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Michael Butt Radio Plays


??.??.92 Guard,Guards*, T. Pratchett,,dram
21.06.95, rpt 25.03.98 The Last Infirmity - yellow fever in Cuba in 1898
12.11.97 The metropolitan line murder, Orczy, dram
19.11.97 The phantom billboard, Orczy, dram
26.11.97 Death on the District Line, Orczy, dram
07.01.98 Dickens and the Mouse, based on a John Oxenham story
14.01.98 Hand it to Harriet: J.S.Mill and Harriet Taylor
21.01.98 Carlyle's Silent Room: Carlyle's wife's diary
11.03.98 Death in the Parish: cholera in Victorian Soho*
18.03.98 The Epping Jaundice*
14.05.98 The York Mystery, Orczy, dram
10.07.98 The Irish Play
10.08.98 Under Mirabeau Bridge (5 x 10m)
04.12.98 A mermaid at Zennor
10.12.98 Metropolitan Line Murder, Orczy, rpt
17.12.98 The body in the barge, Orczy, dram
24.12.98 The de Genneville Peerage, Orczy, dram
11.01.99 Contemplating Adultery*, L.&J. Hamburger, dram
04.04.99 The Irish Play,rpt
14.05.99 Perfect Woman
07.07.99 Plum's War*: PGWodehouse
10.07.99 In Hope's Hall
10.08.99 4 Petrella stories, by Michael Gilbert, dram
12.09.99 Sons & Lovers, Lawrence,dram in 3 x 60m
12.10.99 Love & the Art of war*
08.05.00 Contemplating Adultery*, rpt.
17.05.00 The body in the barge, Orczy, rpt
24.05.00 The de Genneville Peerage, Orczy, dram, rpt
31.05.00 The Dublin Mystery, Orczy, dram
07.06.00 The Edinburgh Mystery*, Orczy, dram
14.06.00 The Brighton Mystery*, Orczy, dram
21.06.00 The London mystery*, Orczy, dram
18.09.00 The Perfect Woman, rpt
18.09.00 Plum's War*, rpt
13.11.00 The bridal* suite
14.02.01 Petrella, by Michael Gilbert, dram, rpt, 4 stories
01.05.01 Love & the art of War*, rpt.
12.05.01 Marmalade*
15.06.01 Comrades
06.12.01 How Guillaume Appollinaire Saved My Marriage
21.12.01 2000 Miles
26.07.02 Far From Home*
05.08.02 The God of Love *(Love in the Afternoon)
15.08.02 The Kensington Pilgrims*
01.03.03 At Freddie's *(P. Fitzgerald), dram. Rpt. 21.08.04
05.03.03 The Honeybourne Tapes*
05.05.03 Vongole
15.09.03 A Fire in the West*
19.10.03 Hadji Murat (Tolstoy), dram
20.10.03 The story of Mata Hari (10 x 12m)
19.03.04 Harry in the Underworld
02.07.04 How to leave Badenweiler
06.02.05 In search of lost time (Proust),dram, 6 x 60m
08.09.05 It's enough to believe you are in danger
06.04.08 A dance to the music of time (Powell), 6 x 60m
02.12.08 The Babington Plot*, 45m
05.12.08 Looking for Dad*, 45m
14.04.10 Walking around the World, 45m*
11.08.12 The Moscow Prodigal, 60m.

date nk The dandelion killer*
date nk The spinster's hoard*

Asterisked items known to exist within VRPCC

NOTES ON SOME OF THE PLAYS

THE MOSCOW PRODIGAL....2012
11 Aug: Saturday Drama. By Michael Butt, based on an idea by Vitaly Yerenkov. Vasily returns to Moscow after ten years in England. His attempts to build a new life there have not been a success - he has been eking out an existence as a minicab driver. At the airport he is met by his childhood friend, Andrei, who now works for the Minister of the Interior. Andrei's expansive manner and expensive air of money and power seem to hint at a more thuggish way of climbing the ladder. Vasily ........ Yasen Peyankov, Olga ........ Anne Bobby, Irina ........ Angelique Doudnikova, Marco ........ Michael Levi Harris, Sasha ........ Stass Klassen, Andrei ........ Moti Margolin, Anna ........ Nicole Rosengurt, Gryzlov ........ Peter von Berg, Mama ........ Tatyana Zbirovskaya. Technical production by Scott Lehrer. Music composed for the play by Gene Pritzker. Producer Judith Kampfner. Indie. (Waters Company).


