Berkely Mather was the pseudonym of John Evan Weston Davies,
b. 25.02.1909, d. 07.04.1996.
A thriller/mystery author, he also wrote numerous
uncollected short stories, plays for screen, radio and
TV. Career : professional soldier in the Army for 30
years, rose to rank of Lt.-Colonel. Received the
Crime Writers' Association award for TV plays in
1962, and became its Chairman in 1966.
His radio work dates back to 1955, and current
research provides the following information :-
Letter from a Lady ....1973
R4 28.3.1973/2015 Dandy Nichols/Sean Barrett
The Consolation Prize ....1967
R2 1.11.1967/2015 Donald Sinden/Philip Morant/Barbara Assoon
Letter from a Lady ....1964
Light 24.6.1964/2040 Margot Boyd/Geoffrey Matthews
The Consolation Prize ....1961
Light 25.10.1961/2031 Donald Sinden/Philip Morant
The Meisterspringer ....1985
6 episodes, R4 21.4.1985 26.5.1985 Christopher Good/Melinda Walker
The Hard Buy ....1968
8 episodes, R2 27.6.1968 22.7.1968 John Rye/John Hollis
The Sand Leopard* ....1961
8 episodes, Light 31.7.1961 18.9.1961 Neil McCallum/Christine Finn/Malcolm Hayes.
The Pagoda Well ....1959
6 episodes, Light 10.8.1959 14.9.1959 Cyril Shaps/Denys Blakelock/Richard Hurndall/Barbara Assoon
19.10.1966 Letter From A Lady ....1966
Margot Boyd/Geoffrey Matthews
15.6.1963 Letter From A Lady* ....1963
Margot Boyd/Geoffrey Matthews
13.1.1962 The Consolation Prize ....1962
Donald Sinden/Philip Morant/Barbara Assoon
Returned Without Thanks*....1967
23.1.67 Lt. Prog
THIRTY MINUTE THEATRE
Meritorious Service ....1984
R4 25.9.1984/1100 David Sinclair/Penelope Lee/Peter Howell/Frederick Treves
Touch Of An Angel ....1963
Light 12.3.1963/2000 Marjorie Westbury/Denys Hawthorne/George Hagan
A Necklace For The Warriors ....1963
Light 12.2.1963/2000 David Spenser/Garard Green/Alexander Browne/Andrew Sachs
Apprentice To Danger* ....1962
Light 29.8.1962/2100 John Baddeley/Jeffrey Ashby/Peter Claughton/Gwen Day Burroughs
Bed & Breakfast ....1960
Light 19.7.1960/2130 Eva Stuart/Sheila Grant/Freda Dowie/Haydn Jones
The Hard Buy....1968
8 x 30m, starting 27 Jun 68, thriller
SATURDAY NIGHT THEATRE
The Blue Ox ....1965
Home Service1.5.1965, 2030; with Bruce Beeby/David Spenser/Geoffrey Wincott
BIRD'S EYE VIEW*....c1963
SOUTHERN CHANNEL 19.02.55
THE SAND LEOPARD*....1960
Serial; episode titles in order: The Charter, Through the Ditch, The Hi-Jackers, The Rendezvous, I'll Settle for Leopards, The Leopard, The Long Dive, Surface Break.
"Radio Times" contains a little information about
some of the above. Under the title "The Policeman
of Titiano", Victor Francis wrote:
'How is a character born? He comes into the world
- on to the printed page, across the air-waves - with
a past already behind him and an eventful future
already predestined. Yet where, and how, did it all
start? To trace the roots of 'The Maresciallo', whom
you will meet for the first time tonight, you would
have to go to the warm shores of the Mediterranean,
to the fierce and lovely moors of Yorkshire, to the
bare and cup-littered rooms of a score of police
officers in unlovely police stations in as many towns.
For the Maresciallo (pronounce it 'Marshello') has two
fathers, no mother and comes of a host of
Perhaps the strongest was the nostalgia my coauthor
Berkely Mather and I felt for the warmth and
colour of the Mediterranean in general, and Italy in
particular. It is all part of the Maresciallo. So are
those very special ingredients of the Italian
character, which can laugh - and which can explode.
