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Mary Rose (BBC Radio, 11/Sep/1938)

A radio adaptation of J.M. Barrie's melancholic play "Mary Rose", starring Nova Pilbeam in the title role. Pilbeam had previously played the role of Barrie's Peter Pan on the stage.

The broadcast was repeated on the National Programme two days later on 13th September 1938.

Pilbeam went on to play the role in two further BBC radio adaptations in 1940 and 1947.

Broadcast Details

  • broadcast on BBC Radio (Regional Programme)
  • date: 11/Sep/1938, 9:05pm
  • length: 85 minutes


A play in three acts by J.M. Barrie, adapted for broadcasting and produced by Cyril Wood. The action of the play, which covers a period of over thirty years, passes between a small manor house in Sussex, and an island in the Outer Hebrides. Act I: The Home of the Morlands, Sussex. Scene 1: As it was in 1919. Scene 2: As it used to be in 1889. Act 2: The Island, in the Outer Hebrides, about four years later, 1893. Act 3: The Home of the Morlands, Sussex. Scene I: As it used to be in 1914. Scene 2: As it was in 1919.[1]

Radio Times Comments

As his second full-length play to be broadcast belongs to the same fairy genre, the same verdict may be given for Mary Rose , because both these plays depend so largely on atmosphere — a thing which radio conveys superbly. The story of Mary Rose is told in an article on page 8 by S. R. Littlewood , who was present at the first night at the Haymarket, on April 22, 1920. The best news for listeners is that Nova Pilbeam, who gave such a beautiful performance on the air as Margaret, of the Might Have Been, is to broadcast as Mary Rose, of the Timeless Land. She should be as lovely on the air as Fay Compton was in the theatre eighteen years ago when at the end of the play she floated out like a spirit into the stars. The only member of the radio cast who was in the original theatre production is Jean Cadell, who gave a memorable performance-of the shivering caretaker of the deserted house — the part she is to take tonight.[2]



Notes & References

  1. Project Genome: BBC Radio Times Archive
  2. Project Genome: BBC Radio Times Archive