Francis Durbridge is the creator of Paul Temple and the master of radio drama, to me the most transporting and transformative entertainment. We witness Paul and Steve tottering into wobbly dinghies, standing safely back from blazing vehicles and discovering ransacked rooms or bludgeoned corpses, with only our ears to give us eyes.The characters are vivid, not mannequins carried on when Paul needs someone to interrogate. They have plans, ideas and affections that live off speaker, so on speaker their behavior is always realistic and often enigmatic.
Durbridge excels at exposition, in any episode you will be brought up to date on the intricate plot by the natural dialogue which characterizes the show and which flows best with Peter Coke, Marjorie Westbury, James Beatty and other cast regulars. The rhythm of their speech feels spontaneous, interactive.
Episode for episode it can match “24” for plot twists and significant characters slain. Like Jack, Paul has a high-handed disregard for authority. Jack snaps people’s fingers askew and bosses surgeons about at gunpoint. Paul withholds evidence and meets up with known suspects. Just as Jack will bunt a computer programmer aside to more effectively work on a laptop, Paul knows more about everything than anyone.
(Don’t start with “Paul Temple Intervenes” an early effort, disjointed and dated)
The children are playing “Paul Temple” complete with episode breaks and previously’s.
C (age 11): Charlie, bring me a dry martini!
J (age 4): Here you are, careful it’s very hot.