Roy Kendall - Marlowe's Diaries
BBC World Service: Play of the Week
Broadcast: Sunday 30th May 1993
This week's play has been specially written by Roy Kendall to commemorate the life of one of England's finest poets and playwrights,
Christopher Marlowe, who died in mysterious circumstances on this very day, four hundred years ago.
Marlowe is best known for his great plays about Dr. Faustus and Tamburlaine the Great. While he lived, he overshadowed even
Shakespeare. He's less well known for his heretical beliefs, his unorthodox lifestyle, and his spying activities. Today's play focuses on these
more unfamiliar aspects of the man.
"Marlowe's Diaries" begins in 1590, three years before his death, soon after Marlowe had been released from Newgate Prison for being
involved in a three-way sword fight in which his friend, the poet Thomas Watson, had killed their adversary...
With Anton Lesser [Christopher Marlowe], Jeremy Northam [William Shakespeare], Philip Voss [Robert Poley, an Agent Provocateur],
Mark Payton [Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton], Geoffrey Beevers [Richard Baines, a Double Agent], Michael McCallion
[Sir Robert Sydney, 1st Earl of Leicester], David Holt [Thomas, a Young Friend of Christopher's], and Pauline Yates [Katherine Marlowe,
Other parts played by members of the cast.
Directed by Gordon House.
An excerpt from Roy Kendall's 2003 book, "Christopher Marlowe and Richard Baines: Journey Through the Elizabethan Underground",
where he comments on his radio play, "Marlowe's Diaries" (which won him the Writer's Guild of Great Britain's Macallan Award for Best
Original Radio Play):
"I have to confess that for my radio play "Marlowe's Diaries", commissioned by the BBC World Service to commemorate the four
hundredth anniversary of Marlowe's death, I opted for the Waltham theory. The decision to do this was partly because it was by far the
most convincing theory at the time - I had not then discovered the Waltham parish register. Yet what actually tipped the scales with
regard to the creation of this part as a rector-spy was that such portraiture made Baines into a much more complex and therefore
dramatic character. My subsequent discoveries have made Richard Baines of Waltham (presuming he is Marlowe's accuser) into an
even more extraordinary character than I originally fashioned him. For this reason, I continue to hope that he is Marlowe's Baines; but
hope, of course, proves nothing."
compiled by.....Jim, Diversity website
Back to top