The Stanley Baxter Playhouse

Series of comic plays starring Stanley Baxter.

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Episodes

SeriesEpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
RepeatedComments
0101Cold Call2006061220070903
20090727 (BBC7)
20090802 (BBC7)
20090803 (BBC7)
20100118 (BBC7)
20110111 (BBC7)
20110112 (BBC7)

Gordon Mackenzie is a wealthy pensioner with a penchant for drama, and a sudden need for a conservatory.

Will his tyrannical cleaning lady agree to wield her duster over a million new window panes; or will he find a new lady in his life?

0102First Impressions2006061920070910
20090803 (BBC7)
20100201 (BBC7)
20100202 (BBC7)
20110118 (BBC7)
20110119 (BBC7)
20110123 (BBC7)
20110124 (BBC7)

Charlie discovers things that he never knew about his lifelong friend Sylvia.

With Colette O'neil.

From June 2006.

By Rona Munro.

Charlie and Sylvia are life-long friends; she depends on him in a thousand little ways, and adores his talent for doing impressions.

Charlie has loved her all his life, but he discovers that there are still some things he doesn't know about her.

Charlie....Stanley Baxter

Sylvia....Colette O'neil

Susan....Hilary Maclean

Jack....Stuart Mcquarrie

Poppy....Hilary Lyon

Michael....Gordon Kennedy

Director Marilyn Imrie

0103Mortal Memories2006062620070917
20090810 (BBC7)
20100125 (BBC7)
20110125 (BBC7)
20110126 (BBC7)

By Liz Lochhead

Jack and Nettie prepare to celebrate Burns night, and two people whose lives have been lived in very different ways unite over an immortal memory.

Nettie Abernethy/John Henderson....Stanley Baxter

Pianist/Arranger....Neil Brand

Director Marilyn Imrie

As Burns night looms for Jack and Nettie, two people unite over an immortal memory.

As Burns night looms for Jack and Nettie, two people with differing lifestyles unite over an immortal memory.

From June 2006.

0104 LASTWheeling Them In2006070320070924
20090817 (BBC7)
20100208 (BBC7)
20100209 (BBC7)
20110201 (BBC7)
20110202 (BBC7)

Archie's been a hospital porter for 38 years, and suddenly everything he values seems to be in the balance; but in the end he reaps the rewards of years of kindness in this heart warming story.

0201The King's Kilt2008010720090916
20100603 (BBC7)
20100604 (BBC7)
20110316 (BBC7)
20110317 (BBC7)
20120202 (BBC7)
20120203 (BBC7)

A recalcitrant Highland kilt maker is tasked to sew a garment for George IV in 1822.

With John Guerrasio.

A recalcitrant Highland kilt maker is faced with the task of producing a garment for George IV to wear on his first visit to Edinburgh in 1822.

0202Pasta Alfredo At Cafe Alessandro2008011420090923
20100610 (BBC7)
20100611 (BBC7)
20110323 (BBC7)
20110324 (BBC7)
20120209 (BBC7)
20120210 (BBC7)

A cunning Glaswegian cafe owner passionately defends his Italian homeland.

A cunning Glaswegian cafe owner passionately defends his Italian homeland. With Luisa Pretolani. From January 2008.

With Luisa Pretolani.

From January 2008.

An Italian cafe owner in Glasgow employs a little guile and cunning to defend the honour and the environment of his beloved native land.

0203 LASTFlying Down To Greenock2008012120091007
20100617 (BBC7)
20100618 (BBC7)
20110330 (BBC7)
20110331 (BBC7)
20120216 (BBC7)
20120217 (BBC7)

A Glaswegian centenarian makes his first flight, and recalls life during the blitz.

A Glaswegian centenarian makes his first flight, and recalls life during the blitz. With Patricia Kerrigan. From January 2008.

With Patricia Kerrigan.

From January 2008.

A centenarian Glaswegian, making his first ever flight, remembers life during the blitz over Clydeside.

0301Astonishing Archie2009032720090618
20120417 (BBC7)
20120418 (BBC7)
20140129 (BBC7)
20140130 (BBC7)

Series of three comic plays starring Stanley Baxter.

When two brothers get together to plan the funeral of an old friend, the choice of music is a bone of contention - will it be Sinatra or Presley? A generation and a whole philosophy of popular music separate the brothers, and the choice they finally make is a heartwarming musical compromise. By Bill Paterson.

Ronnie Purgavey....Stanley Baxter

Alan Purgavey....Bill Paterson

Rev Margot Turnbull....Maureen Beattie

Directed by Marilyn Imrie.

