PLAYS and READINGS
The Wonderful Year: 1851
Broadcast: Sunday, 4th February, 1951 and Friday, 2nd November, 1951
ARTISTS IN CRIME
Character: Nigel Bathgate
A serial in five episodes, dramatised by Giles Cooper from the novel by Ngaio Marsh
The action of the play takes place during the late 1920s.
Part 1: Broadcast: 11th August, 1953 at 20.30
Part 2: Broadcast: 18th August, 1953 at 20.30
Part 3: ‘Question and Answer’ – Broadcast: 24th August, 1953 at 20.30
Part 4: ‘The Man at the Table’ – Broadcast: 31st August, 1953 at 20.30
Part 5: ‘The Final Touches’ – Broadcast: 7th September, 1953 at 20.30
Produced by Martyn C. Webster
Character: The Prince
A comedy by Jean Anouilh Translated by Patricia Moyes Radio production by Raymond Raikes
Broadcast by the BBC Home Service – 1st August, 1954 at 16.30
Story Synopsis: The story deals with a Prince (PETER WYNGARDE) who mourns a dead opera singer Léocadia, and spends his time loitering in the park where his aunt, the Duchess (Gladys Young), has reconstructed the places linked with their brief romance. But now she employs Amanda (Dorothy Gordon), a little milliner from Paris, to impersonate the dead diva for three days.
Broadcast by the BBC Home Service – 8th August, 1954
VARIETY PLAYHOUSE: A ROSE WITHOUT A THORN
Broadcast: BBC Radio – 27th December, 1954 at 20.40
N.B.: A second performance of the play was broadcast on 31st December, 1954 at 19.30
Story Synopsis: In what was billed as “One of the finest historical plays written in modern times”, Clifford Bax conducted a sympathetic and unerring dramatic enquiry into the love of King Henry VIII for Katherine Howard.
The King’s fourth marriage – to the pathetic and bewildered Anne of Cleves – has come to grief as the play opens, and Henry’s questing eye has already been taken by another lady of the Court when he asks the young Courtier, Thomas Culpeper: “Is her reputation as fair as her face?”
The unhappy Tom, who is himself enamored by Katherine, acknowledges that is; and it is at that moment, perhaps, that the King is falsely persuaded that he’s found ‘the rose without a thorn’.
The play is thereafter concerned with a royal passion, foolishly idealised, and doomed to tragedy because it knows no compromise with jealousy.
Bax treats Katherine’s dilemma, of past feeling and present indiscretions, with a delicate understanding. He also allows the King as much dignity, sensitivity and charm as can be allowed to a man who avenged to wounds to his pride as a husband – as he rebuffed the challenges to his authority as a king – by a lavish recourse to the executioners block.
A play in three acts by Jean Anouilh
Translated by Miriam John Radio adaptation and production by Raymond Raikes Broadcast: BBC Radio – 2nd April, 1955 at 18.35
Story Synopsis: By the 1950’s, it’d become almost a tradition that a play by Jean Anouilh would first be broadcast and then staged in the UK. It was true of ‘Point of Departure’, which was staged in 1950 after having been produced for radio by Raymond Raikes. It was true of ‘Léocadia’ which Raikes produced for radio in July 1955, which was then performed in the West End under the title, ‘Time Remembered’.
Raymond Raikes again produced ‘The Ermine’ – the first of Anouilh’s pièces noires , which he wrote when he was only 21-years of age.
The leading role in the play – that of Franz, was taken by PETER WYNGARDE, who’d also played the Price in the aforementioned ‘Léocadia’. He was said to have been excited by the piece, which he described as “an astonishing play for one so young”.
One recurrent theme in Anouilh can’t be ignored; it’s the theme of purity. The characters who plead for it are usually aiming at a kind of perfection, not comparable with the moral or social tenants of the society that they lived in. Franz, for instance, describes such people as “consistently battling against hoards of hidden forces that attack them from within or from the world outside”. The force attacking Franz from outside was poverty; from within – pride.
The title of ‘The Ermine’ is the key to its author’s attitude to his hero, Franz. According to the author, the ermine, when confronted by a muddy stream, will under no circumstances, refuse to dirty its fur.
‘PETER WYNGARDE as Franz had all the variety of pace and tempo which makes a long, difficult part possible. He had a force and quality which was right for this sort of play.’ Plays and Players – February 1955.
Interesting note… When Jean Anouilh wrote ‘The Ermine’ in 1931, he was employed as secretary to the French actor, Louis Jouvet – the latter of whom was PETER’s uncle.
THE GOLDEN BOWL
Character: The Prince
Part 1: ‘The Prince’
Part 2: ‘ The Princess’
The novel by Henry James dramatised by Mary Hope Allen The principal scenes take place in London and at Fawns House at the beginning of the century.
Broadcast: BBC Home Service – 10th January, 1956 at 19.30
⇑ PETER as the Prince and Irene Worth Charlotte Stant reading ‘The Golden Bowl’ – adapted from Henry James’ novel, and recorded for transmission in the BBC’s Third Programme on October 2nd, 1955.
