Greeks: Radio Plays

1981 Operation Lightning Pegasus, by Alick Rowe
1982 The Return, by Arthur Quiller-Couch (Homer's Odyssey)
1984 Oedipus, Gunslinger, by Ian Weir
1985 Odysseus on an Iceberg, by Alick Rowe
1993 Testosterone I Sing, by Steve May
1997 Oedipus the King, by Ranjit Bolt
1998 Troy (trilogy), by Andrew Rissik
2000 The bull benath the earth, by David Calcutt
2001 Our man in Athens, by Tom Holland
2003 Dionysos, by Andrew Rissik
2004 The Odyssey, by Simon Armitage (4 hours)
2005 The Sicilian Expedition, by John Fletcher


The definitive Western in the style of a Greek tragedy. R3.

See Steve May's page. A cricketing play with strong Greek overtones. A Radio 3 comic masterpiece.

A new production of Oedipus The King was broadcast on R4 (1945 24 March, 1997), directed for radio by Peter Hall. An interesting translation by Ranjit Bolt infused it with new life, and it was stunning radio even for those who find difficulty in listening to drama in rhyme.

By Andrew Rissik. 3 x 90 minute plays King Priam And His Sons, The Death of Achilles , Helen at Ephesus . with Paul Scofield, Deborah Findlay, Julian Glover, Michael Sheen, Ian Hogg, Michael Maloney, Toby Stephens, Emma Fielding, James Laurenson, Geraldine Somerville, Eleanor Bron, David Harewood, Oliver Cotton, Lindsay Duncan, Saeed Jaffrey.

The Bull beneath the Earth ....2000
By David Calcutt; afternoon play. Archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans uncovers the lost remains of the palace of Knossos on Crete. He discovers the ancient mysteries of the Minoan people and the legend of the Minotaur, but can he penetrate the mysteries of the human heart? With Russell Dixon, Geoffrey Banks and David Bannerman. Director: Michael Fox. Not really a "Greek" play, but where else do I put it? Rpt. 14 Oct 02.

Our Man in Athens....2001
13 Jul 01, R4. An adaptation by Tom Holland of Thucydides' `History of the Peloponnesian War'. A veteran war reporter finds himself under siege in the studios of Radio Free Athens. As time runs out, he realises it is his last chance to leave a record of the truth for future generations. With John Simpson, Tim Piggott-Smith, Sean Barrett and Dee Sadler. Directed by Kate McAll.

Dionysos BBC Radio 3 90 minute Sunday night play. -with Paul Scofield, Diana Rigg, Toby Stephens, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jeffery Kissoon, Roger Allam, Pip Donaghy, Bruce Purchase, Trevor Martin, Anna Carteret. Music by Mia Soteriou d. Jeremy Mortimer . See Andrew Rissik's page.


We were treated to Homer's epic over the August Bank Holiday. The last time I heard a dramatisation of The Odyssey, it was the Quiller- Couch version, but this dramatisation, by Simon Armitage, was in the same class. It went out on radio 4 in three episodes on radio 4 (90m, 90m and 60m) on 28-29 Aug 04. For those who are unfamiliar, here's how it starts: after 20 years away the Gods decide that it's time for Odysseus to return to Ithaca where his wife Penelope still waits. He left her, newly-married and beautiful, with a baby son. She still has her looks, and it's not surprising that she's surrounded by men who think her husband is dead and want to step into his shoes. She and her son are only interested in Odysseus's return, however, and want the men (the "suitors") out of their lives, but they can't think how to do it. One of the gods intervenes...

It's a cracking yarn, and the 4 hours passed very quickly. There were more colloquialisms in the script than purists might like, but I didn't find them objectionable. Simon Armitage is a poet, so he knows how to use langauge. Odysseus was played by Tim McInnerney, Penelope by Amanda Redman, and the rest of the cast reads like a Who's Who of radio drama, including Mary Wimbush, Geoffrey Whitehead, Adjoa Andoh (playing Odysseus's lover, Calypso), Barry Rutter ( the Cyclops - a frightening radio portrayal - perhaps owing a little to The Lord of the Rings), Jonathan Keeble, Ewan Bailey and John Rowe. Gary Yershon wrote the music, and the director was Janet Whitaker.

By John Fletcher - see John's page. Radio 3.

Nigel Deacon / Diversity website

Above plays known to exist in VRPCC collections

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