Supper with Satan
by Michael Payne

Broadcast: Monday 27th March 1978; BBC Radio 4.

For private investigator Paul Winchester, it all began just before Christmas when Miss Caroline Voss, an art dealer, hired him to protect her. She has been scared ever since the death of her guardian, Sir Harywood de Wainscott, who had died a week earlier. Though she only met Sir Harywood twice, she didn't like him but his family loathed him even more which may explain why he was so good to her.

As soon as she had heard the news of his death, Caroline had driven down to Buttocks, the ancestral home of the de Wainscott's, which is near a small village called Shady Bumstead in Gloucestershire. After the funeral in the morning, but before she left, Caroline examined the family vault. In it, she found a monument dated 1685 in memory of Demdike de Wainscott with a curious epitaph that read: "If the family head should disappear, misfortune and havoc shall strike. But blessed be him with not to fear if he re-bury Demdike". It seems there's some sort of curse on the household.

Though she does not wish to go back, she must as Sir Harywood's Will is to be read in the evening and she has to be there. While she might benefit from the Will, she expects the estate to be divided amongst his four children, the wolfpack, who have gather there. But that's not the reason she is scared. She's scared because during her previous stay there, she'd be woken at night by a sort of scream that seemed to fill the house. The others have pretended not to have heard it, but she knows they have for if you hear Demdike scream, someone is about to die....

Adapted for radio from Michael Payne's 1971 comedy-thriller stage play, "Supper with Satan", first performed in The Robin Hood Theatre, situated in the countryside close to Newark-on-Trent in Nottinghamshire.

With Francis Matthews [Paul Winchester, a Private Investigator], Susan Tracy [Miss Caroline Voss], Kenneth Alan Taylor [James Higgins, the Butler], Geoffrey Banks [Sir Harywood Lancelot de Wainscott / Mr. Lantern, the Solicitor], Patricia Authbert [Nurse Ballard], Rosalind Knight [Dame Aspatria de Wainscott, Gardening Correspondent of 'Country Ways'], Peter Woodthorpe [Sir Grimsby de Wainscott, the Conductor and Manager], Neil Boorman [Bert, Sir Grimsby's Young Friend], David Mahlowe [Biddeford de Wainscott, Bishop of Chelsea], and Elizabeth Paget [Mrs. Sapelli Bryant née de Wainscott, an Anthropologist].

Directed by Alfred Bradley in Manchester.

Re-broadcast on Sunday 2nd April 1978.

75 minutes.

Further information from an article written by Valerie Baker in 1981

The Robin Hood Theatre is a small public theatre seating 150, situated in the countryside close to Newark-on-Trent in Nottinghamshire. It has a reputation for a high standard of live entertainment that stretches far and wide. The theatre is home to The Robin Hood Theatre Company which presents five, week-long productions each year.

The first production in 1971 introduced a new note. V.B. persuaded a Nottingham author, Michael Payne, to re-write a script he had written some years previously in collaboration with Neville Noylde for the Nottingham Theatre Club. This was a musical whodunit entitled SUPPER WITH SATAN, the score composed by a Southwell Minster schoolboy, Hugh Taylor, who later won a music scholarship to Cambridge University. Some years later SUPPER WITH SATAN was broadcast by the B.B.C. as a straight thriller.


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