’s original production in 1896 in St Petersburg was met with boos. (An earlier production on 19 November 1971 included David Markham, Clifford Norgate, Nicolette Bernard, Julia Lang and Nigel Anthony in the cast.) Narrator: Martin Jarvis. Chekhov: Peter Jeffrey, Nemirovich-Danchenko: William Eedle, Suvorin: Godfrey Kenton, Lydia Avilova: Judy Franklin, Stanislavsky: John Rye. Olga Knipper: Margaret Robertson. With the voices of John Livesey, Alexander John, Christopher Scott, Michael Spice, Pauline Letts, Mary Clare Nash, Diana Bishop,, Haydn Wood, David Timson, Kathryn Hurlbutt and Amanda Murray. Director: Richard Keen.

23 April 1981:
Radio Theatre 81: Dancing Ledge
By Paul Hyland. Despite his father being left wheelchair-bound after a tractor accident and his family forced out of their tenant farm, Geoff Burdon refuses to head to the city and is determined to stay, at all costs. (The play also toured in an Orchard Theatre Company production, directed by Paul Chamberlain, as part of the BBC/Arts Council scheme to commission new work for radio and the theatre.) Mary Burdon: Mary Wimbush, Jackie Burdon: Donald McBride, Geoff Burdon: Steve Hodson, Maggs: Bridget Lynch-Blosse, The Rev Stark: Andrew Hilton, Lady Gregson: Penelope Lee, Geologist: Bill Horrocks. Director: Shaun MacLoughlin (BBC Bristol). (Repeated on 13 June 1982)

26 April 1981
War Music
By Christopher Logue. An account of books 16 to 19 of Homer's Iliad by Logue. Performed by Alan Howard. Music: Donald Fraser, played by Gary Kettel, Anthony Lewis, Barry Guy, Judith Pearce and Donald Fraser. Technical Supervision: Adrian Revill. Director: Liane Aukin. (Repeated on 11 June 1981, 14 January 1982 and 9 February 1992)

30 April 1981:
Radio Theatre 81: Best Friends
By Olwen Wymark, Middle-aged Baba is trying to write a play, much to the incredulity of her father, difficult teenage daughter quixotic husband. As her childhood friend Nelly reads the play, Baba’s fictional characters appear to show the conflicts and contradictions between life and fiction. (The play was first performed with the same cast, directed by Sam Walters, on 13 March 1981 at the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond, Surrey, directed By: Sam Walters.) Baba/Annie: Ruth Goring, Joe/Eli: Christopher Hancock, Nelly: Ann Windsor, Raymond: Dominic Letts, Stanley: Noel Howlett, Ginger: Madeline Church. Director: Richard Wortley. (Repeated on 28 October 1982)

3 May 1981:
A Doll’s House
By Henrik Ibsen, translated by Michael Meyer. The respectable life of newly promoted bank manager Torvald Helmer and his wife, Nora, unravels amidst the threat of blackmail over a secret debt and Nora’s realisation that she has been leading a half-life of submission to her husband. Torvald Helmer: Ian McKellen, Nora: Susan Fleetwood, Mrs Linde: Sheila Reid, Nils Krogstad: David Buck, Dr Rank: Michael Gough, Anne-Marie, the nanny: Joan Matheson, Helen, a maid: Josie Kidd. Director: John Tydeman. (Repeat from 20 December 1979)

7 May 1981:
Radio Theatre 81: Ezra
By Bernard Kops. Held in a cell by an American army unit at the end of the Second World War in Northern Italy, the anti-Semitic, pro-Fascist American poet Ezra Pound is visited by key figures, including Vivaldi and Mussolini, who have shaped his consciousness. (The play was also staged by Rob Walker at the New Half Moon Theatre in London, with Ian McDiarmid as Pound, as part of the BBC/Arts Council scheme to commission new work for radio and the theatre.) Ezra Pound: Ian Holm, Dorothy Pound: Barbara Jefford, Benito Mussolini: John Turner, Antonio Vivaldi: John Carson, Claretta Petacci: Sarah Badel. With Cyril Shaps, Christopher Scott, John Livesey, John Webb, Diana Bishop, Alan Dudley, David Timson, Spencer Banks and Margaret Robertson. Technical presentation by Peter Novis, assisted by Marsail MacCuish and David Chilton. Director: Cherry Cookson. (Repeated on 4 February 1982 and 3 October 1991)

10 May 1981:
A Moment
By Gabriel Josipovici. A couple – one a realist, the other a romantic – meet in a café in an Alpine resort and try to analyse their past relationship. Could it all have been different, or are all individuals destined to live a certain kind of life? Man: Anthony Bate, Woman: Mary Miller. Director: Liane Aukin. (Repeat from 29 August 1980)

14 May 1981
Radio Theatre 81: Solidarity
By Gareth and Victoria Jones. A young dissident academic, persecuted for his beliefs in the Soviet Union, arrives in North Wales to find that the oppression of the minority can occur here, too. (The play was also seen with the same cast at Theatr Clwyd, Mold, directed by Gareth Jones, as part of the BBC/Arts Council scheme to commission new work for radio and the theatre.) Petras Juska: Ioan Meredith, Megan James: Myfanwy Talog, Geraint Griffiths/Julijus Kaukenas: Meredith Edwards, Dr Idris Price/Rimas, Povilonis: Howell Evans, Dr Sera Howells: Elizabeth Morgan, Dilys Juska/Terese Sauklys: Liz Gebhardt, Jane Edison: Celia Hewitt, Dr Derek Bannerman: Peter Baldwin, The Rev Ralph Bourke/Jonas Markevicius: Stewart Bevan, Paul Thomas: Warwick Evans. Director: Enyd Williams (BBC Wales). (Repeated on 8 April 1982)

21 May 1981:
Radio Theatre 81: Having a Ball
By Alan Bleasdale. In Bleasdale’s comedy, four men reflect on their lives and mid-life crises as they await to have vasectomies at a clinic. (The play was first performed with the same company at the Oldham Coliseum, directed by Kenneth Alan Taylor, as part of the BBC/Arts Council scheme to commission new work for radio and the theatre.) Lenny: David Ross, Nurse: Jeffrey Longmore, Surgeon: Judith Barker, Anaesthetist: Ian Mercer, Malcolm: Cliff Howells, Doreen: Lesley E Bennett, Ritchie: Andrew Hay, Old: Man: Ted Morris, Jean: Lesley Nicol. Director: Caroline Smith (BBC Manchester). (Repeated on 9 September 1982)

24 May 1981:
The Soldier’s Fortune
By Thomas Otway, adapted by Peter Barnes. In this 1681 Restoration comedy, two army officers, at a loose end after the Dutch wars in 1678, seek money, sex and trouble in London while an unhappily married wife concocts a plan to reverse her fortunes. Beaugard, a captain and gentleman: Denis Quilley, Courtine, a captain: John Rowe, Lady Dunce, a married “widow”: Dilys Laye, Sylvia, a virgin: Sarah Badel, Sir Jolly Jumble, a pimp: Peter Woodthorpe, Sir Davy Dunce, a cuckold: Arthur Lowe, Fourbin: Henry Knowles, Bloody-bones: Bernard Bresslaw, First Whore: Sonia Fraser, Second Whore/Sylvia’s maid: Eve Karpf, Third Whore: Jenny Lee, Vermin: Sion Probert, Constable: Christopher Scott, Landlord/Watchman: John Bott. Music: Christopher Whelen. Director: Martin Jenkins. (Repeated on 17 December 1981 and as Radio 4’s Monday Play on 31 May 1982)

28 May 1981:
Radio Theatre 81: The Ramshackle Company
By Susan Hill. In this play for 8- to 12-year-olds, Cathy is a sad little girl with a bad leg and living in the dull town of Ramshackle-on-Sea. Then young Niko arrives with his friends in a yellow bus to shake things up. (The play was first performed at the Unicorn Theatre in London, directed by Nicholas Barter.) Niko: David Learner, Cathy: Stella Goodier, Cathy’s Mother: Pauline Letts, Mr Pennypacker: David March, Alice: Patience Tomlinson, Tiny: Geoffrey Matthews, Leo: Stephen Garlick, Monty: Trevor Cooper, Bank Manager: John Webb, Mayor: Nicholas Courtney, Magic Messenger: John Livesey. Music: Ilona Sekacz. Performed by Ilona Sekacz (piano), Helen Crayford (piano), Peter Thompson (clarinet), Alfred Rees (trombone), John Leach (kantele), Rod Willett (guitar), Peter Fry (vibraphone) and Don Lawson (percussion). Director: Richard Wortley.

31 May 1981:
The Atheist
By Thomas Otway, adapted by Peter Barnes. The last and least known play by Otway (1652-1685) is a sequel to his 1681 success The Soldier’s Fortune (see 24 May, above). In 1680 London, the unhappy marriage of Captain Courtine casts a shadow over his friend Beaugard’s current romance. Beaugard, an unattached captain and gentleman: Denis Quilley, Courtine, an unhappily married captain: John Rowe, Sylvia, a rejected wife: Sarah Badel, Porcia, a bawdy widow: Anna Massey, Lucrecia, a bawdy spinster: Diana Bishop, Daredevil, an atheist: Peter Jones, Beaugard’s Father, a bankrupt: Geoffrey Matthews, Fourbin: Henry Knowles, Mrs Furnish/Phyllis: Sonia Fraser, Theodoret: Geoffrey Collins, Gratian: Bryan Marshall, Dwarf: Danny Schiller, Chloris: Eve Karpf, First Ruffian: John Webb, Second Ruffian: Stephen Garlick, Rosano: John Livesey, Boy: David Bradshawe. Music: Christopher Whelen. Director: Martin Jenkins. (Repeated on 7 January 1982)

4 June 1981:
Radio Theatre 81: Stuffing It
By Robin Glendinning. In this comedy, liberal-minded schoolmaster Robert Brown can shut out the Troubles of 1980s Belfast in his quiet suburban home at Christmas time, until Jennifer arrives. Then sons revolt, boyfriends agitate, aunties interfere and turkeys fly. (The play was first seen at the Gate Theatre, Dublin, under the title Jennifer's Vacation). Elizabeth Brown: Valerie Lilly, Robert Brown: Harry Towb, John Brown: Michael McKnight, Jennifer Brown: Maggie Shevlin, Peter: Tony McEwan, Aunty K: Margaret D'Arcy. Director: Robert Cooper (BBC Northern Ireland). (Repeated on 15 October 1981)

6 June 1981:
By David Pownall. In this monologue, the spirit of Sonia returns in a séance in 1937 Soviet Russia to talk to her family 16 years after she walked out of their lives. Sonia: Elizabeth Bell. Director: Alfred Bradley (BBC Manchester). (Repeated on 17 July 1982 and 1 April 1983)

