Adam Bromley adds:
Matt Lucas peforms all the Hoffnung you hear, including the famous bricklayer routine. We've used the original archive for timing and the laughter, but it's Matt's voice.
We recorded it line by line, using the original as reference; I have to say that in the studio, on high quality monitor speakers, it was almost impossible to differentiate Matt from Hoffnung. Uncanny. (I can second this - I thought the 'bricklayer' material was taken from an old Hoffnung recording - Ed)
We put some selective EQ and processing on voice on the Bricklayer material to make it sit with the texture of the laughter and atmos from the archive recording. This makes it feel different to the rest of the show.
The real Annetta Hoffnung appeared at the very end of the play, doing the closing speech. Alan Stafford, the writer, met with her many times and we had her support throughout the production.
She was with us in studio for a morning and she had a lovely time. Over lunch, she told us more about Hoffnung and it was heartbreaking to hear how young and how suddenly Gerard died. He was a true original.
LAST NIGHT ANOTHER SOLDIER....2009
1 Aug 09. Saturday play by ex-SAS soldier Andy McNab. Should be compulsory listening for all MPs. A young lad in the army, and his experiences in Afghanistan. A realistic and uncompromising portrayal of army life. With Russell Tovey, Damian Lynch, Stephen Hogan, Lloyd Thomas, Paul Ryder, Caroline Guthrie, Janice Aqua, Matt Addiss. Producer Verney Samuel.
MARMALADE FOR COMRADE PHILBY....2009
Comedy drama by Christopher William Hill, R4 30 Jul 09, afternoon play. A novelist finds that his French translator has reworked his latest spy novel as his autobiography. Will he own up or not? After all, spies generally get the pretty girls. Cast: Patrick Bradyn ...... Bill Nighy, Hannah Olrod ...... Penelope Wilton, Delphine Barbret ...... Rachel Atkins, Ken ...... Geoffrey Whitehead, Lottie ...... Claudia Elmhirst, Barlow ...... Adrian Scarborough. Original music by Lucinda Mason Brown; produced by Gordon House. Production company: Goldhawk Essential for radio 4.
m.f.: .....I suspect the writer knew who was going to play the parts. It just felt right.
l.r.m.:...........Loved it, suppose the resolution was that he goes for the money and fame plus the wishes of the woman who loves him and never mind the consequences or indeed the truth.
More information on Gordon House's page.
THE NIGHT THEY TRIED TO KIDNAP THE PRIME MINISTER....2009
15 Jul 09. Based on an extract from Quintin Hogg's diaries. In 1964 a gang of students at Aberdeen University had attempted to kidnap the Prime Minister, Sir Alec Douglas-Home, who had temporarily taken over the leadership of the Conservative party after the ill-health of Harold MacMillian. This is a dramatic reconstruction by Martin Jameson of what might have happened. The cast: Tim McInnerney as Sir Alec, Chris Starkie, Benjamin Askew, Michelle Duncan, Grainne Dromgoole, Annabelle Dowler, David Hargreaves. Producer Jeremy Mortimer.
*the play 'How are you feeling, Alf?' (see below)
1,2,3 Jul 09, afternoon plays. Here were three episodes written for radio of a popular TV science fiction series. I don't have a TV so am not familiar with its plotlines or characters. As radio drama it wasn't to my taste, but Gillian Reynolds of The Daily Telegraph liked it, as did many others writing to the BBC messageboard. Each to his own, I suppose, though I'm going to listen to the recordings again. The titles were: Asylum, Golden Age and The Dead Line. John Barrowman played Captain Jack Harkness.
Another sequel to Journey into Space, created by Charles Chilton; written by Julian Simpson, broadcast 27 Jun 09.
Gillian Reynolds (Daily Telegraph) commented on Charles Chilton's hugely industrious and successful BBC career, encompassing features, Variety, Westerns and science fiction. David Jacobs plays "The Host" in this very effective one-hour play. Toby Stephens played Jet Morgan (better casting, perhaps, than "Frozen in Time") and Charles Chilton himself (93 in Jun 09) read the closing credits. David Chilton, Charles' son, was responsible for sound design and music, and the producer was Nick Russell-Pavier of Goldhawk Productions. The play was reviewed by Paul Donovan for the Sunday Times, 21 Jun 09; the article is online. (date is correct; reviewers get preview discs)
Roger Howe of VRPCC has interviewed Charles Chilton, and his interesting account is shown on the radio articles page.
