Rudyard Kipling - William the Conqueror
BBC Radio 4: Afternoon Theatre
Broadcast: Saturday 27th January 1968
Kipling was not one known to write about love, but the exception is "William the Conqueror", a love story of a girl with an un-girlish name, William. It is a tale of the heroic British effort to provide relief to starving natives in famine-stricken Madras. Jimmy Hawkins, famine commissioner for the Punjab, diligently ensures that food supplies are transported by rail from his province and has brought with him Scott, an engineer in the Irrigation Department, and Jack Martyn, an Acting District Superintendent of Police, to help him. Joining them is William, Jack's 22-year-old sister, who refuses to be sent away and is more than capable to help.
As the relationship between Scott and William slowly blossom, problems arise - one created not by Hawkins's oversight but by the superstitious dietary taboos of Hindus - as the rice-eating Madras refuse to eat the wheat and millet Hawkins has sent and prefer to starve instead. But Scott has an idea that may solve the problem....
Adapted and dramatised for radio A. R. Rawlinson from Rudyard Kipling's short story, "William the Conqueror", first published on the eve of yet another famine in India in the December 1895 (Part 1) and January 1896 (Part 2) issues of "Ladies Home Journal". The short story would later be published in Kipling's 1898 short story collection, "The Day's Work".
With Gabriel Woolf [Scott, an Engineer in the Irrigation Department], Jo Manning Wilson [Miss William Martyn, Jack's 22-year-old Sister Who Keeps House for Him], Nigel Clayton [Jack Martyn, an Acting District Superintendent of Police], Geoffrey Wincott [Raines, Editor of Local Paper], Christopher Bidmead [The Cub Reporter], Stephen Jack [Sir James (Jimmy) Hawkins, Famine Commissioner for the Punjab], Gudrun Ure [Lizzie aka Lady Jim aka Mrs. Jim, Sir James's Wife], Garard Green [Faiz Ullah, Scott's Faithful Servant], Humphrey Morton [An Apothecary], and Peter Baldwin [McEuan, Jack's Replacement / A Eurasian Interpreter and Guide].
Produced by David Davis
Re-broadcast on Friday 4th June 1971
Back to top