7 June 1981:
By James Saunders. Two birds, Joey and Tinker, happily muse about life in their cage, until a third bird is thrust upon them with unsettling ideas about freedom in an outside world of unknown terrors. (Originally staged at the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond, Surrey, in 1979.) Joey: Dinsdale Landen, Tinker: Nigel Hawthorne, Trixie: Beth Porter, The Bird who finds God: Percy Edwards. Director: Matthew Walters. (Repeat from 1 October 1980)

14 June 1981:
The Game’s a Bogey
By John McGrath with 7:84 Theatre Company (Scotland). A riotous account of the life and politics of Glasgow radical socialist John MacLean (1979-1923) and the relevance of the “Red Clydesider” to contemporary Glasgow. (Original 7:84 Theatre Company production by John McGrath.) McWilliam/Guitarist: Alex Norton, John Maclean/ McChuckemup/McBungle: Bill Paterson, Ina: Terry Cavers, Geordie/Drummer: Billy Riddoch, Lavina/Doctor: John Bott, Lachle: Alan Ford. Music: Alex Norton, Dave Anderson and Terry Neason. Performed by Dave Anderson (keyboard), Terry Neason (singer), Neil Gammock (bass) and John Cunningham (fiddle). Technical presentation: Ken Stewart, Jock Farrell and Gordon Leishman. Director: Stewart Conn. (Repeated on 22 August 1982)

18 June 1981:
Radio Theatre 81: Who Are You Anyway?
By Tom McGrath. A humorous exploration of personal identity recorded before an audience at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh. (This is the first in McGrath’s stage trilogy 1-2-3 (that continues with Very Important Person and Moondog.) One: Gregor Fisher, Two: Ron Bain, Three: Shelley Lee. Directors: Tom Kinninmont and Chris Parr. (Repeated on 8 August 1982)

20 June 1981:
Two interlinked monologues by Susan Hill. In The Girl, performed by Judi Dench, a resilient Irish girl ponders her life as a waitress and cleaner at a seaside hotel. In The Woman, performed by Peggy Ashcroft, an older guest recalls better days and higher standards of service at the same establishment. Director: Richard Wortley. (Repeated on 3 March 1982 and on 4 Extra on 19 April 2017)

21 June 1981
The Hoorigan
By James Robson. The setting of an amusement arcade, complete with pinball machines and a ramshackle ghost train, turns into something quite different as this play progresses. Archer: George A Cooper, Bungatow: Roy Barraclough, Halifax: Meg Johnson, Youth/Third Child/Jack Russell: James Laurenson, Donkeyman/Mr Cancer: Michael Tudor Barnes, Green/Mr Syphilis: Roger Philips, First Child/Christine: Kay Adshead, Second Child/Teacher: Nigel Anthony. Director: Caroline Smith (BBC Manchester)

28 June 1981:
By Robert David MacDonald. Subtitled “Figures in a Classical Landscape with Ruins”, MacDonald’s play is inspired by Diaghilev and the Ballet Russe. On holiday in Venice, the autocratic and world-weary impresario Chinchilla is longing for love and money amid the backstage drama of dancers, choreographers, designers and hangers-on. (Originally produced in 1977 by The Citizens' Theatre, Glasgow, directed by Philip Prowse.) Chinchilla: Gerard Murphy, Tancredi: Rupert Farley, Clarinda: Robert Burbage, Konstantin: John Breck, Maxim: Nofel Nawras, Mimi: Jill Spurrier, Liovka: Andrew Wilde, Ilya: Giles Havergal, Gabriel: Robert David MacDonald, Fedya: Rupert Frazer, Vatza: David Hayman, Tamara: Sian Thomas, Nina: Johanna Kirby. Director: Tom Kinninmont (BBC Scotland)

2 July 1981:
By C.P. Taylor. Loosely based on the life of the music-hall comic Walter Jackson, Taylor’s 1975 play has an ailing Walter reflecting on his complicated relationships, Jewish heritage and left-wing radicalism as he ponders playing the Clydeside revolutionary John MacLean. Walter: Peter Kelly, Doris: Anne Kristen, Joyce: Tammy Ustinov, Rickie: Joseph Greig, Ian: Peter Lincoln, Eric: Benny Young. Music arranged by Robert Pettigrew and Johnnie Phillips. Performed by Robert Pettigrew (piano), Johnnie Phillips (rhythm guitar, soprano sax), Stuart R. Smith (bass) and David Swanson (drums). Technical presentation: Tom Anderson and Ian Cowie. Director: Stewart Conn. (Repeated on 29 August 1982 and 27 September 1992)

2, 9, 16, 23, 30 July, 6, 13, 20, 25 August, 3, 11, 17, 24 September 1981
The Vision of Piers Plowman
By William Langland, translated and abridged for radio in 13 parts by Terence Tiller. Langland’s Middle English allegorical narrative poem combines theological allegory and social satire as the narrator/dreamer searches for the true Christian life. Music: Michael Berkeley. Director: Piers Plowright.

1: Middle Earth and Holy Church 
Langland: Hugh Burden, Lady Holy Church: Sonia Fraser, Angel: John Church, Long Will/Rat: Philip Sully, Mouse: Lolly Cockerell, Wise Mouse: Patrick Barr

2: The Lovers of Meed the Maiden 
Langland: Hugh Burden, Meed the Maiden: Jenny Twigge, Lady Holy Church: Sonia Fraser, Conscience: Adrian Egan, Liar: John Bott, Simony: Peter Baldwin, Theology: Patrick Barr, King: John Church

3: The Fall of Meed the Maiden 
Langland: Hugh Burden, Meed: Jenny Twigge, King/Wisdom: John Church, Conscience: Adrian Egan, Reason: Godfrey Kenton, Peace: Philip Sully, Wrong/Witty: John Bott, Honesty: Elizabeth Rider

4: The Seven Deadly Sins 
Langland: Hugh Burden, Repentance: Peter Baldwin, Pride: Elizabeth Rider Envy: John Bott, Wrath/Gluttony: Brian Carroll, Covetousness: Godfrey Kenton

5: The Coming of Piers Plowman 
Langland: Hugh Burden, Piers Plowman: Brian Glover, Sloth/Pardoner: Brian Haines, Repentance/Knight: Peter Baldwin, Vigilant: Trevor Cooper, Cutpurse: Gordon Dulieu, Confectioner: Rowena Roberts

6: [Radio Times not published]

7: Thought and Reason, Study and Learning 
William Langland, Hugh Burden, Thought: Patrick Barr, Reason: Martin Friend, Study: Sonia Fraser, Clerisy: John Church, Scripture: Josie Kidd

8: Fortune, Loyalty, Reason, Imagination 
Langland: Hugh Burden, Fortune: Sonia Fraser, Loyalty: John Church, Reason/Recklessness: Martin Friend, Imagination: Patrick Barr, Old Age: Godfrey Kenton, Trajan: Peter Baldwin, Lust of the Eyes/Lust of the Flesh: Rowena Roberts

9: Patience and the Active Man 
Langland: Hugh Burden, Patience: Trevor Cooper, Haukyn: John Bull, Conscience: Adrian Egan, Clerisy: John Church, Imagination: Patrick Barr, Master of Divinity: Leonard Fenton

10: Poverty, Reason, Charity 
Langland: Hugh Burden, Reason: Martin Friend, Piers Plowman: Brian Glover, Haukyn: John Bull, Patience: Trevor Cooper

11: Faith, Hope and Charity 
Langland: Hugh Burden, Abraham: John Bott, Moses: Leonard Fenton, Good Samaritan: Philip Sully

12: The Harrowing of Hell and the Growth of the Holy Church
Langland: Hugh Burden, Christ: Philip Sully, Abraham/Grace: John Bott, Truth: Rowena Roberts, Mercy: Maggie Shevlin, Peace: Lolly Cockerell, Righteousness: Eva Stuart, Conscience: Adrian Egan

13: Antichrist 
Langland: Hugh Burden, Grace/Nature: John Bott, Surquedry/Life: Gordon Reid, Conscience: Adrian Egan, Need: Eva Stuart, Lust: Trevor Cooper, Contrition/Old Age: Godfrey Kenton, Peace: Lolly Cockerell

5 & 12 July 1981:
The Adventures of the Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote de la Mancha
By Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, adapted in two parts by John Arden. Don Quixote dons his rusty armour, mounts his broken-down horse and sets off with Sancho Panza, his faithful squire, to put the world to rights. Eventually, having faced many dangers, he is challenged by the Knight of the Mirrors. 

Part 1
Don Quixote: Bob Grant Sancho Panza: Bernard Cribbins, Cervantes: Ronald Baddiley, Moor: Geoffrey Banks, Innkeeper: Kenneth Alan Taylor, Fr Perez: David Sumner, Barber Surgeon: Peter Wheeler, Housekeeper: Kathleen Helme, Antonia: Kate Lee, Dorothea: Linda Gardner, Market Boy: Alan Parnaby, Serjeant: Alan Meadows, Don Fernando: Simon Molloy, Aldonza: Meg Johnson.

Part 2
Don Quixote: Bob Grant, Sancho Panza: Bernard Cribbins, Cervantes: Ronald Baddiley, Duke: Russell Dixon, Samson: Stephen Boxer, Fr Perez: David Sumner, Barber-Surgeon: Peter Wheeler, Antonia: Kate Lee, Housekeeper: Kathleen Helme, Teresa Panza: Paula Tilbrook, Altisidora: Harriet Walter, Scholar: Malcolm Hebden, Puppet Master: Ken Campbell, Duchess: Judith Arthy, Veiled Lady: Anne Reid, Steward: John McGregor. Music: Stephen Boxer. Director: Alfred Bradley (BBC Manchester). (Repeat from Radio 4’s Monday Play on 29 September & 6 October 1980. Also on Radio 7 on 23 & 30 March 2008 and on 4 Extra in March 2010, July 2011, March 2013, February 2015 and May 2016)

8 July 1981:
By Michael Burrell. Set in Spandau Prison, where Rudolf Hess was sent after the Nuremburg Trials, the play imagines what Hitler’s deputy might say to an audience about himself, the Third Reich and the world we have created since then. Hess: Michael Burrell. Guard: Sion Probert. Director: John Tydeman. (Repeated as Radio 4’s Afternoon Play on 6 September 1987)

