Many thanks to David H, Warren and Peter P for contributions to this page.
The Grand Babylon Hotel. By Arnold Bennett. American tycoon Theodore Racksole buys Europe’s most exclusive hotel on a whim, but is warned by the seller that he will live to regret it. Soon, a mysterious death occurs and Theodore and his daughter Nella find themselves in danger in their own hotel.
Lorna Doone. By R. D Blackmore. A Romance of Exmoor and an historical novel of high adventure set in the South West of England during the turbulent time of Monmouth’s rebellion (1685). It is also a moving love story told through the life of the young farmer John Ridd, as he grows to manhood determined to right the wrongs in his land, and to win the heart and hand of the beautiful Lorna Doone.
The Road Wife. By Eoin McNamee. A truck driver in Ireland gives a lift to a female Asian hitchhiker but gets more than he bargained for, especially when his truck is stopped by immigration officers and he and his illegal occupant are taken in for questioning.
Your Only Man. By Annie Caulfield. Brian O’Nolan was an Irish writer, columnist and civil servant who wrote novels such as The Third Policeman under the pen name of Flann O’Brien and popular satirical newspaper columns as Myles na gCopaleen, while at the same time working as a civil servant in Dublin under his real name. This play imagines what might have happened had the three of them got together on the day when O’Nolan was asked to leave his civil service post.
Conan Doyle and the Edalji Case. By Roy Apps. It was a moment straight out of a Sherlock Holmes novel. In January of 1907 Conan Doyle walked into the lobby of a hotel. He was to meet with a man who was trying to clear his name. As Conan Doyle entered the lobby he spotted the man he was looking for, George Edalji. In a flash Conan Doyle knew that Edalji was innocent of the crime for which he’d served three years in prison.
More information on this case can be found here.
The Centenier. By Alan Downer. The first of three crime dramas set on the Channel Island of Jersey, featuring Centenier Richard Hammond, whose role is to stick his nose into open-and-shut cases and thereby rile the local plods. Early one Monday morning, a man’s naked body is found floating in Bon Nuit Bay. Simple – midnight skinny-dip, bumps his head on the jetty and drowns. Case closed. But Centenier Hammond’s not having any of it and soon opens a seedy can of charity garden parties, theatrical luvvies and filthy foreigners …
A Bumper Year for Dahlias. By Alan Downer. The second of three crime dramas set on the Channel Island of Jersey, featuring Centenier Richard Hammond. A girl is found dead in a hotel room with an apparent overdose of sleeping tablets. Case closed. But irritating meddler Richard Hammond, never one to miss an opportunity to get his stutter centre-stage, suspects she’s been raped and strangled and had been mixed up in Jersey’s Mafia-organised pornography racket. Who’d have thought it …. in the cuddly old Channel Islands? Anyway, thanks to Hammond’s suspicions we have enough hokum to fill ninety minutes or thereabouts …
The Deep End. By Alan Downer. The third of three crime dramas set on the Channel Island of Jersey, featuring Centenier Richard Hammond. Our hero Centenier Hammond espies a pair of right villains attempting a supermarket blag. Hammond challenges the rascals and gets a black eye for his impertinence, but in true have-a-go-hero spirit he manages to nab one chummy, banged to rights. Yes, they really do talk like that. Meanwhile, Chummy Number Two has legged it and appears to be sending Hammond letters of the ‘or else’ ilk …
Brief Lives. Series of plays by Tom Fry and Sharon Kelly set in a Manchester legal practice and chronicling the adventures of Frank Twist and his extraordinary bunch of legal reps. The Agency operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, dispatching legal representatives to set free burglars, muggers, murderers and even some innocent people who find themselves on the wrong side of a cell door.
