A digest of more comments from the messageboard....
LJ: ...It was written by Andrew Walker (the economics correspondent with the World Service?) and Christopher Reason (q.v.).
R4 trailed the play quite heavily as concentrating specifically on the issue of the Peak Oil thesis – and in my opinion it didn’t. The Friday Play is usually the one that’s supposed to tax the intellect which is possibly why some listeners are critical.
I don’t know if other contributors noticed, but I thought it had a definite ‘Saturday Night Theatre’ feel about it – ‘Liz’ and ‘Rob’ reminded me of Mike and Claire Nash out of Waggoners’ Walk. I was intrigued as to how a grown man can hide in the hatch area of a Peugeot 205. In fact I tried it myself and the parcel shelf was balanced on my head, so the rebels would certainly have caught me. I liked the ending to part (1): ‘Hello Dad’, so tuned into Part (ii).
Perhaps Mary Goldring would have been the ideal person to have written a play about Peak Oil. It would have been full of interesting technical and economic info., relating to the decline of oil production – and would also have possessed a digestible romance/sexual content. Miss Goldring would certainly have described Dr. Turner’s deep blue eyes in great detail!
MHC......This was brilliant, gripping, wonderful radio drama, I was rivetted by the first episode and had the radio on in every room in the house as I ploughed my way through the housework determined not to miss one second - and was not disappointed.
I have some knowledge of the oil industry but am not an expert and listen to radio dramas for entertainment, to take me away from reality. The factual programmes give me information and often leave me depressed but this was fantastic fictional entertainment right up to the last second. More please of the same, please.
CALLED TO ACCOUNT....2007
Not for the squeamish. From the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn, who specialise in taking official transcripts editing them to play length, and mounting them as drama. This one is based on the examination by two barristers and their juniors of what evidence there was to back an indictment of Tony Blair for the crime of aggression against Iraq. Testimony came from civil servants, MPs, diplomats, UN officials and intelligence experts. The cast includes Jeremy Clyde as diplomat Edward Mortimer and Diane Fletcher as Clare Short; Nicolas Kent directs. ......based on remarks by Gillian Reynolds in the Daily Telegraph, 14 Jul 07
A REGENT'S TALE....2007
R4 1415 9 Jul 07. By David Pownall. Interesting biographical tale of the MP and playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan, who was for a time a close friend of the Prince of Wales. Having faced his father's refusal to give up the throne, "Prinny" turns to Sheridan for advice. Stars Richard E. Grant as the playwright and Anthony Glennon as George, Prince of Wales. Other cast members: Frances Tomelty (narrator), David Horovitch, Gerard Murphy, Jasmine Callan, Richard Howard, Fo Cullen. Produced by Eoin O'Callaghan.
Readers may remember Frances Tomelty as the SM in Stewart Parker's "Radio Pictures" (q.v.) ...ND
By Charlotte Jones. Saturday play, 90m. 23 Jun 07. Felix Humble is a Cambridge scientist with plenty of brains butlittle sense. Like Einstein, he's in search of a Unified Field theory. Following the death of his father, he returns to his home and his mother. He soon realises that his life is a sham and a substitute for real living; he can't relate to ordinary people. There are some moments of high comedy. Cast: Adrian Scarborough as the academic no-hoper, Diana Rigg as the mother, Marcia Warren, Nicky Henson, Cathryn Bradshaw, John Standing. Producer Steven Canny.
Summarised excerpt from review by Moira Petty, in "The Stage":
Charlotte Jones fields a different type of anti-hero in Humble Boy. Her astro-physicist Felix is bullied by his mother, overshadowed by his late father, outwitted by his one-time lover and even the equations which will bring him academic fame elude him. Jones has always written for radio so it is appropriate that this, her greatest theatrical hit, should have been adapted for it.
Felix vacillates between optimism and pessimism. Adrian Scarborough played him with a touching elegiac quality that brought to mind a young Alan Bennett. As his mother, Diana Rigg was overbearing but finally revealed a telling humanity. Marcia Warren as her drudge of a friend made what could have been a cliche into a fully-fleshed character while Nicky Henson was splendidly bouncy as Rigg’s suitor.
By Tom Fry and Sharon Kelly. 19 Jun 07. Frank Twist has brought together some of the North West's best freelance legal advisers to create a police station defence team in the North. The Agency operates 24/7, dispatching legal reps to set free burglars, muggers, murderers and even some innocent people who find themselves on the wrong side of a cell door.
Frank ...... David Schofield
Dee Dee ...... Denise Welch
Ben ...... Kwame Kwei-Armah
James ...... Mikey North
Johnny ...... Andrew Schofield
McGregor/Milo ...... Rod Matthew
DC Highton ...... James Quinn
DC Price ...... Deborah McAndrew
Producer Susan Roberts.
HUT 33 .... 2007
By James Cary. Comedy drama series based at Bletchley Park codebreaking centre during the war. Began 25 Jun 07. With Robert Bathurst.
20 Jun 07. In 1895 an Oxfordshire shopkeeper broke the law by refusing to have his child vaccinated against smallpox. His stand led to legal proceedings and a change in the law. With Mark Meadows, James Laurenson. Producer Jeremy Howe.
