Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Wednesday, January 11, 2023


The character of Paul Temple, mystery author and amateur detective, was created by Frances Durbridge in the 1938 BBC radio serieal Stand by for Paul Temple.  Temple soon became a household name in England, although he attained great popularity in America.  There were 22 original BBC plays aired between 1938 and 1968 --15 of the episodes were serialized in eight half hour sections, two in eight 25-minute sections, one in 8 20-minute sections, and one in ten half hours sections; in addition there were one 45-minute and one 60-minute standalone -- all written by Frances Durbridge.  Two of the original serials were later abridged and remade as one hour episodes; nine of the original 8-episode serials were also remade -- the last of the remakes aired in 2013.  Phew!  Got that?

Actors who played Paul Temple on the radio were Hugh Morton (1938-1939), Carl Bernard (1941-1942). Richard Willaims (1944), Barry Morse (1945), Howard Marion Crawford (1946), Kim Peacock (1946-1953) Peter Coke -- considered to be the "definitive" Paul Temple (1954-1968), and Crawford Logan (2006-2013) 

From 1946 to 1952 four of the radio serials were filmed, with Anthony Hulme playing Temple in the first and John Bentley taking over the role for the final three.  Paul Temple also appeared on BBC television for a total of 52 episodes from 1969 to 1971 and featured Francis Matthew as Temple.  None of the telvision scripts were written by Durbridge.  The television show was co-produced with a Munich television station, so all episodes appeared (dubbed in German) there.

Internationally, adaptations of twelve of the Paul Temple were broadcast between 1949 and 1967 in Germany.  They were so popular that they became known as "Strabenflafer" ("Street sweepers) becuase the streets were practically deserted when ever and episode aired.   Italy saw seven serials produced between 1953 and 1977, each with a different cast of actors.  In the Netherlands, several of a radio serials were re-reorded with Temple's name changed to Paul Vlaanderan.  Canada remade Send for Paul Temple in 1940; tere may have been more.

Durbridge also adapted a number of his scripts as novels -- fourteen of them between 1938 and 1989, the first five co-authored with "Charles Hatton" (John Thewes) and the next two with Douglas Rutherford; the Rutherford collaborations were released as by "Paul Temple."

Temple also appeared in a daily newspaper strip (written by Durbridge) from November 19, 1951 to May 1, 1971.

About Paul Temple:  He was born in Ontario and moved to England at an early age.  He went to Magdalen College.  From age 22 he made his living writing detective novels.  While on holiday he became involved ina notorious murder case, impressing Scotland Yard's Sur Graham Forbes so much that he was asked to investigate "the mysterious affair of the Knave of diamonds."  He has been detecting ever since.  He is joined in detecting with his wife "Steve," whose real name is Louise -- he nickname coming from the pseudonym she uses for her jouranlism, :"Steve Trent."  Temple is fond of fishing, classical music, dry martinis, and collecting first editions.  He dislikes oysters.  Ever the gentleman, the most profane he has been known to use is "by Timothy." 

In this radio drama, Temple is asked to investigate the disappearance of the eighteen-month-old dauther of Mary Desmond.  Also missing the the child's "sitter-in," Miss Millicent.  The only clue is a note from Miss Millicent that "A Mr. Vandyke telephoned..."  No one knows who Vandyke could be...

Paul Temple is voiced by Kim Peacock; Majorie Westberry is Steve.  Terry Plamer, the journalist who calls Temple into the case was played by Paul Coke -- who would later play Temple for fifteen years, including in a remake of this serial.


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