9 July 1981:
Kate of Heilbronn
By Heinrich von Kleist, translated by Peter Tegel. Set in Swabia in the Middle Ages, Kleist’s 1807 play features a blacksmith’s daughter besotted by a noble count in a fairy tale-like plot involving knights, ladies, witches, angels and remarkable coincidences. Kate: Janet Maw, Theobald Friedeborn: Nigel Stock, Kunigunde von Thurneck: Margaret Robertson, The Nurse: Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies, The Emperor: Robert Eddison, Friedrich Wetter, Count von Strahl: David Buck, Count Otto von der Fluhe: Godfrey Kenton, Wenzel von Nachtheim: Denys Hawthorne, Flammberg: Michael McStay Maximilian, Baron von Freiburg: Michael Spice, Georg von Waldstatten: Haydn Wood, Charcoal Burner: Brian Haines, His son: Nigel Greaves, Rosalie: Diana Bishop, Countess Helena: Catherine Parr, Count von Stein: Alexander John, Eginhardt von der Wart: Gordon Reid, Gottschalk: John Bott, Lord of Thurneck: Sion Probert, Kunigunde’s Aunt: Peggy Paige, Eleonore: Amanda Murray. Music composed and conducted by David Cain. Technical presentation: David Greenwood. Director: Ian Cotterell. (Repeated on 25 April 1982)

16 July 1981:
Seeing Mr Waddilow
By Lesley Bruce. Paralysed after a stroke, Mr Waddilow from the Financing Department receives a series of visits in hospital from Miss Quennell, which gradually prove far from helpful. Miss Quennell: Elizabeth Spriggs, Mr Waddilow: Alan Dudley. Director: Ian Cotterell

19 July 1981:
The Great Jowett
By Graham Greene. Greene’s only original piece for radio chronicles the life of eccentric Oxford don Benjamin Jowett (1817-93), who would become Master of Balliol and Vice-Chancellor. It was first produced and narrated by Stephen Potter for the BBC on 6 May 1939. Benjamin Jowett: Alan Bennett, Dean Stanley, the narrator: David Markham, Matthew Knight: Brian Carroll, Algernon Swinburne: Andrew Branch, T. H. Green/Griggs: Leonard Fenton, Dr Peel/Paine: Anthony Hyde, Dr Ross/Matthew Arnold: Brian Haines, Professor Smith/Foster: Godfrey Kenton, Vice-Chancellor/Dr Scott: Michael Goldie, Plumber/ Archbishop: Christopher Scott, Mrs Sparks: Lolly Cockerell, Miss Knight: Josie Kidd. Director: Brian Wright. (Repeat from 23 September 1980)

30 July 1981:
Dialogue Between Friends
By Eva Figes. A conversation between George Sand and Gustave Flaubert, based on their correspondence, which began when Flaubert was 40 and Sand 57, and only ended when Sand died in 1876. George Sand: Rosemary Leach, Gustave Flaubert: Michael Byrne. Producer: Pat Trueman. (Repeated on 1 January 1982)

31 July 1981:
By Knut Hamsun, translated and dramatised for radio from the 1890 novel by Robert Ferguson. A young man living in Christiania makes a pact with destiny: to succeed as a writer or starve. Narrator: Stephen Rea, Old Man: Cyril Shaps, Scissors: Christopher Scott, Editor: Alan Dudley, Boy: David Bradshawe, Cake Lady: Judy Franklin, Marie: Amanda Murray, Constable: John Livesey, Sergeant: Patrick Barr, Pawnbroker: Alexander John. Director: Anthony Vivis. (Repeated on 14 February 1982)

[Radio Times covering 1-7 August was not published]

9 August 1981:
By Martin Walser, translated from the German by Steve Gooch. Eminent novelist Fritz Farber hasn’t written anything during seven years of a happy marriage, but then his wife leaves. While hiring a private eye to shadow her, he broods at his home on the north shore of Lake Constance with Mount Santis dominating the landscape. Frau Grubel: Jill Balcon, Thassilo S Grubel: Crawford Logan, Fritz Farber: Richard Leech, Nuntia/Biddie Grubel: Lolly Cockerell, Gertrud Hotz: Diane Fletcher, Peter Streich: Graham Faulkner, Joe Keckeisen: Christopher Biggins, Liss Lobkowitsch: Rowena Roberts. Guitars: Robert Greenfield and Trevor Beales. Director: Anton Gill. (Repeat from 12 October 1980)

12 August 1981:
By Jiri Antonin Benda and Friedrich Wilhelm Gotter with English text by Richard Luckett. A 1775 melodrama in one act, by the Czech composer and German librettist, about the revenge of the dispossessed Queen of Corinth. This musical form of “melodrama” features highly descriptive music, which anticipates or unfolds simultaneously with speeches. Narrator: John Livesey, Medea: Barbara Jefford, Jason: John Turner, Children: Jane Knowles, Christine Absalom, Tutor: John Rye. Music: Jiri Antonin Benda. Academy of Ancient Music. Music leader: Catherine Mackintosh. Conductor: Christopher Hogwood. Producers: Clive Bennett and Ian Cotterell. (Repeated on 20 March 1982 and 21 April 1985)

19 August 1981:
By Ken Gass. An experimental piece by the Canadian playwright, which explores the meaning of terror, from a child's fear of the dark to the horrifying forms of suffering and blackmail produced by today’s terrorists. Gass, a key figure in Canadian theatre, also founded the influential Factory Theatre in 1970 and the Canadian Rep Theatre in 1983. Performed by Sean Arnold, Peter Barker, Patrick Barr, Diana Bishop, Nicholas Courtney, Alan Dudley, Judy Franklin, Malcolm Hayes, Kathryn Hurlbutt, Alexander John, Sophie Kind, Jane Knowles, Jenny Lee, Patricia Leventon, Elizabeth Lindsay, Karl Lines, John Livesey, John McAndrew, Stuart Milligan, Amanda Murray, Olivier Pierre, Sion Probert, Martin Read, Jayn Rosamund, John Rye, Valerie Sarruf, Christopher Scott, Cyril Shaps, Jenny Silverthorne, Michael Spice, David Timson, John Webb, Haydn Wood. Technical presentation on location and in the studio by Lloyd Silverthorne, Cedric Johnson and Julia Walther. Director: Richard Wortley. (Repeated on 1 April 1982)

23 August 1981:
Little Secrets
By David Marshall. The homely peace of a suburban garden in summer hides some outlandish secrets for a middle-class couple in this self-styled “off-white” comedy. Nigel: Geoffrey Palmer, Julia: Annette Crosbie, Major: Jack May, Pam: Sylvestra Le Touzel. Director: Richard Wortley. (Repeat from 8 August 1980)

30 August 1981:
In Parenthesis
By David Jones, adapted for radio by Douglas Cleverdon. This “experiment in writing” was prompted by what the writer saw and felt as an infantryman in the London Welsh Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers, on the Western Front during the winter of 1915-16. Cleverdon’s adaptation was first heard on the Third Programme on 13 December 1946. This later production was first broadcast on the Third Programme on 30 January 1955, using Dylan Thomas’s performance from a 1948 production. Private John Ball: Richard Burton, Private Dai Evans: Dylan Thomas, Pte Bill Crower: Carleton Hobbs, Pte John Watcyn: Daffyd Havard, Pte Nobby Clarke: Arthur Williams, Pie Saunders: Denys Graham, Pte Earnshaw: Stephen Jack, Pte Thomas: David Enders, Pte Float: Jonathan Field, L/Cpl Lewis: Brinley Jenkins, Cpl Quilter: Philip Cunningham, Sgt Snell: Robert Marsden, Second-Lieut Jenkins: Leonard Sachs, Capt Gwyn: Ivan Samson, Narrative of Action: James McKechnie, Narrative of Thought: Frank Duncan, Narrative of Memory: Christopher Rhodes, Narrative of Memory: Neville Hartley. With Dasil Jones, Ernest Jay, Dillwyn Owen and Julian Orde. Music: Elizabeth Poston, performed by a section of the Philharmonia Orchestra and the Schola Polyphonica, conducted by Henry Washington. Producer: Douglas Cleverdon

3 September 1981:
Matter Permitted
By Nick Dear. The first radio play by prolific playwright Nick Dear finds Alan, who may have been a BBC announcer, receiving psychiatric help as he rebels against a dishonest world while believing his words are being broadcast wherever he is. Alan: Hugh Dickson, Terry: Heather Bell, Doctor: Denys Hawthorne, Old Lady: Peggy Paige, Bill: John Church. Director: Richard Wortley. (Repeat from 24 October 1980)

6 September 1981:
Heart to Heart
By James Robson. The acid comments of a bogus preacher lead to tragedy amongst a motley collection of passengers on board an Inter-City night-time express from Glasgow. E.A. Jessop: Harold Innocent, Mrs Pollitt: Eva Stuart, John Fairlie: Gordon Reid, Marion MacDonald: Jenny Lee, Helen, her sister: Elaine Collins, Mrs Smith: Diana Bishop, Mr Smith: John Bott, Hackett: Sion Probert, Pringle: Brian Carroll, Garratty: Christopher Scott, Wheeler: Nigel Greaves, Anderson: Leonard Fenton, Liz: Sandra Clark. Director: Martin Jenkins. (Repeat from 6 November 1980)

13 September 1981:
A monologue by David Buck, adapted from the 1976 novel by Robert Nye. In his dotage, Sir John Falstaff reflects on his life and loves and the horrors of the Battle of Agincourt and the capture of Joan of Arc. Sir John Falstaff: David Buck. Director: John Tydeman. (Repeated on 1 August 1982)

16 September 1981:
Majorana: Disappearance of a Physicist 
By Leonardo Sciascia, translated and adapted by Gabriel Josipovici and Sacha Rabinovitch. In this “enquiry”, the Italian novelist Leonardo Sciascia contends that a brilliant young physicist, Ettore Majorana, did not commit suicide in 1938, as is widely believed, but instead retreated to a convent rather than contribute to the development of an atomic bomb. Leonardo Sciascia: Peter Jeffrey, Ettore Majorana: Tim Woodward. With Cyril Shaps, John Rye, Malcolm Hayes, George Parsons, John Livesey, Margaret Robertson, Pauline Letts, Giancarlo Ciccone, Enrico Verdecchia and Anna Maria Grecas. Musique concrete: Elizabeth Parker of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Producer: Richard Keen. (Repeated on 12 January 1982)

19, 20, 25, 26, 27, 29 September, 1 October 1981
Barnes People
Seven monologues for radio by Peter Barnes. Director: Ian Cotterell

1: Confessions of a Primary Terrestrial Mental Receiver and Communicator: Num III Mark I
A seemingly dull suburban man finds meaning in his belief that he is part of a greater plan conceived by aliens with whom he is in covert correspondence. Edward Charles Lilly: Alec Guinness. (Repeated on 24 May 1982 and 2 April 1984)

2: The Jumping Mimuses of Byzantium 
Maya, an ageing saint of the early Christian church, finds his life of faith and voluntary poverty enriched by an incident that plants a sacred seed of doubt. Winner of a 1981 Giles Cooper Award. Maya: John Clements. (Repeated on 27 May 1982 and 15 June 1988)

3: Yesterday's News
A 113-year-old woman tells an interviewer about her calmly scurrilous life. Anna: Peggy Ashcroft. (Repeated on 23 May 1982)