01. When Dee Dee’s estranged son is arrested for shoplifting, only his stepfather Frank Twist can come to the rescue.
02. When new recruit Debbie joins the team, she ruffles more than a few feathers.
03. Ben defends a suspected wife beater, to Sarah’s annoyance.
04. Frank gets Debbie out of trouble, but Sarah is unsympathetic.
01. Frank tries to get one of his friends a job and Debbie questions a celebrity client.
02. Sarah puts her principles on hold as she represents a suspected rapist.
03. Fat Doug lends a helping hand and Greg and Frank have double trouble.
04. Matters come to a head when Fat Doug comes to visit.
01. Frank’s best mate Mickey has finally met a young Russian woman who will put up with him, his music and his socks. But is she just using him?
02. Debby is representing a posh, middle aged good time girl who has been held at the airport on suspected drugs charges. She says she has friends in high places. But will they help her?
03. Sarah is called to an army base to deal with a violent incident between two female soldiers. Who is telling the truth? And Doug goes to bat for Frank’s son Louis when he’s accused of being a serial biter in the nursery.
04. Frank is chipper; he’s finally got his own parking space at the local nick. Life doesn’t get any better.
01. When a pop entrepreneur is arrested for alleged fraud Frank discovers a personal connection.
02. A young teacher is accused of having an affair with a sixth former. This is now a criminal offence and the teacher stands to lose more than his career. To make matters worse the pupil’s mother seems to have given her blessing to the affair and theoretically she could be charged with aiding and abetting.
03. Frank and Declan both stand witness for things they are unsure about. How much does this compromise them?
04. By Eve Steele and Ed Jones. A sixty year old photographer is accused of assaulting his financial advisor. Emotional triangle? Or Baby Boomer revenge?
05. A right wing academic is accused of assault and this leads to a personal and ethical crisis for Sarah Gold.
06. A youth is arrested for attempted murder and Doug attempts to bring Shakespeare to the inner city. They seem unconnected but end up colliding with tragic consequences for our star crossed lovers.
01: A community interpreter’s girlfriend is arrested for assaulting a police officer, but as Sarah investigates, she discovers the case is far from straightforward.
02: By Eve Steele. The team steps in when two estranged parents resort to fighting over their child at an airport. While it initially seems like the fallout from a tug-of-love case involving a foreign father, Sarah makes a discovery that points toward abuse of the infant.
03: Declan investigates when a man wants his estranged daughter arrested for defrauding him out of hundreds of pounds worth of gifts, while a saddened Frank visits his ailing father figure.
04: A marijuana operation is discovered at Bella Houghton’s farm and she insists she knows nothing about it. However, suspicion falls on her two grown-up sons.
05: When a female athletics coaching team is hounded by vicious online slurs and sexual innuendo, legal advisers investigate who the culprit could be.
01: A local councillor is caught selling drugs in what seems on the surface to be a straightforward case, and streetwise kid Ronnie is brought on board as a rep.
02: Frank is called in to represent a man with a history as a sex offender, but the case is complicated by the fact that the man is a teacher and his wife has recently given birth to their baby. Meanwhile, Sarah goes on a date with a younger man.
03: Ronnie discovers her long-lost younger sister living in a quayside apartment in the affluent area of Salford and questions how she can afford to live there. Meanwhile, Frank finds out about Sarah’s new partner and is not pleased.
04: A woman brought in for drink driving is revealed to be the wife of an old school friend of Frank’s. Questions begin to arise in relation to her slowly emerging black eye.
05: Sarah prepares for her trip abroad with new boyfriend Paul. Meanwhile, Frank gets a big shock when he is called in to represent a computer hacker.
06: Frank and Sarah are called into Manchester Central for questioning – the start of a Kafkaesque journey for the pair.
01: Frank is recovering from a stroke and desperate to return to work, while Sarah’s beauty parlour seems to be harbouring a secret.
02: By Nuala O’Sullivan. Legal advisor Sarah is called to defend a man accused of arson, and Cheryl helps Frank with his rehabilitation.
03: A high-powered lawyer and her daughter are arrested for possession of drugs after a house party. When the paralegals investigate, they discover a host of other motives.
