Mike Walker has a very wide range;
if the plays I've heard are representative, the only thing he doesn't
seem to have tried is comedy. The quality (and the quantity) of his
writing speaks for itself - he is is great demand. There are also two
short videos about radio drama, featuring Mike Walker, on the
"writers' room" page of the BBC website.
Update... Mar 2015 ... Mike's new play, Mrs. Pickwick's Papers, is a comedy - Ed.
26.01.79 Willit & Scrope 60m
05.04.79 Cold Earth Travelling*
21.04.79 Peace Games SNT rpt 23.12.79
29.02.80 Running Down 60m
21.02.81 A Long Way Home*
28.05.81 The Dragon in Heaven 60m
23.10.81 Broken Wing, Bright Stars 60m rpt. 23.2.85*
10.09.83 The young man of Providence
15.04.82 Dull sun, polished moon rpt. 2.3.85* AT
03.02.83 Fallen leaves, dead city 60m rpt 9.3.85* AT
11.03.85 Spoiling Egypt rpt 25.11.89*
27.10.86 Blood Rains
26.03.88 Kid Lightning*
21.05.88 Butterscotch Icecream rpt 7.6.95
08.09.90 True Believers* SNT
19.09.90 Something Happened 45m
12.11.90 Different States
??.??..90 The Ipcress File*
27.01.91 Campaneros rpt. 26.10.92
25.03.91 The Rabbit Hunt rpt. 25.10.92
30.06.91 Seaside 45m
16.03.92 Fields of Grey, Marching, rpt. 19.9.92*
09.03.94 Jaw Law 45m
01.10.94 Staying Still SNT rpt 19.8.95
??.??.94 Talking Moments,* radio opera with Mia Soteriou
05.11.94 The Lucan File*
09.01.95 LBJ - The Great Society*
16.01.95 LBJ - Some Kind Of Monument*
02.03.96 The sound of Fury
13.04.96 The Making of Napoleon
30.09.96 American Faith
10.11.97 Search & Destroy
16.11.97 War & Peace (Tolstoy),dram with M.Kahan, 10 x 60m
05.01.98 2025* 2 x 60m
19.02.98 Up & Down in Silvertown
29.06.98 Under Pressure,based on story by M. Hanson. 12m x 5
06.07.98 What's inside a girl?, based on story by M. Hanson. 12m x 5
07.03.00 The Tin Drum (G.Grass), dram 2 x 60m
26.03.99 J.Edgar Hoover-Red Scare*
02.04.99 J.Edgar Hoover-Public Enemy*
09.04.99 J.Edgar Hoover-They call him Bobby
16.04.99 J.Edgar Hoover-Private & Confidential*
25.10.99 Nicholas Nickleby (Dickens),dram, 12m x 30
15.11.99 The Cloud Chamber 45m*
03.12.99 Henry & William James*, biog play*
14.12.99 Alphabox* (J.Noon),dram
27.03.00 Bound Feet & Western Dress (Chang),dram 12m x 10
17.06.00 Crime & Punishment (Dostoievsky),dram 60m x 3
22.12.00 Tunnel under the World* (Pohl), dram, 45m
29.12.00 The League of Gentlemen* (Boland), dram. 60m
15.02.01 Buried by Glass* 45m
02.03.01 23 Years, rpt. 06.06.03*
09.03.01 Island of the Day Before Yesterday*
10.03.01 The African Queen* (Forester), dram. 60m
06.07.01 Alpha 60m*
21.07.01 Crossing the Water* (Jane Stevenson),dram, 60m*
14.01.02 Agatha Christie's Philomel Cottage. Updated / dram by MW
18.01.02 Enemy in my Mouth*, 60m
01.02.02 Black Train*, 60m
04.02.02 Agatha Christie's Magnolia Blossom*. Updated/dram by MW
07.09.02 Paths of Glory (H.Cobb),dram 60m
09.11.02 The Officers' Ward (M.Dugain)*, dram 60m
23.12.02 The Old Curiosity Shop (Dickens), dram, 12m x 25
28.12.02 Waterloo Bridge*, 60m
20.07.03 Caesar! - Meeting at Formiae*, 60m
27.07.03 Caesar! - The Arena*, 60m
03.08.03 Caesar! - Peeling figs for Julius*, 60m
23.09.03 The Dark House*, 30m, interactive
10.04.04 They say I shot a man and killed him*, 60m
05.06.04 The Biggest Secret* (D-Day play), 60m
05.06.04 The Long Wait* -written by Sarah Daniels, based on Mike Walker story.
2005? To throw down God, 60m.WS.
