Strange Lands: Radio Plays

There are many wonderful plays set in far away lands where Western ways of thought are unknown. There are others where the central character comes from one of these places. There is radio magic here.

This is an attempt to gather together some of these tales...

2005 The Raj Quartet, by Shelley Silas (mammoth Classic Serial)
2005 Preserved of God (memoirs of a Biafran soldier)
2004 Ebola Attack, by John Fletcher
2002 Evaristo's Epitaph
2001 Princess Caraboo, by Roger Stennett
2000 The Protege - Ramanuja, Indian mathematician
1995 Remember Live Aid, by Joe Dunlop
1992 The Man Eater of Malgudi, by Bill Ash
1984 The return of General Forefinger, by Giles Cooper
1984 Master's India (mammoth Classic Serial)


Chukwudebelu - Preserved of God....2005
R4, 26 Jun 05. By Ben Okafor and Justin Butcher. A dramatisation of Ben Okafor's experiences as child soldier and refugee during the Biafran War of Independence.

Nigerian singer-songwriter Benedict Chukwudebelu Okafor was just 12 when, in 1967, after continual and ferocious persecution, his Igbo tribal homeland in eastern Nigeria seceded from the rest of the country.

The fledgling republic was given the name Biafra - Land of the Rising Sun, a name full of hope and promise. However, no sooner had this new state been established than it was invaded by the powerful forces of the Nigerian Army. For the next three years, Ben and his family were forced to become refugees, with Ben soon taking his place in the army beside other boys, desperate to stand up and be counted in the fight for freedom.

Narrator ...... Ben Okafor
Benedict Snr ...... Charles Abomeli
Chude ...... Seun Sote
Boy Soldier/Voice of Ojukwu/Uncle Albert ...... Nick Oshikanlu
Sally/Woman in Church ...... Ola Rhodes
Amaka/Young prostitute ...... Indy Okonkwo
Directed by Richard Shannon.

9 Oct, World Service: an account of a story which actually happened. Ebola broke out in the Lacor region of Uganda a little over three years ago. The fact that it didn't reach the wider world is due to the heroic behaviour of the people in this drama, led by Matthew Lukwiya, the senior doctor at Lacor hospital . Not a barrel of laughs - though there are quite a few - but ultimately an uplifting story.

Some words on a gravestone in a Cornish churchyard led to this play, and it's based on a remarkable true story - the friendship between a slave, Evaristo Muchiavella, and his former master, who are buried in the same grave. 45m, afternoon play, 25 Nov 02. By Patrick Carroll. A play with similar subject matter was written by the Cornish playwright Nick Darke (q.v.).

Princess Caraboo....2001 R4, 14 Jul 01, 55m. A true story dramatised by Roger Stennett. A young woman walked into the village of Almondsbury, near Bristol, in 1817, dressed in outlandish clothes and speaking an unrecognisable foreign language. Taken in by a local magistrate and his wife, she soon became the talk of high society. With Clare Corbett, Jenny Coverack, Philip Manikum and Chris Donnelly. Directed by Sara Davies.

16 Feb 2000, R4, afternoon play, based on fact. By Jan Hartman. Cambridge, 1913. A maths don at Trinity College receives a notebook of theorems and a letter entreating his help from an impoverished young man in Madras. It is clear that the young man is a genius, and he travels to England to begin a collaborative partnership which will have wide-reaching consequences. With Shiv Grewal, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Alex Jennings. Director Kristine Landon-Smith.

Another play about Ramanujan went out on Radio 3 in 2008, entitled "A Disappearing Number".

Excellent play about the charismatic Bob Geldof and how he changed the way we look at third world famine. See Joe Dunlop page.

The Man-Eater of Malgudi....1992
See William Ash's page. A later treatment of the same tale (very different in style, by the Scottish playwright Ronald Frame) went out around 2006. See R.F's page.

Wonderful play by Giles Cooper. See his page.

Nigel Deacon / Diversity website

Most of the above plays known to exist in VRPCC collections

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