(N.B. This is written on the assumption that interested persons will already know about Coward and his style.)

Noel Coward was one of the great entertainers of the twentieth century, chiefly as a dramatist, but also as a composer and actor on stage and screen. Though he wrote nothing specifically for radio, some of his least-performed works have been broadcast successfully: the rare one-act play STAR CHAMBER in 1940; THE MARQUISE and THE QUEEN WAS IN THE PARLOUR in a Coward festival in 1958; the satirical anti-war play POST MORTEM in 1976; and the late operetta AFTER THE BALL in 1999, as part of the Coward centenary celebrations. All the major plays have been broadcast, some repeatedly, in a succession of new productions (BLITHE SPIRIT, PRIVATE LIVES, THE VORTEX). BRIEF ENCOUNTER has been broadcast at least ten times, most recently under its original title, STILL LIFE. Both PRESENT LAUGHTER and THE VORTEX have been broadcast at least six times. Three of Coward's stories were adapted for radio in 1975 and a fourth, ME AND THE GIRLS, in 1976.

Coward himself appears not to have featured in any radio productions of his plays (or of anyone else's for that matter); but many star actors have done so, Sybil Thorndike, John Gielgud and Peggy Ashcroft among them. Peggy Mount was a rousing Madame Arcati in the latest BLITHE SPIRIT (1983) and Bill Fraser a splendidly cynical butler in RELATIVE VALUES (1976). Coward is always good value and even in his lesser plays he can be relied upon to demonstrate that 'talent to amuse' for which he was so famous.

Barry Pike

NOEL COWARD PLAYS (compiled by B.Pike, R.Bickerton and N.Deacon)
Star Chamber 18.5.40 rpt. 25.6.41
Brief Encounter 29.9.47
Peace in our time Home 13.12.47
Private Lives 16.5.51
This happy breed Home 17.11.51 rpt 2.1.57
Hay Fever Home 6.12.52
Tonight at 8.30:Ways & Means/Astonished/Red Peppers 9.12.53
Blithe Spirit Home 22.12.54 rpt. 16.6.56
Present Laughter 24.9.56 rpt. 10.6.57 (Gielgud)
The Vortex 29.9.58
The queen was in the parlour Home 4.10.58
Private Lives 6.10.58
Red Peppers/The Astonished Heart 9.10.58
The Marquise Home 11.10.58
Brief Encounter Home 29.11.58
Three cowardly captains /C.Brahms/N.Sherrin Home 16.2.63
Brief Encounter Lt 19.6.63
Waiting in the wings 26.12.63, rpt. 18.2.72
Quadrille Home 16.10.65
Family Album 22.12.65
Brief Encounter Lt 3.8.66
The Vortex R4 18.11.67
Private Lives R4 13.12.69 (Edward de Sousa)
Nude with Violin R4 24.1.70
The Marquise R4 29.8.70
Hay Fever R4 18.12.71 rpt 28.12.83
Fallen Angels R4 14.4.73, rpt.7.7.76 & 4.5.85
Present Laughter R4 23.12.74,rpt.3.1.77
and 30.6.79 (Scofield)
and 6.4.13 (Sam West)
Bon Voyage R4 5.2.75 rpt. 20.10.77 and 13.12.89
Pretty Polly Barlow R4 12.2.75 rpt 26.10.77 & 13.12.89
Star Quality R4 19.2.75
The Vortex 9.6.75 rpt. 30.12.93 (Eliz. Sellers)
Private Lives R4 20.12.75 (Paul Scofield)rpt. 29.12.83
Relative Values R4 8.5.76
Me and the girls 20.5.76
Post Mortem R4 12.12.76, rpt 13.7.85
Design for Living R4 27.12.76
The girl who came to supper 21.7.79
South Sea Bubble R4 2.8.80
Blithe Spirit R4 27.12.83, rpt.4.5.85
Brief Encounter R4 29.12.83, rpt. 21.2.94
Cavalcade 23.4.86
A song at twilight R4 25.3.89
This happy breed 2.9.89 rpt. 30.10.89
Waiting in the Wings R4 14.4.90
Design for Living 22.12.91 rpt. 20.12.92
Hay Fever 14.11.92 rpt. 26.7.93
Blithe Spirit 29.12.92 rpt. 11.12.99 WS 55m
The Vortex 30.12.92
Hit the Heights 27.12.93
Private Lives R4 30.1.95 (Stephen Fry)
Noel Coward Diaries, read by Simon Callow. 16,12,96 & 23.12.96
Bitter Sweet 4.1.97
Red Peppers/Still Life(=Brief Encounter) 31.12.98
Tonight at 8.30: Hands across the sea/Shadow play 1.1.99
Tonight at 8.30: 2 more plays 31.5.99
Easy Virtue R3 26.12.99
After the Ball 27.12.99
Fumed Oak/Family Album R4 1.1.00 (these 2 plays from "Tonight at 8.30")
The Vortex R3 2.1.00
Dates for Brief Encounter: 2.9.47, 4.5.55, 2.10.58, 29.11.58,
19.6.63, 2.9.63, 6.6.64, 29.12.83,
21.2.94, 31.12.98 as Still Life.


Samuel West as Gary Essendine and Frances Barber as Monica, with Freddie Fox, Janie Dee, Kim Wall, Lily James, Susannah harker, Jonathan Coy, Anthony Calf, Hazel Ellerby, Sarah Badel. Producer Celia de Wolff. Repeated 31 Jan 2015. This is a partly autobiographical play in which a successful self-obsessed actor struggles to avoid the attentions of several potential seductresses as he prepares to embark on a tour of Africa. His long-suffering secretary Monica keeps him in order. Into the plot wander his estranged wife, a persistent young playwright, creating havoc. He also has to come to terms with turning 40.

Blithe Spirit....1985
4.5.1985. Paul Eddington/Julia McKenzie/Anna Massey/Peggy Mount. SNT.

South Sea Bubble....1980
2.8.1980 Moira Lister/Michael Denison/Hugh Burden. SNT.

Present Laughter....1976
30.6.1979 Paul Scofield/Fenella Fielding/Patricia Routledge. SNT.

Relative Values....1976
8.5.1976 Joyce Redman/Bill Fraser/Gwen Cherrell/John Rye. SNT.

Private Lives....1975
20.12.1975 Paul Scofield/Patricia Routledge. SNT.

Hay Fever....1971
18.12.1971 Peggy Ashcroft/Tony Britton/Millicent Martin/Julia Martin/Maurice Denham. SNT.

Updated 28 Apr 2013.
SNT = Saturday Night Theatre.

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