THE CHOSEN ONE.....2009
By Edson Burton. A young man converts to Islam, with disruptive effects on his family. The play explores the issues sensitively and intelligently. 24 Jun 09.
22-23 Jun 09, afternoon play. The fascinating story of the collapse of ENRON, the biggest power company in the world. Done as a drama-documentary. Producer Sarah Davies. By Margaret Heffernan.
Senator Byron Dorgan, 18 Dec 2001: Hearing before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation. .............'The subject of the hearing today is the meltdown and bankrupcy of the Enron Corporation in just several months. This is not your average business failure. This is a tragedy for many including workers and investors who it appears to me have been cheated out of billions of dollars. It's about an energy company which morphed itself into a trading company involved in hedge funds and derivatives. It took on substantial risk, created secret off-the-books partnerships, and in effect, cooked the books under the nose of their accountants and investors. More than sixty billion dollars in value has been lost in months, some of those at the top of the pyramid got rich, those at the bottom lost everything. It appears to me to be a combination of incompetence, greed, speculation with investors' money, and perhaps some criminal behaviour'.
The play was discussed on the BBC messageboard, where the reviews were favourable. Margaret Heffernan contributed a few remarks:
.............When I was researching it, I was horrified by how exactly the collapse of Enron presaged everything that happened with the banks. Unfortunately, I think that means that we learned nothing then and I rather wonder whether we've learned anything now. My personal belief is that the clue to these rotten companies isn't the accounting detail but the culture.
One listener suggested that a drama-doc. approach might have been better. MH answered as follows:
Sorry you found it hard to follow; we tried SO hard to streamline it! I'm not sure a documentary approach would work. Two reasons: first, it gets really complicated and abstract and second, in the end, I think the story is about more than the facts. It is about what happens to people - perfectly nice, normal people - when they work in an environment like this. That seems to me to be the long lasting story that's important: not the accounting detail but the personal corruption of people like you and me.
Cast: Andrea LeBlanc, Jin Suh, Hilario Saavedra, John Fleck, Mary Lou Rosato.
HOW ARE YOU FEELING, ALF?....2009
Political play about the last days of the Callaghan government and the beginning of the Labour Party's years in the wilderness under the shadow of Mrs. Thatcher. The main character in the play is 'Alf', an elderly MP in poor health who is almost too ill to attend the House for crucial votes. With Geraldine McEwen, Julia Ford, Laura Mowat, Robert Lonsdale, Philip Jackson, Janice Aqua, Jonathan Tafler. Producer Claire Grove. Afternoon play, 45m.
A play by Richard Nelson, blending history and conjecture. R3, 7 Jun 09, 8pm.
No reigning British monarch had ever been to the United States before George VI's visit in 1939, just on the cusp of a new world war. History was in the making when the King and Queen arrived at President Roosevelt's upstate New York home, with a promise of politics, a picnic and hot dogs. But the private life of the President provided a whole new dimension to an epochal moment, at least in the memory of his lover.
Older Daisy, a woman in her 90s ...... Barbara Jefford
Daisy, her younger self ...... Emma Fielding
Franklin Delano Roosevelt ...... Tim Pigott-Smith
Missy, his secretary ...... Nancy Crane
Eleanor, his wife ...... Julia Swift
Mother, his mother ...... Sylvia Syms
Tommy Qualters, his bodyguard ...... John Chancer
Bertie ...... Corin Redgrave
Elizabeth ...... Kika Markham
Cameron ...... Jamie Newall
Directed by Ned Chaillet.
...........Gillian Reynolds (Daily Telegraph) described this play as being based on Richard Nelson's discovery of some letters and diaries of Daisy Suckley to her distant cousin, the American President. It's the inside story of the royals' visit in 1093, just before WW2. King George and Queen Elizabeth accepted an invitation to visit the President's family home. Ned Chaillet, who also directed the 'J. Edgar Hoover' plays a few years ago, produced and directed.
