Radio Plays: Popes

By Hugh Costello, 60m. 11 Oct 08. This is the sequel to "The Last Confession". Drama about the Vatican conclave after the short reign and mysterious death of Pope John Paul I in 1978. It was decided to break with centuries of tradition and elect the first foreign Pope for nearly 500 years. Producer Sara Davies.

Cast: David Calder, Alison Reid. Nicholas le Prevost, Andrew Hilton (as Karol Wojtyla), Nigel Anthony, Paul Humpoletz, Paul Nicholson, Christian Rodska, Jonathan Nibbs, Bill Wallis, David Collins, Paul Dodgson, Kristian Phillips and John Sandeman.

By Roger Crane. R4, 4 Oct 08, 60m. This story goes behind the scenes at the Vatican, uncovering the politics and crises of faith suttounding the untimely death of Pope John Paul I. Cardinal Benelli lies dying and makes his confession, centering on his loss of faith and his part in the Pope's death. He is disturbed by the corruption and political manoeuvrings in the Vatican. He begins to investigate what happened to the Pope, and has to decide whether he should stand for oddice himself. This is an adaptation by Martin Jenkins of Roger Crane's stage play.

Moira Petty, in her radio review in "The Stage" (Oct 08), made the following comments:
    " Only 33 intrigue-filled days into his papacy, John Paul I was found sitting up in bed after suffering a fatal heart attack. Those who think he was murdered say this was an unlikely posture for a man stricken by coronary pains. No autopsy was carried out and the Vatican issued a series of contradictory statements. In fact, autopsies are not traditionally carried out on popes and the clumsiness of the Vatican reaction could be attributed to communal shock."

    She went on to say that the papel election was a bit like the American elections without the press pack or women or levity. Political, moral and fiscal ideologies clashed. Cardinal Marcinkus, (played by Peter Marinker) was the Pope's banker; a warrent for his arrest was later issued but never implemented as he remained within the sanctuary of the Vatican. He represented the materialism of a church entangled with corrupt financiers and the Mafia.

Cast: David Suchet, Keith Drinkel, Richard O'Callaghan, Nigel Anthony, Peter Marinker, Crawford Logan, Donald Sinden, Andrew Branch, Cyril Nri, Paul Humpoletz, Robert Pugh, Roger May, Jean Trend, Ben Warwick. Producer Martin Jenkins; director David Blount.

By Wally K. Daly, 90m. There has been a lot of speculation about the death of Pope John Paul I, who died after approximately one month in office. Was he murdered? With Geoffrey Whitehead, Keith Drinkel, Stephen Thorne, Bernard Hepton.

BBC World Service: NEWS FROM THE PAST....1995
Dramatisations, 45min.

(1) 9thJan95. 1666 - The Great Fire of London.
Sir Isaac Newton's theory of gravity.
Obituary of the builder of the Taj Mahal.
Stardivarious the violin maker.

(2) 16thJan95. 1775 - Independence in the colonies.
James Watt and steam.
Captain Cook.
New Pope in Rome.

(3) 23rdJan95. 1854 - The Crimean War.
Japan and America meet for trade.
Suez Canal plans.
Trouble in South Africa.

(4) 30thJan95. 1901 - Queen Victoria dies.
Australia becomes a Commonwealth.
Boxer uprising in Peking.
McKinley assassinated in USA.

By Steve Walker. Awarded a prize for being one of the 2 best plays of 1990; hugely entertaining and witty. Sydney and Gregory Collyweston are twins; Sydney wallows in every indulgence, goes to the racecourse every day, and does everything to excess. After hearing of the new Papal appointment, he visits the Vatican, where his illustrious brother asks him to stay to help him combat his unworldliness...which is when the trouble starts.

Cast: Dinsdale Landen as Sydney, Ben Onwukwe as the Cardinal with the unspellable name, John Bull, Jenny Howe, Denis Hawthorne as Pope Gregory, Henry Goodman, David Bannerman, Vincent Brimble, Jenny Howe. SM Wilfred Acosta; directed by Peter Kavanagh.