26.02.06 Lord Arthur Savile's Crime 2 x 60m (Classic Serial)
07.05.06 Kipps, by H.G.Wells (Classic Serial)
10.05.06 Connecting last call; set in Uzbekistan
25.02.07 Caesar (Classic Serial): three more 60m episodes
02.05.07 Dickens Confidential* - Railway Kings
09.05.07 Dickens Confidential* - Darker than you think
22.05.07 The Veldt (Bradbury)*, dram.
06.06.07 Dickens Confidential* - Innocence
07.07.07 Avoid London* (Saturday play)
30.06.07 Dickens Confidential* - Foundry
07.09.07 Drowning*, 45m
26.10.07 Forty-three, fifty-nine*, play 1
26.11.07 Dombey & Son; woman's hour drama, serial, ad.
14.12.07 Slaughterhouse 30,000*
19.03.08 The City Speaks*
16.05.08 Forty-three, fifty-nine, play 2: Yara*
09.06.08 Dickens Confidential, another series of six 45m plays.
31.07.08 It's better with Animals, 45m
06.09.08 One day in the life of Ivan Denisovich*, Classic serial
20.10.08 The Crash*, 45m
02.11.08 On The Beach*, Shute, dram, Classic serial
26.04.09 Babel's Tower, R3
??.02.10 Plantagenet, series 1, 3 x 60m
22.08.10 No Highway*, by Neville Shute, dram, Classic serial
27.10.10 Severed Threads*, by John Dryden (MW script editor)
12.03.11 The Gun, adap*.
14.03.11 'The Gun' goes to Hollywood*
29.05.11 Plantagenet, series 2, 3 x 60m
28.10.11 Recordings from the House of Leaves*, by Mark Danielewski, dram, 55m
16.12.11 Beyond Borders
26.03.12 Pandemic*, I
27.03.12 Pandemic*, II
28.03.12 Pandemic*, III - by John Dryden (MW script editor)
01.04.12 Plantagenet, series 3, 3 x 60m
08.06.12 People don't do such things, Rendell, dram.
22.06.12 Amours de Voyage, dram
13.07.12 Landfall, rpt, Friday Play
04.08.12 Spitfire!* 60m, rpt.
15.10.12 Top Kill*
20.10.13 The Product, R3, 105m.
02.01.13 The Reluctant Spy*, 3 x 45m - by John Dryden (MW script editor)
22.03.13 The Edison Cylinders*, 45m
25.05.14 Barnaby Rudge, dram, 3 x 60m
10.08.14 The Stuarts*, dram, 3 x 60m
18.12.14 Ebola*, 45m
05.03.15 Mrs. Pickwick's Papers, 45m*
*In collections within VRPCC
NOTES ON SOME OF THE PLAYS
COLD EARTH TRAVELLING....1979
Rpt. by "Earplay" c1980. (Earplay was a long-running drama series broadcast by NPR in America, 1972-c1990) - here's their introduction:
.....Inspired by the Pardoner's Tale of Chaucer, Cold Earth Travelling is Mike Walker's first professional production. Walker is a young English writer who received his training in the theatre by working as a stage hand and scene painter at the Royal Court Theatre in London. The play stars Frederick Treves, Nigel Anthony, David Timpson and Gabriel Wolf......
BROKEN WINGS, BRIGHT STARS....1981
Play about an elderly fisherman, his grandson, and building a boat.
With Gary Cady, Michael Spice, Steve Hodson, Eric Lander, Pauline Letts,
Martyn Reed, Anton Phillipps, Crawford Logan, John Webb, Ronald Herdman,
Patience Tomlinson; director Christopher Venning.
A LONG WAY HOME....1981
It's 1787, and a young girl, driven by poverty to a life of crime, finds herself deported to the penal colony of Botany Bay, Australia. Producer Christopher Venning; 3 x 30m.
Play about an ex-pro boxer years after he was at the top. Now he takes on
all-comers at tatty venues. With John Hollis as The Kid; also stars Okon Jones.
8 Sep 90, SNT. Tony has turned his back on his Sikh family and married an English girl. But his
brother and sister's activities in support of a Sikh homeland threaten to destroy his happiness.
With Dhirendra Kumar, Meera Syal, Elizabeth Mansfield [Alison]. Outstanding musical soundscape by David Chilton and Nick Russell-Pavier. Directed by David Greenwood; produced by Ned Chaillet.
THE IPCRESS FILE....1990
Secret agents and dirty tricks....90min.
A radio opera by Mike Walker and Mia Soteriou.
With John Duttine, Siobhan Redmond.
Singers - Catherine Bott, Paul Agnew.
New London Consort - conductor Philip Pickett.
Director Jeremy Mortimer.
R3 1994, rpt. 29 Jul 95.
THE LUCAN FILE....1994
The life of Lord Lucan, and the events leading up to his
disappearance. 90m. There is an interesting review of this
play by Stella Harper on the Nathaniel Parker website:
and a related piece by Mike Walker on the same site.
AMERICAN FAITH....1996 30 Sep 96. American Faith: Richard Milhous Nixon's Road To Watergate, by Mike Walker. Monday Play, Sep 30, 1996, 2 hours.
An epic and intimate study of the ambition, triumph & resounding fall of Richard Nixon, America's most enigmatic President. The son of a poor Quaker grocer, he rose against the odds to the highest office in the country and then left in ignominy. Mike Walker said
'More than any other President, Richard Nixon reflects the
history of America since the War. There was great nobility
and tenderness; ruthless ambition and paranoia in one nation
and one man leading to Watergate. America's tragedy was
Richard Nixon's tragedy too ...'
Richard Nixon ... Colin Stinton,
Young Richard Nixon ... Alan Marriot,
Julie Nixon /Reporter 2 ... Laura Brook,
Frank Nixon / Senator Baker ... William Roberts,
Alexander Butterfield / Alger Hiss ... William Dufris,
Harold Nixon / John Dean ... John Sharian,
Hannah Nixon ... Kate Harper,
Barry Goldwater / Herman Perry ... Ed Bishop,
Al Haig / Businessman ... Garrick Hagon,
Tom Dewey ... Bob Sherman,
Pat Nixon ... Tara Hugo,
Gordon Liddy / Murray Chotiner ... Morgan Deare,
Henry Peterson / Coach Newman / TV Director ... Steven Crossley,
Henry Kissinger / Whittaker Chambers ... Norman Chancer,
H R (Bob) Haldeman ... William Hootkins,
Newscaster 1 (1940s & 50s) ... Nicolas Colicos,
Newscaster 2 (1960s & 70s) ... Don Fellows,
Reporter / Tom Swigart ... Nathan Osgood.
Music by Neil Brand.
Producer Ned Chaillet.
The family television is disconnected, and Gillian tries to restore
the art of conversation to the family...
Artificial Intelligence has become a reality....
