A brand new eight-part remake of the lost archive drama A Case for Paul Temple, starring Crawford Logan and Gerda Stevenson.
From 1938 to 1968 crime novelist and detective Paul Temple and his Fleet Street journalist wife Steve solved case after case in one of BBC Radio’s most popular series. Now the glamorous duo return to the airwaves to break a mysterious drug-running gang.
Post-war London is buzzing with speculation about the deaths of ten young drug addicts within the space of just one week. The police are desperate to cut off supplies of heroin and cocaine to the capital, but they are struggling. So Sir Graham Forbes turns to Paul Temple. By fast car and police launch, on deserted houseboats and midnight beaches, in dodgy East End pubs and smart West End restaurants, braving booby traps, bullets and blazing houses, Paul and Steve pursue the ruthless and feared drug dealer known only as ‘Valentine’.
This new production for BBC Radio 4 uses the original scripts, vintage sound effects and much of the original incidental music from the missing 1946 production. As far as possible it is a technical and stylistic replica of how that production might have sounded if its recording had survived.
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This is a new recording of a Paul Temple story which had been lost from the archives.
Using many of the sound effects used in old recordings together with some pleasing performances by the actors, this production should appeal to fans of the series.
The producers have taken their time to make this enjoyable to listen to. They have even included resumes of the previous chapter, just in case you need to stop listening and come back to it. Crawford Logan as Paul and Gerda as Steve are actors whose voices are most suited to their roles. There is not a bad performance in the entire cast. Allowing for a few cliched accents here and there. As with most of the paul temple series, you get lulled into cozy chats about country houses and pink gins, and then suddenly somebody is found dead. You need to concentrate or you miss the important bits.
Having cut my teeth on the "Golden Age of Radio" in America I have always loved this genre and have come to especially enjoy the BBC's production of the Paul Temple series. Though I feel Peter Coke and Marjorie Westbury make a better sounding Paul and Steve, Crowford Logan and Gerda Stevenson do a very fine job in this episode. In my opinion the BBC production of this series far out ranks anything done on this side of the pond. The sound effects are excellent and the dialogue is fast and crisp.
On the reality side of things Francis Durbridge seems to have had one basic receipt for his stories and each episode is not that different from another. There is also the matter that realistically the "Yard" hardly needs a writer to solve all the major crimes in Britain. That being said, if you're able to shift your mind back into a simpler time and just want to relax with a very fine production of old time radio entertainment, then this series will not disappoint.
I'm a big fan of British drama and old time radio. I think we use the visual world far too much, and audio allows more scope for immagination. I have one of the original Paul Temple recordings. This does a pretty good job of simulating the old ones, but not quite. I will listen to it again, and perhaps find more in it. It was fun, and would be a great car listen that won't embarrass you in front of young children because of language or unsuitable situations.
There are better British dramas out there, but I do rather like Paul and his wife Steve.
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