Melissa Murray radio plays

Melissa Murray is an award winning writer who works in theatre, TV and radio and has had a collection of short stories published. Her radio work, broadcast by Radio 4 and Radio 3, has included plays, adaptations and short stories. She has also written and presented non-fiction programmes on 20th Century literature. (adapted from a flyer for a 1999 radio writing workshop)

This page is at an early stage; any information about Melissa Murray or additional listings will be gratefully received.

Greg Linden

Original Plays

4 May 82 (rpt 3 Nov 82). with Christine Edmonds, Michael Spice and Simon Coady.

BODY CELL....1989
19 Sep 89, Radio 3. A female political prisoner is locked in Solitary confinement. Her intellect is both her saviour and nearly her destruction. With Carolyn Pickles. Produced by Cherry Cookson.

28 Mar 92 (rpt 25 Oct 93), 90m. Saturday play. A researcher, working on a book about crimes committed by women, becomes obsessed by the case of a woman who poisoned her family then disappeared. With Anna Massey, Gary Waldhorn and Siriol Jenkins

26 July 93 (rpt 3 Sep 94), The Monday Play. Husband-and-wife GPs David and Eleanor work in the Health Service. Their marriage is under strain, but ironically it is David's success rather than failure that proves to be the final straw in their relationship. With Phyllis Logan, Stephen Moore, Pauline Yates.

Clive Lever adds........ your notes say that a married couple, both doctors, set up a practice together, but in the end, it is his success, not his failure, which comes between them. (not the exact words, but that's the feel of what you say). This doesn't really carry the mood of the play, or touch upon two of its main themes - the male doctor's dilemma around the state of the NHS and its health trusts, and decisions on who to treat based on financial rather than medical considerations; or the way his opposition to the new procedures leads to severe marriage problems, his becoming a media celebrity and his seeking solace from the stress of it all by taking to drink. You'll have to listen to the play to find out more................(thanks, Clive - N.D.)

14 August 95. When a young boy disappears from home, his parents are fraught. But when he is found, he cannot speak about what happened or what he was running away from. With Alison Steadman and Philip Jackson. Produced by Cherry Cookson.

Do not confuse this play with "Dumbstruck" by Nick Darke - the story of a man's recovery from a stroke...see Nick's page.

10 Dec 97 (rpt 24 Jan 98), from the series 'Who Sings the Hero' - 3 plays about real-life individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary courage. Dr Pauline Cutting, an English volunteer surgeon, worked day and night operating on those caught in the crossfire of the wars in 1980s Lebanon. She saved many lives while working in the most primitive of conditions. With Tracy Ann Oberman and Valerie Sarruf. Director Cherry Cookson.

23 Jan 99 (rpt 23 Oct 99). The Saturday Play, 55m. Simone has been exiled from her family since her appearance in a TV programme revealing she is gay. Now she is seriously ill with leukaemia, and her only hope is a bone marrow transplant from a close relative. With Kate Buffery, Stella Gonet, Roger Allam and Carolyn Pickles. Director: Cherry Cookson.

19 May 00. The Friday Play, 58m. Two solicitors - sparring partners and ex-lovers - come to blows over a criminal case in which vital piece of evidence is misfiled - with the risk of ruination for one or both of them. With Kelly Hunter and Greg Wise. Director: Cherry Cookson.

DEAD MEN'S SHOES .... 2000
21 Oct 00. The Saturday Play. Simon, the office manager, is unexpectedly left in charge of his former boss's software company. Can he cope with some unexpected business and personal revelations and deal with the demands of three very different women? With David Bamber, Samantha Spiro, Celia Imrie, Clare Corbett and Ioan Meredith. Directed by Cherry Cookson.

3 Jan 01, from the series 'Peacemakers' - 3 plays charting the history of the peace movement. The Baroness dramatises a meeting between the dying Nobel and the Baroness Bertha von Suttner in a Vienna hotel. She tries to persude him to leave some of his vast fortune to establish a Peace Prize. Most of Nobel's money came from the invention of dynamite, a safe form of the earlier explosive nitroglycerine. Jeffery Dench played Nobel and Carolyn Pickles the Baroness. Directed by Peter Leslie Wild. ND, VRPCC review, April 2001

7 May 02 (rpt 28 Jul 04), Afternoon Play. In 1826, the daughter of poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge interrupts a coach journey and decides to stay on in her room at an inn, leaving her family her husband and children to fend for themselves as she tries to cure herself of the addiction that had so blighted her father's life. With Sophie Thompson, Scott Handy, Clive Merrison, Carolyn Pickles, David Timson, David Holt, Sarah Paul. Directed by Cherry Cookson.

4 Apr 03, The Friday Play. Clare and Josie meet via an Internet site. Both have secrets relating to their past lives that they want to share. When they meet in real life, their feelings of guilt help them to create an instant bond. But how much do they really know about each other? With Lia Williams and Julia Ford. Directed by Cherry Cookson. Rpt. 27 Aug 04.

27 Mar 04, The Saturday Play. Susan and her second husband are about to make a fresh start in America where he has got a new job. They have had some marital problems and are convinced this will help them rebuild things. Then her visa is refused, and when she finds out why the past comes up to haunt her. With Kate Buffery, Paul Rhys, Roger May, Carolyn Pickles, Frances Jeater and Eva Stuart.

