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Stephen Dunstone Radio Plays

Stephen Dunstone gave up full-time German teaching ten years ago (paragraph written 1990) in order to write. Since then he has written regularly for radios 3 and 4, winning a Radio Times drama award and a Giles Cooper Award. His work has been translated into French, German, Norwegian, Hebrew, Icelandic, Japanese and Russian. (info. found by Clive Lever, in "The Man In Black", BBC Publications 1990, ISBN 0 563 20904 6)

Stephen has written some cracking tales...."Arrived Safe, Writing Later" is a subtle, other-world play occurring on two different levels, and "The Devil's Kiss" is in the same class as Scott Cherry's nightmarish "Book of Shadows".

The website at http://stephendunstone.wordpress.com/ gives the following biographical details: Stephen is a harpist, teacher, composer and writer. The site is interesting and well worth a visit.

Nigel Deacon

BBC Broadcasts

WHO IS SYLVIA?....1984
I heard part of this play twenty years ago whilst in the car, and looked for a copy of it (not knowing the title) for twenty years; finally I heard the whole thing in 2004. Two scientists are engrossed in their work in the laboratory, experimenting on cockroaches. It works on two levels - we hear the scientists and their mindless chatter; then there's a subtle change in the sound quality, and we are with the insects. They are aware of the horrible things which are being done to them, but can't understand why they are happening. It is truly horrific. At the same time it is superbly written and directed, and it won a Giles Cooper Award. It stars Michael Aldridge as Sir Archibald, Nigel Hawthorne as Henry, Martin Jarvis as Michael, Anna Massey as Angela, and Frances Jeater as Sylvia. Director: John Tydeman.

OENANTHE AND THE BEANSTALK ....1986
R3, 26 December 1986, 75 minutes
The true story of Jack and the beanstalk. ("the Christmas offering that has stayed most memorably through the discarded tinsel... a bitter-sweet and charming fantasy of lost love, with Jack's mother as the baddie and Jack falling for the giant's young wife." The Guardian, 3 Jan 1987) With Polly James, Robert Meadmore, Geoffrey Matthews and Pauline Letts. Produced by John Tydeman.

GOD'S FIRST DRAFT ....1987
R3, 25 Jul 1987, 25 minutes
The world we know and live in may not be the only version of God's attempt at the Creation. This story suggests there were other drafts - all of them rejected! Performed by Anna Massey. Produced by John Tydeman.

FEAR ON FOUR: FAT ANDY....1988
R4, 6.3.1988/1930, Series 1, no. 10.

HEAVEN'S CHILDREN ....1988
R4, 13 Jun 1988, 90 minutes
"In the excellent Monday play, Caroline, disappointed in love for Richard joins a pseudo-religious sect, and her father insists that Richard must get her out. He is able to visit, but Caroline insists he must meditate, and then she is able to enter his mind." (Financial Times, 18 June 1988) Starring Steve Hodson, Victoria Carling and Susannah Fellows. Produced by John Tydeman.

FORGIVENESS ...1989
R4, 09 May 1989, 30 minutes
The pursued is a criminal, a specialist in his field. The pursuer has been on his trail for years and tracks him to his secret hideaway. But then suddenly the criminal is overwhelmed with compassion. Performed by Tony Haygarth.  Produced by John Tydeman.

ARRIVED SAFE, WRITING LATER....1989
R4, 30/12/89, 75min....... Radio Times said ...."A writer who finds two postcards from the same woman decides to investigate her for his next novel."

This is factually correct, but one could equally say that "Romeo and Juliet" is the story of two feckless teenagers who won't obey their parents. The plot of "Arrived Safe, Writing Later" isn't really the point - this is a closely-written play about coincidence, life and the nature of time. .....ND

UNDER THE RAINBOW ....1991
World Service, 24 March 1991
A retelling of the Noah's Ark legend. Were Noah's instructions direct from God? ("the neat twists and the near-serious reflections on the original story saved Upon the Rainbow from the merely fanciful. The Guardian, 29 March 1991) Starring Bill Patterson. Produced by Gordon House.

THE DEVIL'S KISS....1996
R4, 21/10/96, 90min. Set in the late 1300s somewhere in Yorkshire, this is a frightening tale involving superstition and the devil. Villagers are set a near impossible task by the local squire and are subsequently approached by a mysterious stranger to help them carry it out. The help comes at a high price. The opening scene of this story is almost unsurpassable....a group of men are drinking in an inn, and one of them has a story to tell. He reaches in his bag, and pulls out a lump of wood which he puts on the table. It it obviously old, sawn from a long beam, and it contains a wooden peg, driven in hard with a hammer. The man says that behind the peg, something frightful is trapped. His story reveals what it is, and how it got there. With Paul Copley, Michael Cochrane, Christian Rodska, Carole Boyd, Rachel Atkins, Keith Drinkel. Based on an old Swiss tale.


    Jim's notes.... Broadcast 21 October 1996, The Monday Play

    For defying the Devil, a medieval Yorkshire village faces an eruption of murderous spiders.

    Based on Jeremias Gotthelf's 1842 novella, The Black Spider (“Die schwarze Spinne”, 1842). Jeremias Gotthelf was the pen name of Albert Bitzius (October 4, 1797 – October 22, 1854). Producer Martin Jenkins.

    Cast:
    Paul Copley .................................. John Faber
    Christian Rodska ......................... William Dunger
    Michael Cochrane .......... Sir Richard, the Local Squire
    Carole Boyd ................................ Mother Keech
    Rachel Atkins ............................. Christina May
    Keith Drinkel .......................... The Man in Green
    Robert Harper .................................. Theodore
    Alice Arnold ...................................... Sarah
    Colleen Prendergast .................... Alice / Margaret
    Andrew Branch ............................ Thomas Pyshank
    Kim Wall ............................... William Honeyman
    Jonathan Adams ................................... Muckle
    David Collings ........................... Father Crispin
    Peter England .......................... Jeffrey, a Child



DROUGHT....1999
45 mins, 9 July 1999. Jean's former home, submerged in a reservoir, has been uncovered by a drought. Her visit there does not bring back the happy memories her nurses expect. With Kathleen Helme, Angela Wynter and Susan Cookson. Dir. Janet Whitaker.

Most of the above are known to exist in VRPCC collections.

Greg Linden & Nigel Deacon, Diversity website.

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