Godbers to reprise marital drama for Radio 4 debut

John Godber is to star alongside his wife in the first ever radio production of his play September in the Rain, which the pair last appeared in together more than 25 years ago.

Godber wrote the play in 1983 specifically for him and his now wife, Jane. They performed it in Edinburgh in 1983 and last appeared in it together in 1984 with the Hull Truck Theatre Company, which gave the show its first professional outing.

Now, more than two decades later, they are revisiting the production for BBC Radio 4.

The play explores a married couple’s relationship through their holidays in Blackpool over the years, and is based on the experiences of Godber’s parents and grandparents.

Speaking to The Stage, Godber said the idea for him to star in it came after he began discussing casting with the radio play’s director, Toby Swift.

“I suppose some people aren’t aware I have turned down some quite big films, like The Full Monty, so to be given the opportunity to appear at least on the radio was something I was excited about. We talked about serious actors doing it and came to the conclusion that, Jane and I have been together 31 years, and unless you get Imelda Staunton and Jim Carter or Prunella Scales and Timothy West, you’re not going to get a couple to bring a relationship to the table. We had a great time,” he said.

Swift said Godber and his wife had particularly enjoyed recording the drama because of how they now relate to the couple in the play when they are in their older years.

“It was interesting for John in that he was playing a male character based on his father and for him to see how he had changed in that time and what he now recognised within the character,” Swift said.

The director also revealed that elements of the play had to be adapted for the radio production, which goes out on September 3 on Radio 4.

It will be broadcast to coincide with the production of Godber’s first stage play with his new company, the John Godber Company, following his departure from Hull Truck in March.

The new play is called The Debt Collectors and will tour the UK until December. Godber said he hoped the production will have a London run.

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