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Mark Burgess Radio Plays

JOAN AND THE BARON....2013
.... (R4, 1415, 15 Aug 13) was based on the friendship between Joan Littlewood, a well-known lady of the theatre, and Baron Philippe de Rothschild, multi-millionaire vineyard owner. Both have lost their life partners, but a chance encounter leads to an invitation to the Rothschild estate. The play contains a brief glimpse into both their lives. To summarise RT reviewer Tony Peters, ....some of the flashbacks are clumsily introduced and Michael Jayston's accent sometimes wavers a little, but Eleanor Bron captures the no-nonsense Joan Littlewood perfectly. The supporting cast: Andrew Branch, Rachel Atkins and Jonathan Tafler; the producer was David Blount. (....ND, Diversity website review, Sep 2013)

THE WRONG HERO?....2007
Apr 2007, R4. Mark Burgessís The Wrong Hero? typified another useful inspiration for the Afternoon Play, the real life story. This was the enthralling tale of how film star Leslie Howard was flying in a clearly marked commercial airliner from Lisbon to London in 1943 when it was shot down by a whole squadron of German Junkers.

It wasnít clear where fact and fiction merged in the drama, told through the eyes of a now aged nanny (Doreen Mantle) and a man, then her young charge, who were asked to give up their seats on the ill-fated plane to Howard (Simon Williams) and his manager, (Kenneth Cranham) who looked the spit of Winston Churchill.

Nevertheless, I was fascinated by this disinterring of how Howard died, at a time when he had come back from Hollywood to make propoganda films for the British.

Was he targeted or did the Germans think he was travelling with the Prime Minister?

The intrigue was increased up by the postscript - the government has postponed releasing records of the incident until 2025.
......part of a review from "The Stage"

*From Father with love....2006
This is set in a hotel in Hove, where Ian Fleming is recuperating after a heart attack. There is tension between Fleming and his wife; this have been wrong with his marriage for years. In his hotel room he writes a story for his son - "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" (ex-army men will know where the name comes from). Fleming and his wife are played by real-life husband and wife Simon Williams and Lucy Fleming (Ian Fleming's niece). The cast also included John Evitts, Jonathan Tafler, Trevor Littledale, Alison Pettitt, Jamie Hogarth and Thomas Helm. The producer was David Blount.

*Casting Shadows....2004 (rpt)
Fri. 8 Oct, 1415: On a summer's afternoon in 1962, three residents of Brighton - Max Miller, Laurence Olivier and Terence Rattigan - share some theatrical gossip. With Roy Hudd, Keith Drinkel, David Collings and Jean Trend. Director David Blount.

Einstein in Cromer....2004
"Einstein in Cromer" (R4 1415 12 May 04) was a pleasant story based on Einstein's stay in Norfolk a few years before World War II. Written by Mark Burgess, it's about his being forced to flee Germany in the wake of Hitler's rise to power. He develops a strong relationship with his hosts, and he learns to look at the world in a different way through the simple honesty of a local man. Einstein was a great communicator, and this comes through. David Suchet played Einstein, Robert Harper was Douglas, and the other cast members were Jean Trend, John Evitts, Trevor Nichols and Trevor Littledale. The director was David Blount. (N.D., VRPCC newsletter, Sep 04)

Nigel Deacon / Diversity website

Asterisked plays known to exist in VRPCC collections

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