CRIME AND PUNISHMENT....2000
By Dostoevsky, dramatised in three parts by Mike Walker. Classic Serial, 11-25 June 2000; rpt BBC7, 19-21 Mar 03. The classic thriller about guilt and redemption. Young Raskolnikov is determined to test a horrific theory. As a result, he finds himself pursued by cunning investigator Porfiry Petrovich.
Barnaby Kay ... Rodya Raskolnikov,
Robert Lang ... Marmelodov,
Poppy Miller ... Sonia,
Anton Lesser ... Luzhin,
Paula Jacobs ... Alyona Ivanovna,
Jim Norton ... Porfiry Petrovich,
Penny Layden ... Dunia,
Oliver Milburn ... Dmitri,
Penny Downie ... Mrs. Raskolnikova,
Sophie Ward ... Paulenka,
Jonathan Keeble ... Police Sergeant,
Deborah Berlin ... Nastasia,
Jonathan Tafler ... Zamyotov; Polish man,
Ian Brooker ... Policeman,
Frances Jeeter ... Katarina,
Rachel Atkins ... Amalia,
John Rogan ... Captain Koch.
Directed by John Taylor.
TUNNEL UNDER THE WORLD....2000
Amazing sci-fi story, adapted by MW, of a day which occurs again, and again, and again. By Frederic Pohl.
Games, by Mike Walker (R4 1430, 17 Feb 01)...
A young woman learns about malice and manipulation (VRPCC newsletter).
The story of a man imprisoned for 23 years for a crime he did not
Island of the Day before Yesterday, by J.Stevenson and
dramatised by Mike Walker (R4 1415,9 Mar 01) told of Professor Simone
Strachey, an academic with a big opinion of himself. He is having to sort
out his dead father's papers, and he employs a secretary to assist. She
is dowdy, unimaginative and dull, but he persuades her to pretend he is
part of his colourful past, and sends for a newspaper reporter...the
elaborate joke amuses him, but things develop in a way he had not foreseen.
THE AFRICAN QUEEN....2001
The well-known story by C.S.Forester, in a quite different interpretation
to that of Humphrey Bogart. With Tara Fitzgerald as the missionary and
Jamie Foreman as the gin-swilling cockney. Dir. Kate McAll.
A computer so all-knowing that it seems to have a life of its own.
How long will it be before the religious know-alls try to turn it
off? With David Calder, Sarah-Jane Holm, John Moffat and Ana Sofrenovic.
Dir. Gordon House; music by David Chiltern. This won a Sony Award.
and from the VRPCC newsletter......Alpha, by Mike Walker
(R4, 2102, 6 Jul 02) made a superb Friday Play: a
scientist has built a computer so all-knowing that it appears to have an
independent life of its own. In comes the representative of organised
religion (David Calder as Father Marquez) to put an end to it. A predictable
church response, perhaps. A few centuries ago the established church ordered
the bones of John Wycliffe to be dug up and burned because he made the
bible intelligible to ordinary people. One wonders what church leaders
of today might do if computers became intricate enough to offer advice
on moral dilemnas. With computer memory doubling every eighteen months
we might not have long to wait. This was another first class play directed
by Gordon House.
CROSSING THE WATER....2001
Oliver's quiet weekend break with his old college friends turns
into a drunken nightmare. With Robert Daws, Belinda Lang, David Thorpe
and Robert Whelan. Dir. Chris Wallis.
The editor of a magazine tries to hang on to a talented journalist by
proposing a bet...how will she deal with it? With Angeline Ball,
Geraldine James, David Thorpe, Michael Trouton.
ENEMY IN MY MOUTH....2002
A British sniper has to assassinate his opposite number...set in the
Spanish Civil War.
Carly's mother is worried about her daughter's relationship with her
Physics teacher. There's no fool like an old fool...
PATHS OF GLORY....2002
A young lawyer defends three soldiers in a World War 1 court martial.
Are they cowards or scapegoats?
THE OFFICERS' WARD....2002
A World War 1 casualty wakes up in the ward with a severe disfigurement.
What will happen to him?
A woman is about to jump off Waterloo Bridge when a middle-aged man
makes her an offer....with James Fleet, Claudie Blakley, Carolyn
CAESAR!....2003, three plays from Suetonius' Lives of the Caesars
1. MEETING AT FORMIAE....2003
Julius Caesar makes an undercover visit to Senate leaders Cicero and Cato
in order to gather support for the shake-up of Roman politics which would
eventually lead to his supreme rule. With David Troughton as Julius, Anton
Lesser as Cicero; also stars Stephen Critchlow, Juliet Aubrey, Emily Bruni, Andrew
Harrison; dir. Jeremy Mortimer.
2. THE ARENA....2003
Octavian was 19 when Julius Caesar was killed. As Caesar's appointed
heir, he had some formidable adversaries, including Mark Anthony,
but his political skill was unparalleled. With Richard Johnson,
Adan Levy, Ben Crowe, Clive Russell, Jasmine Hyde, Bruce Purchase, Gerard
McDermott, Stephen Critchlow; dir. Jeremy Mortimer.
3. PEELING FIGS FOR JULIUS....2003
Was Caligula as evil as we believe? Growing up in the poisonous
atmosphere of Tiberius's court, his sister Drusilla was the only person he
could trust. Stars David Tennant as Caligula, with Joe Prospero (Caligula as
a boy), Priyanga Elan, Neil Dudgeon, Stephen Critchlow, Andrew Harrison,
George Baker (Tiberius), Susan Engle, Liza Sadovy, Bruce Purchase, Ben
Crowe, Scott Brooksbank; dir. Jeremy Mortimer.
