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Radio

(a small selection)

Birkett and the Green Bicycle

by Caroline and David Stafford

One of a series of plays, written for BBC Radio 4, based on the casebook of Norman Birkett, 1st Baron Birkett, the most celebrated advocate of the inter-war years.  The Green Bicycle is a stirring tale of murder, pacifism and chocolate. It stars Neil Dudgeon as Birkett with Alun Raglan as his clerk, Edgar Bowker, and is directed by Marc Beeby, 

Arthur Skelton, hero of the Skelton novels is very loosely based on Birkett, and some of his cases are inspired, with varying levels of authenticity, by Birkett's real-life cases. You can learn more about Norman Birkett and about Arthur Skelton in the blog.  The play is available as an Audiobook on Amazon and has been known to crop up on BBC Radio 4 Extra.

Norman Birkett and the Case of the Coleford Poisoner

by Caroline and David Stafford

A tale of murder, mayhem and political intrigue, this time starring David Haig as Birkett and Trystan Gravelle as Bowker.  Again, available as an Audiobook on Amazon and has been known to crop up on BBC Radio 4 Extra.

Many of the Birkett plays have also been posted on YouTube

Hancock's Ashes

by Caroline and David Stafford


In 1968, Willie Rushton, writer, comedian and cartoonist, was trusted with the onerous task of conveying the cremated remains of Tony Hancock safely and respectfully back to England from Australia. The play gives a mostly fictional account of Rushton's altercations with airport officialdom as he tries to leave Sydney.

BBC Radio 4.  Starring Ewan Bailey as Rushton and Richard Dillane as Brian, the airport jobsworth.   Directed by Marc Beeby.

The Year They Invented Sex

by Caroline and David Stafford


The first British trials of the contraceptive pill took place in Birmingham in 1960, initiated by the formidable Lella Florence, contraception’s champion. This five part comedy/drama traces the fortunes of three women who took part in the trial and who represent in microcosm the social and political upheavals the pill was to bring about.

BBC Radio 4. Starring Clare Corbett, Naomi Frederick, Sarah Smart and Joanna Monro.  Directed by Lucy Collingwood

The True and Inspirational Life of Saint Nicholas

by Caroline and David Stafford


An account, with music, theological disputation and flying reindeer, of how St. Nicholas, a fourth century Turkish ascetic, became Santa Claus, patron saint of perfume ads, starring Adrian Scarborough and directed (like nearly everything else on this page) by the magnificent Marc Beeby. It won The Grand Prix Marulic - a Croation literary award. A plum in Radio 4’s Christmas Pudding, in translation it was also a sensation on ARS (the Slovenian arts station) 

The Day the Planes Came

by Caroline and David Stafford

 

The clearing of American air space on 9/11 forced some 500 planes to land where they could. The sleepy town of Gander in Newfoundland found itself playing host to 6,500 stranded passengers. Sarah and her teenage daughter Polly, the protagonists of our comedy-drama are among the many who find Gander’s hospitality a healing contrast to the terror in New York. The play was nominated for a Sony award.

BBC Radio 4.  Starring Rosie Cavaliero, Jade Williams, William Hope and Stephen Critchlow. Directed by Marc Beeby

The Brothers

by Caroline and David Stafford

Three series that were as pleasurable to make as cake is to eat. Dysfunctional brothers Nigel (Adam Godley) and Michael (Ray Coulthard) both gave up successful careers to form a website design company in Nigel’s front room. They are pestered by Oonagh (Pauline McLynn), Zorro (Pearce Quigley, then Alex Lowe) and their feckless father (James Fleet). In the final episode Michael, a Looney Tunes fan, is overjoyed to be hospitalised by a falling piano.

BBC Radio 4.  Directed by Marc Beeby.

Hazelbeach

by Caroline and David Stafford

Three series for BBC Radio 4, directed by Marc Beeby.  Hazelbeach (Jamie Foreman), nice but dodgy, shares a house with lovelorn, gullible Nick (Paul Bazely) and, unless they can help it, the seriously unpleasant James (Neil Stuke), ex-husband of Nick’s inamorata. Three series of intricate plotting had them adopting two bands (one military, one mariachi), raffling huge amounts of meat, gathering racing tips by impersonating priests, inventing a whole new Xtreme sport and frequently moving to Swanage. 

Man of Soup

by Caroline and David Stafford

Two series for BBC Radio 4.  Set in a run-down bar in Slomzovakia, a former satellite state of the Soviet Union, Man of Soup was in the fine tradition of slapstick radio. It was blessed with a magnificent cast - Andrew Sachs, Josie Lawrence, Morwenna Banks, Michael Roberts, John Sparkes and Adam Long - and was directed by legendary radio-ace Dirk Maggs. Scholarly radio historians claim it was the last radio production ever to use coconut shells as horse’s hooves in earnest.

 

© 2020 David and Caroline Stafford