Shelagh Delaney

A Taste of Honey & more

A Taste of Honey & more

Eight BBC Radio Full-Cast Productions

Summary

A collection of plays by the trailblazing dramatist Shelagh Delaney

'The fact is, Miss Delaney is not only a shrewd and penetrating observer; she is a very delicate artist.' Bernard Levin

Shelagh Delaney was just 19 when her debut play, A Taste of Honey, premiered in 1958. One of the great ‘kitchen sink dramas’, it was ground-breaking in its portrayal of working-class Northern women, gay and Black men, and influenced popular culture from The Smiths to Coronation Street. A huge hit in the West End and on Broadway, it was made into a BAFTA-winning film starring Rita Tushingham.

This collection opens with a 2004 radio production of A Taste of Honey, starring Beth Squires as the pregnant teenager trading insults and repartee with her mother (Siobhan Finneran). It is followed by seven dramas specially written for BBC Radio, all showcasing Delaney’s extraordinary gift for depicting the experiences and emotions of ordinary women and children.

In the trilogy Sweetly Sings the Donkey, Tell Me a Film and Baloney Said Salome, we follow the friendship of four women across the decades, from their childhood meeting in a Blackpool convalescent home to their 60th birthday reunion, and their fond farewell to one of their number. Beth Squires, Barbara Marten, Kay Purcell, Susan Twist and Eileen O’ Brien star in these funny, moving plays.

Country Life and its sequel, Whoopi Goldberg’s Country Life, centre around Rose, whose peaceful life on a remote Yorkshire smallholding is disrupted by her moody nephew, her film-star brother and her embittered ex-sister-in law. This witty, poignant double bill about parenting, rural life and family ties stars Barbara Marten as Rose.

Starring Daniel Hanbridge and Brooke Vincent, the rite-of-passage drama Out of the Pirate’s Playhouse sees five eleven-year-olds celebrating the start of the holidays by going to their favourite activity centre: only to be told they are too old to play there. Our final play, So Does the Nightingale, is set during another period of transition, as middle-aged Alice prepares for her father’s impending death – and reveals her shocking plans for a new, independent life… Linda Polan stars, with a cast including Barbara Laurenson and Margot Boyd.

Production credits
Text copyright © Shelagh Delaney 1959 (A Taste of Honey),1980 (So Does the Nightingale), 2000(Sweetly Sings the Donkey), 2003 (Tell Me a Film, Out of the Pirate’s Playhouse), 2004 (Baloney Said Salome), 2007 (Country Life), 2010 (Whoopi Goldberg’s Country Life)
All rights reserved

First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 20 Nov 1980, 18 Dec 2000, 6 Mar 2003, 22 Jul 2004, 7 Nov 2004, 22 Mar 2007, 18 Oct 2010,

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