THE DARK HOUSE....2003
An interactive ghostly drama. Three people are trapped in a haunted
building. ("Listeners can vote to decide whose perspective will be heard"-RT)
..extract from Radio Times:
"No-one can alter the fate of the three characters in a haunted house
in this interactive drama, but listeners can change how they hear events
unfold. "The drama will keep jumping from one character's point of view
to another in response to the audience" says co-producer Izzy Mant. "Listeners
can 'phone or text in at any point in the drama, and as many times as
they like, to say which perspective they want to hear next."
In effect, the drama has been recorded in three different versions, each
one from the point of view of a different character. With some newly
created technology to collate all of the votes and switch the action
every few minutes, the audience will shape its own chilling tale......
its impact is heightened for listeners in stereo by a binaural recording
techniqu which produces a three-dimensional effect. The entire recording
will be available to listeners to produce their individual versions
after the broadcast."
...with Claudie Blakley, Alan Ford and Connie Gurie; producers Izzy Many
and Nick Ryan. There was another "interactive" drama a few years ago
written by Nick Fisher; details on his page. Readers might also like to
read on Alan Ayckbourn's page how he has written plays with
alternative endings and plays which run in parallel.
THEY SAY I SHOT A MAN AND KILLED HIM....2004
A true story of love and adventure in the early days
of flying. Could a record-breaking pilot be heading
for the electric chair? With Susie Porter, James Purefoy,
Walter Lewis, Kate Fleetwood, Declan Wilson, Gerard McDermott,
Alan White, Damien Lynch. Director Sally Avens. Saturday afternoon play.
TO THROW DOWN GOD....2005(?)
A sheep stealer is convicted of a crime. Can James Boswell get him reprieved? World Service.
"Caesar", by Mike Walker (Classic Serial, 1502, R4, 3 episodes beginning 25 Feb 07) the final series of
"Romans", took the story of Rome's rulers through to the collapse of the Empire in A.D. 475.
As the empire began to disintegrate, Victoria Poppea found an opportunity to wield power in
spite of being a woman. These plays draw on several sources, including Suetonius and later
Roman histories, and are first-rate. A large and varied cast was involved over the three
episodes, and Steve Canny & Jeremy Mortimer directed. ......ND, VRPCC newsletter, Apr 2007......
BBC blurb, edited for clarity: 1/3. Empress in the West As the Roman Empire begins to fall apart; one woman sees it as an opportunity to wield the power that her gender has always denied her. Victoria / Barbara Flynn Postumus / Danny Webb Marius / Stephen Hogan Galleinus / David Troughton Victorinus / Sam Troughton Saloninus / Nick Boulton Gaul (Atraxis) / Tim Treloar Polydorus/Envoy / Paul Richard Biggin Messenger/Voice 2 / Joseph Kloska General/Voice 1/First Slave / Sam Dale Second Slave / Emma Noakes Centurian/Soldier/Driver / Saikat Ahamed.
2/3. The Maker of All Things Constantine had the strength and determination to reunite the Empire; and to give it a new state religion - Christianity. But what sacrifices must he make when he feels threatened by his own son? Constantine ...... Sam Dale, Crispus ...... Joseph Kloska, Licinius ...... Mark Straker, Helena ...... Margot Leicester, Fausta ...... Christine Kavanagh, Constantius ...... Trevor Martin, Rufus ...... Struan Rodger, Arrius ...... Paul Richard, Biggin Athenasius ...... Saikat Ahamed.
3/3. An Empire Without End As the Empire in the West begins to crumble before the forces of Atilla the Hun; it is left to an unlikely coalition of kingmakers to select the last Roman Emperor. Can Romulus Augustus survive? Romulus ...... Tom Hiddleston /Priscus ...... David Collings /Barbaria ...... Adjoa Andoh/Emperor Leo ...... George Baker /Maximinus ...... Sam Dale /Attila ...... Victor Sobchak /Orestes ...... Mark Straker /Odo ...... Joseph Kloska /Ricimer ...... Christian Rodska / Other parts played by Saikat Ahamed and Paul Richard Biggin. / Director Jeremy Mortimer.
Dramatised by Mike Walker. R4, 22 May 07.
Two parents buy a nursery which simulates different environments for their children to play in. It comes alive - a startling premonition, from pre-computer days, of multimedia technology. The parents become concerned when the children keep returning to an African veldt scene and start feeding the lions, even though there are supposed to be no lions in the program.
...."They stood on the thatched floor of the nursery. It was forty feet across by forty feet long and thirty feet high; it had cost half again as much as the rest of the house.....
.....The nursery was silent. It was empty as a jungle glade at hot high noon. The walls were blank and two dimensional. Now, as George and Lydia Hadley stood in the center of the room, the walls began to purr and recede into crystalline distance, it seemed, and presently an African veldt appeared, in three dimensions, on all sides, in color reproduced to the final pebble and bit of straw. The ceiling above them became a deep sky with a hot yellow sun.....
TV Announcer ...... David Rapkin, Peter ...... Michael Wachter, Wendy ...... Reyna Shaskan, Lydia ...... Jennifer Van Dyck, George ...... David Slavin, Ms. Kim ...... Nancy Wu, The Room ...... John Henry Cox, David MacLean ...... Richmond Hoxie; directed by Judith Kampfner.
Update - nominated for Sony Drama Award. "An excellent piece of drama in a genre surprisingly under-represented in radio schedules given its popularity. The judges were particularly impressed by the sound design, and by the scary atmosphere the cast and director managed to create and sustain."
Production company- The Corporation for Independent Media for BBC Radio 4.
Written by MW and John Dryden. A dissident thinks someone is trying to assassinate him. He doesn't know who. He races across London
with his daughter attempting to evade his pursuers. But - is anyone chasing him? With Oleg Mirochnikov, Meghan Heggerty and Yuri Kilmov. Producer
By Mike Walker and Judith Kampfner. A century after Upton Sinclair published "The Jungle" about the
shocking conditions of a slaughterhouse, things haven't improved. With Oscar de la Fe, Linda larkin, P.J.Brown, Jason Culp,
Andrea Marshall Money and Mike Smith Rivera. Produced by Judith Kampfner.