GARDENERS' QUESTION TIME....2007
Not a radio play - but thought it worth mentioning that the 60th anniversary broadcast went out on 17 Jun 07.
BREAKING THE SILENCE....2007
This was originally a stage drama, written in 1984.
Edited extracts from a theatre review by Ben Brantley, 1994.
This is Stephen Poliakoff's drama about a wool-gathering Russian aristocrat doing his best to ignore the Bolshevik Revolution. Lacking the animating spleen of Mr. Poliakoff's better-known diatribes against a spiritually impoverished England, it is a slow-moving, exposition-heavy work built around stiff social archetypes.
Inspired by stories of Mr. Poliakoff's grandfather, "Breaking the Silence" takes place entirely in a railroad car to which the Pesiakoffs, a White Russian family, have been consigned by the new government in 1920. The father, Nikolai (Mr. Davison), a scientific genius of severe elegance and frosty reticence, has been given the superfluous job of telephone inspector, which he ignores to pursue his experiments in bringing sound to film.
While the struggles of a world in turmoil take place outside the train, ultimately transforming Nikolai's wife, son and loyal servant, Nikolai remains self-absorbed, with a stoical adherence to an outmoded code of living.
Edited excerpts from Radio Review, 18 Jun 07, "The Stage"
Dramatist Stephen Poliakoff’s Russian Jewish emigre grandfather, an inventor who left his homeland with his family after the Revolution, smuggling diamonds in their shoes to fund their new life, inspired the 1984 play of a family in exile, Breaking The Silence.
It was first produced by the RSC, but his focus on the internal lives of his characters, living through change or looking back in reflective analysis, makes his plays eminently adaptable for radio.
In Breaking The Silence, a man of brilliant ideas and the polished manners of a previous era is forced, under Stalin, to eke out his life of the mind and refined politenesses in unimaginable new circumstances. He is ordered to work as telephone examiner on the Northern Railway and set up home, with the family silver, in one room. Anton Lesser played the inventor (who, like Poliakoff’s grandfather, was in the forefront of bringing sound to the movies) with an authentic sense of melancholy.
Juliet Stevenson was his wife, in an understated performance in which she evoked a woman freeing herself of the constraints of her old life. She removed her stockings to feel the sun on her legs and quietly did the office administration her husband ignored, an omission seen as subversive in such dangerous times.
The entire household, which also included their son (Oliver J Hembrough) and servant (Anna Madeley), were forced out of their old attitudes by the new challenges of their lives. Nikolai's’s wife voices how she felt under her husband’s benevolent repression. As the family sped into exile, her husband acknowledged how she had enabled the whole family to release their separate energies.
Additions by N.D. .....Broadcast 16 Jun 07, 90m; rest of cast: Gary Lewis, John Flitcroft, Jez Thomas; directed by Peter Leslie Wild.
Repeated from about a year ago. Excellent writing and casting. This play attracted a lot of comment, even on the repeat, on the BBC messageboard, for example:
I was quite moved; can barely believe it was only 45 minutes long. The writer was so clever to have condensed so much into such a short time. I really felt I knew the characters and it has made me want to revisit the Romantic poets, especially Coleridge. Thank you Nicholas McInerny for such a gem. It really lifted my afternoon.
...I totally agree; a beautifully constructed play- thought provoking, too; how many of us allow fear to prevent us from doing what we really want? (although being affluent allows one to indulge in ones 'inner self', more than if you are a 'wage slave').
Smoke and Mirrors....2007
11 jun 07. By Paul B Davies. The Great Kalanag, Adolf Hitler's favourite conjuror, is touring the US during the 1950s when he is confronted by his dubious past in Nazi Germany. With Geoffrey Durham; can't remember the other actors but this is a proper drama, not a monologue. Producer Jolyon Jenkins.
ORPHANS IN WAITING....2007
By Wally K Daly. Broadcast BBC7, in six episodes: 28, 29, 30, 31 May, 1, 4 June 2007. Produced by Dan Garrett. Technical realisation Steve Foe, Tanya Bular (spelling?), Giles Aspen.
Cast in order of appearance
Mike Jago …………. Judy Bennett
Janey Jago …………. Abagail Docherty
Peter Jago …………. Simon Radford
Headmaster ………... Peter Jeffrey
Store manager ……... Danny Schiller
Woman in store ….… Oriel Smith
Uncle Brian ……....... Frank Windsor
Aunty Vi …………... Jo Manning-Wilson
Vacal ………………. Tariq Alibai
Police officers ……... Elizabeth Mansfield, John Talbot Gang leader ……....... Tony Redham
Accomplice ……....... Busker (?)
Vacal …………….… Tariq Alibai
Inspector ……….….. Fraser Kerr
Massud ……………. Amajit Dhu (spelling?)
Grandfather Edward Kelsey
Other parts ………… Timothy Carlton, Joanna Myers , Andrew Wincott, David Bannerman.
By Brandon Thomas Recorded before a live audience at Manchester Grammar School in December 2000. Broadcast BBC7 - 20th May 2007. Adaptation Jonathan Hall, director Polly Thomas.