4: The End of the World and After
Preacher William Miller amasses a large following by predicting that Christ’s Second Coming will occur in 1844. William Miller: Leo McKern. (Repeated on 26 May 1982)

5: The Theory and Practice of Belly-Dancing
Alison finds ways to survive the everyday. Alison: Dilys Laye. (Repeated on 25 May 1982)

6: Glory
Peregrinus Proteus, an Ancient Greek philosopher famous for parricide, delivers his final oration before stepping on to his own funeral pyre. Peregrinus Proteus: John Gielgud. (Repeated on 22 May 1982 and 14 April 1984)

7: Rosa
Dr Rosa Hamilton: Judi Dench (Repeated on 28 May 1982)

20 September 1981:
The Mortification
By Barry Bermange. An employee of 20 years’ standing is suddenly moved from office to office without explanation, which leads to two sinister encounters and a final humiliation. First broadcast on the BBC World Service on 25 February 1980. (A Third Programme production with Marius Goring was first heard on 3 April 1964.) Victim: Cyril Shaps, Guide: Hugh Dickson, First Caller: David March, Second Caller: John Forgeham. Director: Dickon Reed

24 September 1981:
Outside the Jeweller’s
By Karol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II), translated by Boleslaw Taborski. Written in the late 1950s, this is a dramatised meditation on marriage, love, bereavement and hope as it follows the marital fortunes of three interrelated couples across two generations. Teresa: Maureen O'Brien, Andrew: David Timson, Anna: Barbara Jefford, Stephan: Denys Hawthorne, Monica: Janet Maw, Christopher: Michael Maloney, Adam: Nigel Hawthorne, Jeweller: Godfrey Kenton, With Patrick Barr, Diana Bishop, Brian Carroll, John Church, Lolly Cockerell, Alexander John, Michael McStay, Amanda Murray. Director: John Theocharis. (Repeat from 28 September 1980 and as Radio 4’s Monday Play on 26 April 1982)

27 September 1981:
The Blue Dress
By William Trevor. Middle-aged, truth-obsessed journalist Terris falls in love with the youthful Dorothea, but he can’t help probing her perfect-seeming family. (Also adapted for BBC Two on 2 December 1983 with Denholm Elliott and Virginia McKenna.) Terris: David Burke, Dr Lysarth: Malcolm Hayes, Mrs Lysarth: Pauline Letts, Dorothea, their daughter: Elizabeth Proud, Jonathan and Adam, their twin sons: Stephen Garlick and David Timson, Agnes Kemp: Susan Sheridan. Director: John Tydeman. (Repeated on 11 February 1982 and as Radio 4’s Monday Play on 16 March 1985)

1 October 1981:
Clara’s Play
By John Olive. During an August heatwave in 1915, a drunken Norwegian handyman brings company and entertainment into the life of Clara, the ageing spinster owner of a small, isolated farmhouse near a lake in Southern Minnesota. Clara O’Keefe: Faith Brook, Sverre: Geoffrey Matthews, First Boy: William Scott Bramer, Second Boy: Gregory Pettengill, Third Boy: Christopher Altman, Sheriff Olson: Garrick Hagon, Fr Dorneski: Stuart Milligan. Director: Richard Wortley. (Repeated on 30 May 1982)

4, 11, 18, 25 October 1981:
Gulliver’s Travels
By Jonathan Swift, dramatised in four parts by Michael Bakewell. Music composed and conducted by Humphrey Searle. Technical presentation: Janet Mitchell (Parts 1 & 2), Carol McShane (Parts 1 & 3), Diana Barkham (Parts 1-4), Jock Farrell (Part 2 & 4) and David Greenwood (Parts 3 & 4). Directors: Ronald Mason (Parts 1 & 4), David Hitchinson (Parts 2 & 3)

1: A Voyage to Lilliput 
Lemuel Gulliver, ship's surgeon, is shipwrecked in 1699 in the South Seas and finds himself in a land peopled by human creatures not above six inches high. Gulliver: Frank Finlay, Marsi: Andrew Sachs, Clefrin: Anthony Daniels, Reldresal: Peter Woodthorpe, The Emperor of Lilliput: Stephen Thorne, A Considerable Person: William Fox, The Hurgo: Michael Spice, The Empress: Pauline Letts, Bolgolam: Patrick Barr, Emperor of Blefuscu: Godfrey Kenton, Flimnap: Gordon Reid, Capt Biddel: Sean Arnold, Lilliputians: Leonard Fenton, John McAndrew, Jonathan Swift: Denys Hawthorne. (Repeated on 20 May 1982)

2: A Voyage to Brobdingnag 
Gulliver is marooned in Brobdingnag, where the people are as tall as church steeples. He battles physically and philosophically to survive and wonders how he can escape. Gulliver: Frank Finlay, King of Brobdingnag: William Rushton, Glumdalclitch: Miriam Margolyes, The Cat, the Rat and the Monkey: Percy Edwards, The Queen: Margot Boyd, Farmer: Michael Spice, Farmer’s Son: John McAndrew, Farmer's Wife: Pauline Letts, Nurse: Kathryn Hurlbutt, Town Crier: Leonard Fenton, Usher: Sean Arnold, Scholar: Godfrey Kenton, Dwarf: Gordon Reid, Maid: Amanda Murray, Capt Wilcocks: Patrick Barr, Jonathan Swift: Denys Hawthorne. (Repeated on 27 May 1982)

3: A Voyage to Laputa, Balntbarbi, Glubbdubdrib, Lnggnagg and Japan 
Alone on a deserted island, Gulliver sees the flying island of Laputa, peopled by a ruling class of theorists, which is gradually destroying the order of life in the lands below with their impractical, quite extraordinary ideas. Gulliver: Frank Finlay, The Warden of the Academy: Spike Milligan, Munodi: Nigel Stock, Chief Astronomer: Norman Rodway, Tutor: John Rye, Courtier: Anthony Daniels, Physician: Douglas Storm, Professor: Martin Friend, Dutch Pirate: Sean Arnold, Emperor of Japan: Gordon Reid, King of Luggnagg: Godfrey Kenton, Governor of Glubbdubdrib: Patrick Barr, Homer: Leonard Fenton, Projector: Michael Spice, Woman: Pauline Letts, Pupil: John McAndrew, Jonathan Swift: Denys Hawthorne. (Repeated on 3 June 1982)

4: A Voyage to the Country of the Houyhnhnms
Gulliver's crew mutiny, seize the ship and put him ashore in a strange land ruled by highly intelligent and articulate horses and where he finds the most disagreeable human creatures, Yahoos. Gulliver: Frank Finlay, The Master: Robert Stephens, The Sorrel Nag: Bryan Pringle, The Mare: Jill Balcon, Welch: John McAndrew, Old Steed: Godfrey Kenton, Captain Don Pedro: Michael Spice. Yahoos: Sean Arnold, Kathryn Hurlbutt, Houyhnhnms: Amanda Murray, Patrick Barr, Leonard Fenton, Gordon Reid, Jonathan Swift: Denys Hawthorne. (Repeated on 10 June 1982)

8 October 1981:
Pericles, Prince of Tyre
By William Shakespeare. The medieval poet Gower relates the adventures, sufferings and wanderings of Pericles, the young prince buffeted by fate, driven from country to country and separated from his wife and baby daughter. Pericles: Tim Pigott-Smith, Marina: Angharad Rees, Simonides: Michael Aldridge, Gower: David March, Dionyza: Carole Boyd, Thaisa: Sheila Grant, Lysimachus: Robert Morris, Antiochus: Nicholas Courtney, Helicanus: Richard Hurndall, Cleon: Manning Wilson, The Bawd: Eva Stuart, Boult: Stephen Thorne, Pandar: Jonathan Scott, Thaliard: Christopher Scott, The Goddess Diana: Jane Knowles, Lychorida: Polly March, Fishermen: Peter Baldwin, John Livesey, Haydn Wood, Leonine: John Webb, Servant: John McAndrew, Philemon: Spencer Banks, Pirate: Mark Eldridge. Music: Nick Bicat. Director: David Spenser. (Repeated on 3 October 1982)

11, 14,18, 21, 25 & 28 October 1981:
39 and Counting
Six comic playlets by Colin McLaren. Charles: Dinsdale Landen, Ann: Hannah Gordon, Commentator: Michael Hordern. Producer: Louise Purslow. (Repeated on 28 & 29 August, 4, 5, 11, & 12 September 1982)

1: Re-cycling
2: On the Road to Damascus
3: A Little Latin 
4: Food of Love
5: 39 and Counting
6: Picture at an Exhibition 

20 October 1981:
Memoirs of an Amorous Woman
By Ihara Saikaku, translated by Ivan Morris and adapted for radio by Catherine Dolan. Based on a 1686 Japanese novel, this is a series of stories related by an old lady, once a great courtesan, detailing her social decline over the years. Old Lady: Catherine Dolan. Other parts played by Rosalind Adams, Diana Bishop, Gary Cady, Sonia Fraser, Clifford Norgate, Theresa Streatfield, Haydn Wood and George Parsons. Music: Terence Allbright. Director: David Spenser

22 October 1981:
Death in Trieste
By Frederic Raphael. A classics schoolmaster takes his annual holiday in Italy, which brings back memories, hopes and disappointments. Narrator: John Bennett, Gilbert Sage: Norman Rodway , Janny Mortimer: Kara Wilson, James Mortimer: Stephen Raphael, Mungo Mortimer: John Rye, MacGlashan: Stephen Garlick, Roger Hopkinson: Toby Robertson, Hugo Transom: Daniel Brown, Cobbold: William Tollemache, Frances: Anna Carteret, Mario: Alfredo Michelson, Harry Dribbs: Alexander John. Director: Anthony Moncrieff. (Repeated on 21 February 1982)

29 October 1981:
A Night to Make the Angels Weep
By Peter Terson. In Terson’s 1964 play, Bernard Saxon, the squire of an estate in a remote Worcestershire village, hires “two mighty hunters” to develop and protect his estate, but finds himself unwittingly caught up in an increasingly macabre situation. Dezzel: John Rowe, Herbo: Danny Schiller, Bernard Saxon: Peter Jeffrey, Vanessa, his daughter: Kathryn Hurlbutt, Clare, his sister: Diana Bishop, Dig: Anthony Jackson, Sin: Spencer Banks. Director: Martin Jenkins. (Repeated on 23 September 1982)

5 November 1981:
The Mighty Reservoy
By Peter Terson. In this 1964 play, Dron, who looks after a recently built reservoir near a Worcestershire village, believes an impending disaster will only be prevented if the reservoir is provided with a sacrificial offering. He shares his fears and secrets with Church, a relative newcomer to the village. Dron: Nigel Stock, Church: Gordon Reid. Director: Martin Jenkins. (Repeated on 26 September 1982)