7 Sep 07. Afternoon play. When solicitor Richard Parker gets an anonymous phone call saying that his aunt has died; he has to go to Norfolk to clear her house and arrange the burial. When he arrives; he finds that nothing is as it should be. Richard Parker - Neil Dudgeon Ayeesha - Wendy Baxter Carey - Laurence Bouvard Ryan - David Ralston Merlin - Oliver Ford Davies Corporal - Harry Myers Doc - David Thorpe Removal Man - Stephen Critchlow Dragon - Ben Crowe Guitar music composed and played by Arthur Dick. Directed by Chris Wallis.
THE CITY SPEAKS....2008
19 -3 -2008. Series of short radio dramas based on Peter Ackroyd's specially commissioned short story in which the Virgin Mary makes an appearance in the City of London. 1/3. Pushing By Lin Coghlan. On Virgin Day; a man pushes a fridge across the city. Man ...... Jamie Foreman Boy ...... Adam Arnold 2/3. I Am Not You Are Not Me, by Mike Walker. Jack has to confront the memory of the death of his wife. With Jim Norton. 3/3. Broken Chain By Mark Norfolk. On the day Bert is released from prison; Leon takes him to see the Virgin. Bert ...... Jeffery Kissoon Leon ...... Jimmy Akingbola Jay ...... Sheri-An Davis Wayne ...... Troy Glasgow With Rachel Bavidge; John Dougall; Nitin Ganatra; Anthony Glennon; Tyronne Lewis; Peter Marinker; Liza Sadovy; Hilary Sesta; Simon Treves. Music by David Pickvance. Directed by Jessica Dromgoole; Jeremy Mortimer and Toby Swift.
Forty Three, Fifty Nine – Yara….2008 16 May 08. By Mike Walker and John Dryden.This occasional series (43-59) only includes plays where the action takes place in real time: forty three minutes and fifty-nine seconds. This second play by Mike Walker and John Dryden zooms in on a young woman walking across London heading for one of the tube stations, but an encounter with a middle-aged man in a car disrupts her plans.
The unusual format leads to anything but relaxing listening; one can sense the clock ticking throughout, and the tale has a powerful ending. Cast:
Yara ...... Natasha Radski,
Grant ...... Greg Hicks,
with Laurentiu Possa, Ery Nzaramba and Rachel Atkins; producer John Dryden.
Further series of plays beginning 9 Jun 08 looking at how Charles Dickens; as the head of a daily paper; would have tackled bringing the news to the masses. 1/6. Gangs of London By Mike Walker. New criminal gangs are active on the streets of London. A mugging of their financier Joseph Paxton points Dickens and his investigative team to a connection between the gangs and a plot to rock the very heart of the financial world. Charles Dickens ...... Dan Stevens Agnes Paxton ...... Eleanor Howell Jack Marshall ...... Freddy White Daniel Parker ...... Andrew Buchan Joseph Paxton ...... John Dougall Mickey's Jim ...... Gerard Murphy Iron Billy ...... John Rowe Gasman ...... Ben Crowe Harry ...... Stephen Critchlow Thug ...... Chris Pavlo Woman ...... Liz Sutherland Directed by David Hunter. Other plays by MW in this series:
2/6. The Man Who Robbed the Bank of England, 5/6: Murder in the Red Barn, 6/6. Why Are We In Afghanistan?
IT'S BETTER WITH ANIMALS....2008
31 -7 -2008. Mike Walker's play is based on three short stories: The Red Fox Fur Coat by Teolinda Gersao; Blue Waltz with Coyotes by Jean Dixon and Pie Dance by Molly Giles. An elderly proprietor of a fur shop in New York narrates three touching; funny and magical tales of animals; furs; and their impact on three different women. Shopkeeper/Konrad ...... Russell Horton Eve/Mom ...... Jennifer Van Dyck Ellie/Pauline/Cop ...... Laura Dean Barbara/Karen ...... Tory Wood Dad/Gerry Mac/Mugger ...... Kevin T Collins Children ...... Kate Kearns; Maggie Langer; Flora Salmand Specially composed music by Jon Nicholls. Directed by Judith Kampfner.
ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH....2008
6 -9 -2008. Classic Serial. Mike Walker's adaptation of Alexander Solzhenitsyn's classic portrayal of life in Stalin's prison camps; repeated as a tribute to the author; who died last month. With Neil Dudgeon; Philip Jackson; Paul Chan; Jonathan Tafler. Directed by Ned Chaillet.
20- 10 -2008. Four ambitious young City traders launch their own hedge fund. They set out determined to play it safe; but soon two of the group decide to break ranks and take a dangerous risk that spells trouble for them all. Ewen ...... James MacPherson, Tim ...... Benedict Wong, Meredith ...... Laurel Lefkow, Harry ...... Nicholas Boulton, Carmody ...... Richard Howard, Angela ...... Jill Cardo. Directed by Eoin O'Callaghan.
ON THE BEACH....2008
2 -11 -2008. Classic Serial, 2 60m episodes. RT details for first episode: Dramatisation by Mike Walker of Nevil Shute's compelling account of the aftermath of a nuclear world war. 1/2. A cloud of deadly radioactivity is moving slowly towards Australia; one of few places on Earth where life still exists. Peter Holmes ...... Richard Dillane Mary Holmes ...... Claudia Harrison Dwight Towers ...... William Hope Moira Davidson ...... Indira Varma Tim Osborne ...... James Gordon-Mitchell The Admiral ...... Jonathan Tafler Ryan ...... Inam Mirza . Other parts played by Stephen Critchlow; Chris Pavlo; Dan Starkey; Jill Cardo; Robert Lonsdale; Gunnar Cauthery. Directed by Toby Swift.
