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NEVILLE TELLER

NEVILLE TELLER: BBC RADIO PLAYS & DRAMATISATIONS

Neville Teller has been contributing to BBC radio since the fifties. His first credit in Radio Times was in February 1956, for his abridgement of "The Wheel Spins" (the book on which the Hitchcock film "The Lady Vanishes" was based). He has 250 abridgements for radio readings to his credit, as well as 50 radio dramatisations, 150 audiobook abridgements and 11 original radio plays. Between January 2000 and Sept 2002 he produced 77 scripts which were accepted for broadcast. A month rarely goes by without a new Neville Teller dramatisation or reading.

The Society of Authors website gives the following additional information - Neville is now a full-time writer but for 40 years he had a career in marketing, publishing, the Civil Service and a national cancer charity whilst contributing to BBC radio. He has an interest in music (two series for R3 about world orchestras, some music documentaries for radio 2, and scripted his own "ABC quiz" for six years). He was chairman for 3 years of the Broadcasting Committee of the Society of Authors and is on other publishing-related committees. He is guest playwright for Shoestring Radio Theatre, San Francisco.

Neville adds: I have a new drama scheduled for transmission on World Service in May 2003 - what could be something of an original concept in radio drama. It's a specially written version of "Aladdin" to be married to a "music soundscape" conceived and selected by the well-known DJ, Paul Oakenfold. I have written a 40-minute radio play, and the soundscape will fill the remaining 20 mins. If this is judged to be a success, other such dramatic pieces might follow. Saeed Jaffrey and Meera Syal are among the cast; I'll be as intrigued as everyone else about how it works out.

....and another update, Nov 03: ......I have two current radio dramatisation commissions - Henry James's "The Turn of the Screw", due for transmission on Radio 4 on 15 August 2004, and Graham Greene's "The Tenth Man" which is scheduled on World Service for September. Also, I take over as chairman of the Society of Author's Broadcasting Committee for a second spell in January.

NT

Recent news- Neville was awarded an MBE early in 2006 for services to radio drama.

Now...........back to radio drama.......in arranging a story as a radio play, the dramatist must not come between the author and the listener; he must convey the action but not not interfere with the pace or the plot. Listen to "The King's Commissar" (1988, by Duncan Kyle) , where the actions of a long-dead foreigner threaten the stability of a London bank...you will not find a better example of how to bring a story to life.....

ND

ADAPTATIONS/DRAMATISATIONS
TITLEAUTHOR Eps.Length (mins)
PARTY GOINGHenry Green 1 90 1981
THE SWORD IN THE STONET H White1120 1981
THE DAUGHTER OF TIME Josephine Tey 1120 1982
ORDEAL BY INNOCENCE Agatha Christie1 90 1983
POISONED CHOCOLATES CASE Anthony Berkeley 1 901984
THE SERPENT'S SMILE Olga Heskey 1 90 1985
SHADOWS OF DOUBT Palma Harcourt6 30 1985
REGENCY BUCK Georgette Heyer 1 90 1986
THE KING'S COMMISSAR Duncan Kyle 1 90 1988
THE SKULL BENEATH THE SKIN‡P D James2 90 1989
THE NORMAN CONQUESTS § ‡Alan Aykbourn3 90 1990
UNSUITABLE JOB FOR A WOMAN‡P D James4 30 1991
COVER HER FACE‡P D James 4 30 1993
SPANISH GOLD § George A Birmingham5 30 1993
MURDER OF THE MAHARAJAHH R F Keating1 901993
INTO THE BLUE § ‡ Robert Goddard 8 30 1994
SAINT OVERBOARDLeslie Charteris 1 60 1995
THE SAINT PLAYS WITH FIRE Leslie Charteris1 60 1995
HOUSE OF CARDS §Michael Dobbs 6 30 1996
MAUGHAM'S EYE VIEW Somerset Maugham6 30 1996
The Creative Impulse
The Vessel of Wrath
The Round Dozen
Footprints in the Jungle
The Facts of Life
Before the Party
A PIECE OF JUSTICEJill Paton Walsh1 60 1998
DEVICES AND DESIRES‡ P D James 6 30 1998
THE LADY VANISHES § Ethel Lina White1 60 1999
BEL-AMI §Guy de Maupassant1 60 2000
THE WYNDHAM CASE Jill Paton Walsh 1 60 2001
WATERSHIP DOWNRichard Adams 2 60 2002
THE TURN OF THE SCREWHenry James 2 60 2004
THE TENTH MANGraham Greene 2 60 2004
NOW, VOYAGEROlive Prouty 2 60 2004
A CERTAIN JUSTICEP.D.James 1 90 2005

§ For BBC World Service
‡ Published on audio cassette in the BBC Radio Collection

