Accident One: Wandering in Eden:
'Wandering in Eden' by John Fletcher was elaborately 'followed' by a journalist Chris Barlow for a theatre magazine. We had original music recorded in his home studio by a member of Pink Floyd; normal practice in our digital multi track age, but it used to be session musicians and baton conducting in BBC studios. Pink Floyd went well and so did his home hospitality.
For two days we also recorded sound effects down on a Somerset farm, John Fletcher doing hands-on baling hay, strong in the arm and muscular with the pen. The play did not transmit for some while. We "wandered from Eden" and accidentally wiped these effect recordings. I was in 'Houdini' mode because a new batch of agricultural sound effects had just been made for BBC Radio Birmingham. Yes, I was rescued by "The Archers" team and I never told John.
Accident Two: The Third Man:
I recorded my own radio adaptation of Graham Greene's "The Third Man" from his screenplay of the same title. The first mainstream British film ever shot on location (1949), it felt dominated by Orson Welles who only appears for ten minutes.
We made our aural version both in and outside the "Archers" Birmingham studio. In the original "Greenland" tale, Harry LIme happens to be English so I managed to avoid comparison with the electrifying Orson. The British film star Ian Hendry agreed to be our "Harry"; so far, so good. Unluckily this generous spirit got rat-arsed one lunch break. My cunning schedule was in vain as the BBC bar stayed open especially for him. Nine cups of coffee and he was still pretty slurred. But we got away with it because he had reached that moment in the plot where his character is shot and dying down the Viennese sewers. Mr. Welles, by the way, spent very little time down the 'real thing' as he couldn't stand the smell.
Tragically, the long walk at the very end of the film, along a cemetery path where the heroine ignores the waiting man, Rollo Martins (an Orson Welles regular actor Joseph Cotton) who loves her, worked less well.
We had recorded our steps in a Birmingham park, a walk-on-down by my charming young assistant, Christine. A machine fault meant I had to re-dub them in from an effects disc. I knew Christine's mother so I never told her daughter; an enjoyable deceit. Ann Lyn, also English, gave us a melting performance, Austrian accent and all. Her would-be American lover was put in the safe hands/mouth of Edward Bishop. At that time, Ed was part of a tiny group of radio actors from 'across the pond' , half of whom were Canadian anyway. And on the 'silver screen', the only German was Anton Differing, the only Australian Chips Rafferty and the only black star, Sidney Poitier.
Christine emigrated to New Zealand.
As a footnote (pun intended) I overdid the zither music from the movie. My actor playing the Trevor Howard role had just returned from an illicit weekend in Belfast and his date, by mistake, left her vanity case unattended. The British security forces roped it off and blew it up.
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