Constance Savery: BBC Broadcasts CWS

BBC Broadcasts

Savery sold a number of short stories to the BBC Children's Hour. The RADIO TIMES verifies three of these broadcasts, and Savery's work diary mentions a couple others. The broadcasts fell into two categories, "Clock Shop stories" and "Little Dragon stories." Since the RADIO TIMES has no mentions of casts, it is probable that the stories were simply read, although someone besides the narrator may have read the voices of characters.

The Clock House under the Sea. 1935? BBC broadcast(?).

This unusual story is included in Punch's recapitulation of his adventures with clocks at the beginning of In Apple Alley. The work diaries state that two clock-shop stories were broadcast in 1935, and it is possible that this was one of them. A letter to Savery from the BBC, dated Sep. 2, 1935, states that "material contributed to the Children's Hour is not normally published."
I have a nine-page, typewritten, carbon copy of this story. My review of THE RADIO TIMES for 1935 failed to find the title, but the Northern Region often began a broadcast with "a quarter of an hour for the Tinies," for which this story could qualify.
Apple Alley in Oddwich, where the clock shop is located, is within a long walk of Tumblesand Bay, where a village vanished into the sea two hundred years earlier. A strange man with a long red muffler leaves a clock to be repaired with Punch and blows off with the wind toward Tumblesand Bay. He doesn't come back, and Punch undertakes to return the repaired clock.
The rest, rare for Savery, is fantasy. A mysterious sign points Punch along the sea-cliffs until, at dusk, the path disappears over a broken cliff, where he finds the man with the muffler. Together they go through darkness and mist to Underthesea House, where Punch falls asleep and wakes to find himself at home, trundled back to Oddwich by a fishmonger. o'clock adventure... 1935? BBC broadcast(?)

See opening paragraph under Clock House under the Sea, above. Punch's recapitulation from In Apple Alley mentions a One O'Clock Adventure, but there was no manuscript with that title.

The Tale of Twelve O'Clock. 1935? BBC broadcast(?) Manuscript has 13 double-spaced, typed pages.

Savery mentions this title in the work diaries as one of the Clock Shop stories; however, I have no evidence it was ever published or broadcast. My annotations are based upon a manuscript copy. Punch's list of adventures from In Apple Alley, omits this one.
Punch complains to Mary-Martha, the housekeeper, that her stories end too soon and asks for one that will last much longer, so she tells him
an ow'd story that my mother h'ard from her great-grandmother, time she was a little girl.
The story involves an ant from an "ant-nestie" that resolves to empty three barns of their grain, so he
took away a grain of wheat from the wheat barn, and the next night he took away another grain of wheat, and the next night he come again and took away another grain of wheat, and...
Punch implores Mary-Martha to stop, which is just, she tells him, what the King did. After several such trials, Punch leaves Mary-Martha, but her story comes in handy at school the next day.
If they were broadcast, I suspect that the repetitions, with their exasperated listeners, sounded quite amusing over the BBC.

The Little Dragon. London: The British Broadcasting Corporation, Broadcasting House, London, W.1. ~5:40 PM, Aug. 22, 1935. BBC, Northern Ireland broadcast.

This was one of four Little Dragon stories broadcast over the BBC between January and September of 1935. The date and time are taken from THE RADIO TIMES, which usually indicates a dramatization, so I presume the story was simply read. Cf. CHILD LIFE for a synopsis of the printed story. According to a BBC payment invoice, it was rebroadcast on Dec. 31, 1935.

The Little Dragon's Princess. ~5:40 PM, 1935. BBC, Northern Ireland broadcast.

The comments above concerning The Little Dragon apply to this story as well. My source is THE RADIO TIMES.

The Little Dragon and His Chinese Lilies. ~5:45 PM, Nov. 1, 1935. BBC, Northern Regional Broadcast

The broadcast date and time are taken from THE RADIO TIMES. See CHILD LIFE for synopsis of the printed story.

The Little Dragon's Birthday Party. 1935. BBC broadcast.

The last of four dragon stories broadcast by the BBC between January and September of 1935. See CHILD LIFE for synopsis.

The Little Dragon's Musical Box. ~Feb. 17, 1936. BBC broadcast.

A typed carbon copy of this story was among Savery's papers when she died. A penciled note in the corner says: "Accepted Child Life." If CHILD LIFE did publish this story, I have not seen it there.
Augustus, the little dragon, brings back from the store a musical box rather than the saucepan for which he was sent. The old saucepan is repaired, after a fashion, with Stickmefasto, which seals the hole, but also flavors the porridge, so Aunt Elegantissima cannot eat it. Fortunately, they all enjoy the musical box.
An ogre arrives, heaves out the dragons, and takes their cave for himself. Various schemes for removing the ogre are unsuccessful. He declines to follow the lady dragons' serenade into a slippery hole, and when the male dragons attack, they get the worst of it.
The ogre appreciates "Pop Goes the Weasel," and it is left for Augustus to save the day, although he loses his musical box in the process. Well done, Augustus, a hero for once!

The Little Dragon and the Will o' the Wisp. Oct. 19, 1936. BBC North Regional broadcast.

The broadcast date is given in the work diary. I have no record that this story was ever printed, but its manuscript was among Savery's papers. The December 1937 issue of CHILD LIFE announced an upcoming little dragon story by Savery for the issue for January 1938. It never appeared.

When Augustus is left alone in the cave with orders not to light Mr. Dragon's lantern, those who know Augustus know that that is exactly what he will do. Predictably, he makes a mistake, and the lantern explodes. So Augustus takes the lantern to the marsh to ask Will o' the wisp to fix it for him.
When he finds Will asleep, Augustus leaves his lantern and takes one of Will's home with him, wrapping the handle first, since he knows he shouldn't touch it.
When Mr. Dragon returns, he attempts to fix the lantern that is flashing blue and green, but when he touches it, he is compelled to dance, and Mrs. Dragon, rushing to his rescue, must dance as well.
This story moves along nicely and amuses, and Augustus is truly repentant by the time his parents have been rescued.

The Clock that Struck Thirteen. 1935-1937. BBC broadcast.

According to the work diary, this story was accepted by the BBC on Sep. 3, 1935. I have it in the form of a nine-page typescript with an inscription dated Mar. 30, 1936 that asks for ten copies and an attached note saying it was returned on June 22, 1937. The manuscript has a great many corrections, all very much to the point and resulting in an excellent story, one especially appropriate for use on the radio. The BBC note has the typed initials DMcC, undoubtedly those of the "Children's Hour" 'Uncle Mac,' Derek McCullough.
It begins with Mary-Martha telling Punch of an accused man who claimed that when a crime was committed he was elsewhere, listening to a lonely church clock that struck thirteen at one o'clock. There was another man there, he declared, but he had never seen him before or since. Then up stood a man that had visited the courtroom that day by chance, and said: "I am that other man!"
The very next day, a clock brought to the shop for repair struck thirteen as Punch was standing there at one o'clock, a fact that came in handy when the Apple Man complained to Uncle Paul later that Punch had stolen apples from him at exactly that time. Punch was also acquitted.
It is possible that this is the one o'clock adventure cited earlier.