ORIGINAL DRAMATIC WORK

Married Daughter (1978)30 (Wendy Hiller as Queen Vic)
The Horror at Bly (1978)
The Queen and the Kaiser (1980)30 (Wendy Hiller as Q.Vic)
Dizzy and the Faery Queen (1981) 30(Wendy Hiller as Q.Vic)
Royal Necklace (1984)(Dorothy Tutin as Q.Vic) 60
The Deserted Child [2 x 30] (1991)(Wendy Hiller as Q.Vic)
The Stars and Stripes Forever (1993) 60 (With Sam Wanamaker)
Mistresses of the Music Hall [6 x 30] (1995)(With Barbara Windsor)
I Can't Begin to Tell You - The Betty Grable Story (1995) 60 (With Jerry Hall)
They Called Me Al - the Story of Al Bowlly (1995) 60(With John Thaw)
The Israel Philharmonic - Orchestra and People [2 x 120] (1998)(With Sheena McDonald)
Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp (2003) 60 (musical soundtrack by Paul Oakenfold)

RECENT ABRIDGEMENTS FOR BBC RADIO READINGS
BY NEVILLE TELLER

(TITLE,AUTHOR, Episodes and Channel)
Bogarde on Film, Dirk Bogarde,7, R2
Enigma, Robert Harris, 12, R4
My Name Escapes Me, Alec Guinness, 5,R4
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald, 10, R4
A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth, 20, WS
Loitering With Intent, Muriel Spark, 10 R4 / WS
Laughter in the Dark, Vladimir Nabokov, 10 R4 / WS
Armadillo, William Boyd, 10 R4
Setting the World on Fire, Angus Wilson, 10 R4
My Father’s Glory, Marcel Pagnol, 5 R4
Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte, 7 R2
Travels in White Man’s Grave, Donald MacIntosh, 5 R Scot
The Sound of Trumpets, John Mortimer, 10, R4
Eucalyptus, Murray Bail, 10, R Scot
Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow,Jerome K Jerome, 5, R4
Berta La Larga,10, R Scot
The Business, Iain Banks, 10 R4
The Falling Angels, John Walsh, 5 R4
The Blue Angel, Heinrich Mann, 10, R Scot
All Quiet on the Orient Express, Magnus Mills, 10, R4
The Pound, David Sinclair, 5 R4
The Fencing Master, A Perez-Reverte,10, R4
Frost on My Moustache, Tim Moore, 5, R Scot
A Foreign Country, Francine Stock, 10, R4
The Pound, David Sinclair, 5, R4
An Accidental MP, Martin Bell, 5, R4
A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens,15, R4/WS
Diaries: Into Politics, Alan Clark, 5, R4
The Summer of a Dormouse, John Mortimer, 5, R4
The Queen's Conjuror, Benjamin Woollet, 5, R4
Super-Cannes, J G Ballard, 15, R4/WS
Open Secret, Stella Rimington, 5, R4
The Big Sleep, Raymond Chandler, 10, R4
Nightmare Town, etc; Dashiell Hammett, 5, R4/WS
A Foreign Field, Ben Macintyre, 5, R4
The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas, 9, R2/WS
A Bad Beginning, Lemony Snicket, 5, R4
Forever X, Geraldine McCaughrean, 5, R4
†The Paradoxes of Mr Pond, G K Chesterton, 5, R4
†Brave New World, Aldous Huxley, 10, R4
The Fall of Fergal, Philip Ardagh, 6, R4
†Goodbye Mr Chips, James Hilton, 5 , R2
† Awaiting transmission

Information supplied by Neville Teller.

Further information about Neville's work is on his website at http://www.nevilleteller.co.uk - there are some recent abridgements,for example, which I have not had time to add.

NOTES ON SOME OF THE PLAYS

THE KING'S COMMISSAR....1988
by Duncan Kyle (dramatised by Neville Teller).... R4, 26 Nov 1988, 19:45 (Saturday Night Theatre) with Richard Vernon and Dominic Rickhards. A respectable merchant bank in London is found to be paying vast sums of money into a numbered Swiss account each year. The trail of mystery winds back to the downfall of Imperial Russia in 1918. -Greg Linden

The Skull Beneath the Skin....1989
by P.D.James, dramatised by Neville Teller in 2 x 90m parts. 27th and 29th May 1989 Saturday Night Theatre & Afternoon Play(Mon) repeated on BBC7, 20 and 27 June 2004 Combining the ingredients of a murder mystery with elements of horror, apparitions and hair-breadth escapes, this is based on a Cordelia Gray novel. The sharp-witted sleuth finds herself in the enclosed setting of a chilling country house on an island with a blood-stained history. Greta Scacchi and John Moffatt star.

