Captain of Heretics
by Anthony Read

BBC Radio 4: Saturday Night Theatre

Broadcast: Saturday 10th January 1981 @ 8:30 p.m.

William Tyndale, who was fluent in at least 7 languages, translated much of the Bible into English from the original Greek and Hebrew sources. In doing so he gave the English language many of its best known phrases. Much of his work appears unchanged but unacknowledged in the 'Authorized' (or 'King James') version of the Bible.

Tyndale translated and printed the first New Testament in English in 1525 and a revised edition in 1535. The 1525 New Testament caused wrath from Cardinal Wolsey who suppressed the New Testament as "seditious," commanding that it be collected and burned. Eventually, he was betrayed in 1535 to the authorities while residing in Antwerp, Belgium, where he was captured and taken to Vilvorde Castle near Brussels. He was tried as a heretic for translating the Bible and was sentenced to death. His last words were: "Lord, open the King of England's eyes." before he was strangled and his dead body was burnt on 6th October 1536.

With Charles Kay [William Tyndale], Clifford Rose [Thomas Poyntz], Hugh Dickson [Sir Thomas More], Sheila Grant [Mistress Margaret Van Emmerson], Cyril Shaps [William Roye, an Augustinian Friar], Stephen Garlick [Ned], John Church [Humphrey Monmouth, Alderman of London], Anthony Hyde [John Frith], John Bott [Cuthbert Tunstall, The Bishop of London], Gordon Reid [William Hebilthwait, the Bishop's Secretary / Steven Vaughn], Sion Probert [Miles Coverdale], and Sean Arnold [Peter Quentell, a printer in Cologne / Henry Phillips].

Other parts were played by members of the cast.

Directed by Cherry Cookson.

90 minutes.


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