04: A teenager is questioned by police when an indecent image of his girlfriend goes viral. However, what appears to be a straightforward case quickly takes a more serious turn.
05: Sarah clashes with her sister over the care of her father, with whom she has always had a difficult relationship. Meanwhile, Frank and Cheryl make a momentous decision about their future.
06: Frank and Cheryl prepare to leave, but may find that leaving their pasts behind them is not an easy task.
01: A young woman from a financially privileged background is charged for protesting against the fur trade in the nude: her brief, Ronnie (played by Rachel Austin), finds she shares more than she thought possible with her client. The woman’s stepmother is brought in to the same station facing a possible charge of keeping slaves on her property only for a far more shocking connection to fathers and daughters to emerge.
02: Frank and Sarah head for the country to celebrate a friend’s 80th birthday, but their visit sees them drawn into a decades-old family tragedy.
03: Frank’s friend Mickey organises a surprise birthday party for his young wife Magda – but she is implicated in a crime that might blow their marriage apart. Meanwhile, Ronnie becomes involved with a charismatic older man who runs a voluntary organisation.
04: A black teenager is arrested for the suspected murder of his friend. It seems the two had an argument over a mobile phone that got out of hand, though as both are the sons of senior policemen, the case is anything but straightforward.
05: A journalist is arrested for being in possession of a police disciplinary report. He believes this reveals police corruption. He wants Frank to help him stop a massive cover up. But Frank needs some persuading.
The Revenge. Andrew Sachs’ pioneering thriller featuring sound effects and eleven actors, but no written dialogue. Do non-verbal sounds really need words to render them meaningful? Could a range of natural noises not provide meaningful entertainment? In 1978 the BBC commissioned a short radio play to explore this very issue.
The Target Audience. By Igor Simonov. Glitz and glamour are the trademarks of a hugely successful TV show where Russia’s famous, powerful and rich are interviewed by a trio of canny and beautiful young women. But tonight’s guest, Yuri Tseitlin, is faced with a dilemma whereby his oil empire may just slip out of his fingers. Before he deals with his off screen problems he has some tough questions to answer. The three interviewers – a young model from the provinces, a political journalist and a businesswoman – are all driven by the cruelly aspirational culture around them. They are beginning to enjoy the influence and the recognition that TV offers them. They were voted into the job by an audience of viewers whose own lives are forever excluded from the sparkle of Moscow’s media, fashion and business worlds. But each of these young women has her own agenda in the interview with Mr Tseitlin. We get a frontline take on the world of Russian business as it collides with other more powerful interests. Writer Igor Simonov has run a number of businesses – he knows and understands the unspoken rules of commerce and politics in Russia today. The play has been staged in Moscow’s Praktika theatre, a powerhouse of new drama, where it received critical and popular acclaim.
Danton’s Death. George Buchner’s radical retelling of the fallout of the French Revolution adapted by Simon Scardifield. It’s 1794, and a new France is being born from the reign of terror that characterised the worst of the Revolution. Charismatic hedonist Danton, still tormented by his role in the killing of 1400 aristocrats in a single night, is losing his grip on power, and he is so tired. His political rival, the sober and focused Robespierre, is in the ascendant, and – with his efficient sidekick St Just – has power now over Danton’s fate. But can Danton care enough to fight the terror that he himself set in motion?
Woyzeck. By George Buchner. Translated by Gregory Motton. Franz Woyzeck, a lowly soldier stationed in a provincial German town, is the father of an illegitimate child by his mistress Marie. He earns extra money for his family by performing menial jobs for his captain and agreeing to take part in medical experiments conducted by the regimental doctor. But then an act of betrayal shatters his brittle life. Written in 1837 but not performed until the early twentieth century, this shard-like unfinished play is now recognised as a major work, perhaps the first modern play, in that it argues that our lives are determined by social circumstance.