Various Falco novels are available as BBC radio drama productions. They are originally produced as serials on Radio 4, though increasingly they pop up on digital Radio 4 Extra. CDs of the whole broadcast can also be bought from BBC Worldwide.
The drama versions are adapted for radio by Mary Cutler, one of my oldest friends, who was in my class at school, the senior scriptwriter of The Archers. They were produced in Birmingham by Peter Lesley Wild.
Anton Lesser is Falco. The late Fritha Goodey was Helena in The Silver Pigs; since then Anna Madeley has played the part. A growing cast of regulars include Ben Crow as Petronius, Francis Jeator as Ma, Trevor Peacock as Pa, Michael Tudor Barnes as Vespasian and Jonathan Keeble as Titus.
My feelings about these adaptations are that Mary does the best possible job. A great deal has to be lost from the books and, sadly, it will usually be Falco’s musings which, to me, are one of the main attractions. Another problem is that people complain the voices are not what they expect or what hear in their heads when they read. Well, my dears, that’s why I think nothing can beat books!
Music Used on Radio Plays
A reader asked about that tantalising tune they use to introduce the radio plays; my friendly contact at Radio 4 instantly replied: The track is called “Baile de Procesion” from an album called THE LANGUAGE OF SNAKES by Andrew Cronshaw. Thanks to reader Bobo for the information that “it was transcribed, as played on a dulzaina accompanied by a tamboril, by Agapito Marazuela Albornos for his Cancionera de Castilla, a collection of music from the Castilla region of Spain made between 1915 and 1925”.
It’s on the Special Delivery label, SPDCD 1050.
Film rights to all my books, including The Course of Honour and Rebels and Traitors, currently reside with me and are available for options.
A film called The Age of Treason was made some years ago, ostensibly of The Silver Pigs, though who would know it? It departed from everything that I think makes the books special. This is the terrible side of Hollywood in particular and film companies in general. It taught me that authors will probably not be made rich and famous through film rights, that they should demand enough money to cover any pain, and that they have a duty to loyal readers not to readily go down the route of filmic disappointment.
The BBC optioned the entire Falco series on what seemed decent terms (though I had grave doubts about their scripts). They bought Rome instead.
Please: I do not want to speculate on who could play Falco in a film. If it ever happens the company will choose their actor depending on cost and availability. The BBC wanted to create a star I think they were right.
The same goes for Helena, for those who realise that,s just as important!
Several people have asked if there will be any more Falco radio plays. Unfortunately the BBC has slashed its provision of radio drama, foolishly you may feel. I contacted the Controller of BBC Radio4 and Radio 4Extra, who replied, “I do understand how disappointing it is when a series finishes, but alas this is inevitable to allow new commissions. You will be well aware of the fierce competition for slots on the network and after 5 series Falco has done very well indeed. It is splendid that listeners have a chance to hear the repeats on 4Extra and can buy downloads or CDs and I do thank you very much for letting Radio 4 adapt the 5 books, which have, as you rightly say, been such a success.”
You and I may think that’s an argument for making more slots available!