Radio Plays, 1954

By J. M. Synge. Radio Eireann, 10 Nov 1954. The play opens in the cottage kitchen of old Maurya's home, situated on one of the Aran Islands off the west of Ireland.

After nine days of constant grieving for her missing son, Michael, old Maurya has fallen into a restless sleep. Her daughter, Cathleen, is busy with household tasks, when another daughter, Nora, slips quietly into the kitchen with a bundle given her by the young priest. It contains a part of the clothes taken from the body of a drowned man washed up on shore in Donegal, far to the north. They have been sent to the family for identification, since the clothes may belong to her missing brother.

The girls go to open the package but then decide to hide it in case their mother, who is waking up, should come in and see them crying. The sea had already claimed the lives of her husband, father-in-law, and four eldest sons, and with Michael still missing, Maurya tries to discourage Bartley, her youngest son, from going to Connemara to sell a horse, which was the trip Michael took when he died. But Bartley insists that he will cross the mainland in spite of winds and high seas....

The play, like all of Synge's plays, is noted for capturing the poetic dialogue of rural Ireland. The very simple plot is based not on the traditional conflict of human wills, but on the hopeless struggle of a people against the impersonal, but relentless, cruelty of the sea.

"Riders to the Sea" is a one-act play written by Irish playwright J. M. Synge, first performed by the Irish National Theatre Society at Molesworth Hall, Dublin, on the 25th of February, 1904. It was the second play by Synge to be performed on stage, following a successful run of his one-act play, "In the Shadow of the Glen", which opened four months earlier.

With Pegg Monahan [Maurya, an Old Woman], Maura O'Sullivan [Cathleen (Maurya's Daughter, about 20-years-old)], Neasa Ni Annrachain [Nora (Maurya's Younger Daughter)], Padraic O'Neill [Bartley (Maurya's Son)], Una Collins [A Woman], and Eamonn Kelly [An Old Man]. Directed by Arthur Luce Klein; produced by Michaél O hAodha. 25m.


A play for radio by Barbara S. Harper. BBC Light Programme, 24/5/1954, 8.30pm. Hani Gretler's dream concerned a car, a doctor, and a hospital, and was sufficiently vivid for her to recognise the doctor, as she told him when she found him. Miss Adams ... Mary Wimbush, Dr. Halliday ... Michael Hordern, Hani Gretler ... Gina Bower. Other parts played by Virginia Winter and Garard Green. Produced by David H. Godfrey.

Interesting thirty minute BBC play sent to me by Martin Fennell, adapted by Lance Sieveking and based on a short story by H.G.Wells. Mr. Leadbetter is in holy orders, and for more years than he cares to remember has led a virtuous, worthwhile and very dull life. After drinking a little more than is good for him whilst on holiday, he rashly decides to commit a crime. It has consequences he could never have imagined - he ends up on the other side of the world. Producer - Martyn C. Webster. Not sure of the broadcast date, but this play was repeated by NBC in their "Showcase" series on 16 Oct 1954.

The above play was broadcast in 1951 - see that page for more details.

THE CHAIN....1954
By Richard Baldwyn. 3.00pm. Stephen Winkle ... Cyril Shaps, Bert Spender ... Brian Hayes, Porter ... Ian Sadler, Passenger ... Arthur Lawrence, Guard ... John Gabriel, Clerk of Court ... Arthur Lawrence, Magistrate ... Ian Sadler, Mr. Soskins ... Brian Hayes. Produced by Charles Lefeaux.

By Peter Cheyney. 3.30pm. Dramatised by Anthony Aspinall. Benson ... Cyril Shaps, Detective-Sergeant Hone ... Patrick Troughton, Chief Inspector Gringall ... Ian Sadler, Barmaid ... Irene Sabini, Bill Whaley ... John Gabriel, Lily Malone ... Monica Grey, Velvet Johnnie ... Brian Hayes. Produced by Charles Lefeaux.

The two plays above were broadcast on BBC Home Service 20/1/1954 at 3.00 and 3.30 as the Wednesday Matinée Double Bill

NBC were keen at one time in broadcasting certain BBC shows in their "Showcase" series. The four 30m plays above come into this category, and a fifth programme, a well-known comedy show, completed the set. The NBC broadcast dates were:

540424 Take It From Here
540522 Pussycat Pussycat
540904 The Chain
540918 Velvet Johnnie
540925 Mr Leadbetter's Vacation.

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