Movies and Film on Radio


I’ve divided this page into three sections:

1.Radio versions of cinema films / movies
2.Historical plays about film and movie making
3.Tales which exist in both radio / cinema versions, where the radio play is not based on the film release. There is some overlap between 1 and 3, so if you’re searching for a particular play, look under both categories.



Based on the story which led to the famous film by Fritz Lang. Dramatised by Peter Straughan, produced by Toby Swift. Broadcast as a Friday play, 24 Mar 06. The radio version has more differences than similarities compared to the film. It's an excellent play, and it won the Prix Italia in 2007.

Toby Swift adds:
We went back to the original novel which was written by Lang's wife, Thea von Harbou - this would account for some of the differences with the film; although we changed the time setting (the novel was an imagining of the late 20th century from 1927 which didn't seem quite right for a dramatisation in 2006), Peter drew heavily on the detail of the novel. The big departure from book and film was dispensing with the robot Maria (and the scientist who created her on behalf of Freddy's father), instead making the robot a delusion on the part of Freddy.

By Bill Naughton. His plays were produced at the Mermaid Theatre, including "All in Good Time", "Alfie" and "Spring and Port Wine". "Alfie" was the most celebrated; it began life as a radio play, then turned into a stage play with Michael Medwyn at the Duchess Theatre in the West End; finally it was made into a film with Michael Caine, not so famous as he is now. There was a re-make of the radio version broadcast in the late 90s.

Dramatised by Gregory Evans. Original story by Stephen King...a man who has everything going for him: a loving wife, a happy family, and a successful career. But close by his beautiful new home lies an ancient Indian burial ground - a place of strange and sinister power. Dramatised by Gregory Evans Directed by Gordon House for BBC Radio Drama. Repeated on CBC Radio National, 19 May 01. Excellent dramatisation.

Dramatised for radio by John Fletcher. From the Hollywood film, by James M. Cain. With Walter Hough, Molly Ringwald, Teresa Russell, John Wood, Michael Drew, John Goraczio, John Baddeley, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Roger May. Technical presentation by Graham Hoyland, Dave Parkinson, Andrew Lawrence, Fiona Baker, Christine Hall, Mark Decker. Directed at Christchurch Studios in Bristol by Andy Jordan.

24 Jul 93. By Ted Allebeury. London, mid-1980s. The fates of a Secret Intelligence officer, a Russian defector and a prostitute are inextricably linked. With Michael Melia, Louise Germaine, Steve Hodson, Dominic Letts, John Hollis. Producer Tracey Neal.

THE PLEDGE....1993
By Friedrich Durrenmatt. ...Matthews is a gifted detective, but his clinical approach makes him unpopular. When a child is murdered he risks everything to solve the case. R4, 25 Jan 93. With Keith Drinkel and Tom Georgeson. Adapted from the novel by Peter Thompson. 90m. Another version (55m) went out on 1 Oct 05, dramatised by Steve Chambers, also very good.

15 Dec 1990, R4. The only James Bond film to be dramatised for radio. It's excellent.

A new adaptation and production, R4, 23.8.1987 - 4.10.1987. With Andrew Sachs as Dantes; also starring Geoffrey Matthews, Nigel Anthony, Paul Gregory, Melinda Walker, Steve Hodson, Leslie Sands. Director: Graham Gauld.

By James Hilton. A wonderful story, long famous as a novel, and also as a Ronald Colman film. Barry Campbell adapted it in 3 60-minute episodes, preserving all the magic and mystery of the original. Graham Gauld's production brought Shangri-La to eerie life high in the mountains of Tibet. He had excellent actors, notably Derek Jacobi as the enigmatic Conway and Alan Wheatley as the High Lama, a mesmerising figure. - B.P

FAHRENHEIT 451....1982
By Ray Bradbury;dramatised for radio by Gregory Evans BBC Radio Production Information:(BBC Radio 1982) “Sometime in the future, the fireman’s role has changed from stopping fires to starting them: the material being all books or printed matter of any kind. Fahrenheit 451 is the temperature at which books burn. But Montag the fireman is beginning to have doubts about his role… “
Montag - Michael Pennington
Millie - Pamela Salem
Beatty - Peter Miles
Narrator - Jonathan Newth
Clarisse - Patience Tomlinson
Medic/Announcer - Spencer Banks
Stoneman - Michael Simkins
Woman - Susan Dowdall
Faber - Peter Tuddenham
Granger - Hugh Dickson
Simmons - Alan Dudley
Director - Brian Miller



