Tony Church


Tony Church had a long career with the BBC. He was an actor, theatre sound engineer, reader, writer, presenter, radio producer, a DJ and a film reviewer. Much of his time was spent working in local radio.

He was born in Wimbledon and had early ambitions to be a film director.

He was accepted by the National Film School. He spent a year working in sound and lighting at the Empire, Leicester Square.

After his national service with the RAF he joined a ballet company which the Arts Council of Great Britain had set up just after the war.

In 1950 he moved to Nottingham, to take charge of lighting and sound at the tiny old Playhouse in Goldsmith Street, where he spent 13 years. In 1963 he intended to move into the new theatre in Wellington Circus but he clashed on a point of principle with Tyrone Guthrie, who was directing Coriolanus. He resigned and subsequently moved into radio.

He had a very varied career. In addition to being an actor and presenter he wrote two radio plays, had experience as a sound engineer, and spent many years as a DJ and fim reviewer. Once he recorded some families in Nottingham to help Albert Finney get the correct accent for the film 'Saturday Night and Sunday Morning'.

In the late sixties, the BBC began opening new stations outside London. He became senior producer for the East Midlands.

As a writer he and his wife Marielaine collaborated on two radio plays and one TV play, Campaign For One, a science fiction adventure (1965).

He spent 20 years with Radio Nottingham, the last 12 as a DJ and film reviewer.

He died aged 75 on February 7, 2006.

The Tony Church archive is held at Nottinghan University Library.

Sources: Emrys Bryson's obituary, in "The Stage", BBC Genome.


TIGER, TIGER ....1991
By Alfred Bester, dramatised by Ivan Benbrook; director Andy Jordan. 90m. 14 Sept 91. Saturday Playhouse.
Gulliver Foyle survives abandonment in space to create vengeful havoc. - Penny Fabb, "Complete Guide to Science Fiction on Radio", 2004.

Comment from the webmaster at www.otrplotspot.com:

The book is considered by some critics to be the best science fiction novel ever written, and I highly recommend reading it before listening to the audio production. There is a lot of story to tell, with numerous colorful characters and many layers of depth to the society in which they operate. Thus the pace of the radio play is fast and furious, as even 90 minutes is scant enough time to tell the whole story. If you are not familiar with the plot, it's easy to become lost and confused as to who is who, what they are after, and why they are after it. But if you have read the book, you should enjoy this pared down version.

ND comment - I listened, and couldn't make much of it. It was too fast, and I couldn't follow it, so I found some online reviews, to find out what was going on. Then I tried again. This time I loved it - a cracking tale. Here's part of an online review from Bart Leahy on "Amazon", talking about the novel ("The Stars my Destination") from which it comes:

"Nomad is a derelict [spaceship], full of holes, torn apart, and with only one airtight and air-filled room, where Gully Foyle has managed to survive for months, scavenging air, water, and food from the rest of the tattered hulk. Then, one day, another ship, the Vorga, comes within hailing distance, and Gully Foyle sets off every flare he can find. The Vorga stops . . . and then moves on.

Rage and a thirst for revenge are pale terms for the obsession that haunts Foyle from that day forward. Gully Foyle: Alun Armstrong, Joseph: Tony Church, Jisbella: Lesley Manville, Robin: Siobhan Redmond, with Miranda Richardson, Andrew Hilton, Brett Usher, Steve Hodson, John Telfer, Terence Edmond, David Bannerman, Petra Markham and Eric Allan.

Adapted by Michael Bakewell. With Barry Foster, David Buck, Rosemary McHale, Tony Church, Zena Walker, Irene Sutcliffe, Stella Tanner, William Eedle.

By Shaw. 21.11.76, rpt. 3.6.1979. With Tony Church, James Laurenson, Lucy Fleming.

Home Service, 30jun67.A magazine of interest to all, with older listeners specially in mind, including:'Um Finished, Midda King!A. J. KING , a Wellingborough schoolmaster, talks about the thrills and spills of teaching multi-racial classes. Chiteauneuf de Nottingham: MAJOR ALAN ROOK , a wine connoisseur, talks to Tony Church. Women in the Chamber: More women are putting up for the local council. In Leicestershire, Roland Orton talks to two newcomers to the Chamber, to an ex-Lord Mayor, and to Councillor LADY BARNETT (Isobel Barnett). Introduced by TONY CHURCH from Nottingham.