Taking the Picture....2004
8 Feb 05. The true story of an audacious art theft in 1956. Two students decide to claim a picture they believe belongs in Ireland. With Owen McDonnell, Stephen Hogan, Jim Norton, Renee Weldon, Marcella Riordan, and Jon Glover. Director Sally Avens.

The Other World....2005
R4, 1430, 2 Jul 05, Saturday play. Set in Victorian times, the wife of an eminent barrister is found dead. It becomes clear that she has been poisoned over a long period of time, and her husband is arrested. But did he do it? Starring Claire Price, Lorelei King, James Laurenson, Colleen Prendergast, Nicholas Boulton, Alice hart, prod. Cherry Cookson.

In the bosom of the family....2006
Mary Rose is planning a party to impress her friends. Her sisters have a nasty surprise for her: her long-lost son whom she kicked out years ago. But the meeting doesn't go as planned. Friday play; stars Samantha Bond, Maggie Steed, David Cameron Speers, Dermot Crowley, Richendra Carey. Produced by Cherry Cookson. Apparently a repeat - not sure of when first broadcast went out.

No. 2 in Series 2 of Weird Tales, broadcast 6 Jan 2010.

11 Jan 13; by Melissa Murray. A fascinating bit of science fiction, where a research biologist triggers a weird process which makes him start to shrink. As a scientist I have sometimes wondered what it would be like to get smaller and smaller ... what would happen to the senses, especially sight and hearing? Isaac Asimov pointed out in 'The Incredible Voyage' that muscular strength would increase enormously since weight decreases as the cube of the linear dimension, but muscles would only decrease as the square. So if you shrank to half the height, your weight would decrease 8 times but your muscular strength would only shrink by a factor of 4. You would be able to lift twice as much, relative to your body weight. If you shrank to one-hundredth the size, you would be probably be able to lift fifty to a hundred times your body weight...... Cast: Ron Cook as the shrinking man, with Helen Longworth, Jonathan Forbes, Patrick Brennan and Sarah Thorn; producer Marc Beeby.

31 Mar 2013: Chiwawa
By Melissa Murray. (I thought it was spelled 'Chihuahua'- Ed). When a writer is found to have written scathing reviews of his rivals' work, his wife persuades his assistant to take the blame, with unexpected consequences. Pippa Nixon, Fenella Woolgar, Michael Bertenshaw, Cassie Layton, Elaine Claxton, Clive Hayward, Heather Craney. Producer Marc Beeby (who seems to have had a hand in 7 of the 8 plays broadcast in the afternoons since last Monday).

Short Stories

1 Feb 95.

MAY DAY....1995
1 May 95 (rpt 1 May 96). `Rick brought her over to show her the neat hole dug in the side lawn and the way the turf had been cut and kept for replacement. Tomorrow morning, he assured her, it would be impossible to know where the maypole had been.' Read by Natasha Pine.

19 Feb 96. The search for the identity of a mysterious stranger brings notoriety to a small Mediterranean community. Read by Denys Hawthorne.

20 Aug 96. Joseph and his big brother are forced to stay with their foster aunt but the boys are desperate to return home. Read by Robert Harper.

14 May 97. A man walks into a busy hospital casualty department and claims he has the power to heal. Read by Christopher Scott.


5 to 26 Feb 95 (rpt Feb/March 99), 4eps x 30min, . By Alison Hutley. A girl journeys back in time to try and save a family accused and executed for treason.

24 Oct to 28 Nov 95, Radio 2, 6 eps, by Joanna Trollope. With Jemma Redgrave, Caroline Langrishe, Dorothy Tutin, Geoffrey Palmer and Paul Rhys.

14 Feb 98. By Emile Zola. In 19th-century Paris, Therese is forced to marry her sickly cousin and, as a consequence, embarks with her new lover on a journey of passion, lust, murder and revenge. With Helen McCrory, Alex Jennings and Anna Massey. Director Cherry Cookson.

2 and 9 Aug 98. Classic Serial. By Rebecca West. At the turn of the century, 18-year-old Laura visits her Russian aristocratic grandparents in Paris and unwittingly becomes embroiled in a plot to assassinate a notorious double agent. With Sarah-Jane Holm, Kenneth Cranham and John Carlisle. Director Cherry Cookson.

THE IDIOT....2002
27 Oct to 17 Nov 02. 4-part Classic Serial. By Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

9 Feb to 1 Mar 04. 4ep x 30min. By Barbara Comyns. Two sisters escape from their drunken mother and try to make their way in the world. One is beautiful, the other resourceful, but both find life a struggle. With Juliet Aubrey and Jemima Rooper. Directed by Cherry Cookson.


Virginia Woolf's `The Waves'....1999
28 Mar 99, Radio 3. (Centurions, show 63). Virginia Woolf, one of the great stylists in modern literature joins the list of the top artists of the century, with an analysis of one of her finest books.

Doris Lessing's `The Golden Notebook'....1999
11 Jul 99, Radio 3. (Centurions, show 78). An appreciation of a seminal novel which is seen by many as the bible of women's liberation. With readings from the book and an interview with the author.

Greg Linden / Diversity website

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