Never Come Back
by John Mair

John Mair - Never Come Back

BBC Radio 4: Saturday Night Theatre

Broadcast: Saturday 11th October 1986 @ 7:00 p.m.

A wartime fling propels Desmond Thane into a vortex of intrigue in this dark thriller.

It is September 1939; the Second World War has just begun. An enigmatic love affair leads to danger and desperation for handsome Desmond Thane, a cocky and obnoxious journalist, fed up with effortless sexual affairs. Having met by chance at the Café Royal, Desmond becomes infatuated with Anna Raven, a sensual middle-aged woman, which soon leads him into a dangerous pool of lies and bloody secrets. He finds Anna odd and furtive, living in a tiny London flat; a woman of means whose way of life is obscure and concealed from him.

Desperate to learn about the woman with whom he is wildly enamoured, Desmond is rebuffed to the point where Anna ends the relationship. But it wasn't over for Desmond. Confronting Anna on the day before she was to leave London, a heated argument breaks out which leads to a scuffle, followed by Desmond strangling Anna. Searching her flat to make sure nothing can be traced to him, Desmond discovers a mysterious coded diary along with a bundle of cash. Accidentally leaving one clue behind that will connect him to Anna, Desmond finds himself a fugitive in a murder hunt, but it's not by the police, as a mysterious organisation begins a cat-and-mouse game with Thane to get their code book back.

Dramatised by Walter Hall from John Mair's dark thriller, "Never Come Back", first published in 1941. The book was written shortly before author's early death in 1942. Julian Symons, quoted in 'Radio Times' in November, 1986, refers to this story (re-published with his support by Oxford Publications in 1986) as being remarkable "because it introduces the first anti-hero in crime fiction, the cynical smart-alec, Desmond Thane". In 1989, "Never Come Back" was made into a 3-part TV programme with Nathaniel Parker in his first starring role as Desmond Thane.

With Gareth Armstrong [Desmond Thane], Natasha Pyne [Anna Raven], Michael Deacon [Mr. Foster], Ronald Herdman [A. Samuels / Derrick March, Dealer in Rare and Second Hand Books], John Hollis [Fat], Shaun Prendergast [O'Brien], Colin Douglas [The Chairman], Brian Hewlett [A Committee Member], David Timson [Chadwell], Edward de Souza [Dr. Vescott / A Committee Member], Gordon Reid [Mr. Poole, Desmond's Boss / A Committee Member], Elaine Claxton [The Girl in the Pub / Emily March, Derrick March's Daughter], and Sheila Grant [Matron].

Other parts were played by members of the cast.

Directed by Gerry Jones.

90 minutes.


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