....The 'story' began, for me, in the Isle of Man in the summer of 1955 when I followed the thin piping sound of a recorder being played - and there, enjoying the peace of the mountain scenery, was Cecil Scott Forester.
It seemed wrong to intrude on his music-making, but I couldn't let the chance pass of talking to the man who created one of the best characters in modern fiction - Horatio Hornblower. The author agreed that the stories he had written so far would make good radio, but at that time the rights on Mr. Midshipman Hornblower and Lieutenant Hornblower were not available. It wasn't until the end of last year that the series as a whole became available to the BBC for broadcasting. Had C.S.Forester lived (he died before completing Hornblower and the Crisis, then I think this master of combining detailed fact with fiction would have wholeheartedly approved of the choice of adapter for The Hornblower Story.
Not only is Val Gielgud a master at the business of radio drama; he has an enthusiasm and understanding of the characters which Forester created. And he shares with the author a detailed and accurate knowledge of the period in the The Hornblower Story is set - the Napoleonic Wars.
Such was Forester's own interest and belief in the character, that having published Lord Hornblower in 1946, he then went back in time and after paintaking research, provided an equally detailed background to Hornblower as Mr. Midshipman and then as Lieutenant Hornblower - both of these appearing in 1952. For the radio series we have chosen the first three books in chronological order, Hornblower and the Hotspur being the third book in the series. But then we jump to Lord Hornblower for the fourth and final adaptation. The story is told by Admiral Lord Hornblower, now in retirement and in his seventies.
THE HORNBLOWER STORY....1979-80*
Dramatised by Val Gielgud in 20 half-hour parts from four of the Hornblower books by C.S.Forester. Another version with a different cast.
Nigel Anthony as Hornblower; producer Trevor Hill assisted by Christopher Hayton Webb. Music composed by Johnny Pearson, location recordings by C.H-W and David Fleming-Williams aboard the ketch I.P.Thorsoe with the assistance of Mariners International. Technical assistance by members of the Royal Navy Museum, Portsmouth. SMs David Fleming-Williams, Roger Lucas, Mark Seyler. BBC Manchester.
ND comment - One of the best BBC serials I've heard. Superb story, cast and dramatisation.
Admiral Lord Hornblower the narrator: Nigel Anthony/ John Westbrook
Mr Midshipman Hornblower as a youth: Nicholas Fry/ Derrick Gilbert
Capt Sir Edward Pellow of HMS Indefatigable [pt 2-4]: Ronald Herdman/ David Mahlowe
Lt Masters of HMS Justinian: Anthony Wingate/ Geoffrey Banks
Mr Midshipman Simpson: Ralph Lawford/ Paul Bond
Capt Keene of HMS Justinian: Charles Foster/ Roy Barraclough
Mr Midshipman Cleveland : Paul Herzberg/ Paul Webster
Lt Chalk of HMS Goliath: Ian Flintoff/ David Scase
Mr Midshipman Caldwell: Keith Ladd /Bruce Bould
Directed by Trevor Hill and Christopher Hayton Webb
The Hornblower Story
Adapted for radio in 20 s by Val Gielgud
From four of the Hornblower books by C.S. Forester
Book 1: Mr Midshipman Hornblower
1: The Even Chance
2: The Cargo of Rice
3: The Man Saw God
4: The Examination for Lieutenant
5: The Duchess and the Devil
Book 2: Lieutenant Hornblower
1: The Peculiar Captain
2: Sealed Orders
3: The Landing
4: Court of Inquiry
5: Home and Beauty
Book 3: Hornblower and the Hotspur
1: Hotspur Sails
2: Hotspur and the Loire
3: The Raid
5: The Treasure Fleet
Book 4: Lord Hornblower
1: The Mutiny
2: Plan for Rebellion
4: Out of the Past
5: Story's End
BBC Radio 4: Saturday Night Theatre
Broadcast: Saturday 14th February 1976 @ 8:30 p.m.
Doris and Michael return from their honeymoon when Michael receives a call from Tom Renshawe, offering him a second honeymoon in Rome for Michael and his wife, complimentaries of British Intelligence. They wanted to thank him for his earlier work in Germany. Though while he is there in Rome, they want him to shadow a gentlemen call Gerald Picton. British Intelligence wants to know where he goes and who he meets.
But while in Rome, Michael is approached by a good friend of Picton's who asks to set up a meeting with Michael. When Michael shows up he finds himself on a murder scene with he being the prime suspect.
With Anna Cropper [Doris Hayward], John Bennett [Michael Hayward], Elizabeth Kelly [Aunt Claire O'Connell], Geoffrey Matthews [Tom Renshawe], Ronald Herdman [Gerald Picton], Geoffrey Wheeler [Sven Best / Count Galetao], Peter Bell [Captain Averno of the Rome Police], David Marlowe [Colonel Boris Balakev of the KGB], Geoffrey Banks [Rodson, Head of the German Section of British Intelligence], Graham Tenant [Harry Carson], Meera Stowe [Jean Tyler, Gerald Picton's secretary]. (review by 'J' - thank you)
Produced by Trevor Hill
I am grateful to Emlyn Williams for allowing me to set the play more firmly in Cheshire by substituting a Cheshire lad for the Scot who is in love with the girl. 'David Pickford' is based on a young decorator who lives in the Cheshire village of Bollington, whilst our local grocer, Geoff Bann, assisted with the dialect.
Biggles and the Case of the Obliging Tourist: The second of four Biggles Adventures adapted by Bertha Lonsdale from the stories in the book entitled Biggles and the Pirate Treasure by Capt. W.E. Johns. Produced by Trevor Hill. Biggles and his friends uncover a diamond smuggling racket. Cast List : Norman Richley, Norman Shelley, Jack Watson, Graham Tennant, Barrie Hesketh, Don Rae, Norman Somers, Valerie Skardon, Daphne Oxenford, Nigel Davenport.
KING LEAR PART 2*....1949
26.4.49 78m. Written by Bertha Lonsdale & presented by Trevor Hill. Music by Bernard Hermann. With TS announcements. Donald Wolfit, Sonia Dresdel and Robert Eddison.
-asterisked recordings known to be in vrpcc collections.
Nigel Deacon, Diversity website.
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