26 Apr 09, R3. Mike Walker's play imagines the Jewish-Russian writer Isaac Babel being interrogated after his arrest by the Soviet secret police in 1939. As Stalin's henchmen beat and bully Babel, scenes from his two great collections of stories come to him: the Jewish gangsters fighting over Odessa, Babel's hometown, and the Red Cavalry, with which he had ridden as a war correspondent, slaughtering Poles at the edge of the new Soviet Union.
Babel ...... Antony Sher
Rudin/Trunov ...... Robert Glenister
Sverdlov/Benya ...... Stephen Noonan
Also in cast: Christopher Staines, Karl Theobald, Roland Oliver, Lucy Black, Rachel Atkins and Sandra Voe.
Music by Jon Nicholls.
By Mike Walker; Classic Serial Feb 2010, three 55m episodes. "Angle" from the BBC messageboard commented as follows: The standard of production is higher than anything else that R4 has achieved for years. It makes a very satisfactory and satisfying change from the over-abridged Classic Serials we have been getting for some time. Let's hope that there is more to come.
ND: This serial is historical drama at its best; in the same class as Don Taylor's famous 12-hour serial "God's Revolution", broadcast 20 years ago. Mike Walker has rendered it all into modern day speech; it works brilliantly.
"Centumvir", on the bbc messageboard, added: "A terrific series, so gripping and interesting. What a pleasure to hear David Warner and Jane Lapotaire among others in the cast."
By Nevil Shute, dram. Mike Walker. The future of the transatlantic aviation industry depends on the success of a new design of plane. One has crashed and a lone scientist believes that more will follow. Is he right? 2 x 55m, starting 22 Aug 10; Classic Serial. Shute can certainly tell a good story. Stars William Beck, Alison Pettitt, Paul Ritter, Naomi Frederick. Producer Toby Swift.
27-28-29 Oct 2010. Script by John Dryden, script editor Mike Walker. 3 x 45m trilogy. See John Dryden page .
12 Mar 11, adapted by Mike Walker. Stanley Kramer brought out a film "The Pride and the Passion" in 1957 based on "The Gun" by C.S.Forester, about a huge 18-lb bronze cannon abandoned by its army when its carriage breaks. Years later, during the Napoleonic Wars, a group of guerrilleros learn of its location and get the locals to get it mobile again. The gun is dragged from place to place and used in battle. Although the characters change, the story has the gun at its centre throughout. Cast: Scott Arthur, Matthew, Keiron Self, Don Gilet, Kevin Doyle, Sule Rimmi, Richard Nicholls. Producer Polly Thomas.
'THE GUN' GOES TO HOLLYWOOD....2011
14 Mar 11; Mike Walker goes behind the scenes in an imaginary look at the filming of "The pride & The Passion" (see below). All is not well; Frank Sinatra is behaving like a prima donna, and stalking new star Sophia Loren; actors are turning up late on set, and very little of quality is 'in the can'. A script doctor, Earl felton, is signed up to limit the damage and salvage the project. Cast: Steven Weber, Greg Itzin, Kate Steele, Jonathan Silverman, Jonathan Getz, Andre Sogliuzzo, Tom Virtue. Producer Kate McAll.
Another Classic Serial series, 3 x 60 min, beginning 29 May 2011. Europe is emerging from the Dark Ages. To get rid of an enemy you slit his throat, or have him hanged, drawn and quartered. This bloody chronicle is fast-paced and gory but has a great script. It's full of intrigue, plotting and filthy skirmishes. Edward Longshanks is at war with France and with Scotland. Catch every episode....
Cast for ep. 1: Philip Jackson, Ellie Kendrick, Sam Troughton, Simon Bubb, James Lailey, Jonathan Forbes, Sean Baker, Brian Bowles, Nyasha Hatendi, Stuart McLoughlin, Joanna Monro, Peter Polycarpou, Daniel Rabin, Alun Raglan, Jane Whittenshaw. Producers Jeremy Mortimer and Jessica Dromgoole.
RECORDINGS FROM THE HOUSE OF LEAVES....2011
28 Oct 11; an amazing play, dramatised by Mike Walker based on a novel by Mark Danielewski. Will Navidson and his family discover a labyrinth behind a door which suddenly appears in their home. He and his brother investigate its mysterious corridors. Corridors grow, shrink and disappear, and a malevolent growling presence seems to be getting closer....
Production details: Cast - Jim Norton, William Hope, Debora Weston, Martin McDougall, Jeff Mash, Richard Ridings, Vinta Morgan, Eleanor Blaney; producer John Taylor; Fiction Factory (Independent) production for Radio 4.
16 Dec 2011; by Mike Walker, produced by Richard Clemmow, directed by Dirk Maggs. After the devastation of WW2, a plan emerges for the economic reconstruction of France and the unification of Europe in an attempt to secure a prosperous future and to avoid future armed conflicts.
In 1950, Jean Monnet worked with the French Foreign Minister, Robert Schumann, to combine the coal and steel industries of France and Germany, setting in place the foundations of the Common Market...
Cast: Timothy West as Monnet, Lesley Manville as Silvia Monnet, with Daniel Weyman, Philip Jackson, William Hope, Jonathan Hyde. More about this on other pages, including the 'articles' section.
Three successive afternoon plays. Thriller by John Dryden, script editor Mike Walker. Goldhawk Productions. Programme titles: 1-The Present; 2-The Future, 3-The Past.