WALKING AROUND THE WORLD....2010
Play about Albert Speer, Hitler's architect, incarcerated in Spandau prison for 20 years following the Nuremberg Trials. Similar to (but shorter than) Jonathan Smith's play from 1980: The World Walk.

comment from bbc messageboard from 'dorabella'..........I am glad to see this make an appearance on the messageboard. I thought this was absolutely one of the best things I've heard on the radio recently. It was intelligent, moving, dealt sensitively with its enormous and terrible themes. The Speer play was humbling in its cleverness and humanity. Far too much gets through into the afternoon slot that really don't deserve to be there. But a gem like this proves radio drama ought to be considered a major art form.

THE BABINGTON PLOT....2008
The plot to assassinate Queen Elizabeth I and return England to Catholic rule. Done in documentary style by Michael Butt. With Stephen Greif, Burn Gorman, Samuel Barnett, Chris Pavlo, Jonathan Tafler, Stephen Critchlow, Inam Mirza, Malcolm Tierney, Marlene Sidaway, Janice Acquah, Dan Starkey, Paul Rider, producer Sasha Yevtushenko.

    edited comment from bbc messageboard, from "s":

    .... an excellent piece of modern radio drama, illuminating, informative and entertaining.

    The choice of the contemporary documentary style worked very well in conveying the human emotions, political machinations and religious controversies of Tudor England in 1586.

    Why did Sir Francis Walsingham, as Elizabeth 1st's chief Secretary of State allow this naive band of young conspirators to proceed with their treasonable scheming whilst fully aware, through his intelligence network, of their every move?

    It was to establish the involvement of Mary Stuart. By charging and convicting her of complicity in the assassination of Elizabeth it would remove a dangerous Catholic threat to the English throne.

    The queen of England had been declared a heretic, excommunicated by Pope Pius V in 1570. It was therefore no sin for a pious Catholic to dispose of her by violence.

    Radio drama is ideally suited to deal with historical subjects. This production was good; at 90 minutes it would have been even better.


A DANCE TO THE MUSIC OF TIME....2008
Six 55m episodes, beginning 6 Apr 08. Dramatisation by Michael Butt. (previous dramatisation, produced by Graham Gauld 1979-1982, was in 26 episodes spread over four years and had a cast of about 250.) Narrated by Corin Redgrave. I haven't heard the Gauld version, but the first episode of this new production was entertaining and held my attention.

IN SEARCH OF LOST TIME....2005
Proust. Epic production with an excellent cast. Directed by John Taylor.
More details when I have time to write them - or when someone sends me a review.

Harry in the Underworld....2004
A novelist who is no longer very popular...... he knows virtually nothing about life and needs to get in touch with the real world if he's going to write stuff which sells. Then two hardened but inept criminals walk into his flat... with Richard E. Grant, John Rowe, Lesley Sharp, Andy Linden, Danny Webb, Philip Fox. Director Peter Kavanagh.

The Honeybourne Tapes....2003
involves a hypnotherapist sending a young lady into a trance...but a figure from two hundred years ago emerges from her subconscious. There is a good sub-plot, too, and a terrific twist at the end.

At Freddie's....2003
Freddie Wentworth is the eccentric head of the Temple Stage School, training precocious children to be actors. But the school is threatened with closure. Is there anything which can be done about it? Set in the sixties, the story starred Margaret Tyzack as Freddie, with Dinah Stabb, Laura Doddlington, Lloyd Hutchinson, Philip Jackson, Nick Boulton, Rory Copus as the odious Mattie, Alex Green and Candace Davies. Dramatisation by Michael Butt.

Vongole....2003
In this thirty minute comedy, Bill Nighy plays Professor Swann, whose favourite hobby is seducing female students over a meal of spaghetti vongole. (clams, I think) The others involved were Stephen Critchlow, Emma Callander, Carolyn Jones and Miranda Colchester, and the director was Peter Kavanagh.