DEVICES AND DESIRES....1998
6eps x 30min. By PD James, dramatised by Neville Teller. Over 15 months, a serial killer dubbed The Whistler has haunted the Norfolk community of Larksoken. Adam Dalgliesh, holidaying at his newly inherited cottage, is gradually drawn into contact with the CID investigation team. In the shadow of a nuclear power station that dominates the leak landscape, passions and hatreds come to head. 1/6: (5/2/98); 2/6: (12/2/98); 3/6: (19/2/98); 4/6: (26/2/98); 5/6: (5/3/98); 6/6: (12/3/98).

WATERSHIP DOWN.... 2002 2 x 60min
A superb dramatisation of the story by Richard Adams, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the publication of the novel. With Simon Chandler as Hazel, Tom George as Fiver; also stars Stephen Tomlin, Christian Rodska, Ian Brooker, Peter Meakin, Sean Connolly, Robert Lister, Colin Rote, Susan Jeffrey, Alison Belbin. Dir. Peter Leslie Wild; music arranged and played by Chris Leslie. Classic Serial.

ALADDIN ....World Service, 24 May 03
....no writer was credited.... it was announced as "a drama by the BBC, soundtrack by Paul Oakenfold". it was his shining sounds that made this version..... the structure of this piece was pure radio...the sound of it was ravishing, dramatic, hypnotic... deserves a radio 4 repeat".(Gillian Reynolds, Daily Telegraph).

The production took some getting used to. I found myself spotting Oakenfold's samples and then losing the plot. Not a musical version of the story, or a soundtrack in the conventional sense; what Oakenfold produced was a musical mirror to the action and emotions, snaking through the scenes and slipping into the spaces between words. Ambient and swirly, this wasn't music signposting what was about to happen. Instead, it deepened the moods of the original narrative, and more subtly than expected. The words, too, were subtle in their modernity, steering largely clear of cleverness. The only hints that this was a new take on an old tale was the prosaic nature of Aladdin's first line ("Eh? What?") and one reference to now ("Let us, as they're going to say in a few centuries time, fast forward"). Magical stuff. (Elisabeth Mahoney, The Guardian)

THE TENTH MAN....2004
To mark the centenary of Greene's birth, a dramatization put out in the Classic Serial slot. 60m. In a prison in occupied France, one man in every ten is to be shot in retaliation for an offensive against the Germans. A wealthy lawyer trades his life for all he possesses after drawing lots. But there are repercussions, years later, which he could never have imagined. With Nathaniel Parker, Indira Varma, David Swift, Elizabeth Bell, Jon Glover, Philip Fox, Gerard McDermott, Sean Baker; directed by Marion Nancarrow.

NOW, VOYAGER....2004
The following is part of a review by Gillian Reynolds of this well-received Saturday play, in November 2004:

...........this was not the soundtrack of the old 1942 film with Bette Davis and Paul Henreid, nor was it a radio re-make. Neville Teller, who has adapted books by the ton and did a memorably fine version of The Lady Vanishes for the World Service, went back to the original novel..

If the name of its author, Olive Higgins Prouty, does not ring a bell with you, remind yourself that you are not in Teller's league when it comes to the scouting out of forgotten works of fiction. She does not, after all, appear in the Cambridge Guide to Literature in English, nor is her work tucked into the pages of the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations. So I cannot tell you whether one of the most famous closing speeches in cinema - 'Oh, Jerry, don't let's ask for the moon. We have the stars' - came from the Higgins Prouty pen or that of the screenwriter, Casey Robinson.

It was certainly there in the Teller version, uttered by Sarah Lancashire with all the shivery conviction she brought to the role of Charlotte and addressed, climactically, to Jerry, the married man with whom she has found true happiness. Jerry was played by Anthony Head.

Charlotte's fulfilment has been achieved not only by those intimate ardours that have helped transform her from timid spinster to real woman but also by the loving care with which she has selflessly and at her own expense (for by this time she has not only lost masses of weight and left off wearing her glasses but also become an heiress) transformed his disturbed daughter from problem to perfect child.............Gillian Reynolds, Daily Telegraph

A CERTAIN JUSTICE....2005
-by P.D.James. 30 May 05. 90m. When Venetia Aldridge secures the acquittal of a young man from the charge of murdering his aunt, she unwittingly provokes a revenge killing. Adam Dalgliesh takes charge of the case. With Philip Franks, Geraldine James, Kenneth Cranham, Michael Moloney, Nicholas Boulton, Melinda Walker, Hugh Dickson, Susannah Doyle, Susan Jameson, Tracy Wiles, Harry Myers, James Taylor, Ian Masters, Richard Katz, Sandra James Young, Damian Lynch, Colleen Prendergast. Director Tracey Neale.

Nigel Deacon / Diversity website

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