John Buchan - radio plays

There have been many adaptations for radio of John Buchan's exciting adventure stories. They are unpretentious, well structured, and excellent - radio drama at its best.

Here are details of some of the BBC broadcasts:

Mar 08; classic serial in two 55m episodes. Adapted for radio by Bert Coules, with David Robb as Richard Hannay and Clive Merrison as Sir Walter. Producer Bruce Young.

The adaptation attracted favourable comment on the BBC messageboard; for example, from "j"...(which I've summarised and edited)

    Spiffing! Hannay once more fighting single-handed against the Fritzies, but now the moral rot in Britain seems to be caused by the Conchies instead of the dastardly Jews....

    I believe he wrote propaganda in WWI, and this can be heard in the scripts. All the 'good sorts' who are invalided out can't wait to get back to the Front to give the Hun 'what for'.

    Totally politically incorrect by today's standards; rampant stereotyping, oozing gung-ho, but such good fun!

R4, 3 Jul 05. Classic Serial, 2 x 55m. GREENMANTLE, a lesser-known story by John Buchan, was due to go out as the Classic Serial, beginning R4, 1430, 9 Jul 05, dramatised by Pat Hannah. The plot involved Muslims, so the second episode was pulled, after the London bombings. It still hasn't been broadcast; disappointing for the producer, Bruce Young. I hope we'll hear it soon. (ND, VRPCC radio review, Sep 05)... Update ....yes, it was broadcast about a year later.

The Three Hostages....2003
Dramatised in two 60m episodes by Bert Coules. Richard Hannay has retired, and is now Sir Richard, and is becoming a staid family man when he's paid a visit by his old boss. There's a problem which only Hannay can solve. Will he take on the job? It involves rescuing some hostages from a gang of international criminals. An exciting adventure story starring David Robb as Hannay, Haydn Gwynne as his wife Mary, and Clive Merrison as Sir Walter. Also stars Michael maloney, Souad Faress, Christian Rodska, Andrew Harrison, Bew Crowe, Gordon Reid, Emma Callender; directed by Bruce Young.

John Buchan's 1915 spy thriller, dramatised in two parts by Bert Coules. When a man is murdered in Richard Hannay's flat, he goes on the run, pursued by police and a gang of German spies intent on recovering a secret notebook which could destroy the British naval fleet. With David Robb, Tom Baker, William Hope and Struan Rodger. Director: Bruce Young.

By Robin Brooks. A pastiche on Richard Hannay...when he signs up for a murder- mystery weekend he does not expect the drama to begin on his own doorstep. Stars Alan Cox, Emily Wolf; dir. Clive Brill.

The courts of the morning....1994
By John Buchan, producer Patrick Rayner. 29 Jan 94. Dramatised by Guy Slater (thanks Steve Mawer). With Ian McDiarmid/Fiona Francis.

The 39 Steps....1990
SNT, 10.2.1990/1945
David Rintoul.

3 episodes, R4 3.1.1988 - 17.1.1988, with Roy Hanlon/David McKail/Sharon Maharaj.

The Island Of Sheep....1983
3 episodes, R4, 23.1.1983 - 6.2.1983, with Nigel Anthony/John Rowe/Geoffrey Matthews/Sandra Clark.

The Island of Sheep....1975
3 episodes, R4, 31.8.1975 - 14.9.1975, with NoŽl Johnson/Michael Johnson/David March/Geoffrey Matthews. Producer Norman Wright. My favourite Hannay serial; very good production and casting.

Witch Wood....1975
23.8.1975, SNT, with Michael Deacon/Jack Watson/Rosalind Shanks/Simon Lack/Audrey Cameron.

The Adventures Of Richard Hannay....1972
6 x 30m; details for Episode 1, broadcast 13 Aug 72. ' The Man Who Died'

by John Buchan
Adapted for radio by Winifred Carey from 'The 39
Steps' & 'Mr. Standfast'
With Fraser Kerr as Richard Hannay
Spy and espionage adventure which takes our hero Richard
Hannay up and down the country and accross the world in the
year of grace 1914.

Olsen Michael Spice
Colonel David March
Mellor Harrold Kasket
Scudder Brian Haines
Malcolm Sean Barrett
Sir Harry Duncan Lewis Stringer
With Eva Stuart, Ronald Herdman, John Samson &
William Sleigh

Producer Norman Wright

Salute To Adventurers....1970
7 episodes, R4, 16.12.1970 - 21.1.1971, with Ralph Watson/Brian Kent/George Woolley/John Malcolm.

The Blanket Of The Dark....1968
7 episodes, R4, 24.1.1968 - 6.3.1968, with Alan Devereux/Bob Arnold/Douglas Storm.

The Island Of Sheep....1966
8 episodes, R4, Home Service, 19.1.1966 - 9.3.1966, with Malcolm Hayes/Michael O'Halloran/Felix Felton.

7 episodes, Home Service, 7.7.1965 -18.8.1965, with Fraser Kerr/John Hencher/Peter Billingsley/Peter Stephens.

The Free Fishers....1964
8 episodes, Home Service, 9.10.1964 -27.11.1964, with James Grant/John Graham/Jean Anderson/Moultrie L. Kelsall.

The Power House....1962
5 episodes, Light Programme, 10.9.1962 - 8.10.1962, with Brian Haines/Julian Somers/John Westbrook/Elizabeth London.

The 39 Steps....1960
6 episodes, Light Programme, 17.1.1960 - 21.2.1960, with James McKechnie/Norman Claridge/Eric Anderson.

The Island of Sheep....1955
6 episodes, Home Service, 11.2.1955 - 18.3.1955, with Alec Clunes/Felix Felton/Henry Searle/Olaf Olsen.

Witch Wood....1954
13 Dec 54. Based on scenes from John Buchan's novel, ad. John Keir Cross. Monday play.

6 episodes, Home Service, 2.1.1953 -6.2.1953, with Duncan McIntyre/Donald Bissett/Philip Cunningham/Eric Anderson.

The Adventures of Richard Hannay....1950
8 episodes, Home Service, 22.7.1950 - 9.9.1950, with Derek Walker/Jean Brenda/Alexander Powis/Douglas Storm.

Compiled by Nigel Deacon, from information supplied by Roger Bickerton and from own collection / Diversity website

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