Francis Durbridge

and The Netherlands

Holland was a market in sharp contrast to France for Francis Durbridge. Whereas in France his popularity was all about his television serials, in Holland it was his Paul Temple radio serials that brought him great popularity and there were no local Dutch productions of his later television serials. This early success was no doubt contributed to by Francis Durbridge having an enthusiastic Dutch agent Albert Milhado (1910-2001), who represented him for many years.

Send for Paul Temple was broadcast on Dutch AVRO radio in February 1939 only eight months after the first BBC radio broadcast. Translated by JC Van der Horst and produced by Kommer Kleijn (1893-1982) it starred Leo Frankel in the role of Paul Temple whose name was changed for Dutch audiences to Paul Vlaanderen, and Steve was renamed Ina and played by Lily Boumeester. Due to its success this was followed very quickly a few months later by a Dutch version of Paul Temple and the Front Page Men produced by and starring the same team.

The next serial News of Paul Temple was however the last for several years due to the war, as only 4 episodes were broadcast before Germany invaded Holland and listeners had to wait for the denouement until a new version was broadcast in 1946. For many years the original English scripts to News of Paul Temple were missing and they were not to be found in the BBC archives. However in 2022 a set of the Dutch scripts were located in a Dutch archive so one of the ‘missing’ Temples can now be read again.

After the war between 1947 and 1966 a further seventeen Dutch serials were produced plus three shorter Paul Temple plays (one being Over My Dead Body, a non-Temple story but adapted as a Paul Temple play) but this time by a new team working with producer Kommer Kleijn. The role of Paul Vlaanderen was taken over by Jan van Ees (1896-1966) with Eva Janssen (1911-1996) playing Ina and they appeared in all seventeen serials and proved a great success in Holland. The serials were translated until 1953 by JC van der Horst and then by Johan Bennik (a pseudonym for Jan van Ees). All were produced by Kommer Kleijn save for the last three which were produced by Dick van Putten.

The success of Paul Temple also led to other Francis Durbridge works for radio being locally produced including What Do You Think? (1977), Passport to Danger (1985) and Mr Lucas (1988).

Work by Francis Durbridge in Holland