Nick Darke, the Cornish playwright and fisherman, died in 2005, before his time. He was a gifted writer, and had specialist knowledge of the sea and of Cornwall. His audio diary, "Dumbstruck", recorded whilst he was recovering from a stroke, unable to speak, is perhaps the best piece of radio I have ever heard. I spoke to Nick on several occasions, but never met him ... a great pity; he was keen on his plays being archived. These are listed below. Two of them were broadcast immediately after his death (in the summer of 2005) as a tribute to his work.


03.11.79 Conspiracy at Laxey by Helen J. Wilson (N. Darke in cast)
23.10.80 Summer Trade
20.02.81 Landmarks
03.12.81 Lifeboat*
04.08.83 The Catch
26.06.97 So Long as Lobsters Swim the Sea: N.Darke & his fishing (feature)
12.04.98 Cider with Rosie (L.Lee autobiog), dram, 2 x 60m
25.05.98 Gone Fishing , 5 x 12m
12.01.99 Bawcock's Eve*
27.04.99 Flotsam & Jetsam, 5 x 12m
26.06.99 The King of Prussia
15.01.00 Underground (feature on Cornish tin mines)
05.08.00 In quest of Joseph Emidy
23.10.00 "2000 Tales": The Fisherman's Tale*
29.11.01 Atlantic Drifting (feature, with N. Darke)
06.01.03 Dumbstruck*: an audio diary (several repeats)
18.07.05 Hooked*


A dramatic rescue at sea.

So long as lobsters swin the sea
An occasional series where those well-known in one field talk about another consuming interest in their lives. Nick Darke, author of many plays for radio, the National Theatre, and the Royal Shakespeare Company, is also a keen fisherman. He talks about his lobster pots and nets off Padstow.

Cider with Rosie
Laurie Lee's famous autobiography, recorded in and around the Slad valley, in two episdoes. (1)With Sunny Leworthy, Jennifer Compton, Paul Currier; (2) with Tim McInnerney, Niamh Cusack, Sunny Leowrthy and Emily Parrish. Dir. Viv Beeby and Jeremy Howe. Broadcast as "The Classic Serial".

Flotsam & Jetsam
A family tale based in Porthnant Bay, Cornwall. Gone Fishing has the same setting. With Carl Grose, Diana Berriman, Mike Shepherd, Emma Rice, Bec Applebee, Rachel Atkins, Sue Hill. Dir. David Hunter.

Bawcock's Eve
Mysterious tale set in Cornwall. It is midwinter in Mousehole; Gran has taken in a stranger....with Diana Berriman, Barbara Jefford, Cassandra Holliday. Dir. Claire Grove.

The King of Prussia
1789; set off the Cornish coast. A mad king , heavy taxes, and smugglers...and in the other direction, a country on the brink of revolution. With Mike Shepherd, Giles King, Carl Grose. Dir. Nigel Bryant.

South Crofty Mine in Cornwall closed in 1999. Tin had been extracted here since Tudor times. This is not only the last tin mine to close in Cornwall but the last working tin mine in Europe. Voice of miners and the families are woven into a text by Nick Darke and music by Jim Carey. With Charles Barnecut (Charlie), and Carl Grose (Eddy). Director: Claire Grove.

In quest of Joseph Emidy
Story of a slave who eventually became a violinist in the Lisbon Orchestra. He fought in the Napoleonic Wars, then settled in Falmouth and became a successful composer. With contributions from Richard McGrady (historian), Tunde Jegede (composer), Nancy Naro (slavery expert) and Emidy's descendants.

The Fisherman's Tale
A group of travellers take shelter in a motorway service station from appalling weather ...there is no radio, no tv, so to keep each other entertained they each tell a story. This is part of "2000 Tales", written on the 600th anniversary of Chaucer's death. The Fisherman's Story" is Nick Darke's contribution.

An audio diary kept by Nick Darke after a stroke which took away his ability to speak. A stunning piece of radio.

Nick Darke, one of Cornwall's most celebrated and idiosyncratic writers, died last month. This is the second of two programmes celebrating his work - a drama documentary recorded on the beach where he lived in Cornwall. It's about a Cornish couple who are asked advice by a Londoner on how to fish for sea bass, one of the most elusive, beautiful and tasty fish in the Atlantic.

The Fanatic ...... Mark Bazeley
Peter ...... Charlie Barnecut
Myrna ...... Diana Berriman
Produced by Jeremy Howe.

*these plays / programmes are known to exist within VRPCC

List of plays checked by Nick Darke and used by permission.

Nigel Deacon / Diversity website

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