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Agatha Christie: The lost plays

Between 1947 and 1954, Agatha Christie was commissioned to write three entirely new and original dramas for BBC radio.

It was assumed that all three of these Christie plays had gone the same way of most post-war radio drama when it was normal practice to destroy the masters without making any copies. For years, they were presumed to be irrevocably lost – until they were recently discovered by audio producer Charles Norton and BBC Sound Archivist Sean Whyton when searching through a vast quantity of uncatalogued material that had arrived at the archives.

The three radio plays have now been fully restored and remastered and published to coincide with the 125th anniversary of Christie’s birth.

Agatha Christie the lost playsButter in a Lordly Dish, written specially for radio in 1948, features Richard Williams as Sir Luke Enderby KC, a man whose infidelities lead him into trouble when he goes to meet his latest flame. Williams also stars as Hercule Poirot in Murder in the Mews, a 1955 adaptation of a short story, which sees a young woman found dead in her flat the day after Guy Fawkes night. Did she die by her own hand or someone else’s? In the third play, Personal Call, a disturbing telephone call from a woman names Fay has consequences for both Richard Brent and his wife Pam. This 1960 production stars Ivan Brandt and Barbara Lott.

Mathew Prichard, Agatha Christie’s grandson, said ‘The Lost Plays are a magnificent discovery. The atmosphere of the time is captured wonderfully and the sound quality is crystal clear. The plays are vintage Christie and are a hugely important addition to the canon.’

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