8 November 1981:
By Ian Weir. In his first play for radio, the Canadian playwright, screenwriter and novelist lightheartedly imagines a meeting between Attila the Hun and his “old friend” Alaric the Visigoth. Why has Attila made this unexpected visit with an unnecessarily large retinue? Alaric the Visigoth: Michael Bryant, Attila the Hun: Glyn Owen. Villagers: Christine Absalom, Spencer Banks, Nicholas Courtney, Jane Knowles, Crawford Logan, Christopher Scott, Michael Spice, Theresa Streatfield, David Timson, Patience Tomlinson and Christopher Page (lyre). Director: Glyn Dearman. (Repeated on 30 September 1982)

12 November 1981:
Under Milk Wood
By Dylan Thomas. This revival of Thomas’s celebrated 1954 “play for voices”, first heard on Radio 4 on 17 & 23 November 1978, was recorded in quadraphonic sound. First Voice: Glyn Houston, Second Voice: Petra Davies, The Rev Eli Jenkins: Aubrey Richards, Captain Cat: Gerald James, Polly Garter: Nerys Hughes, Rosie Probert/Mrs Beynon: Elizabeth Morgan, Mog Edwards/Ocky Milk-man: Henry Knowles, Myfanwy Price/Mrs Willy Nilly: Jennifer Piercey, Mr Waldo/Organ Morgan/ Lord Cut-Glass: John Griffiths, Mrs Ogmore-Pritchard/Mrs Organ Morgan: Mary Jones, Mr Ogmore/Willy Nilly: Sion Probert, Mr Pritchard/Butcher Beynon: Anthony Hall, Gossamer Beynon: Shirley King, Utah Watkins/Mr Push: Talfryn Thomas Mrs Utah Watkins/Mrs Cherry Owen: Jennifer Hill, Atilla Rees/Cherry Owen: Derek Pollitt, Lily Smalls: Jan Edwards, Mae Rose-Cottage: Elizabeth Revill, Mary Ann Sailors: Christine Pollon, Dai Bread/Sinbad Sailors: David Barry, Nogood Boyo: John Francis, Mrs Pugh: Heather Bell, Mrs Dai Bread One/Bessie Bighead: Patricia Mort Mrs Dai Bread Two: Jo Manning Wilson, Gwennie: Sharon Morgan. Songs set by Daniel Jones and Bobby Campbell (accordion. Musical director: Neil Rhoden (piano). Recorded in quadraphonic sound by Adrian Bevill with Michael Black and Prudence Menmuir. Directors: Gerry Jones and Ian Cotterell

15 November 1981:
The Singer
By Frank Wedekind, adapted by Peter Barnes In Wedekind’s 1987 comedy (originally called The Court Singer), an adored Wagnerian tenor is hounded by rapacious art lovers and would-be artists as he struggles to convince them that he is as much a wage slave as any factory worker and that monetary values prevail even in the glamorous world of opera. Gerardo: Alec McCowen, Isabel: Kathryn Hurlbutt, Professor Duhring: Peter Woodthorpe, Helen: Dilys Laye, Valet: John Rye, Hotel Manager: Alan Dudley, Page Boy: Stephen Garlick, Page Boy: David Bradshawe, Pianist: Terence Allbricht, Director: Ian Cotterell. (Repeated on 5 August 1982)

19 November 1981:
Moby Dick
By Herman Melville, dramatised by Henry Reed. This 1979 quadraphonic production uses Henry Reed’s Third Programme dramatisation (first heard on 26 January 1947 with Ralph Richardson as Captain Ahab). Captain Ahab: Colin Blakely, Ishmael: Philip Sully, Fr Mapple: Marius Goring, Starbuck: Malcolm Hayes, Pip: Adam Godley, Stubb: Sean Barrett, Flask: John Hollis, Captain Peleg: Geoffrey Matthews, Elijah: Lewis Stringer, The Manxman: Bill Monks, Queequeg: Mark Heath, Captain Mayhew: Denys Hawthorne, Captain Gardiner: Manning Wilson, Fedallah: Saeed Jaffrey, Tashtego: Danny Schiller, Daggoo: Roger Hammond, Doughboy: Andrew Branch, Archy: Tim Bentinck, Cabaco: John Bull. Music: Antony Hopkins, performed by the BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra and BBC Northern Singers, conducted by Antony Hopkins. Recorded in quadraphonic sound by Adrian Revill, Prudence Menmuir and Derek Horsman. Directors: John Tydeman and Ian Cotterell. (Repeat from Radio 4 production on 2 & 7 February 1979. Also on 17 August 1987)

23 November 1981:
The Battle of Maldon
By Menzies McKillop. This play draws directly from the Anglo-Saxon poem about the Battle of Maldon, when the men of Essex failed to repulse a raid by the Vikings in 991. Byrhtnoth: Nigel Anthony, Aelfflaed: Diana Olsson, The Raven: Robert Trotter. Director: Stewart Conn (BBC Scotland). (Repeated on 18 March 1982)

26 November 1981:
Richard III – Part Two
By David Pownall. This 1978 quadraphonic production of Pownall’s play features the cast of the original 1977 Paines Plough theatre company production. It explores whether history can be re-written when it’s being lived as we shift from George Orwell at the BBC in 1948 to the dystopian future of his novel 1984 and the court of Richard III in 1484. George Orwell/Richard III: Stephen Boxer, Elizabeth Woodville: Fiona Victory, Chrysostom: Joe Marcell, Cecily Neville/Edward: Harriet Walter, Louise/Richard, Duke of York: Diana Kyle, Francis Lovell/King Louis: Eric Richard, George McMasters/Warwick/ King Edward/Henry Tudor: Robert Mclntosh. Announcer: John Adams. Music: Stephen Boxer, Director: Ian Cotterell. (Repeat from 2 July 1978)

28 November 1981:
Talk of Love and War
By Don Haworth. In a rickety hut during the Second World War, two young pilots make light of their dangerous missions, but one is not allowed to forget the penalties of war. Winner of a Giles Cooper Award. Tom: William Nighy, James: Hugh Ross. Director: Richard Wortley. (Repeated on 6 February 1983 and as Radio 4’s Afternoon Play on 30 March 1985. Also on Radio 7 on 1 May 2005 and 14 May 2006)

3 December 1981:
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: 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 2 May 1977)

6 December 1981:
The Mist People
By David Pownall. Three mutually dependent down-and-outs are shaken when the youngest begins to hear voices telling him to start a new life. He is determined to return to his native Ireland but can't decide who should go with him. Paddy: Gerard Mannix Flynn, Cyril: Ronald Baddiley, Bob: Freddie Jones, Waitress: Paula Tilbrook, Ice Cream Man: John Jardine. Director: Alfred Bradley (BBC Manchester). (Repeat from 3 March 1983)

10 December 1981:
By Henry Reed. In this Third Programme production of Reed’s tragi-comedy, first heard on 30 March 1955, we follow the 16th-century love life of Vincenzo Gonzaga, Prince of Mantua, from his dalliances as a young prince to his final infatuation with a Neapolitan opera singer. Vincenzo Gonzaga: Hugh Burden, The Duke of Mantua, his father: Newton Blick, The Duchess Leonora of Austria: Mary O’Farrell, Barbara Sanseverino: Margaretta Scott, Ippolita Torelli: Rachel Gurney, Agnese del Caretto: Barbara Couper, Adriana Basile: Marjorie Westbury, Elena: Molly Lawson, Margherita Farnese: Gwen Cherrell, Ranuccio, her brother, as a boy: Glyn Dearman, Ranuccio as man: Derek Hart, Carlo Borromeo: Neville Hartley, Eleonora de Medici: Barbara Lott, Francesco de Medici: Norman Shelley, Bianca Capello: Gladys Young, Silvio Gonzaga: Denise Bryer, Gianfrancesco Sanvitale: Frank Duncan, Marcello Donati: Robert Marsden, A Florentine Mother: Cecile Chevreau. Music: Monteverdi Frescobaldi and other Mantuan composers, conducted by Denis Stevens. With April Cantelo (soprano), Desmond Dupre (lute), Charles Spinks (harpsichord and organ) and the Ambrosian Singers Instrumental Ensemble led by Neville Marriner. Director: Douglas Cleverdon. (Also on 13 May & 20 December 1955)

13 December 1981:
Rivers to Cross
By David Zane Mairowitz. Polanowski came to Britain from America 20 years ago and thought he had been accepted by the English. But one night he's made to realise that he's an alien with no rights at all. Polanowski: Robin Ellis, Marjorie: Diana Bishop, Bryant: David Daker, Man from the Home Office/ Solicitor: Paul Chapman, Kracauer: Czeslaw Grocholski, Jones: Alan Igbon. With Alan Dudley, Philip Fox, Ronald Herdman, John Livesey, Moti Makan, George Parsons, Michael Spice, Haydn Wood and Theresa Streatfield. Director: Jane Morgan. (Repeated on 30 January 1983)

20 December 1981:
A Dream of Beltane
By Robert Forrest. Alison is a 16th-century tinker lass who enjoys telling stories and making love, but when she practises both arts on the king she is accused of witchcraft. Alison Aird: Maureen Carr, Tarn Fisher: Ron Bain, James Stewart, King of Scots: Benny Young, Sir James Hamilton of Kincavel: Alec Heggie, Brother Matthew: Michael Elder, Rab Cowan: Jimmy Yuill, Daw Nicol: Charles Kearney, Ellie Duncan: Monica Brady, Alec Sutton: Gerard Slevin. Director: Tom Kinninmont (BBC Scotland). (Repeated on 7 November 1982)

22, 24, 26, 28, 30 December 1981 & 1 January 1982:
Ivor Cutler and…
A second series of sketches with the Scottish poet, songwriter and humourist (1923-2006). Producer: Piers Plowright. (Repeated on 30 October, 6, 13, 20, 27 November & 4 December 1982)

1: Ivor Cutler and a Barber
In which Ivor is given “a Brancusi” by Bill Wallis. 

2: Ivor Cutler and a Paper Seller
In which Ivor discusses the freedom of the press with Bill Wallis.

3: Ivor Cutler and a Storeman
In which Ivor sorts through various tins of screws and makes a pass at Molly.

4: Ivor and a Small Holder
In which Ivor is shown the smallest holding in the world by Bill Wallis.

5: A Miner is approached by Ivor Cutler
In which Ivor learns the mysteries of the mine side by side with Bill Wallis

6: A Sheet Metal Worker is Approached by Ivor Cutler
In which Ivor wishes to make a swing door for his kitchen (with advice from Bill Wallis).

