Paul Temple Radio Serials over the years

Paul Temple Radio Serials

Paul Temple first appeared in Send for Paul Temple broadcast in May 1938 and produced by Martyn C. Webster (1902-1983) for BBC Midland Region. Martyn C. Webster can be credited with discovering Francis Durbridge when he noted at a Birmingham University Revue that whilst Durbridge was a bad actor he was also credited with several of the more successful sketches.

Starring Hugh Morton (1903-1984) as Temple and Bernadette Hodgson as Steve Trent (whom Temple later marries) it also featured Lester Mudditt as Sir Graham Forbes of Scotland Yard, a role he was to take in nearly every Paul Temple serial.

The Paul Temple Serials and their year of broadcast are as follows:
  • Send for Paul Temple (1938)
  • Paul Temple and the Front Page Men (1938)
  • News of Paul Temple (1939)
  • Paul Temple Intervenes (1942)
  • Send for Paul Temple Again (1945)
  • A Case for Paul Temple (1946 and 2011)
  • Paul Temple and the Gregory Affair (1946 and 2013)
  • Paul Temple and Steve (1947 and 2010)
  • Paul Temple and the Sullivan Mystery (1947 and 2006)
  • Paul Temple and the Curzon Case (1948)
  • Paul Temple and the Madison Mystery (1949, 1955 and 2008)
  • Paul Temple and the Vandyke Affair (1950 and 1959)
  • Paul Temple and the Jonathan Mystery (1951 and 1963)
  • Paul Temple and the Gilbert Case (1954 and 1959)
  • Paul Temple and the Lawrence Affair (1956)
  • Paul Temple and the Spencer Affair (1957)
  • Paul Temple and the Conrad case (1959)
  • Paul Temple and the Margo Mystery (1961)
  • Paul Temple and the Geneva Mystery (1965)
  • Paul Temple and the Alex Affair (1968) – This was a revised version of Send for Paul Temple Again

In addition to the above there were two one-hour Paul Temple radio plays.

The Paul Temple radio serials were produced across Europe as well as in the UK.

For further information see below

Paul Temple Radio Serials

The Origin of Paul Temple

Paul Temple has been played by several actors most notably Kim Peacock (1901-1966) 9 times and Peter Coke (1913-2008) 11 times. Steve was played by Marjorie Westbury (1905-1989) 23 times. All the Paul Temple serials were produced by Martyn C. Webster who even following his retirement returned to the BBC in 1968 to produce the final serial. It was he who introduced the practice of not letting the actors read the script of the last episode before its rehearsal and broadcast so there could be no chance of the villain being disclosed by any inflexion of a character’s voice or performance.

The signature tune for the first serials was an extract from Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade but this was replaced from 1947 onwards by Coronation Scot. As Jack Adrian wrote in The Independent ‘To children of the 1940s and 1950s, who grew up in the radio age, Francis Durbridge is the sound of Coronation Scot, that most compelling of pieces by Vivian Ellis which invariably heralded yet another Paul Temple serial.’

Paul Temple the character was born in Ontario, the son of Lt. Gen Ian Temple and came to England at the age of ten. He was educated at Rugby and Magdalen College Oxford, afterwards writing his first of more than 30 novels at the age of twenty-two. Paul Temple and Steve were married in St Mary Abbots Church in Kensington in 1938. Temple’s interests were fishing, collecting first editions, Debussy, Beethoven, Jerome Kern, Rodgers and Hart, Cole Porter and the watercolours of Raoul Dufy.

Concerning the origin of the character, Durbridge recalled that he had come across a fellow passenger who inspired him when taking a train from London to Birmingham. “I had been brooding upon the character of Paul Temple for some months…We never spoke, but I found my mind recalling the deliberate manner he had inserted a cigarette into its unusual holder, the keen intelligent face, the smiling eyes and shrewd mouth”. As to the origin of Steve, the Durbridge family have never doubted that she was based upon Durbridge’s wife Norah to whom he became engaged in 1937 and married in 1940.