By Bill Paterson. Two brothers argue over the choice of music for an old friend's funeral.

When two brothers plan a funeral, music is a bone of contention - Sinatra or Presley? With Bill Paterson. From March 2009.

When two brothers plan a funeral, music is a bone of contention - Sinatra or Presley?

When two brothers get together to plan the funeral of an old friend, the choice of music is a bone of contention - will it be Sinatra or Presley? A generation and a whole philosophy of popular music separate the brothers, and the choice they finally make is a heartwarming musical compromise.

By Bill Paterson.

By Bill Paterson.

  • alan purgavey....Bill Paterson
  • by Bill Paterson
  • directed by Marilyn Imrie
  • rev margot turnbull....Maureen Beattie
  • ronnie purgavey....Stanley Baxter

  • 0302Fife Circle2009040320090930
    20120424 (BBC7)
    20120425 (BBC7)
    20140205 (BBC7)
    20140206 (BBC7)

    By Michael Chaplin. Elderly brothers Hugh and Alec embark on a journey of discovery.

    Series of three comic plays starring Stanley Baxter.

    Two elderly brothers meet at Waverley station and set out on a journey of discovery involving lost mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters, and learn just whom they really belong to.

    By Michael Chaplin.

    Sir Hugh Dundas/Alex Kelly....Stanley Baxter

    Directed by Marilyn Imrie

    A Catherine Bailey production for BBC Radio 4.

    Brothers Hugh and Alec embark on a journey of discovery.

    Double-trouble as the legendary star plays two roles. Brothers Hugh and Alec embark on a journey of discovery.

    Two elderly brothers set out on a journey of discovery.

    Two elderly brothers meet at Waverley station and set out on a journey of discovery involving lost mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters, and learn just whom they really belong to.

  • alex kelly....Stanley Baxter
  • directed by - Marilyn Imrie
  • sir hugh dundas....Stanley Baxter
  • by.... - - - - michael chaplin

  • 0303 LASTThe Man In The Garden2009041020090625
    20120501 (BBC7)
    20120502 (BBC7)
    20140212 (BBC7)
    20140213 (BBC7)

    By Rona Munro. A lonely lady on a holiday falls in love with two members of a family.

    Series of three comic plays starring Stanley Baxter.

    A lonely lady on a holiday in the remote West Highlands of Scotland finds herself falling in love with two members of the same family, born 60 years apart. By Rona Munro.

    Duncan....Stanley Baxter

    Ellie....Penelope Wilton

    Receptionist....Bill Paterson

    Directed by Marilyn Imrie

    A Catherine Bailey production for BBC Radio 4.

    A lonely lady on a holiday in the remote West Highlands of Scotland finds herself falling in love with two members of the same family, born 60 years apart.

    By Rona Munro.

    Duncan....Stanley Baxter

  • ellie....Penelope Wilton
  • receptionist....Bill Paterson

    love arrives through unexpected means, as ellie discovers on holiday.

    love arrives through unexpected means, as ellie discovers on holiday. with Bill Paterson and Penelope Wilton. from april 2009

  • 0401The Porter's Story2010091720111116
    20131016 (BBC7)
    20150209 (BBC7)
    20150210 (BBC7)

    By Rona Munro. A comic retelling of events at Dunsinane, when Macbeth's porter took charge

    Written by Rona Munro.

    In this first play in Series 4 of The Stanley Baxter Playhouse fellow Scots leading actors Gordon Kennedy, Stuart McQuarrie and Siobhan Redmond join Stanley in a comedy based on Shakespeare's Scottish play, where the porter becomes the hero and invites us to hear his version of the events that led up to the murder of King Duncan; and what just might have happened after it.

    We will discover that it was all really Lady Macbeth's fault, for marrying Macbeth and spoiling the porter's long term plans to groom his coarse and unschooled master to be a suave, smooth operator with fine manners and a statesman like approach to politics. His plans are foiled in a series of mishaps which are hilarious and very cunning.

    Cast:

    Porter - Stanley Baxter

    Macbeth....Gordon Kennedy

    Lady Macbeth....Siobhan Redmond

    Duncan/Nobleman....Stuart McQuarrie

    Rona Munro is one of Scotland's most highly regarded playwrights, with award winning films (Ken Loach's Lady Bird Lady Bird) and television dramas (Rehab) and her Edinburgh International Festival success The Last Witch to her credit. She is passionate about history and comedy, and The Porter's Story celebrates both of these; a delightful tongue in cheek exposition of events from Scottish history which are still shrouded in mystery; Shakespeare certainly took liberties in his version.