27 December 1981:
Maurice Now
By Alan McMurtrie. While Maurice, a once successful young concert pianist, is rehearsing for his comeback, his past comes back to challenge him. (McMurtrie’s play was originally titled Keys.) Maurice, now: Hugh Burden, Maurice, then: John Wheatley, His Mother: Carole Boyd, Mr Evans: Sion Probert. Music: arranged and played by Terence Allbright. Director: Christopher Venning

31 December 1981:
The Constant Couple
By George Farquhar, adapted by Raymond Raikes. Farquhar, best known for The Recruiting Officer and The Beaux Stratagem, first enjoyed success with this 1699 comedy in which Lady Lurewell inflicts maximum embarrassment on her many would-be suitors while Sir Harry Wildair is misled into thinking a virtuous lady is a woman of easy virtue. (This production was first heard on Network Three on 9 June 1967.) Sir Harry Wildair: Alec Clunes, Vizard, a villainous debauchee: John Gabriel, Footman to Lady Darling: Nigel Clayton, Smuggler, an old merchant: Norman Shelley, Standard, a disbanded colonel: John Wyse, Lady Lurewell, a lady of jilting temper: Avice Landon, Parly, her maid: Jo Manning Wilson, James, servant to Lady Lurewell: Ian Thompson, Ladv Darling, mother to Angelica: Fabia Drake, Angelica, a young woman of honour: Carol Marsh. Director: Music: Thomas Eastwood. Performed by the New Symphony Orchestra of London, conducted by Kenneth Alwyn. Director: Raymond Raikes. (Also heard on 25 June 1967 and as Radio 4’s Sunday Play on 21 February 1971)


31 March 1981:
A portrait of the Wiltshire Poet Alfred Williams (1877-1930), written and narrated by John Wells, with Timothy West as Alfred Williams. The poet was a farmhand who became a railway steamhammer operator, taught himself Greek, Latin and Sanskrit, wrote a definitive account of the railway works and published volumes of poetry, collections of folk songs and translations of traditional Indian fables. Recorded on location in and around Swindon by Lloyd Silverthorne. Director: Martin Jenkins. Producer: Margaret Windham. (Repeated on 18 July 1981)

9 May 1981:
A Man Apart
A portrait of Gustave Flaubert in his last ten years (1870-80), compiled by Joanna Richardson from the words of his friends and contemporaries. Flaubert: Denis Quilley, Emil Zola: John Rye, Ivan Turgenev/Ernest Renan: Godfrey Kenton, Guy de Maupassant: John Levitt, Princess Mathilde: Sonia Fraser, Claudius Popelin: Peter Forest, Edmond du Goncourt: John Bott, Anatole France: John Livesey, Alphonse Daudet: Geoffrey Beevers, Madame Daudet: Eve Karpf, Henry James: David Bradshawe, Maxime du Camp: David March. Director: Piers Plowright. (Repeat from 29 December 1980)

19 May 1981:
Biographer and Actor
Michael Holroyd looks at the early career of Hesketh Pearson as an actor and his introduction to the profession by the witty actor-manager Beerbohm Tree. Readers: Alan Dudley and Nickolas Grace. Producer: Brian Miller (BBC Bristol) (Repeated on 14 August 1981)

26 May 1981:
This Dishonourable and Unprecedented Transaction
(Or how Wellington’s career as a general was almost destroyed by the press before it was properly begun). Compiled and presented by Michael Glover with Martin Jarvis as Sir Arthur Wellesley and Bob Docherty, Alexander John, Derek Pollitt, Sion Probert, Geoffrey Rose and Cyril Shaps. Producer: Piers Plowright

27 May 1981:
The Conversion of John Arden
Ronald Hayman reflects on the career of playwright John Arden (1930-2012), whose plays include Serjeant Musgrave’s Dance (1959) and Armstrong’s Last Goodnight (1963) and which offered a distinctive combination of verse, prose and politics. His 1978 radio play Pearl won a Giles Cooper Award. Contributors: John Arden, Margaretta D’Arcy, Lindsay Anderson and Stuart Bunce. Producer: Richard Ellis. (Repeat from 25 August 1980)

28 May 1981:
No Regards to Broadway
The Missouri-born playwright Lanford Wilson, winner of the 1980 Pulitzer Prize for Talley’s Folly, talks with Philip French about the development of his work over 20 years in the Off-Broadway sector. (Repeated on 4 June 1982)

24 June 1981:
Havergal and Co
Giles Havergal, artistic director of the Glasgow Citizen's Theatre from 1969-2003, reflects on “the Citz”.

7 July 1981
The Quality of Mercer
Ronald Hayman considers the career of David Mercer and his contribution to contemporary theatre, cinema and TV drama, which ended with his death, at 52, in 1980. With Alan Bridges, Trevor Griffiths, David Halliwell, David Jones. R.D. Laing, Margaret Ramsay, David Storey and Don Taylor. Producer: Richard Ellis. (Repeated on 16 April 1982)

6, 13, 20, 28 August, 3 September 1981:
So My Particular Friend
By Leslie Montgomery and David Allen. Five programmes reflecting the friendship and interests of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn drawn from letters, diaries and records of the Royal Society. Mr Evelyn: Dinsdale Landen, Mr Pepys: Michael Graham Cox, Narrator: Godfrey Kenton, Spratt: John Church, Hooke: John Webb, President of the Royal Society: Leonard Fenton, Mrs Evelyn: Diana Bishop, Margaret Blagge: Eve Karpf. Director: Jenyth Worsley. (Repeated on 27 February & 2, 6, 9 & 13 March 1982)

28 August 1981:
You Will Hear Thunder
A celebration of the life and work of Russian poet Anna Akhmatova (1889-1966), written and presented by D.M. Thomas, with Glenda Jackson as Anna. Producer: Alec Reid. (Repeated on 16 July 1982)

1 September 1981:
Aleksandr Blok
By Avril Pyman. A feature on the life and work of the acclaimed Russian Symbolist poet and playwright (1880-1921). Narrator: Mary Wimbush, Aleksander Blok: John Rowe, Lyuha Diana Bishop, Andrey Bely: Sion Probert, Volokhova: Lolly Cockerell, Kluyev: John Church, Aunt Maria: Pauline Letts, Zhenya: Alexander John, Russian Reader: Boris Nadan. Director: John Theocharis. (Repeat from 20 November 1980)

11 September 1981:
Beckett and Company
A critical biography of Samuel Beckett by Christopher Ricks, Professor of English Literature at Cambridge University. Contributors: Richard Ellman, Harold Pinter, Billie Whitelaw, Denis Donoghue and Donald Davie. Producer: David Peery. (Repeat from 17 August 1980)

28 September 1981:
They Did It First
Paddy Scannell, Lecturer at the School of Communication, Polytechnic of Central London, looks at the work of 1930s radio producers Laurence Gilliam, D.G. Bridson and E.A. Harding, whose documentaries in London and Manchester established a body of work that developed new techniques of social reportage and poetry. Producer: Richard Keen

5 October 1981:
The Golden Cradle
Written and compiled by Ewan Hooper. The story of Annie Horniman and the birth of the Abbey Theatre, Dublin. In 1904, Horniman used some “spare money” to assist the newly formed Irish National Theatre. Narrator: Rey Spencer, Annie Horniman: Anna Massey, W.B. Yeats: Denys Hawthorne, Lady Gregory: Anna Cropper, Willie Fay: Bryan Murray. With the voices of Lolly Cockerell, Penelope Lee, Robert James, Nora Connolly, Peggy Marshall, Rowena Roberts, Jim Norton, Sonia Fraser, P.G. Stephens, Godfrey Kenton, Harry Webster, David Timson, Allan McClelland and Peter Baldwin. Director: Maurice Leitch

13 October 1981:
Why I’m Afraid
A study of Kafka and his father, written and presented by Ronald Hayman. With Ronald Pickup, David Waller, Janet Suzman, Fulton Mackay and Nicholas Courtney. Director: Piers Plowright. (Repeated on 12 April 1982)

23 October 1981:
Death at Midday
The Japanese writer Yukio Mishima committed suicide by ritual disembowelment on 25 November 1970 at the age of 45. This programme explores his life and work and the causes of his savage death. Contributors: Dominique Aury, Geoffrey Bownas, John Haylock, William Horsley, Donald Keene, Andre Pieyre de Maudiargues, Junko Matoba, Shoichi Saeki, June Shiragi and Anthony Thwaite. Yukio Mishima: Garry Cooper, Narrator: John Church. Words of other friends, critics and contemporaries spoken by Diana Bishop, Graham Faulkner, John Forbes-Robertson, Sion Probert, John Quinn and Christopher Scott. Producer: Piers Plowright. (Repeat from 25 November 1980)

24 October 1981:
Various Stages 1: On the Razzle
Ronald Hayman follows the making of the National Theatre production of On the Razzle, a farce by Tom Stoppard adapted from the Viennese play Einen Jux will er sich machen by Johann Nestroy. With Tom Stoppard, director Peter Wood, Felicity Kendal, Dinsdale Landen and other members of the cast. Producer: Anne Winder. (Repeated on 25 December 1981)

31 October 1981:
Various Stages 2: Way Upstream
Ronald Hayman examines the amazingly swift birth of a new Alan Ayckbourn comedy, set on a flooded stage at the National Theatre in London with a moving cruiser, in which two couples head upstream while cracks appear in their relationships. Producer: Anne Winder

7 November 1981:
The Double Man
By Ed Thomason. An “impression” of W.H. Auden, who believed two actions in his life defined his personality and poetry: taking part in the Spanish Civil War in 1937 and settling in America two years later. W.H. Auden: Mark Wing-Davey. Director: Margaret Windham. (Repeated on 9 March 1982)

8 November 1981:
Letter from Broadway
In 1980, Ian McKellen went to Broadway to play Salieri in Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus. He gives his impression of the American theatrical scene and describes the run-up to the production, which earned him a Tony Award.

