Melville Jones Radio Plays

Melville Jones writes:
....... I dabbled with Revue writing in the “Footlights” at Cambridge but my first Radio scripts were a couple of “Morning Stories” and several talks for the old "Talks and Current Affairs" Department at the B.B.C.

I left full time teaching in 1980 and tried to devote at least part of my time to full time writing. I had a couple of scripts commissioned by B.B.C. Television (putative sitcoms) but they never made it into production. I decided to give Radio a go-I had always been an avid Afternoon Play and Saturday Night Theatre listener- and was lucky enough to get a huge amount of encouragement and advice from Shaun Mcloughlin at Bristol who must have seen something in my first deeply flawed submission.

A year later he commissioned my first radio play “Ties of Loyalty”, a 45-minute afternoon play. I received fairly regular commissions out of Bristol for the next few years working both with Shaun and Brian Miller. They were exemplary in their encouragement to radio writers and I was always invited to read-throughs and recordings and had the pleasure of meeting many distinguished actors. When Bristol production closed I was taken under the wing of Martin Jenkins in London who was another stalwart in his championing of radio drama and its writers.

In all I wrote over 20 radio plays; a mixture of my own scripts; dramatizations of novels and drama-documentaries. The output was mainly for the Saturday night slot and afternoon plays but I wrote a couple of 30-minute pieces for morning transmission. My personal favourites included the first ever dramatization of an Inspector Morse novel (“Last Bus to Woodstock”) which pre-dated the television series and a trio of Saturday Night Theatre plays adapted from crime writer John Penn.

My last work for radio was in 1997 when I adapted the Cornish religious play “Bethlehem" to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the original live recording of the play from St.Hilary church in West Cornwall in what had been one of the B.B.C’s first live Outside Broadcasts.

About that time I became a lecturer in Creative Writing at Cornwall College. I found it very rewarding helping others to write, and eventually I lost the appetite to do it myself.


24 Dec 97, by Bernard Walke; adapted for radio by Melville Jones. As part of BBC Radio's 75th anniversary celebrations: parishioners of the Church of St Hilary near St Michael's Mount in Cornwall recreate the mystery. Afternoon play.

Adapted by Melville Jones: 1 Mar 93: Unto the Grave (John Castle, Tessa Worsley); 8 Mar 93 Mortal Term (John Castle, John Samson); 15 Mar 93 Double Negative (no details of cast).

15 Jun 85. With Andrew Burt and Christopher Douglas. 90m.

5 Jan 83. Afternoon Theatre: With Hugh Burden and Neil Stacy. 45m.

8 Oct 83. With Keith Drinkel and Heather Baskerville. Saturday Night Theatre.

page compiled by Nigel Deacon, with thanks to Melville Jones

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