Ronnie Colley, Arthur Colley

The Dick Barton Casebook
  • The Dick Barton Casebook

  • Noel Johnson, Douglas Kelly, Duncan Carse and Gordon Davies star as Dick Barton in this exciting BBC Radio 4 collection set in the world of criminal masterminds, espionage and adventure!
    Dick Barton and The Secret Weapon

    In their very first adventure, Dick Barton and his army friend Snowey White join Colonel Gardiner of military intelligence to defeat the villainous Wilhelm Kramer. A new super-weapon has been stolen and Kramer plans to use it to hold the world to ransom.

    Dick Barton and the Paris Adventure
    In the second Dick Barton adventure, Barton and his friends join forces with the French police on the trail of an international smuggling operation.

    Dick Barton and the Cabatolin Diamonds
    The third adventure in the series sees Dick and Snowey’s holiday plans for a Mediterranean cruise curtailed, when they are asked to help Freddy Belfont from the Home Office break a gang of diamond smugglers.

    Dick Barton and the Smash and Grab Raiders
    Dick, Snowey and Jock assist Sir Alexander Morton to catch a group of audacious smash and grab raiders.

    Plus a bonus CD including three previously unreleased isolated episodes; the earliest surviving recording from the series and the final episode ever made. Also included is a documentary featuring interviews with the principle cast and an extract from the now lost Dick Barton and the Bonazio Gang.

Edward J. Mason (Author) The original idea for Dick Barton came from Norman Collins, Head of the Light Programme. In January 1946, he sent a memo to an assistant asking him to investigate the possibility of a daily 'cloak-and-dagger soap opera'. Matters quickly progressed and soon the fictional hero of the serial had a name - Bill Barton (later changed to Dick). Barton's history was very thoroughly researched. It was decided that he had been born on Tuesday 10 December 1912 at 5pm. The BBC went so far as to ascertain from the Town Clerk of High Wycombe and the Air Ministry exactly what the weather conditions were at the time of Barton's birth! At the time the series started, Barton was thirty-five years old. He had enjoyed a 'good' war and, in November 1945, was wondering whether he could face going back to the dutiful daily grind of the pre-war years. Having established their hero, the BBC needed to find an actor to play Barton. Noël Johnson fitted the bill perfectly: not only did he look exactly how the producers imagined Barton to be, but he was a good actor who learnt scripts accurately and quickly. However, the early days of Britain’s first daily serial were inauspicious. Within two weeks, the Daily Worker had condemned the programme as being ‘so bad as to be almost beyond criticism’. But the listeners proved the critics wrong and soon some fifteen million were tuning in to hear the adventures of Dick Barton and his pals Snowey and Jock. Although the series had been originally conceived as a fast moving cartoon strip aimed mainly at adults, the BBC soon realised that children were abandoning their homework in their thousands in order to tune in, and it was decided that all references to alcohol or girlfriends should be cut out of the script. It was still considered too exciting for some, however, as this headline from the time shows: ‘Dick Barton – Too Thrilling for Girls? Headmistress says “Yes”!’ The newly cleaned-up Barton went on to enjoy hundreds of adventures that enthralled listeners for six years. Noël Johnson left the series in 1949, largely due to money disputes, and was replaced by ex-boxer Duncan Carse. In the final year Gordon Davies played the hero. The series was written by Edward J. Mason and Geoffrey Webb. They later went on to write The Archers, which was to displace Dick Barton on the Light Programme, much to many people’s dismay – Terry Wogan has said he has never been able to enjoy the goings-on in Ambridge because they took Dick Barton away from him! B.D. Chapman (Author) B. D. Chapman was an author and radio dramatist whose writing credits included Dick Barton and the sci-fi serial Orbiter X. Ronnie Colley, Arthur Colley (Author) Ronnie Colley and Arthur Colley were writing partners who contributed scripts to the BBC serial Dick Barton - Special Agent.

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