Last Witch Trial, The

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20100604by Melissa Murray|1944.|Exhausted by the war, many people are turning to spiritualism for comfort.|But now the authorities are worried that mediums may give away vital military secrets...|Lucy - Indira Varma|Margo - Lyndsey Marshal|Helen - Joanna Monro|June - Vineeta Rishi|Prosecutor - Sam Dale|Cousin - Michael Shelford|Woman - Keely Beresford|Directed by Marc Beeby|The Last Witch Trial is a story woven around real events.|1944, the fifth year of the Second World War, and the country is exhausted.|Morale is very fragile.|There's been too much death and destruction.|Everyone has lost someone.|It's unbearable.|Surely there must be some way to make contact, to be reassured that the dead are happy in the afterlife.|Many find comfort in conventional religion but almost as many turn to that time's alternative faith, spiritualism.|D-Day is fast approaching and the Allies are in an advanced state of paranoia.|They are terrified that the Germans might get hold of their plans.|So terrified they look in the strangest places for potential spies.|They arrest and interrogate crossword compilers who have come up with 'suspicious looking' clues.|And now they are about to arrest and possibly charge Helen Duncan, the well known Scottish medium.|Lucy Kirkland, Third Officer in the WRNS is not the kind of woman to have much time for spiritualism.|Being sent undercover to one of Duncan's seances she sees as a humiliating waste of time.|Nevertheless, she does her job, writes her report and Duncan is arrested and charged under the 1735 Witchcraft Act for 'falsely purporting to conjure spirits'.|Lucy comes in for a fair amount of teasing from fellow officers for being involved in a Witch Trial.|But Margery Lane, odd shy little Margo, stands up for her.|When Lucy is due to give evidence at the trial, Margo, to Lucy's surprise and delight, decides to come to London with her.|But Margo has motives other than friendship, and soon Lucy finds herself increasingly, and desperately, out of her depth.|The Writer|Melissa Murray has written extensively for theatre, published a collection of short stories, is currently the Arts correspondent for one of the main RTE radio arts programmes and is a frequent contributor of radio essays on Irish radio.|For the BBC she has written seventeen original plays on a wide variety of subjects.|Her most recent work for Radio 4 includes an original play, Theremin, a dramatisation of The Birds by Daphne Du Maurier and Restless by William Boyd, shortlisted for a Sony Award.|A love story woven around real, unusual, events that took place in 1944