So are those characteristics of the of the police officer
who is efficient as well as human -
characteristics which I learned to recognise in all
those bare rooms I used to visit as a crime reporter.
And then, once upon a time, the Army took Berkely
Mather to Yorkshire, and someone else also took me
to Yorkshire (which is another story). But the
Maresciallo happens to have a Yorkshire-born wife
and is not free of the philosophy that "there's nowt
so strange as folk". Once, he was a P.O.W. in
Yorkshire, our Maresciallo. There, he met Doris, a
farmer's daughter, and when the war ended, he
married her and took her back to his village of
Titiano. There, Doris runs a café. The Maresciallo,
the local Police Chief - well, some would say he runs
Mather wrote in "Radio Times" the week his serial
'The Sand Leopard' started:
'I love the freedom and spaciousness of sound radio,
so when the BBC asked me for an 8-part serial, I
accepted the commission gladly. It came during the
cold, wet weeks at the beginning of this year, and,
at the time, I was building a boat I was going to sail
in the Mediterranean in August and September.
When I wrote the story, I suppose my thoughts just
projected themselves forward - to the Mediterranean
and lashings of hot sun. Boat and story developed
together. The boat had already been named 'Tai Mo
Shan' before her keel was laid, and they say that it is
bad luck to change a boat's name, but I was very
much tempted to switch to 'Sand Leopard'.
Oh, well, perhaps I'll build another boat, perhaps I'll
write more about Geth Straker, Perry, Casey and
Sergei. I might set the new story within sight of 'Tai
Mo Shan', which is a mountain I could see from my
house on The Peak in Hong Kong. That boat I will
call 'Sand Leopard', and meantime, I hope you will
enjoy the story beginning today, which tells how
Straker gets involved with dope-peddling, murder
and a beautiful girl.'
And to preface the serial "The Hard Buy":
'Once, in the early days of the last war, I was sent to
the Arabian Gulf. During this mission, I had to visit a
small sheikhdom between Kuwait and Bahrain. A
poor old man, nearly blind, came out to the ship,
rowed by his son, an equally ragged and emaciated
creature. We asked the old man if he'd row us
ashore to see the Sheikh. He told us that, if he were
I went there again 12 years later. The old man now
owned 11 Rolls-Royces and 15 Cadillacs, a
magnificent yacht and his own private aircraft. You
guessed it? They'd struck oil - literally - and the
Sheikh's income was now some $12,000 per day.
Try as he might, he could never manage to spend
more than a couple of hundred dollars each week.
The question is : what would you use for money if
you wanted to buy something from somebody who
already had too much of it already? In this story,
I've suggested one currency at least.'
6 stories co-written with
Victor Francis, Light Programme, 2.11.1964 to
THE BOUNCE BACK
No. 1 23.1.1967 "Returned Without Thanks"
No. 2 30.1.1967 "Honesty's The Best Fiddle"
No. 3 6.2.1967 "The Stake-Out"
No. 4 13.2.1967 "Just A Detail"
No. 5 20.2.1967 "The Paragon"
No. 6 27.2.1967 "Never Let Your Left Hand Know…….."
No. 7 6.3.1967 "All That Glitters Isn't Brass"
No. 8 13.3.1967 "Quick Returns"
TALES FROM THE POONA CLUB
No. 1 6.4.1970 "Magic Carpet George"
No. 2 13.4.1970 "The White Dacoit"
No. 3 20.4.1970 "A Duck In Bombay"
No. 4 27.4.1970 "The Fakir's Tree"
No. 5 4.5.1970 "The Wrong Conclusion"
No. 6 11.5.1970 "Wullie The Clock"
No. 7 18.5.1970 "The Second Chance"
No. 8 25.5.1970 "Drummer Brady"
The notes after the list of plays first appeared in 'The Circular Note', published by VRPCC, April 2007, and are reproduced by permission of the editor, Roger Bickerton...many thanks.
.....ND, Jun 2013.
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