A Fire in the West....2003
Very unusual in that it doesn't sound like a play. Some will like it; some won't. You'll be familiar with the experience of turning on the radio and realising immediately you're listening to drama. I switched on halfway through and had to wait until the end credits before realising it wasn't a news feature. The scenario is this- Ciera Thomas (fictional? - RT doesn't say) set herself alight outside the Ministry of Defence, in protest against an arms deal. Three years later, those who knew her talk about her life. Ciera herself is not heard.
Cast: Ken Sharrock, Kate Fitzgerald, Lucy Akhurst, David KS Tse. Producer Toby Swift.

Hadji Murat....2003
2 x 60min Classic Serial. Tolstoy's last work of fiction set in Chechnya in the 1850s. A Chechen warrior offers to fight for the Russians if they will help rescue his family, held captive by the imam Shami. With Derek Jacobi, Burt Caesar, David Calder, Maynard Eziashi, Andrew Harrison, Jonathan Keeble, Gerard McDermott, Declan Wilson, Damian Lynch, Chris Moran, Ben Crowe, Stephen Critchlow, Rachel Atkins, Frances Jeater, Lydia Leonard. Dir. Marc Beeby.

The story of Mata Hari....2003
Mata Hari was an exotic dancer and glamorous spy who rode her winning streak just a bit too long...this is her story. Serial, 10 x 12m episodes. Cast: Victoria Hamilton as Mata Hari, Jon Strickland, Andrew Harrison, Li-Leng Au, Liza Sadovy, Wal-Keat Lau, Anton Rice, dir. Claire Grove. I wish this play had been done in longer episodes.

Far From Home....2002
is a play about conflicting loyalties. Jane witnesses a murder, but will she testify? And if she does, what about reprisals?....her husband has lived in the town all his life...

..........excerpt from VRPCC newsletter.....A completely riveting and somewhat disturbing play, Far from Home (R4, 2101, 26 Jul 02), by Michael Butt, looked at the difficulty of giving evidence in a murder trial. Terry has lived in a corner of London all his life and has no intention of moving. But his wife has the misfortune to see a murder being committed. Will she give evidence? What about reprisals? And if the family has to start life somewhere else under a new name, will it be safe?

The God of Love....2002
concerns Marcy, whose daughter has been thrown out of several schools, and her relationship with a religious instructor who has a strong interest in jazz.

The Kensington Pilgrims....2002
is about a friendship between a reserved middle-aged lady and a young girl.

Love & The Art of War....2001
is a short light comedy about a romance at a martial arts class - between the instructor and one of the men she is knocking seven bells out of...

Marmalade....2001
is an ascerbic look at certain aspects of family life.

Comrades....2001
is about an old man trying to jump off a bridge ....the event is triggered by something in his past.

Plum's War....2000
is about P.G.Wodehouse's broadcasts during the second World War, and the way it caused him to fall out with the British Establishment. Orwell wrote an interesting essay about it.

THE BRIDAL SUITE....2000
An elderly member of staff at a hotel reminisces about some of the occupants of the bridal suite he's observed over the years.

ORCZY: the dramatisations are from her "Teahouse Detective" stories. With Bernard Hepton and Suzanne Burden. One of my sources says "Death on the District Line" is based on a story by John Oxenham. I thought it was Orczy. Does anyone know?

The plays broadcast in March 1998 are subtitled "Medical Detectives" and are dramatisations of true stories of early work in pathology. All three were directed by John Taylor, with a varied cast.


DEATH IN THE PARISH....1998
A play about fighting cholera in Victorian England.

THE LAST INFIRMITY....1995
21 Jun 95, rpt. 25 Mar 98. True story in the series 'Medical Detectives'. 1898; the Americans have driven the Spanish out of Cuba, but yellow fever remains. Two doctors employ unusual methods to find out what causes it.

GUARDS, GUARDS....1992
Dramatisation broadcast on radio 5 of the Terry Pratchett Discworld novel, starring Stephem Thorne.

The Dandelion Killer and The Spinster's Hoard are dramatisations of famous criminal cases, presented by John Mortimer. I don't know the dates, but think they are quite old - probably from the early 80s.

Nigel Deacon / Diversity website

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