THE GREAT HARGEISA GOAT BUBBLE....2009
By Julian Gough, 15 May 09. Very original comedy which tells us how the stock market bubble burst. It all starts when a goat gets run over in Somaliland. I think this originally appeared in the financial pages of one of the National papers, but it makes an excellent play. It won the BBC short story prize in 2007. With Hugh Quarshie, Stephanie Flanders, Sam O'Mahoney-Adams. Producer Di Speirs.
DOLLY (R4, 1415, 16 Apr 09), by Christopher Douglas, was a dramatisation of the D'Oliveira Affair, which made national headlines almost forty years ago. D'Oliveira, from the South African slums, had worked his way up as a club cricketer and now made a living playing for Worcestershire. He was an exciting batsman and a talented medium-paced swing bowler. His form was so good that he eventually made the England team. In the late sixties he was selected to go on a winter tour of South Africa, which was still under the rule of apartheid.
However, the South African Prime Minister, Vorster, refused to recognise the English team because D'Oliveira was a 'Cape Coloured' - a player who would not be able to sit in the same railway carriages, attend the same functions, or drink in the same bars as his white English and South African counterparts. To the MCC's credit, in the face of such overt and disgusting racism, they called off the tour, and South Africa played no more test matches for about twenty years.
Dickie Bird, the world-famous umpire, was one of the first cricketers to go and coach black children in Soweto. He has strong views on apartheid. In Dickie's words, taken from his autobiography ....when I arrived at the venue...not a soul to be seen....then...they came over the hill....ragged, patched-up pants, no shoes....very different from the magnificent facilities enjoyed by their white counterparts. Even the practice pitches in Johannesburg were out of this world, and here were these black lads with not a cricket stump, bat or ball between them, turning up to play on waste ground....
In the play, D'Oliveira was played by Jude Akuwudike, his wife by Rakie Oyola, and Peter West by the author; the producer was Roland Jacquarello.
..........I don't consider the MCC to have come out of this affair with any credit whatsoever. They were aware of the "overt and disgusting racism", to use your phrase, and had had been told, in no uncertain terms by SA, that any team that included Basil D'Oliveira would not be acceptable. To appease the 'sensibilities' of the racist SA government, and to ensure the tour would be allowed, the MCC concocted several implausible excuses for not selecting D'Oliveira.
It was public opinion, and a sympathetic press, which forced the MCC selectors to change their minds. Even then their announced reasons for D'Oliveira's belated inclusion were fabrications.
4 Apr 09. By Ed Harris. Robert has left his girlfriend. He has all sorts of problems. He gets too involved with people, and too emotional. He finds a man who can remove his soul. It doesn't help him very much. With Martin Freeman as Robert, Pip Torrens as the Doctor, Clare Corbett as the cousin, and Polly Lister as the girlfriend. Producer Chris Wallis.
A QUESTION OF ROYALTY....2009
THE THIRTEEN WATCHES....2009
9 Jan 09. Sherlock Holmes: a Bert Coules original story (3rd out of a series of 4 stories). Clive Merrison, Andrew Sachs, Nigel Anthony and Sion Probert. Producer Patrick Rayner. See Bert's website for details about these plays and informatiion about Clive Merrison and Andrew Sachs.
APES AND ANGELS....2009
6 Jan 09. Should creationism be taught as a science in schools?
5 Jan 09. The only play I know where a man learns to pilot a glider. Interesting. A repeat from a year or two ago, by Jonathan Davidson. 45m. Producer Tim Dee.
IN THE ABSENCE OF GEOFF....2009
R3, 90m. 4 Jan 09. Another excellent play by Charlotte Jones. A play about a man whose marriage is falling apart. He has no alternative but to lose his memory. With Adam Godley, Amanda Lawrence; producer Claire Grove.
3 Jan 09. By Melissa Murray.The convoluted world of a Russian electronics expert and spy. 60m. This was the guy who invented the only musical instrument which has to be played without touching it. Producer Marc Beeby.
HONG KONG BY NIGHT....2009
1 Jan 09. Short, rather effective love story. Afternoon play. 45m. By In-Sook Chappell. Producer Abigail le Fleming.
compiled by Nigel Deacon / Diversity website
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