Mike Walker's PLANTAGENET (R4, 1500, Classic Serial, 3 x 55m beginning 1 Apr 12) has been a brilliant historical epic, inspired by Holinshead's Chronicles. The stories are set in the fifteenth century, but they are amazingly accessible because such care has been taken with the language. No stilted historical-speak here; before a battle we hear one of the soldiers remark 'It's arse-kicking time'. The realism of the dialogue carries it along at a tremendous pace; it feels as if you are actually there. In the words of Jane Anderson (paraphrased by ND): Put aside all thoughts of Shakespeare's 'Henry V'....this is not so much "Once more unto the breach" as "Once more onto the couch" as Mike Walker's superb interpretation provides a gripping psychological profile of the young Prince Hal... like Shakespeare's Henry, he can inspire men, lead an army and crush a rebellion....but in this version he is outsmarted at every turn by his wife.....
The first episode starred Luke Treadaway and Lydia Leonard as Hal and Catherine, along with Gerard McDermott, James Lailey, Paul Moriarty, Simon Bubb, and Carl Prekopp. The producers were Jeremy Mortimer and Sasha Yevtushenko.
PEOPLE DON'T DO SUCH THINGS....2012
8 Jun 12. Afternoon Drama. A writer interrupts a marriage......Dramatised by Mike Walker from a short story by Ruth Rendell. It is 1979 and hapless accountant Arthur (a winning Reece Shearsmith) and his wife Gwen (Laura Pyper) have made a new friend. Flashy novelist Reeve (Michael Maloney) is everything they're not - carefree, charismatic and seemingly irresistible. At first, his friendship seems to offer an enticing window into a world beyond their cloistered suburban existence, but it doesn't take long for the relationship to slip into rather more sinister territory. With unfussy performances and a rumbling documentary-style soundscape, the grimness of late-70s suburbia is palpable throughout. From the moment colossal egotist Reeve arrives on the scene, it's clear that Arthur and Gwen don't stand a chance.
Arthur ...... Reece Shearsmith,
Gwen ...... Laura Pyper,
Reeve ...... Michael Maloney.
Other parts are played by Rachel Atkins and David Holt.
Sound Design: Steve Bond
Directed by John Dryden.
Indie (Goldhawk Essential Productions).
AMOURS DE VOYAGE....2012
22 Jun 12. Story dramatized by Mike Walker. An elderly travel writer meets an American woman in Egypt. BBC blurb: "An updated retelling of the Arthur Hugh Clough poem about missed opportunities. The setting is moved from Rome in 1848 to Cairo last year and the consequences for two tourists of the events in Tahir Square.
13 Jul 12. Sci-fi; I think a repeat. Broadcast as a Friday Play, sci-fi; mining on a mysterious planet.
R4, 1430, 4 Aug 2012....a repeat of an excellent play by Mike Walker about the most famous British fighter aircraft in history, first broadcast in September 2010 to mark the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. It included recollections from WW2 veteran Geoffrey Wellum, and specially-made recordings of RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Spitfires, including the only Spitfire still flying today to have fought in the Battle.
The drama follows RJ Mitchell's design from creation to legend and the fortunes of two young pilots who join a frontline Spitfire squadron just as the Battle of Britain begins. It stars Samuel West, Samuel Barnett, Rory Kinnear and Ruth Wilson.
Many factors were important in the Battle, but it was the excellence of the Spitfire, three times the price of the Hurricane, which most famously evened the odds in the fight against the Luftwaffe. Mike Walker's drama takes us close to this magnificent aircraft and gives us a feeling of what it was like to fly the legendary plane which became, in test pilot Jeffrey Quill's words, 'a symbol of defiance and victory'.
The technical advisor was Patrick Bishop; original music and sound design were by David Chilton. The producer was Amber Barnfather, and it was a Goldhawk Essential production. .....ND, VRPCC review, Sep 12.
Another play from Mike Walker, TOP KILL (R4, 1415, 15 Oct 12) highlighted what can go wrong on an oil rig when science and economics collide. On April 20th 2010, on the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform, there was an incident which killed 11 oil workers and caused the release of enormous quantities of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Now, with 3000 such rigs in the Gulf, this play depicts events on a comparable platform, and demonstrates what might happen when scientific judgements are over-ruled by other factors. The man in charge of the rig, Masterson, was played by Colin Stinton, with Lorelie King, Nathan Osgood, Laurel Lefko and Eric Loren. The production was by Eoin O'Callaghan, in Belfast. (.....ND, VRPCC review, Dec 12)
THE EDISON CYLINDERS....2013
R4, 22 Mar 13. By Mike Walker. Science fiction play, where the story centres around some old wax cylinders. A person who specialises in audio recovery attempts to restore the recordings which they hold, but as she works, a frightening message emerges. There's an interesting mention of de Martinville (see below) at the beginning of the play. Cast: Clare McCarron, Jonjo O'Neill, Harry Hadden-Paton, Stephen Critchlow, Laura Hyde. Fiction Factory production, produced by John Taylor.
Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville (1817–1879) was a French printer and bookseller who lived in Paris. He invented the earliest known sound recording device, the phonautograph, which was patented in France in 1857. Vibrations were transferred by a stylus onto a hand-cranked rotating cylinder. He recorded the trace for the French folksong "Au Clair de la Lune" on April 9, 1860, and deposited it with the Académie des Sciences in 1861. It was never intended to be played back, but in 2008 it was read by a laser at Indiana University, and turned into audible sound. It is the earliest clearly recognizable record of the human voice. Edison was the first person to design a machine which could play back recorded sound (from a wax cylinder), about fifteen years after de Martinville, and several million 'Edison Phonographs' were sold between 1880 and the early 1900s.
20 Oct 13; R3, 105m. Set during the Vietnam War. A helicopter is shot down in the jungle. A soldier and journalist battling their way to safety realize they campaigned on opposite sides during the Kennedy / Nixon election. Nathan Osgood, Alex Lanipekun; with other parts played by Sam Alexander and Don Gilet. Producer Toby Swift.
