IAN CURTEIS RADIO PLAYS
06.04.02 The Falklands Play 90m
17.09.02 After the Break 45m
??.??.03 Miss Morrison's Ghosts
13.06.03 Love 45m, rpt. from 2001
20.06.03 Love, 2
27.06.03 Love, 3
04.07.03 Love, 4
25.11.04 Love, 5
02.12.04 Love, 6
09.12.04 Love, 7
24.01.14 The Road to Yalta
17.09.16 The Bargain: Robert Maxwell and Mother Teresa
NOTES ON THE PLAYS
Beethoven in Vienna. Biographical, at an important point
in Beethoven's life.
BANNED FALKLANDS PLAY GOES ON RADIO....2002
-from an article in the Daily Telegraph, 29 November
2001, written by Nigel Reynolds, Arts Correspondent.
A TV play about the Falklands War that the BBC refused
to show a decade ago because it was "too Right-Wing" and sympathetic
to Mrs. Thatcher is finally to be put on Radio 4 in April, on the
20th anniversary of the start of the war. "The Falklands Play" by Ian
Curteis caused enormous controversy when the playwright disclosed
in 1986 that the BBC would axe the £1m drama unless he rewrote parts
to show Mrs. Thatcher, the Prime Minister, in a less flattering light.
He refused, and the play, which looks at the political
background to the war and was commissioned as a major three-hour TV
drama to be shown on the 5th anniversary of the Argemtinian invasion,
was dumped. There were angry debates in Parliament and the BBC was
accused of left-wing bias.
Curteis said yesterday that, with the 20th anniversary
looming, he had written to Greg Dyke, BBC Director-General, earlier
this year to ask if the Corporation would now consider broadcasting the
play. The idea "slowly filtered through the system" and it was agreed it
would be cut to a 90-minute radio play.
His anger at the time was heightened because he was
asked to write a play sympathetic to Mrs. Thatcher's decision to retake the
Falklands as "a corrective" to two other BBC plays, "Tumbledown" and
"The Queen's Arms" that had been critical of the Government and, in the
second, shown British soldiers as drunken louts. In "The Falklands Play"
Curteis showed Mrs. Thatcher in tears. He was asked to rewrite scenes of
Mrs. Thatcher's Cabinet meetings to show ministers as hypocrites,
taking military decisions for ulterior political motives.
Curteis, formerly married to Joanna Trollope, the novelist
, said, "The changes would have totally destroyed what the play was
about, but unless I made them, I was told it would be cancelled, which
I couldn't believe. But it was. I am a great admirer of the BBC but this was
absolutely corrupt. Many at the BBC could not stand Margaret Thatcher".
Despite making heavy cuts, Curteis says "the play fulfils my objectives".
The Radio 4 spokesman said "there is a big difference between doing
something like this very close to the event and after a 20-year gap. The situation
THE FALKLANDS PLAY - short review
It is now nearly twenty years since our conflict with Argentina, and
fifteen years after they pulled the plug, the BBC broadcast The
Falklands Play, by Ian Curteis (R4, 1430, 6 Apr 02). A quality
production, good dialogue (close to the truth?) and a vivid portrayal
of our ex Prime Minister, along with the mediocrity of some of her
ministers, whose names we have forgotten. Mrs. Thatcher was accused
afterwards in the House of fighting an unnecessary war, and her reply
is worth quoting: " Tragic this war may have been, but may I point
out to the Right Honourable gentleman that he would not enjoy the
freedom of speech which he puts to such excellent use unless people
had been prepared to fight for it". Patricia Hodge played Mrs. Thatcher,
and there was a strong supporting cast, including John Standing, Patrick
Godfrey and Clive Merrison. (Nigel Deacon, VRPCC newsletter, Apr 02)
AFTER THE BREAK 2002
A play about the spy George Blake, and Sean Bourke. With Jack
Klaff and John O'Mahoney. George Blake escaped from Wormwood Scrubs
thanks to luck and the daring of Sean Bourke. But once in Russia, their
enforced exile together doesn't seem to be much better than the cell
they once shared. Other cast members: Paul Humpoletz, Jilly Bond,
Ian Brooker. Directed by Sue Wilson.