ALSO AMONGST THE PROPHETS
Story Synopsis: The Old Testament story of Saul, the first king of Israel, is shot through with tragic irony. The corruption of power was thrust upon this innocent young man by a prophet who himself was bitterly opposed to kingship. ‘ And the Spirit of the Lord will come upon thee,’ said Samuel, and thou … shalt be turned into another man.’ But Saul, after his early successes, was turned into another man in a tragic sense; ‘ for thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord hath rejected thee from being king over Israel.’ Abandoned by Samuel, Saul becomes gradually madder and unhappier, and his one consolation is in David – until jealousy makes him David’s enemy. He swings to and fro between love and hate, between sanity and madness, and, as he swings, is propelled towards disaster by his own actions and by circumstance.
Broadcast: BBC Home Service – 5th February, 1956 at 15.00
HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY
Character: Marchese Fabio Colli
A tragi-comedy by Luigi Pirandello translated by Frederick May Adapted by Helena Wood Produced by Mary Hope Allen
Broadcast: BBC Home Service – 25th March, 1956 at 21.25
Repeated on 31st March, 1956
THE WOOD DEMON
Introductions to the four acts spoken by PETER
Broadcast: BBC Home Service – 4th November, 1956 at 15.00
Character: Orestes, son of Agamemnon
Part 1: ‘Agamemnon’ Broadcast: 23rd November, 1956 at 21.45
Part 2: ‘The Choephori’ Broadcast: 24th November, 1956 at 21.45
Part 3: ‘The Libation Bearers Broadcast: 25th November, 1956 at 21.45
Part 4: ‘The Eumenides’ Broadcast: 26th November, 1956 at 21.45
A new translation by Philip Vellacott with music by Antony Hopkins Arranged for broadcasting and produced by Raymond Raikes
Broadcast: BBC Home Service – 23rd November, 1956 at 21.45
Scenes from country life in four acts by Anton Chekhov Translated from the Russian by David Tutaev Radio adaptation and production by Raymond Raikes Other parts played by members of the BBC Drama Repertory Company Introductions to the four acts spoken by PETER
Broadcast: BBC Home Service – 1st February, 1957 at 20.50
Repeated: October 1972
Character: Sir Willoughby Patterne
Broadcast: BBC Home Service – 30th August, 1957 at 21.15pm
Story Synopsis: ve found it hard to conceive the modern novel. In it is concentrated the restless probing energy of analysis which Meredith had made all his own. And though written in his unmistakable style, with tense wit, poetic overtones, concise phrase and discursive exploitation, it owns a compact form which distinguishes it among his novels and makes it the best work through which to approach him.
He once declared: “It is a comedy, with only half of me in it, unlikely therefore to take either the public or my friends”. He meant that it lacked one of his bold dedicated characters like Sandra or Beauchamps; but there is a sense in which he’d packed himself into the book as into no other. R.L. Stevenson, to whom author read some chapters, was said to have commented that Sir Willoughby Pattern – the egotist of the title (played by PETER WYNGARDE), was Meredith himself. The man himself replied: “No, my dear fellow. I’ve taken him from all of us, but principally from myself”.
Pattern is a subtle yet larger-than-life image of egotism, possessiveness, self-deception; and the book narrates how he is at last broken down by the women on whom he plays. But he is more than a grand comedic image. In him Meredith depicts, with tingling immediacy, the very stuff of an involved self- consciousness, which ceaselessly falsifies reality and yet at the same time is perversely sensitive to the life on which preys.
This is what makes ‘the Egotist’ a foundation work of the analytic novel. In a letter to Henley Stevenson wrote: ‘Willoughby is of course a pure discovery; a complete set of nerves, not hitherto examined, and yet running all over the human body – a suit of nerves. Clara (Clare Austin) is the best girl I ever saw anywhere.’ It might be added that she heads the long series of emancipated young women who were to push into a novel.
CHILDREN’S HOUR: CAPTAIN OF THE DRAGOONS
A play in four parts
Character: Captain Charles Carey
Part 1. Swords and Pistols For Two
Part 2. Secret Service
Part 3. A Pinch of Snuff
Part 4. The Traitor
Written by John Keir Cross from the novel by Ronald Welch
Part 1: ‘Swords and Pistols For Two’ Broadcast: BBC Home Service – 2nd October, 1957
Story Synopsis: Captain of Dragoons is a stirring tale of adventure and intrigue set in the time of John Churchill , first Duke of Marlborough. The young Captain Charles Carey is called upon, against his will, to serve his country as a secret agent in French territory. He is entrusted with a perilous mission, calling for all his skill as a swordsman and his full reserves of courage and resource. “Perhaps my hand trembles a little from my wound in the duel. The pistol swings round towards me; and, suddenly, as I touch it …”
Part 2: ‘Secret Service’ Broadcast: BBC Home Service – 9th October, 1957 at 17.00
“Behind every great campaign, there is another campaign. Behind every Service, there is another and a hidden Service. I, by the Duke’s good grace, am the head of that Service; and you, Charles Carey, are its newest recruit!”