1 June 2014: Classic Serial - Barnaby Rudge By Dickens, dram. Mike Walker. 2/3. Novel written in 1841 about the Gordon Riots of the 1780s. Iain Glen as Dickens, with Daniel Laurie as Barnaby; other parts taken by Clive Hayward, Joanna Horton, Heather Craney, Bryan Dick,Ron Cook, Amaka Okafor, David Cann, Jaimi Barbakoff, John Mackey, Tony Bell, David Schofield, Ashley Kumar. Producer - Jeremy Mortimer.
8 June 2014: Classic Serial: Barnaby Rudge By Dickens, dram. Mike Walker. 3/3 - A City in Flames. George Gordon's followers form a mob, intending to free the inmates of Newgate Prison. Meanwhile, Simon Tappertit claims guardianship of the rioters' captives, Dolly Varden and Emma Haredale, and tries to persuade Gabriel Varden to unlock the prison gates. Iain Glen as Dickens, Daniel Laurie as Barnabby, with Joanna Horton, Heather Craney, Bryan Dick, Ron Cook, Amaka Okafor, David Cann, Jaimi Barbakoff, John Mackay, Tony Bell, David Schofield, Matthew Watson and Ashley Kumar. Producer - Jeremy Mortimer.
10 Aug 2014: Classic Serial - The Stuarts 1/3. By Mike Walker. Mike's epic chronicle follows the life of Charles II. When news of Oliver Cromwell's death reaches Brussels, the exiled Charles II plans his return. Charles II - Jamie Parker, James - Will Howard, with Paul Hilton, Adam T Wright, Michael Bertenshaw, Clive Hayward, Alun Raglan, Matthew Watson, David Cann. Producers: Jessica Drongoole and Sasha Yevtushenko.
17 Aug 2014: Classic Serial: The Stuarts 2/3. By Mike Walker. 'The Long Lease of Pleasant Days'. Charles II fathered a dozen illegitimate children, but his wife Queen Catherine was unable to produce an heir. The play tackles the thorny issue of succession. Charles II - Pip Torrens, James, Duke of York - James Fleet, George, Marquis of Halifax - Clive Hayward, James Scott, Duke of Monmouth - Alex Waldemann, with Olivia Ross, Stephanie Racine, Elaine Claxton, David Cann, Damian Lynch, Michael Bertenshaw, Mark Edel-Hunt. Producers: Marc Beeby and Sasha Yevtushenko.
24 Aug 2014: Classic Serial - The Stuarts By Mike Walker. 3/3. James II - The Storms of This Deceitful World. Mike's epic chronicle looks at James II's short four-year reign, exploring how it all went wrong before he flead England in the Glorious Revolution of 1688. A policy of religious tolerance and the birth of a Catholic heir resulted in an explosion of political tension and the armed invasion of the country. James - James Fleet, with Clive Hayward, Michael Bertenshaw, Michael Shelford, Jaimi Barbakoff, Alex Waldemann, Jane Slavin, Nicholas Murchie, David Cann, Damian Lynch, Mark Edel-Hunt, Matthew Watson. Producers: Sasha Yevtushenko and Marc Beeby.
18 Dec 14. By Mike Walker. Summary of BBC notes: ....dramatization of the true story of the discovery in 1976 of the deadly Ebola virus. Following the death of a Belgian nun, a team of brave virologists was flown deep into the rainforest of Zaire to study and fight the virus with only the most rudimentary of equipment. The play is narrated by a member of that team, Prof. Peter Piot, who went on to run the UN Aids programme. He is now director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Peter Piot, Jude Owusu, William Hope, Tracy Wiles, Nathaniel Martello White and Martin T. Sherman. Producer: David Morley; director: Dirk Maggs. (Indie; Perfectly Normal Productions - ND)
This is the story of an entity set upon finding a host to feed upon. Once inside a human body, the soft tissues and the sinews securinig the organs are attacked. The surface of the tongue and the lining of the stomach are dissolved away, internal and external bleeding begins and the brain eventually short circuits.... it sounds like something from Alien ... This is a description of one of the first deaths from the Ebola virus in the Ngaliema hospital in Kinshasa way back in 1976. ( ... summary of Jane Anderson's notes in RT)
The play reconstructs the events of 1976, when a thermos flask containing the blood of a dead Belgian nun was received in Antwerp for study by a small group of young virologists. They identified Ebola, then began the fight aginst it. I hope the BBC are able to make the play available to NPR in America, where Ebola panic is high and all memory of it being a known disease with known methods of cure appears to be absent. ( ... summary of additional points made by Gillian Reynolds in DT review, 13 Dec 14.)
ND comment......See also John Fletcher's play EBOLA ATTACK, 9 Oct 04, World Service, about a serious Ebola outbreak in Uganda in summer 2000. (Rpt. 23 Jul 05)
MRS PICKWICK'S PAPERS....2015
Unusually for Mike Walker, this is a comedy. Joyce Pickwick is the roving commissioner for local government. She has a nose for a good case, so when she finds that there is a plan to privatise the city's waste disposal service, she investigates. Her prying becomes intrusive, to the despair of a council bigwig and the delight of a civil service bureaucrat. Mrs. Piclwick: Annette Badland, Sam: Susam Wokoma, Tracy: Jane Slavin, Gus/Mr. Legion: Stephen Critchlow, Scrope: Sam Dale, Alfie: Ian Conningham. Produced by Jeremy Mortimer.
Tom Goulding, RT: .....This eccentric comedy has plenty of nods to Charles Dickens ....
Nigel Deacon / Diversity Website
List of plays compiled from info. sent by Barry Pike & from own collection.