"Biblical" Radio Plays

There have been many plays with a Biblical setting, and a few about the brave men who published the first Bibles in English. Here is a list of some of them.

2007 Witness (5 plays) by Nick Warburton (see Nick's page)
2003 Dionysos, by Andrew Rissik (see Andrew's page)
2003 The Jewish War, by Hattie Naylor
2002 The Spies, by David Pownall
1997 Kings, by Sebastian Baczkiewicz and Kate Clanchy
1996 The greatest story ever told: National Theatre of Brent
1995 Barabbas the Witness
1993 Barabbas, by Par Lagerkvist
1988 Mary's, by Wally K Daly
1981 Captain of Heretics, by Anthony Read
1975 The man born to be king, by D.L.Sayers
1973 The last temptation, ad. Hallam Tennyson


By Nick Warburton. Five plays based on Luke's gospel broadcast in the week running up to Christmas. There are copious notes, comments and casting / plot details on Nick's page.

By Hattie Naylor. Jews v. Romans, 1st century A.D., based on Josephus. Transmission date - see Hattie's page.

THE SPIES....2002
.........The Spies , also by David Pownall (R4, 3 Apr 02) took another look at the story of Jesus's crucifixion and resurrection, through the eyes of children paid by the Romans to spy on the disciples. A plausible plot, and an interesting perspective on the barbaric Roman regime. (ND, VRPCC review)

Kings (R4, 1415, five plays beginning 15 Jan) told various stories of the reign of the biblical King David. The first three were by Sebastian Baczkiewicz, and the others by Kate Clanchy. All were good, but I was particularly taken by "The Loved One" where Saul, on the brink of defeat by the Philistines, commands Anat, the witch, to foretell his fate. She conjures up old friends and enemies in the fire, and they speak with him...the images invoked by this scene were excellent. .....N.D., VRPCC review.....

Patrick Barlow, Jim Broadbent and Martin Duncan have done the difficult job of making a play about the story of the Passion of Christ. It is a remarkable achievement. There is the usual humour we expect from the National Theatre of Brent- incompetent acting, fluffed sound effects, a script based on half-remembered stuff from the fourth form, and some terrible lines. But this was not a comic play in the usual sense. . To paraphrase Kate Kellaway, (writing about another NTOB production) Barlow has combined comedy with compassion, and makes sure we laugh not at the characters in the story, but the two doomed thespians and their sorry attempts to tell it. Cast: Partick Barlow as Desmond, Jim Broadbent as Wallace, Announcer Peter Barker, director Martin Duncan, producer Hilary Norwich.

Barabbas the Witness....1995
By George W.,Fraser, with Keith Halden,Maurice Denham,16.07.95, Radio Scotland.

By Par Lagerkvist, dramatised by E. Martinus. With Simon Callow, Barrie Rutter and Eric Allan. R4, 1430, 10 Apr 93.

By Wally K. Daly. Giles Cooper award. The two Marys in the play are Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Jesus. This is a thought-provoking play about their lives. Apparently when it was written there was a row at the BBC about whether it should be broadcast, but in these more enlightened times it gives a refreshing new perspective on a familiar story.

By Anthony Read. 90m. Story of William Tyndale - attempting to publish the Bible in English.

Dramatisation of 12 tales on the life of Christ. See a few comments about the 2007 repeat broadcasts of these plays on the "1975" (Plays by Year) page.

"The Last Temptation" came to me (R.W.) in two ninety-minute episodes. Adapted for radio by the Quaker and BBC colleague Hallan Tennyson (great grandson of Lord Alfred and assistant head of radio drama) with a Greek friend, appropriately for the novel, without it becoming the cause celebre which Martin Scorcese discovered in his film version.

The controversial plot hinges on Jesus needing Judas to betray him and also making Jesus in love with Mary Magdalene. John Hurt played Jesus, Judi Dench played Mary Magdalene and a splendidly eccentric radio actor Heron Carvic featured as Pontius Pilate.
....Richard Wortley ....(see also RW, page 7- ND)...

Nigel Deacon / Diversity website

Above plays known to exist in VRPCC collections.

Back to top

Radio Plays
Wine Making
Cosby Methodist Church
Gokart Racing
Links to other sites
Contact Us