Opening Lines - Gaslight
In this special preview of the BBC Radio 4 series Opening Lines, John Yorke looks at Patrick Hamilton’s 1938 stage play Gaslight. To hear more episodes from the series, just search for Opening Lines on BBC Sounds.
A big hit on London’s Shaftesbury Avenue and an even bigger success on Broadway, Patrick Hamilton’s drama of the mental abuse of Bella Manningham by her husband Jack lives on, sometimes unacknowledged, as the source of the term Gaslighting - one person’s attempt to make another doubt their sanity. Best known for his novels such as Hangover Square and The Slaves of Solitude, Hamilton drew on his own miserable childhood memories of being terrified of his own abusive father for this taut, chilling thriller.
John Yorke has worked in television and radio for nearly 30 years, and he shares his experience with Radio 4 listeners as he unpacks the themes and impact of the books, plays and stories that are being dramatised on BBC Radio 4. From EastEnders to the Archers, Life on Mars to Shameless, he has been obsessed with telling big popular stories. He has spent years analysing not just how stories work but why they resonate with audiences around the globe and has brought together his experience in his bestselling book Into the Woods. As former Head of Channel Four Drama, Controller of BBC Drama Production and MD of Company Pictures, John has tested his theories during an extensive production career working on some of the world’s most lucrative, widely viewed and critically acclaimed TV drama. As founder of the hugely successful BBC Writers Academy John has trained a generation of screenwriters (his students have had 17 green-lights in the last two years alone).
Contributors: Brigid Larmour, Artistic Director and Chief Executive, Watford Palace Theatre Sean French, author of Patrick Hamilton: A Life and one half of the writing duo Nicci French Readings by Sam Dale Credits: Gaslight by Patrick Hamilton. Acting Edition published by Constable, 1970 Angel Street by Patrick Hamilton, Acting Edition published by Samuel French, 1942 Clip from Angel Street (1952), The NBC Presents Best Plays radio adaptation starring Vincent Price and Judith Evelyn
Produced by Caroline Raphael
Executive Producer: Sara Davies
Sound by Matt Bainbridge, Redlight Studios and Sean Kerwin
A Pier production for BBC Radio 4