Radio 4, Friday 7th April 1978. By Anton Gill.

No one has ever doubted that Doge Enrico Dandolo, the 39th Doge of Venice, was clever. His audacious appropriation of the forces of the Fourth Crusade to serve the ambitions of Venice is irrefutable evidence that he was a master of intrigue.

Pope Innocent III called for the Fourth Crusade to liberate Jerusalem in 1198. In 1201 a delegation from the north arrived at Venice to commission construction of a new fleet of warships and transports for the Fourth Crusade. Venice agreed to supply, at a cost of 84,000 marks, transportation and nine months of provisions for a Crusader army of 4,500 knights and 19,000 squires and foot-soldiers. Moreover, Venice agreed to supply fifty additional galleys on her own, in exchange for the promise of one-half of any territory captured on the Crusade. June 1202 was set as the time for the Crusaders to gather at Venice, pay for the fleet and embark for the attack on Egypt.

When the Crusaders arrived they were unable to pay for their transportation and provisions, so, unwilling to go home, and in the meantime running up bills with all the locals, a new arrangement had to be made. Dandolo could not play it too tough, however, for Pope Innocent III was already angry with how matters were proceeding and would not hesitate to place the city under interdict.

So, the Venetians offered a new arrangement to replace the old one. Venice had for some time ruled much of the Dalmatian coast, mainly as a way to secure control of the Adriatic and its shipping lanes. Recently, however, the King of Hungary had been inciting rebellion in the Dalmatian towns, offering them his protection. One town that had defected was Zara, which for fifteen years Venice had been trying to recover.

The doge offered to delay the payment of the contract (cancelling it was out of the question). In return, the Crusaders would help Venice recover Zara. The Crusade leaders had little choice, since the alternative was to abandon the Crusade, violate their crusading vow, and return home broke and humiliated. Even so, many in the army objected vigorously, and some even refused to go. But the Doge himself took the cross, and many Venetians followed his example.

Some time around now, a fortuitous concidence happened. Isaac II Angelus was blind and in prison in Constantinople, but his son Alexius IV had managed recently to escape and flee to the West. Early in 1202, as the Crusaders were preparing at last to depart (to attack Zara), young Alexius was in Italy and appealed to the Crusaders to help him drive out the usurper Alexius III and to him (the prince) on the throne. If they should do so, the young prince promised an extravagant amount of help for the Crusade - men, money, weapons, ships.

This appeal fits so neatly with the agenda of the principal leaders of the Crusade that many historians have smelled a plot. Whether through chance or through careful planning, it so happened that Boniface of Montferrat would be glad to participate because he might recover Thessalonica; and Venice would be glad because the prince promised to restore all their old privileges and more besides; and the rest of the Crusaders could look forward to that great pooling of resources of East and West that had been repeatedly touted in crusading thought.

So the agenda was set before the fleet ever sailed on October 1, 1202. The Crusaders would capture Zara for Venice, then would capture Constantinople for the young prince Alexius, and then would proceed on to Outremer. By this time, it was not at all clear whether the ultimate objective was still Egypt, for most of the leaders were no longer thinking much past Constantinople.

With Carlton Hobbs [Enrico Dandolo, Doge of Venice], Michael Goldie [Count Baldwin of Flanders], Stephen Thorne [Boniface of Montferrat], John Gabriel [Geoffrey de Villehardouin], Henry Knowles [Norata / John (Jean de Nesle, chatelain of Bruges)], Eric Cotter [Richard], Garing Campbell [Robert de Clare], Anthony Newlands [Lepero], Eric Allen [Sergio], Ian Frost [Omar], Richard Morse [Akmed], Andrew Branch [Alexius Angelus (Alexius IV)], Roy Spencer [Murtzuphlus], and Gregory de Polnay [Niketas Choniates]. Directed by Richard Wortley ....notes on 'Dandolo' by "SJ"....many thanks-ND

compiled by Nigel Deacon / Diversity website.
All of the above known to exist in VRPCC collections.

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