Three Blind Mice (radio play and short story)

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The billing from the Radio Times issue of 25-31 May 1947, illustrating the night's programmes on radio for Queen Mary including the performance of Three Blind Mice Three Blind Mice Radio Times Billing 1947.jpg
The billing from the Radio Times issue of 25–31 May 1947, illustrating the night's programmes on radio for Queen Mary including the performance of Three Blind Mice

Three Blind Mice is the name of a half-hour radio play written by Agatha Christie and broadcast on the BBC Light Programme at 8.00pm on Friday 30 May 1947.

Agatha Christie 20th-century English mystery and detective writer

Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, Lady Mallowan, was an English writer. She is known for her 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections, particularly those revolving around her fictional detectives Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. Christie also wrote the world's longest-running play, a murder mystery, The Mousetrap, and, under the pen name Mary Westmacott, six romances. In 1971 she was appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) for her contribution to literature.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters are at Broadcasting House in Westminster, London, and it is the world's oldest national broadcasting organisation and the largest broadcaster in the world by number of employees. It employs over 20,950 staff in total, 16,672 of whom are in public sector broadcasting. The total number of staff is 35,402 when part-time, flexible, and fixed-contract staff are included.

It was part of an evening of programmes in honour of the eightieth birthday of Queen Mary. The BBC had approached the Queen some months before and asked what programmes she would like to hear. Amongst a selection of music and variety, she requested something by Christie who was a writer she admired. Christie agreed, asking that her fee of one hundred guineas be donated to the Southport Infirmary Children's Toy Fund. [1]

Mary of Teck 20th-century queen consort of the United Kingdom and Empress of India

Mary of Teck was Queen consort of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions and Empress consort of India as the wife of King George V.

Southport town in the Metropolitan Borough of Sefton, England

Southport is a large seaside town in Merseyside, England. At the 2001 census, it had a population of 90,336, making it the eleventh most populous settlement in North West England.

The idea for the play came from a real-life crime tragedy, the Dennis O'Neill case, of 1945 with the death of a boy in foster care. Christie's official biography states that the name of the boy was Daniel O'Neill [2] but contemporary newspaper reports state the name of the boy as Dennis O'Neill.

Dennis O'Neill was a 12-year-old Welsh boy whose death at the hands of his foster parents led to an inquiry into and overhaul of fostering provisions in Great Britain.

Foster care system in which a minor has been placed into a ward, group home, or private home of a state-certified caregiver, referred to as a "foster parent"

Foster care is a system in which a minor has been placed into a ward, group home, or private home of a state-certified caregiver, referred to as a "foster parent" or with a family member approved by the state. The placement of the child is normally arranged through the government or a social service agency. The institution, group home or foster parent is compensated for expenses unless with a family member.

At some point soon after transmission of the radio play, the suggestion was made to Christie that she turn it into a short story. [3] This was published in the US in Cosmopolitan magazine in May 1948 and then in the 1950 collection Three Blind Mice and Other Stories .

<i>Cosmopolitan</i> (magazine) Fashion magazine for women, owned by Hearst Communications

Cosmopolitan is an international fashion and entertainment magazine for women that was formerly titled The Cosmopolitan.Cosmopolitan magazine is one of the best-selling magazines and is directed mainly toward women readers. Jessica Pels is an appointed editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine. The magazine was first published and distributed in 1886 in the US as a family magazine; it was later transformed into a literary magazine and since 1965 has become a women's magazine.

<i>Three Blind Mice and Other Stories</i> book by Agatha Christie

Three Blind Mice and Other Stories is a collection of short stories written by Agatha Christie, first published in the US by Dodd, Mead and Company in 1950. The first edition retailed at $2.50.

Christie saw the potential of expanding the half-hour radio play into a full theatre play and in 1952, The Mousetrap , the play that has the longest initial run of any play in the world, first came to the stage. As another play had run on the stage just prior to the Second World War also with the title Three Blind Mice, Christie had to change the name. It was her son-in-law, Anthony Hicks, who suggested The Mousetrap, [4] which is taken from Act III, Scene II of Shakespeare's Hamlet . Allan McClelland, in the role of Christopher Wren, was the only actor to make the transition from the radio production to the stage play.

<i>The Mousetrap</i> Murder mystery play by Agatha Christie

The Mousetrap is a murder mystery play by Agatha Christie. The Mousetrap opened in London's West End in 1952, and has been running continuously since then. The longest running West End show, it has by far the longest initial run of any play in history, with its 25,000th performance taking place on 18 November 2012. The play has a twist ending, which the audience are traditionally asked not to reveal after leaving the theatre.

William Shakespeare 16th and 17th-century English playwright and poet

William Shakespeare was an English poet, playwright and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's greatest dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon". His extant works, including collaborations, consist of approximately 39 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and a few other verses, some of uncertain authorship. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.

<i>Hamlet</i> tragedy by William Shakespeare

The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, often shortened to Hamlet, is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare sometime between 1599 and 1602. Set in Denmark, the play depicts Prince Hamlet and his revenge against his uncle, Claudius, who has murdered Hamlet's father in order to seize his throne and marry Hamlet's mother.

No recording of the original radio play exists and the script is not commercially available. Further, Christie asked that the short story not be published in the UK as long as The Mousetrap continued to run on the stage. The text of the latter play was published in 1954 by Samuel French as 'French's Acting Edition No 153' and also in the HarperCollins 1993 collection The Mousetrap and Other Plays ( ISBN   0-00-224344-X).

Samuel French American publisher

Samuel French (1821–1898) was a U.S. entrepreneur who, together with British actor, playwright and theatrical manager Thomas Hailes Lacy, pioneered in the field of theatrical publishing and the licensing of plays.

HarperCollins Publishers L.L.C. is one of the world's largest publishing companies and is one of the Big Five English-language publishing companies, alongside Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, Hachette and Macmillan. The company is headquartered in New York City and is a subsidiary of News Corp. The name is a combination of several publishing firm names: Harper & Row, an American publishing company acquired in 1987, together with UK publishing company William Collins, Sons, acquired in 1990.

International Standard Book Number Unique numeric book identifier

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.

1947 radio production

Director/Producer: Martyn C. Webster

Cast:
Barry Morse played Giles Davis
Belle Chrystall played Molly Davis
Gladys Young played Mrs Boyle
Richard Williams played Major Metcalf
Raf De La Torre played Mr Paravicini
Allan McClelland played Christopher Wren
Lewis Stringer played Detective-Sergeant Trotter
Lydia Sherwood played Mrs Lyon

Other parts were played by Marjorie Westbury, David Kossoff and Duncan McIntyre

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References

  1. Morgan, Janet. Agatha Christie, A Biography. (Page 261) Collins, 1984 ISBN   0-00-216330-6
  2. Morgan. (Page 262)
  3. Christie, Agatha. An Autobiography. (Page 510). Collins, 1977. ISBN   0-00-216012-9
  4. Morgan. (Page 291)