Judy Allen | Listeners
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Listeners

I have had four radio plays broadcast and one abridgement of a family diary, all directed by Christopher Venning. Two of my novels have been read on radio and I have also written radio dramatisations of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s “The Secret Garden”, Philippa Pearce’s “Tom’s Midnight Garden” and Rumer Godden’s “The River”, all directed by John Taylor.

Out of all of it, only two are available on cassette – the Secret Garden and Tom’s Midnight Garden. For the rest – I’m afraid if you missed it, you missed it. But here are some details anyway.

Dramatisations

The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden

by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Dramatised by Judy Allen, Produced by John Taylor, With Beryl Reid, Harriet Walter and Robin Bailey.

Orphaned Mary Lennox is lonely, unhappy and bad-tempered – until she discovers the door to a secret garden. When her parents die in a cholera epidemic, Mary is brought from India to England to live in her uncle’s huge, isolated house on the bleak Yorkshire moors. She is thoroughly miserable and disagreeable. Then one day, wandering around the grounds, she finds a door, half-hidden in ivy, which leads to a garden that has been locked away for ten long years.

This is one of the best-loved books for young people. Written more than 90 years ago, the appeal and magic of the story are as strong as ever.

Tom’s Midnight Garden

Tom’s Midnight Garden

by Philippa Pearce

Dramatised by Judy Allen, Directed by John Taylor, With Peter England, Rachel Kempson and Una Stubbs.

“Thirteen? That’s crazy. A clock can’t strike thirteen. ”

Sent away for the holidays to Uncle Alan and Aunt Gwen’s house when his brother, Peter, catches measles, Tom is really fed up. What a boring summer it’s going to be!

Restless, he lies in bed, unable to sleep. Then the old grandfather clock in the hall strikes thirteen. Thirteen o’clock! What can it mean? Tom creeps downstairs and opens the back door to find a beautiful, magical garden and a new playmate – a little girl called Hatty.

This modern classic takes the listener to the heart of another age, in a unique exploration of time and its influence on everyone’s lives.

The River

by Rumer Godden

Dramatised by Judy Allen. Directed by John Taylor. With Phyllida Law.

The river runs steadily through this vivid evocation of a childhood in India at the time of the First World War. The child, Harriet, writes poetry to try to preserve the most precious moments of a summer filled with beauty and scarred with tragedy. The arrival of a young soldier, badly injured in the war, begins a series of changes in the lives of the whole family, which, like the river itself, flow unstoppably on.

Plays

Survival

was a drama – The idea of living alone and almost self-sufficient on a remote Scottish island seems appealing – but what about the reality!

Squatter’s Rights

was a comedy – Squatters can cause all kinds of problems – especially if they happen to be head-lice

The Sailor’s Return

was a ghost story – When newcomers take over an old pub, The Sailor’s Return, they are determined to observe the old tradition. But do they really understand its significance?

Unicorn Calling

was a fantasy – What if a unicorn suddenly appeared in the backyard – how would the average family react?

Diary

The Diary of Minnie Gorrie

wasn’t a play but an actual diary, written in l876 by my great-great aunt, then l9 years old, partly while she travelled from the home she loved in Mauritius to London, on board a sailing clipper called The Sea Breeze, and partly back home in England while she and her mother and siblings waited for father, John Gorrie, to establish a home for them all on Fiji, where he had been sent to serve as Chief Justice. I abridged the diary and Jan Francis read it on Radio 4.

Novels

December Flower

December Flower

was published as a novel and then read in several episodes by Ysanne Churchman on BBC Radio 4. The reading was repeated on The World Service. December Flower was also turned into a television drama, directed by Stephen Frears and starring Jean Simmons, Mona Washbourne and Bryan Forbes.

Bag and Baggage

Bag and Baggage

was published as a novel and then read in several episodes by Ysanne Churchman on Radio 4 Woman’s Hour.