21-24 December 1981:
Purcell at the Playhouse
Four programmes in which Roger Savage explores Henry Purcell’s involvement with the principal London theatres at Drury Lane and Dorset Garden during the last five of his life. With Anna Barry, Nigel Anthony and Clive Swift. Producer: Graham Sheffield. (Repeated on 24 & 31 May, 7 & 14 June 1982)


1 January 1981:
An Arch of Plaited Glass by Ian Hawkins (read by the author)
Producer: Alec Reid

2 January 1981:
A Job for the Silversmith by John Wain (read by the author)
(Repeat from 20 September 1980)

3 January 1981:
Pure Research by Elaine Eveleigh (read by Nerys Hughes)
Producer: Jenyth Worsley. (Repeat from 21 September 1980)

9 January 1981:
The Story-Teller by Saki (read by Peter Howell)
Three children and their aunt are entertained on a train journey by the tale of a “horribly good” little girl whose good deeds and shiny medals of merit lead her to being eaten by a wolf. (Repeat from 1 September 1980)

10 January 1981
On Approval by Saki (read by Peter Howell)
A story from the collection Beasts and Super-Beasts (1914). A struggling artist in London has a windfall and pays for an elaborate meal at his boarding house, making the other lodgers think his art is finally in demand and rush out to buy his paintings. (Repeat from 31 August 1980)

12 January 1981:
Delivering the Wildcat by Alan Golightly (read by Douglas Blackwell)
A strange mission is undertaken to a bizarre household. Producer: Richard Keen. (Repeat from 6 October 1980)

13 January 1981:
Who is Phillip? by Morris Lurie (read by Denis Lill)
A happily married man awakes one night and his marriage is never the same again. Producer: Matthew Walters

15 January 1981:
What Did You Do There? by Harvey Jacobs (read by Jacqueline Tong)
Marvin’s affair with Eileen is complicated by the hair that her huge white tomcat sheds all over her apartment. Producer: Matthew Walters. (Repeat from 8 September 1980)

17 January 1981:
The Pukey by Nigel Dennis (read by Denys Hawthorne)
“The pukey is a creature that does little except vomit, but everyone must have one because. . . everyone else has one.” Producer: Liane Aukin (Repeat from 15 September 1980)

19, 21, 27, 29 January, 5, 6 February 1981:
The Eternal Husband by Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky (read by Robin Ellis)
Dostoevsky novella, abridged in seven parts by Neville Teller, explores the complicated relationship between a landowner and the husband of his deceased former lover. Translated by Constance Garnett. Producer: Maurice Leitch

30 January, 6, 10, 11 February 1981:
A Man of Pleasure
James Boswell 's London Journal 1762-63, abridged by Clare Dawson Dick, with Gary Bond as Boswell. Producer: John Tydeman.

31 January 1981:
The Milk Run by Christina Stead (read by Madi Hedd)
Short story by the acclaimed Australian novelist (1902-83). Producer: Richard Keen

2 February 1981:
Mirrors by Scoular Anderson (read by Christopher Bidmead)
A story about the pursuit of a fading love affair from London to Paris, entangled with the associations of a lovers' word game. Producer: Richard Keen. (Repeat from 24 June 1980)

4 February 1981:
Only the Dead Know Brooklyn by Thomas Wolfe (read by Beth Porter)
One New Yorker tries to explain to another how to get to Bensonhurst in Brooklyn. Unfortunately, Brooklyn is too large for anyone to truly know everything. Producer: Matthew Walters

6 February 1981:
Dancers by Eva Tucker (read by Sean Barrett)
Producer: Alec Reid. (Repeat from 3 November 1980)

23 February 1981:
My Heart Laid Bare by Charles Baudelaire (read by Norman Rodway)
Reflections on love, politics, art and religion form a spiritual diary of Baudelaire’s last years. Translated by Christopher Isherwood and adapted for radio by Anthony Astbury. Producer: Anthony Vivis. (Repeat from 3 August 1980)

24 February 1981:
How to Choose a Wife by William Saroyan (read by Warren Mitchell)
Short story by the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and author (1908-1981). Producer: Brian Wright. (Repeat from 29 December 1980)

28 February 1981
The Death of Edward Lear by Donald Barthelme (read by Basil Moss)
Nonsense poet Edward Lear cheerfully invites his acquaintances to his bedside to witness his death. Producer: Anton Gill. (Repeat from 20 January 1980)

4 March 1981:
By the Water by Paul Bowles (read by Freddie Jones)
A young Arab named Amar heads for another town to search for his cousins and has a bad feeling as he arrives. Producer: Peter King. (Repeat from 31 August 1980)

6 March 1981:
Dead Ground in No Man’s Land by Giles Gordon (read by Michael Cochrane)
“A war. The regiment waits. Looking at dead ground. No man’s land.  Is there anybody there? Meanwhile the Lieutenant has become a Field Marshal.” Producer: Piers Plowright (Repeat from 7 April 1980)

9 March 1981:
Playing on the Line by Gareth Jones (read by Michael Philip Hughes)
A Maori adolescent recalls how he helped to cause a railway accident that killed 20 people and how it has affected him. Producer: Richard Keen

16 March 1981:
The Bienfilatre Girls by Villiers de L’Isle-Adam (read by Valentine Dyall)
A story by the French author (1838-1889) about a Paris prostitute who disgraces her family and her profession by falling in love with a penniless student. Translated by Charles Unwin. Producer: Richard Keen

17 March 1981:
Two Rooms by Jill Burrows (read by Eve Karpf)
Producer: Alec Reid

21, 22 & 23 March 1981
The Yawning Heights by Alexander Zinoviev (read by John Woodvine)
Three readings from the Russian philosopher’s novel, which satirises Soviet society. Translated by Gordon Clough. Producer: Judith Bumpus

24 & 25 March 1981:
The Radiant Future by Alexander Zinoviev (read by John Woodvine)
Two readings from the novel by the Russian philosopher in a new translation by Gordon Clough. Producer: Judith Bumpus

27 March 1981:
News of the Engagement by Arnold Bennett (read by Gordon Reid) 
In this 1907 story, the son of a widow is reluctant to tell his mother of his engagement after she reveals first that she has become engaged. Producer: Matthew Walters. (Repeat from 27 January 1980)

28 March, 11 & 18 April 1981:
Three Pieces by William Hazlitt (read by John Woodvine)
The essayist and philosopher (1778-1830) reflects on seeing Coleridge preach in 1798, his love for his much younger landlady’s daughter and musing on wit and wisdom. Producer: Brian Miller

31 March 1981:
Lethbridge by Dave Morris (read by Nigel Anthony)
Producer: Kay Patrick

1 April 1981:
The Snailwatcher by Patricia Highsmith (read by Douglas Lambert)
A mild-mannered broker becomes fascinated with snails after his wife brings some home for dinner. 

11 April 1981:
Middling by Jim Crace (read by Jane Knowles)
From the author’s story Seven Ages, published in Quarto (June 1980). Producer: Margaret Windham

15 April 1981:
The Diary of Dawid Rubinowicz (read by Nicholas Barnes)
Dawid, living in the remote Polish region of Krajno, began a diary in 1940 under German occupation. The diaries weren’t discovered until 1960 and were published in Warsaw the same year. Translated and abridged by Derek Bowman. Producer: Pat Trueman. (Repeated on 13 October 1981)

17 April 1981:
Death’s Duel by John Donne (read by John Shrapnel)
An ailing John Donne delivered a sermon about death in front of Charles I at St Paul’s Cathedral on 25 March 1631. Six days later he was dead. Producer: Margaret Windham. (Repeated on 16 August 1981 and 12 April 1982)

2 May 1981:
The July Ghost by A.S. Byatt (read by John Moffatt)
A man tells a woman at a party about how he is able to see the dead son of his landlady. (The story was dramatised by Eric Pringle for Radio 4’s Afternoon Theatre on 10 February 2000.) Producer: Louise Purslow

3 May 1981:
Death is a White Mouse by Alison Grant (read by the author)
Producer: Piers Plowright. (Repeated on 4 January 1983)

4 May 1981:
Uncle Games by Morris Lurie (read by Denis Lill)
“Moses looks at his uncle and feels suddenly sad. He sees as though for the first time the grey hair, slumped shoulders, rounded back.” Producer: Matthew Walters (Repeat from 21 August 1980)

5 May 1981:
The Swallows of Abdel Halim by John Watts (read by the author)
Director: Kay Patrick (BBC Manchester)

11 May 1981:
Dirty Friends by Morris Lurie (read by Denis Lill)
“Friendship, I’ve always believed, true friendship, has got nothing to do with what a person does. It’s what a person is that matters. Right?” Producer: Matthew Walters (Repeat from 22 January 1980)

13 May 1981:
After the Ball by Leo Tolstoy (read by Patrick Barr)
Written in 1903, Tolstoy’s story is about a man falling in love with a colonel’s daughter at a ball, only for his passion to dissipate later that night after witnessing the colonel overseeing a flogging. Translated by Arthur Mendel and Barbara Makanowitzky. Producer: Matthew Walters

18 May 1981:
Dog on Front Page by Gary Jaekel (read by Kerry Shale)
A world in which processes continue to function, newspapers continue to appear, offices are cleaned, but people are very hard to find. Producer: Richard Keen. (Repeated on 11 July 1981 and 9 July 1982)

1 June 1981:
Breaking Cover by Manny Draycott (read by Vivien Merchant)
Producer: Piers Plowright. (Repeated on 4 October 1981 and on Radio 4 on 30 December 1982)

22 June 1981:
Bekky by Linda Polan (read by the author)
The humorous tale of Bekky, a middle-aged Jewish lady from Dollis Hill, and her unambitious brother, Bernie. Producer: Pat Trueman. (Repeated on 26 March 1982)

22, 24, 26, 28 & 30 June 1981:
Birdy by William Wharton (read by Stephen Rea)
A boy has a remarkable obsession with birds and flight. Adapted in five parts by Giles Gordon. (Repeat from 2-6 August 1980)

27 June 1981:
I Stand Here Ironing by Tillie Olsen (read by Annie Ross) 
While ironing, a mother reflects on the life of her first-born, Emily, a child of the war years. Producer: Pat Trueman. (Repeated from 27 February 1982)

28 June 1981:
Mr Heine by Iain Crichton Smith (read by Tom Criddle)
A man makes an unexpected visit to his former teacher, who is about to retire, prompting memories of his schooldays that have affected him all his life. Producer: Patrick Rayner (BBC Scotland). (Repeated on 18 February 1983)

1 July 1981:
The Pigeonhole by Stephen Butler (read by Richard Vernon)
“Work is coming to an end. People still go to their offices. To drink coffee. To talk, play chess, grow old.” Producer: Peter King. (Repeated on 3 October 1981)

3 July 1981:
Low Altar by Florence Turner (read by John Bott)
“At the far side of the clearing stood a temple, small, indeterminate, built of stone corroded now by heat and rain and white ants. Curiously, no one spoke.” Producer: Patrick Rayner. (Repeated on 7 December 1981)

6 July 1981:
Herpes Simplex by Nicholas Burbridge (read by Patience Tomlinson)
Arthur Moth is trying to complete his History of the Decline of Western Democracy, but the distress caused by a cold sore – herpes simplex – has no limits. Producer: Pat Trueman. (Repeated on 24 April 1982)

8 July 1981:
A Summons by L.P. Hartley (read by John Woodvine)
This 1924 story by Hartley, best known for his novel The Go-Between, shows he was also an adept teller of the macabre. (Repeated on 30 September 1981)

13 July 1981:
The Place of a Skull by C.B.A. Plouviez (read by Elizabeth Bell)
Producer: Alec Reid. (Repeated on 13 January 1982)

17 July 1981:
The Fourth Day Out from Santa Cruz by Paul Bowles (read by Steven Pacey)
His shipmates did not treat Ramon as an inferior, they behaved as if he did not exist. (Also read by Sean Barrett for Radio 4 on 18 June 1990.) Producer: Jenyth Worsley. (Repeated on 14 February 1982)

22 July 1981:
A Visit by Olivia Manning (read by Caroline Mortimer)
An ambitious mother takes her daughter to visit their only rich and influential relative. (Also read on the Home Service by Olive Gregg on 16 March 1961.) Producer: Clare Taylor. (Repeated on 5 January 1982)

24 July 1981:
The Pantomime by Olivia Manning (read by Caroline Mortimer)
When young Anne sees her father talking to a lady friend at a pantomime, it involves her in a personal drama more compelling than the happy events on stage. Producer: Clare Taylor. (Repeated on 12 January 1982)

31 July 1981:
A Game by Alberto Moravia (read by Judy Franklin)
A story by the Italian novelist and journalist (1903-1990), whose novel The Conformist was the basis for the 1970 Bernardo Bertolucci film. Translated by Angus Davidson.