'THE GUN'....2011
12 Mar 11, adapted by Mike Walker. Stanley Kramer brought out a film "The Pride and the Passion" in 1957 based on "The Gun" by C.S.Forester, about a huge 18-lb bronze cannon abandoned by its army when its carriage breaks. Years later, during the Napoleonic Wars, a group of guerrilleros learn of its location and get the locals to get it mobile again. The gun is dragged from place to place and used in battle. Although the characters change, the story has the gun at its centre throughout. Cast: Scott Arthur, Matthew, Keiron Self, Don Gilet, Kevin Doyle, Sule Rimmi, Richard Nicholls. Producer Polly Thomas.

14 Mar 11; Mike Walker goes behind the scenes in an imaginary look at the filming of "The pride & The Passion" (see below). All is not well; Frank Sinatra is behaving like a prima donna, and stalking new star Sophia Loren; actors are turning up late on set, and very little of quality is 'in the can'. A script doctor, Earl felton, is signed up to limit the damage and salvage the project. Cast: Steven Weber, Greg Itzin, Kate Steele, Jonathan Silverman, Jonathan Getz, Andre Sogliuzzo, Tom Virtue. Producer Kate McAll.

Saturday play - an account of Orson Welles' chaotic attempt to film Othello, as seen by his Iago, Micheal MacLiammoir. Simon Callow played MacLiammoir and Don Warrington played Welles. The play was directed by Alison Hindell (who is now Head of Radio Drama, having recently taken over from Gordon House).

By Marcy Kahan. Three actors recreate a crucial hour in cinema history...when Orson Welles delivered his verdict on the screenplay for "Citizen Kane"...at stake is the credit for the film, being written by Herman Mankiewicz and overseen by John Houseman. Stars Stanley Kamel, David Ogden Stiers, William Hootkins; directed by Ned Chaillet



(radio version NOT based on the film)

NOW, VOYAGER....2004
By Olive Prouty; dram. Neville Teller. Hollywood Film 1942. A dowdy, frustrated spinster is determined to change her life.

Directed by Richard Wortley from the story by Alan Bennett. See Richard Wortley and Alan Bennett page. Film and Script version virtually identical; both superb.

Adapted by Christopher Fitz-Simon from 'The Dead', the last story in James Joyce's 'Dubliners'. It re-emerged recently as the climax of the 'Dubliners' week on Radio 4, this time with the title of its source. It's a famous story, subtle and penetrating, often light and lively, yet also with moving poetic power. It made a wonderful film in John Huston's handling and it also made exceptional radio. Dermot Crowley plays Gabriel Conroy, the pivot on which the dual action turns : the adored nephew, proposing the toast at his aunts' Christmas party, and the stricken husband, who learns almost casually that he has never had from his wife the depth of love she once gave freely to another man. A purist might object to Aunt Julia's song, doggedly delivered and quite without distinction (though given with genuine accomplishment in the story); but in everything else, Joyce is served with impressive and rewarding fidelity.

Dramatised by Brian Sibley and Michael Bakewell in 26 half-hour episodes. With Ian Holm and Michael Hordern. Debateably the best radio drama of all time. It is a rich and varied performance; you can listen to it whilst driving to work, when you can't have the book in your hand. It sticks quite closely to the text, and though it isn't perfect, the production will keep you gripped from episode 1 to episode 25 (sic). -gripping 26-part epic which I would have found even better without some of the songs. The music was fine; well-written and performed, but I don't like Tolkien's poetry. The film makers evidently agree; the songs never made it into the movie version - N.D.

By T.H.White, dramatised by Neville Teller. This starred Sir Michael Hordern as Merlin, and used the original and newly orchestrated music by Benjamin Britten, conducted by Stuart Bedford. 120min. Other details: 26.12.1981/2000, also starred Toby Robertson. B.P: - The boyhood of King Arthur, from T.H.White's famous, fantastic original. Great fun, with Michael Hordern in characteristic mode, beaming benignly through his voice and doing his eccentric best for Wart (the young Arthur). Britten's music greatly enhanced Graham Gauld's production.

THE HEX....1981
By. Gregory Evans. 2 Jan 81, (based on "Casting the Runes"). Play, written by Gregory Evans. Starring Conrad Phillips, Peter Copley, Edward Atienza. (Radio 4) A cracking play.

compiled by Nigel Deacon / Diversity website

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