by Edward Wooll

Edward Wooll - Libel

BBC Home Service: Saturday Night Theatre

Broadcast: Saturday 5th September 1964

It is a Spring afternoon in London, the year 1930. The court of Mr. Justice Arthur Tuttington at the Royal Courts of Justice, King's Bench Division, is in full session and is about to begin the trial of an action for libel.

Mark Loddon has brought a libel action against "The Daily Gazette" in which it printed, after Mark Loddon was elected Member of Parliament in 1929, a paragraph headed 'A Political Imposter':

"The legislature recently returned to the House of Commons Sir Mark Loddon, Baronet Member of Parliament. He's not a Baronet - not even a Loddon - and can be hardly accurately described as a Member of Parliament as he secured his return by practicing on the electorate the same deliberate fraud he practiced on his wife."

Mark Loddon was engaged to Enid Winterton in 1914 just before war broke out and married her in May 1919. He had gone to France with his battalion in August 1914 only to be taken prisoner that year in a battle where he was shot through both thighs and badly shell-shocked. He was taken to a German hospital where he spent three months before being sent to an Officer's Prison Camp where he remained until October 1918 when he escaped with two Canadian Officers of which one resembled him very closely. After a month on the run, they were separated in the dark near the Belgian frontier in November 1918, about three days before the Armistice.

Loddon, never knowing what happened to the Canadians, made his way easily to the English lines and then was invalided home where he retired from the army and had a long rest cure. After six months he was as well as he ever could be and married his wife even though, because of the war, he has practically no recollection at all of events or persons before his imprisonment. In the Autumn of 1929 he entered public life as an M.P.

But one of the Canadian Officers who was with him during their escape survived and recognises him...

Adaptation for radio by Raymond Raikes of Edward Wooll's 1935 stage play, "Libel".

With John Boxer [Mr. Justice Arthur Tuttington], George Merit [The Associate], Patrick Barr [The Plaintiff, Sir Mark Loddon, 3rd Baronet of Norfolk. M.P.], Hamlyn Benson [Sir Wilfred Kelling, K.C., Counsel for the Plaintiff], Wilfred Carter [Mr. Thomas Foxley, K.C., Counsel for the Defendants], Bruce Beeby [The Junior Counsel for the Plaintiff, Mr. William Bale], Alan Haines [Mr. George Hemsby], Nikolette Bernard [Lady Enid Loddon, the Plaintiff's Wife], Peter Marinker [Patrick Buckingham], Raif Trueman [Emile Flordon], and Michael Kilgarriff [Numero Quinze / The Narrator].

Produced by Raymond Raikes.

Re-broadcast on BBC Home Service: The Sunday Play on Sunday


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