9 August 1981:
My Wife’s First Husband by Charles Lewsen (read by the author)
Producer: Piers Plowright. (Repeated on 16 January 1982)

14 August 1981:
Over the Bridge by Tom Hopkinson (read by Simon Callow)
The story of a young engineer losing his mind is told in the form of letters to his fiancée. Producer: John Tydeman. (Repeated on 13 April 1982)

25 August 1981:
The Moment of the Flying Fish by Jack Trevor Story (read by Martyn Read)
Producer: Pat Trueman. (Repeated on 5 February 1982 & 25 September 1982)

4 September 1981:
Between Two Shores by Bernard MacLaverty (read by the author)
A married Irishman working in England, who has contracted syphilis after an affair, heads home to visit his family in Ireland and reflects on how his life has gone astray. (BBC Northern Ireland). (Repeated on 1 April 1982)

14 September 1981:
Giufa by Leonardo Sciascia (read by Cyril Shaps)
Giufa is an archetypal Sicilian buffoon, about whom stories abound. In spite of his apparently limited understanding – or perhaps because of it – Giufa often wins in the end. Translated by Susan Ashe. (Also read on Radio 4 by Bob Peck on 18 November 1991). Producer: Margaret Etall. (Repeated on 15 May 1982)

15 September 1981
Mr Blaser in Sicily by Leonardo Sciascia (read by David Graham)
The Swiss recruiter for an electrical company tours Sicily in search of women for a factory. The story appears as “The Test” in the collection The Wine-Dark Sea. Producer: Piers Plowright. (Repeated on 21 April 1982)

17 September 1981:
Phonefun Ltd by Bernard MacLaverty (read by Doreen Hepburn)
Ageing Sadie and Agnes peddle very different versions of themselves as they offer sexual services on the phone. The story was also adapted by the author for BBC One (6 July 1982) with Leila Webster and Doreen Hepburn. (BBC Northern Ireland)

28 September 1981:
Green Sky Over White Bend by Tom MacIntyre (read by T.P. McKenna) 
An Irish writer is invited to an American university to give a reading of his poetry, but it turns into a nightmare experience. Producer: Cherry Cookson. (Repeated on 20 February 1982)

9 October 1981:
The Secret of the Old Music by Villiers de L’Isle-Adam (read by Joss Ackland)
A “new” music has been invented and the orchestra is assembled excitedly for rehearsal, but then the need for an ancient, now obsolete Chinese instrument threatens cancellation of the performance. Translated by Robert Baldick. Producer: Judith Bumpus

12 October 1981:
The Free Fur Coat by Elspeth Davie (read by Gwyneth Guthrie)
“Thomas stood as still as a tailor's dummy, feeling – as his aunt did up the last button – that he could no more discard the coat than an animal its winter pelt. It fitted him to perfection.” Producer: Patrick Rayner (BBC Scotland)

16 October 1981:
The Great Wall of China by Franz Kafka (read by Hugh Dickson)
Written in 1917, Kafka’s story explores the culture of a submissive, obedient nation through the seemingly endless building of the Great Wall. Translated by Edwin and Willa Muir and Tanya and James Stern. Producer: Alec Reid. (Repeated on 29 January 1981 and 22 May 1982)

18 October 1981:
The Mirror of the Flower by Zeami Motokiyo (read by Joss Ackland)
Reflections on the art of acting by actor and playwright Zeami Motokiyo (1363-1443), selected from the Japanese by Lim Poh Sim. (Repeated on 8 September 1985)

19 October 1982
Doubt Everything At Least Once by Michel Petheram (read by Clive Swift)
A monologue for the scientist, philosopher and wit Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742-99), compiled from his writings. Producer: Piers Plowright. (Repeated on 18 January 1982)

24 October 1981:
Henry James at the Derby by Robin Holmes (read by Marvin Kane)
The austere American expatriate did have his lighter moments, including a rare outing to Epsom for Derby Day, 1877. Producer: Brian Miller (BBC Bristol)

25, 30 October, 1, 3 November 1981:
The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft by George Gissing (read by Ronald Pickup)
Abridged in four parts by Derek Parker. Producer: John Cardy. (Repeated on 17, 19, 24, 26 January 1982)

1: Spring 
A pension, a snug cottage, hedgerow flowers to delight the eye, this for Ryecroft is the ideal if unexpected retirement. 

2: Summer 
Ryecroft cultivates his garden, discovers merit in observing the Sabbath and rejoices that he reads Shakespeare in his mother tongue.

3: Autumn 
A meal of wild blackberries, a book-lined room snug against bad weather, Ryecroft savours these and other delights that country life and a good pension bring to a philosophical mind in a prematurely tired body.

4: Winter 
Inclement weather round his beloved Devon cottage reminds Ryecroft of London fogs and London miseries, but is content to wait in tranquillity for whatever is to come. 

25 October 1981:
Coming Home by Carmen Laforet (read by Katherine Parr)
A short story by the Spanish novelist (1921-2004), translated by Lester Clark. Producer: Margaret Etall

28 October 1981:
Chemistry by Graham Swift (read by Martin Jarvis)
A boy and his grandfather try to cope with the arrival of a new man in the household and his effect on the woman who is their mother and daughter. Producer: Jeremy Mortimer. (Repeated on 27 January 1982)

1 November 1981:
Bernardino by Ana Maria Matute (read by Rosalind Adams)
Despite being strange, friendless, pampered and over-protected, Bernardino is a boy whose courage is recognised by his cousins. Translated from the Spanish by Lester Clark. Producer: Margaret Etall

4 November 1981:
The Fourth Month by Liane Aukin (read by Elizabeth Bell)
A short story by the actor, writer and radio producer (1936-2016). Producer: Margaret Windham

8 November 1981:
Exchange is No Robbery by Medardo Fraile (read by Robert Rietty)
A short story by the acclaimed acclaimed Spanish author (1925-2013), who settled in Glasgow in 1964. Translated by Lester Clark.

11 November 1981:
The Hidden Boy by Grazia Deledda read by Liane Aukin)
A 1915 short story by the Sardinian writer (1871-1936) about a family feud and a “kidnapping” that goes wrong. Translated by Susan Ashe. Producer: Piers Plowright. (Repeated on 14 December 1982)

14, 17, 21, 22, 28, 29 November, 6, 8 & 12 December 1981:
Apocryphal Stories by Karel Capek (read by Bill Wallis)
Ten vignettes giving new and humorous twists to the lives of classical, biblical and literary figures. Translated by Dora Round. Producer: Pat Trueman. (Repeated on 17, 24, 31 August, 7, 14, 21, 28 September, 5, 12 & 19 October 1982)

1: Times Aren’t What They Were 
This story imagines that technological progress came from human laziness.

2: Alexander the Great
The mighty leader writes to his old teacher, Aristotle, to explain that his desire to conquer the world is based purely on the need to defend his small homeland more effectively.

3: The Death of Archimedes
A conquering Roman soldier tries to convince Archimedes to use his scientific skills to construct weapons of mass destruction.

4: Christmas Eve

5: Lazarus
Lazarus lives in fear of dying again after being brought back to life.

6: The Crucifixion
Nahum, a learned historian, discusses the political inevitability of Christ’s crucifixion with Pontius Pilate.

7: Pilate’s Evening
Pilate has dinner with a junior officer shortly after the earthquake that occurred following Christ’s crucifixion.

8: Brother Francis
A friar from Assisi is shown hospitality by a blacksmith and his wife, but cannot understand why they show anger towards their dog.

9: Romeo and Juliet
A parish priest from Verona tells a Shakespeare-loving Englishman about what really happened to Romeo and Juliet.

10: Napoleon
The Emperor of France recalls his childhood and the time he led a gang of young rascals.

21 November 1981:
A Landscape Painter in Southern Calabria by John Irving (read by Geoffrey Beevers)
Edward Lear’s Nonsense Verse grew out of drawings made in his Calabrian Journal for 1847. Producer: Brian Miller (BBC Bristol) (Repeated on 29 March 1982 & 14 September 1982)

5 December 1981:
For the Conveyance of Oysters by Peter Barnes (read by David Suchet)
Adapted from Maxim Gorky’s Reminiscences of Anton Chekhov. Producer: Margaret Windham

11 December 1981:
Twenty-Six Men and a Girl by Maxim Gorky (read by Joe Melia)
In this 1899 story, the only bright spot in the working day of 26 men, who slave away baking pretzels, is the daily morning visit of 16-year-old Tanya. But when a soldier joins their ranks, everything changes. Producer: Peter Kosminsky

13 December 1981:
Sunstroke by Ivan Bunin (read by Daniel Massey)
A young officer encounters a beautiful stranger on board a Volga steamer on a hot summer's day. Translated by Michael Glenny. (Also read by David Horovitch on Radio 3 on 12 July 2001 and by Owen Teale on Radio 4 on 11 January 2006.)

18 December 1981:
The Old Magician by Peter Barnes (read by David Suchet)
Adapted from Maxim Gorky’s Reminiscences of Tolstoy. Producer: Margaret Windham

23 December 1981:
Brothers by Lu Hsun (read by John Bott)
“What’s mine is his and what's his is mine ... Whenever I hear of a family that's about to split up I always tell them how it is with me and my brother and beg them not to be so petty.” A short story by the Chinese author (1881-1636), translated by William A. Lyell. Producer: Piers Plowright. (Repeat from 7 August 1980)

24 December 1981:
Sins of the Father by Alphonse Daudet (read by Frank Middlemass)
A story by the French author (1840-97). Translated by Harry Bell. Director: Marilyn Ireland

28 December 1981:
Court of Inquiry by Kingsley Amis (read by Richard Vernon) 
Written in 1956, this tells the story of a soldier being vindictively grilled in a court of inquiry for mislaying a power charger during a move to another base. Producer: Peter King. (Repeated on 25 June 1982)

31 December 1981:
A Spiteful Fellow by Nikolai Leskov (read by Denis Lill)
A story by the Russian author (1831-85). Translated by Michael Shotton. Producer: Piers Plowright. (Repeated on 9 June and 10 September 1982)


Many thanks to Ian Johns for compiling the entries and doing the coding.

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