An unusual love story between two elderly people; with Bernard
Hepton and Barbara Leigh Hunt. When May's husband dies, her friend Ferdy
tells her that he has been deeply in love with her for 47 years. She is 76
and he is 79, and their adventures begin. Directed by Tracey Neale;
repeated from about a year earlier. This play was written as a one-off, but
was well-received, and three more were commissioned.
May and Ferdy find an abandoned baby on the steps of the rectory.
Meanwhile, Archdeacon Pocket is making enquiries as to the nature of
their relationship. Bernard Hepton and Barbara leigh Hunt, with
Helen Ayres, Philip Joseph, Jennie Stoller, Martin Hyder, Laura
Doddington; dir. Marc Beeby.
When a journalist looks for scandal among members of the local
church community, May and Ferdy's relationship becomes the object of
some unwelcome attention. But Ferdy is a shrewd old bird, and he has
a plan to turn the tables. With supporting cast Philip Joseph, Martin
Hyder, Jennie Stoller, Helen Ayres, Carolyn Jones; dir. Marc Beeby.
May and Ferdie go on holiday to Wales, but find themselves involved
with burglaries and squatters. Same cast as before, with John Baddeley, Stephen
Critchlow, Caria Simpson, Priyanga Elan; dir. Marc Beeby.
MISS MORRISON'S GHOSTS....2003
Curious tale based on real events concerning the principal of
a woman's college in Oxford. Miss Morrison and her successor, Miss
Lamont, go to Paris and experience some odd events. They write a book
describing what happened. But the publication triggers doubts
about their integrity, and there is an action in the High Court.
....ND comment - nicely illustrates that highly
intelligent people don't have any more sense than the rest of us.
The final three plays in the series by Ian Curteis.
May and Ferdy are living together, but refusing to get
married in spite of all the pressures. With Barbara
Leigh Hunt, Bernard Hepton, Stuart McLoughlin, Nicholas
Boulton, John Rowe, Jennie Stoler, Robert Hastie and
Stephen Hogan. Producer/director Marc Beeby.
......There has been another series by Ian Curteis
(final, he says) of Love, with Barbara Leigh-Hunt and
Bernard Hepton (weekly, beginning R4, 1415, 25 Nov 04)
. May and Ferdie are well-known characters to Afternoon
Play listeners, and the plots interesting and well
worked out. I liked the story of a local widow needing
money to avoid having to sell up and move. She has
her late husband's manuscript describing his exploits
in the war, and she reckons that publication will
enable her to settle her debts. That's when the
problems start. Simone (the widow) was played by
Ann Bell, and the producer was Marc Beeby...N.D., VRPCC
newsletter, Dec 2004...
THE ROAD TO YALTA....2014
24 Jan 2014. By Ian Curteis. The drama re-imagines Feb 1945 and the events surrounding the Yalta (in Soviet Ukraine) conference through the eyes of British spy Donald Maclean. It was a time when Hitler's armies were exhausted and in retreat. World leaders Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill met at Yalta, a resort, to determine the future shape of Europe. Lord Halifax - Christopher Godwin, Balfour - Matthew Marsh, Maclean - Geoffrey Streatfield, Melinda Maclean - Kelly Burke, with David Seddon, Steve Toussaint, Ewan Bailey. Producer Jonquil Panting.
17 Sep 2016: Saturday Play - The Bargain
By Ian Curteis, based on an actual encounter between Robert Maxwell and Mother Teresa. They met in 1988 when Teresa was visiting London. She died in 1997 and has recently been canonised. Robert: David Horovitch, Teresa: Charlotte Cornwall, sidekick: David Sibley, Sister: Geraldine Alexander. Producer: David Ian Neville.
Jane Anderson (RT), summarised by ND:
They make an odd couple at first glance; not just because of the size difference: Mother Teresa, recently declared a saint, and media tycoon Robert Maxwell. But as disparate as their lives may have been, their paths did cross for a few hours in 1988, when the nun petitioned him for funds for her orphanages.
Ian Curteis' play is an imagined glimpse of their meeting. There is no written record of what happened, but there is plenty of information separately available about both. The play is written as a mental wrestling match; both are fighting for something they really want. Teresa is seen as media-savvy; Maxwell has unexpected grace and humility.
[It is noteworthy that when Maxwell pocketed the cash from all those pension funds, he never touched the money he'd put aside for Mother Teresa - Ed].
Burgess and Maclean
Churchill and the Generals
Nigel Deacon / Diversity website / 2016, updated 2019
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