Part 3: ‘A Pinch of Snuff’ Broadcast: BBC Home Service – 16th October, 1957 at 17.00
“It is still snuff that I am in pursuit of, as I enter the little tobacconist’s shop of a certain Monsieur Henri Vallon, in a side-street: a rather special snuff, not quite to everyone’s taste, recommended to me by a certain Colonel Henshall, and known as the Nantes mixture…. “
Part 4: ‘The Traitor’ Broadcast: 23rd October, 1957 at 17.00
“The one remaining thread to be tied was that of the mystery of the traitor-the man who had so nearly brought about my death long ago at Limburg. I longed more than ever to unmask him, and at last the opportunity came.”
Character: Captain Raphael Semmes
The story of an ocean raider Written and produced by Kenneth Poolman
Broadcast: BBC Home Service – 20th November, 1957 at 20.00
BRITISH DRAMA: A WOMAN KILLED WITH KINDNESS
Character: Master Wendoll
Broadcast: British Home Service – 25th February, 1959 at 20.00
Repeated: Under the title ‘National Theatre of the Air’ by the BBC Home Service on 20th August, 1961 at 20.30, and as ‘The Sunday Play’ by The BBC Home Service on 3rd April, 1966 at 14.30
Character: The Chief of Police
Written by Jean Genet translated by Bernard Frechtman ‘We’ve reached the point at which we can no longer be actuated by human feelings. Our function will be to support, establish, and justify metaphors.’ Produced and adapted for radio by John Tydeman
Broadcast: BBC Home Service – 6th December, 1964 at 20.55
Character: Prince Albert Troubiscoi
Produced by Charles Lefeaux The action takes place in the house and grounds of the Duchess of Pont-au-Bronc’s country estate in Brittany
Broadcast: BBC Home Service – 25th January, 20.30
THE SLEEPING PRINCE
Character: The Regent
Written by Terence Rattigan adapted for radio by Gerry Jones
The fairy story of a Gaiety Girl invited to supper by the Regent of Carpathia, in London for the Coronation of King George V. A casual encounter involves her not only in romance, but in the turmoil of Europe just before the First World War.
Broadcast: BBC Home Service 7th January, 1967.
Repeated: 27th September, 1970
THE PICKERSKILL DETENTIONS
Character: Mr Mike Poulson-Jabby
By Andrew McGibbon.
Story Synopsis: Dr Henry Pickerskill, retired English Master of Haunchurst college for boys, looks back on his most memorable detentions.
Pickerskill’s doctoring of a hated school textbook amuses him greatly, and goes unnoticed until an unfortunate detention in the late fifties where the subversive book is mistakenly used by another teacher.
Broadcast: BBC Radio 4 – 28th February 2007 at 23.15
INTERVIEWS, NARRATIONS AND GUEST APPEARANCES
PETER and Zena Marshall perform an excerpt from ‘The Rose Without a Thorn’ by Clifford Bax
Broadcast: 25th December, 1954 at 13.10
TOAST OF THE TOWN
Toastmaster, Eamonn Andrews, spotlights ‘Duel of Angels’, and features the performance of a scene from the Jean Giraudoux play. PETER played Count Marcellus.
Broadcast: Broadcast: BBC Home Service – 7th June, 1958 at 20.15
Sound-track from: The Siege of Sidney Street starring
Broadcast: 6th November, 1960 at 14.45
Interview with PETER by Anne Holden
PETER talked about his role as Count Marcellus in ‘Duel of Angels’
Broadcast: Saturday, 13th August, 1960 on Radio KFAX (New York)
Interview with PETER by Al Covaia
PETER talked about his role as Count Marcellus in ‘Duel of Angels’
Broadcast: Wednesday, 10th August, 1960 on Radio K00 (New York)
PETER recalls his favourite movie themes
Broadcast: BBC Radio – 6th November, 1960 14.45
Repeated on BBC Radio 2 – 23rd February, 1974 as Star Sound and on BBC Radio 2 – 7th January, 1975 at 20.02
RADIO LUXEMBURG DEPARTMENT S SPECIAL
Interview with PETER
Broadcast: Radio Luxemburg – January 14th, 1970
Broadcast: BBC Radio 2 – January 26th, 1973
WEEKEND WOMEN’S HOUR
Broadcast: BBC Radio 4 – March 31st, 1973 at 15.00
PETER recalls his favourite movie themes
Broadcast: BBC Radio2 – 23 February, 1974 at 18.03
JOHN DUNN’S LATE NIGHT EXTRA
Broadcast: BBC Radio 2 – 19th November, 1974 at 22.02
THE RIAS PARADE
Broadcast: (West) Germany – 29th November, 1974
A GAME OF TWO HALVES
PETER discusses his favourite year
Broadcast: BBC Radio 5 – 29th March, 1993 at 14.30
THE AFTERNOON SHIFT
Broadcast: BBC Radio 2 – June 4th, 1996
THE JUDY SPIER’S SHOW
Broadcast: BBC Radio 4 – August 1994
NIGHTWAVES: THE INNOCENTS SPECIAL
PETER and other guests talk about the classic film, ‘The Innocents. Broadcast live from The British Film Institute.
Broadcast: BBC Radio 4 – December 2nd, 2013
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