Charley Wickham …………. Morgan George
Jack Chesney ……………… John Griffin
Lord Fancourt Babberly …… Chris Langham
Sir Francis Chesney ……….. Derek Griffiths
Stephen Spettigue …………. James Quinn
Amy Spettigue …………….. Rena Mahoney
Kitty Verdun ………………. Fenella Woolgar
Donna Lucia D'Alvadorez … Bridget Forsyth
Ella Delahay ………………. Alison Darling
by Daphne du Maurier. Broadcast BBC7 - 18th May 2007. Adaptation: Moya O'Shea, director Tracey Neale.
Paul Wilcox ……….. Stella
Jonathan Firth …....... Evan
Alice Hart …………. Cherry
John Rowe ………… Robert
Susan Jameson …….. Mrs Tuggit
HOW NOT TO RUN A FOREIGN POLICY....2007
4 Jun 07. Political satire based on events in 1940. See John Fletcher page.
THE REAL PRIDE AND PREJUDICE....2007
By Elizabeth Lewis. Dramatisation of the relationship between Jane Austen and Tom Lefroy, a young Irishman, as revealed in Jane's letters to her sister Cassandra. With Jasmine Hyde and Andrew Scott; produced by Celia de Wolff. 1 Jun 07.
Comic play about a sink school on the point of being closed down. It's in "special measures" and the inspectors are due, again, to see if it should be allowed to continue as a school. So the head has the bright idea of getting all the troublemakers off the site whilst the officials make their visit. He gives the job to his least reliable member of staff. Stars Leigh Symonds, Mikey North, Lucy-Jo Hudson, Sacha Dhawan and Howard Chadwick. Produced by Gary Brown.
The well-known story by Fielding, dramatised by Stephen Wyatt in three one-hour episodes. I would have liked it over a few more weeks, but it worked well. Produced by Claire Grove. With Simon Russell Beale and Michael Legge, and Margaret Tyzack as Miss Western.
26 May 07. By Daphne du Maurier. This isn't based on the film, but the original short story. The dramatisation is by Melissa Murray, who has about twenty original radio plays and dramatisations to her credit. Flocks of murderous birds gather in the hedgerows and trees in a small Cornish village. Nat, a former military man who's just moved in, knows something is wrong when seagulls start flying into the walls of his cottage. Eventually there's a siege. Then things get worse ... directed by Sally Avens, and stars Neil Dudgeon, Nicola Walker, Jade Williams, Gerard Horan, Carl Grose, John Dougall and Rachel Bavidge. Music by David Pickvance.
KEEP YOUR PANTHEON....2007
By David Mamet. 28 May 07. Set in ancient Rome. It's by Jarvis and Ayres productions, 45m, and Martin jarvis plays the part of an arrohgant actor Strabo who is commissioned to supply some entertainment at a family gathering, but ends up at the wrong house.
BACKTRACK .... 2007
10 Feb. By Jill Hyem. Begins in a centre for the homeless. Jan is roped in as a volunteer. She comes into contact with a young down-and-out with whom she becomes almost obsessed. Saturday play. With Maxine Peake, Joseph Kloska, Mark Straker. Producer Jane Morgan.
For those who are unaware, Jill has been writing plays for BBC R4 since the sixties. Please visit her page for details. (Radio Plays - Writers - Jill Hyem)
21 CONVERSATIONS WITH A HAIRDRESSER....2007
By Caroline Scott-Jeffs. 17 Jan. This play caused 37 messages to appear on the BBC messageboard over the course of about a week. That's a good sign. It provoked some arguments, too. I'm reproducing a few comments which I think were representative of the majority view. If you see your contribution and want it removed, please email me. I do not know how to contact you.
Such a warm play.The dialogue positively fizzed along,overflowing with wit,wisdom,humour,insight and irony.The characters were so very well drawn,so very real.I was thoroughly absorbed by their predicaments and delighted at the close to find their seperate journeys had somehow brought them together.Aristotle at the hairdressers,and at last i know how to iron my shirts!Three cheers for Ms Scott Jeffs,an exquisitely intelligent writer.
Message 3 - posted by 'SteveEastVillage'
I found it an entertaining 45 minutes. Not the best play in the world and was a bit predictable early on, but I knew where we were going. It was harmless and rather fun. I like the way The Afternoon Play is programmed. One day it's heavy, the next a light comedy or romance.
Message 8 - posted by 'kenfourlistner'
I too listened to this play and enjoyed it enormously, I even re-listened because I forgot the punch line to the husband shop joke. I chat to my own hairdresser and have had the same one for twenty two years.
This play was about more than just a hairdressers it was a comment on the many roles women have to occupy in order to fit into male society, it was full of common language and experiences of women in order to deliver what is essentially a rather incendiary comment on male-definitions in a recognisable and inoffensive manner. women are still not free, the bonds holding us are just now constructed of subtler chains disguised as choices.
Any way, it made me smile; I like that in a play. It's harder to do that than make people angry or laugh.
Above plays known to exist in VRPCC collections.
compiled by Nigel Deacon / Diversity website.
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