At 2.30pm tomorrow, Saturday 21st February, tune into BBC Radio 4 to hear Toby Jones and Samantha Bond in Paul Mendelson's radio dramatisation of CS Forester's classic World War I novel THE AFRICAN QUEEN, set in German Central Africa. Click here to stream it live, or to find it on iPlayer catchup.
“It’s a brave team who will have a go at surpassing the 1951 John Huston film of CS Forester’s story but here’s Toby Jones in the Humphrey Bogart role and Samantha Bond in the Katherine Hepburn one... Paul Mendelson’s script is deft, the acting superb, the production a delight.” - Gillian Reynolds, The Telegraph
Rose Sayer’s work as a missionary comes to an abrupt end when the village she lives in with her brother, Reverend Samuel Sayer, is invaded by the German army. Samuel dies of fever and Rose blames the ungodly Germans for having ground him down and frightened off the entire village.
Patriotically but naively, Rose conceives of blowing up a German warship, thus helping the war effort. She convinces cowardly Cockney Charlie Allnut to lend his rickety steam-powered boat, The African Queen, to the cause. He has offered to give Rose a lift in his boat to get away from the village and the Germans, so reluctantly goes along with her plan. If they manage to survive German attacks, rapids, malaria and mechanical mishaps, will they be able to survive each other?
The novel was the basis for the highly popular Hollywood movie of the same name. Paul Mendelson's dramatisation goes back to the novel, reinstating Forester's original ending and giving Charlie his Cockney identity back.
With Samantha Bond as Rose; Toby Jones as Charlie; Stephen Critchlow as Samuel Sayer; Mark Edel-Hunt as German Sailor; and David Acton as German Sea Captain.
Music composed and played by Gary C Newman
Producer/Director: David Ian Neville
Written by Paul Mendelson