Home Service, 3 Feb 67. Fifty Years and Still Running .......... those veterans of the theatre JACK HULBERT and CICELY COURTNEIDGE talk about their life together. A Foot in the Door .......... the tricks of the trade and the traps for the unwary housewife revealed by AL HEATH, himself a travelling salesman. 'A man may see how the world goes with no eyes' .......... surely one of the most unlikely professions a blind man could take up is journalism, but GEORGE MILLER from Stapleford near Nottingham,is not only a registered blind person but has been a journalist for twelve years. Introduced by TONY CHURCH, from the East Midlands.

Home Service, 18may65 A series of three programmes which explore the boundaries of honesty in England today 2: On the Knocker. An enquiry into the methods and motives of the high-pressure salesmen. With recordings by TONY CHURCH and comments by GORDON BORRIE of the Faculty of Law, Birmingham University, and ELIZABETH GUNDRY. Produced and compiled by ANNE OWEN.

Home Service, 13may64. A series of illustrated talks on some of the outstanding novels of recent years 4: GRAHAM HOUGH on The Leopard by Giuseppe di Lampedusa. Readings by TONY CHURCH. Produced by ROGER OWEN.

The Physicists....1963
Murder in the Grand Villa -the last descendant of the family makes her living there by treating the neuroses and psychoses of the "spiritually confused elite". Three of the patients believe themselves to be Newton, Einstein and Mobius - hence the title. October, 1963 Royal Shakespeare Companyís production. Cast list (in order of speaking): Narrator.........Norman Claridge, Inspector Voss........John Nettleton, Head Nurse............Doris Hare, Newton...........Tony Church, Dr. von Zahnd...........Irene Worth, Einstein.............Derek Godfrey, Frau Lina Rose..........Patience Collier, Herr Oskar Rose........Michael Burrell, Moebius...........Cyril Cusack, Nurse Monika Stettler....Patricia Connolly. Other parts played by Barry Ashton, John Cobner, John Harwood, Gordon Honeycombe, Tony Steedman, Dane Howell, Ian Lindsay, Pip Rolls. Einsteinís violin played by Tessa Robbins. Piano played by Wilfrid Parry. Stage production by Peter Brook; Radio adaptation and production by William Glen-Doepel.Rpt. 5 Mar 72.

June Tobin, Ralph Truman and Tony Church with Diana Olsson and Denys Blakelock in this famous play by Jules Supervielle. Translated by Alan Pryce-Jones, adapted and produced by R. D. Smith. Music by Darius Milhaud conducted by Marcus Dods. 2 Dec 58. Other parts played by Sheila Ballantine. Beryl Calder Leigh Crutchley , Deirdre Doone, Rosina Enright , Kathleen Hilditch and Hilda Schroder; the recorded broadcast of Nov. 9. DURING THE INTERVAL (10.0-10.10 app.) .... Movements from Beni Mora Suite (Holst) .... BBC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sir Malcolm Sargent on a gramophone record. Shariar, the Sultan .... Ralph Truman, Shazenian, his brother .... Tony Church, Grand Vizir .... Baliol Holloway, His daughters:Sheherazade .... June Tobin, His daughters:Dinazarde .... Diana Olsson, Chief Eunuch .... Denys Blakelock, Abd El-Malek the executioner .... John Dearth, Sorceress .... Coral Fairweather, Flying Horse .... Edward Burnham, Tonight's Sultana .... Martina Mayne, The Mothers .... Sylvia Coleridge, Dorothy Holmes-Gore and Marion Mathie. Other parts played by Sheila Ballantine, Beryl Calder, Leigh Crutchley,Deirdre Doone. Producer: R.D.Smith.

Page compiled by Nigel Deacon / Diversity website. Corrections or additional contributions to the page are welcome.

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