Hat Trick
by three writers interested in cricket

"The Hat Trick" plays were commissioned by BBC Radio head of drama John Tydeman, who approached 11 leading playwrights - including the late Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter, Tom Stoppard, Simon Gray and Tim Rice - who either didn't reply or declined.

However, Sue Townsend, Peter Gibbs and Peter Tinniswood took up the cricketing challenge....

1) 'Taking Us Up to Lunch' by Peter Gibbs (Tuesday 2nd July 1991)

The first of three plays about cricket is a very funny parody about life in the commentary box. There's foul language, a punch-up on air, questions in the Commons, a BBC inquiry and a required resignation.

Director Jane Morgan, a dedicated cricket fan, gets wonderful performances from Peter Jeffrey, Bryan Pringle and Mark Wing-Davey. Johnners (Brian Johnston), of course, insists it bears no relation whatsoever to real life, where, he says, all is sweet and never a cross word has been spoken.

With Peter Jeffrey [Leslie], Bryan Pringle [Frank], Mark Wing-Davey [Jimmy], and Terence Edmond [Norman].

Directed by Jane Morgan

30 min.

2) 'The Ashes' by Sue Townsend (Wednesday 3rd July 1991)

A comic fantasy featuring an English cricket captain, Geoffrey Rutter-King, who seduces 16-year-old Louise on the eve of a vital Test. Far from protesting, her cricket-mad father is delighted when he sees a chance to realise his life's ambition to play for England. Full of over-the-top moments, it contains the sort of lines you'd expect from Adrian Mole's creator.

With Robin Weaver [Louise], Ronald Herdman [Dennis], Karen Archer [Bobbie], Stephen Tompkinson [Geoffrey Rutter-King], David Sinclair [Hunterson], Joanna Myers [Yvonne Rutter-King], and Fraser Kerr ['Pug' Wilson].

Peter Barker and Brian Johnston played themselves.

Directed by Ned Chaillet

40 min.

3) 'I Always Take Long Walks' by Peter Tinniswood (Thursday 4th July 1991)

Enid is a frustrated cricket widow who recalls the cricketers she's loved and lost.

With Judi Dench [Enid]

Directed by John Tydeman.

35 min.


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