Ceremonies of War
by Philip Purser

Philip Purser - Ceremonies of War

BBC Radio 4: Saturday Night Theatre

Broadcast: Saturday 26th January 1985 @ 8:30 p.m.

"Ceremonies of War" opens in 1942 and follows Leonard Cottell, who organises all the dances at the local Parish Hall that his friends and those in the community like, despite the occassional interuptions from Herr Hitler. Behind the scenes, the Church Wardens have more than once proposed cutting down the number of lettings of the hall for dances but as a veteran member of the choir and officer in the Church Lad's Brigade, Leonard has been instrumental in prevailing upon them to change their minds.

But now Leonard's off to join the forces, hoping to get in to the Royal Engineers, even against the wishes of the District Engineers and Surveyors Department where he worked who feel they will virtually grind to a halt without him. They wanted to get him another deferment, but Leonard wasn't having any.

Organising this farewell "Hop" at the local Parish Hall has put him in a much better frame of mind as he enters the war. For him, it will wrap up his civilian life in a sort of ceremony, but will there be a ceremony at the end of the war that will allow him to return to civilian life? At sea, on the troop ship "Empire Prospector", Leonard sees all that is wrong with class distinction in Britian, magnified. But there is nothing that they can't put right as all they want is their fair share and more respect....

With Guy Holden [Leonard Cottell], Colin Starkey [Malcolm Payne], David Yip [Douglas Taylor], Robin Summers [Ray (aka Charles) Richards], Denise Welch [Norma Smales], Brian Smith [The Colour Sergeant], David Sinclair [Sid Mellish], Christopher Douglas [Lamb of the Royal Engineers], David Jackson [Fussilier Milroy], Fleur Chandler [Ilsa, a German Interpreter], and Nigel Anthony [The CSN].

Also taking part were Graham Blockey, Carole Boyd, Margot Boyd, Paul Humpoletz, David Garth, Narissa Knights, and Melinda Walker.

Murray and his Merry Men were Denis Kelly (piano), Gary Cox (sax), Les Beavers (music), and Bob Turner (music).

Directed by Tony Cliff.

Re-broadcast on Monday 28th January 1985 @ 3:02 p.m.

90 minutes


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