Tuesday, 29 January 2013

A Scott drama with Budleigh links

Actress Jenny Coverack inside Scott's Hut, dressed as Kathleen Scott
Photograph copyright © 2006 Marketa Jirouskova

We were awestruck by the courage and suffering of former Budleigh resident Murray Levick and his companions displayed in last year's Fairlynch exhibition 'Survival', and moved by actress Jenny Coverack's performance as Kathleen Scott in Budleigh Salterton's Public Hall.   

Meredith Hooper, during a visit to Fairlynch Museum's 'Survival!' exhibition in July 2011
Now comes the final stage of the centenary commemoration of Captain Scott's tragic Terra Nova expedition with a BBC Radio 4 drama to be broadcast on Tuesday 5 February, from 2.15 to 3.00 pm, with Sam West as Scott and Emilia Fox as Kathleen.

'Kathleen and Con' by author and Antarctic expert Meredith Hooper is based on the two volumes of extraordinarily interesting letters written by Robert Falcon Scott and Kathleen Bruce. The drama begins with their first love letters in November 1907. It includes their marriage in September 1908, moving on to their final letters to each other - Kathleen in England, Captain Scott on the Polar journey.

Robert Falcon Scott and his wife Kathleen, on Quail Island in Lyttelton Harbour, New Zealand, 1910. The two men on the left are unidentified as is the photographer

The news of the deaths of all five members of the Polar Party raced across the world in February 1913 when the Terra Nova reached New Zealand with all those remaining in Antarctica, including of course the expedition's doctor and zoologist Murray Levick.

'Kathleen and Con' will be part of acknowledging the end of the expedition, 100 years ago next month. "I was hugely glad to be commissioned to write it," says Meredith Hooper who has visited Budleigh on various occasions including an appearance at the town's Literary Festival when she spoke about the background to her book The Longest Winter. "The drama is based entirely on the letters between the two - my aim, to give people the chance to listen to their voices. To hear what they actually said."

'Kathleen and Con' will be on iplayer for a week after 5 February. Radio Times has selected it as one of the Five of the Best radio programmes for next week.
For newcomers to this site who know nothing of Murray Levick's and Scott of the Antarctic's connections with Budleigh Salterton click on

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