    Siobhan Redmond starred in the RSC production of a new play Dunsinane by David Greig, where she played Lady Macbeth. Gordon Kennedy will be known to many for his role as Little John in the BBC TV series Robin Hood.

    Producer: Marilyn Imrie

    A Catherine Bailey production for BBC Radio 4.

    We will discover that it was all really Lady Macbeth's fault, for marrying Macbeth and spoiling the porter's long term plans to groom his coarse and unschooled master to be a suave, smooth operator with fine manners and a statesman like approach to politics.

    His plans are foiled in a series of mishaps which are hilarious and very cunning.

    Rona Munro is one of Scotland's most highly regarded playwrights, with award winning films [Ken Loach's Lady Bird Lady Bird] and television dramas [Rehab] and her Edinburgh International Festival success The Last Witch to her credit.

    She is passionate about history and comedy, and The Porter's Story celebrates both of these; a delightful tongue in cheek exposition of events from Scottish history which are still shrouded in mystery; Shakespeare certainly took liberties in his version.

    Siobhan Redmond starred in the RSC production of a new play Dunsinane by David Greig, where she played Lady Macbeth.

    Gordon Kennedy will be known to many for his role as Little John in the BBC TV series Robin Hood.

    A comic re-telling of events at Dunsinane Castle when Macbeth's porter took charge.

    In this first play in the new series of The Stanley Baxter Playhouse, Gordon Kennedy, Stuart McQuarrie and Siobhan Redmond join Stanley Baxter in a comedy based on Shakespeare's Scottish play, where the porter becomes the hero and invites us to hear his version of the events that led up to the murder of King Duncan; and what just might have happened after it.

    Siobhan Redmond starred in the 2010 Royal Shakespeare Company production of Dunsinane by David Greig, where she played Lady Macbeth.

    Gordon Kennedy undertook the role of Little John in the BBC TV series Robin Hood.

    Rona Munro is one of Scotland's most highly regarded playwrights, with award winning films, television dramas (Rehab) and her Edinburgh International Festival success The Last Witch to her credit.

    What may have happened at Dunsinane castle when Macbeth's porter took charge of events.

    0402The German Pilot2010092420111123
    20131023 (BBC7)
    20150216 (BBC7)
    20150217 (BBC7)

    By Rona Munro. Friedrich and Beth met as wartime enemies and found love on a Scottish farm

    Stanley Baxter and Rona Munro have been collaborating for some years now on the stories in The Stanley Baxter Playhouse; last year listeners were full of praise for Stanley's performance in Rona's Playhouse story -The Man In the Garden.

    This story is a wartime romance set in rural Scotland in the second world war.

    Friedrich is a German pilot whose plane is shot down over a remote rural area in the west of Scotland. He is a prisoner of war, and initially local feelings against him are vitriolic; but he, like everyone in the community in which he finds himself, is a cattle farmer, and as his English improves, he forms strong bonds with his captors, and forges an unlikely friendship which, many years later, brings him back to Scotland.

    Cast:

    Fred... Stanley Baxter

    Friedrich... Sam Peter Jackson

    Beth... Vicki Liddelle

    George... John Ramage

    Stanley, a past master in accents and impersonation, plays the older Friedrich, looking back over sixty years to tell the story. John Ramage and Vicki Liddelle play the other parts, with Sam Peter Jackson, (son of the composer Mick Jackson who wrote the disco hit 'Blame It On The Boogie') who was brought up in Germany and is completely bi lingual, playing the young German pilot.

    Rona Munro is one of Scotland's most highly regarded playwrights, with award winning films (Ken Loach's Lady Bird Lady Bird) and television dramas (Rehab) and her Edinburgh International Festival success The Last Witch to her credit.

    Producer: Marilyn Imrie

    A Catherine Bailey production for BBC Radio 4.

    Friedrich is a German pilot whose plane is shot down over a remote rural area in the west of Scotland.

    He is a prisoner of war, and initially local feelings against him are vitriolic; but he, like everyone in the community in which he finds himself, is a cattle farmer, and as his English improves, he forms strong bonds with his captors, and forges an unlikely friendship which, many years later, brings him back to Scotland.

    Stanley, a past master in accents and impersonation, plays the older Friedrich, looking back over sixty years to tell the story.

    John Ramage and Vicki Liddelle play the other parts, with Sam Peter Jackson, [son of the composer Mick Jackson who wrote the disco hit 'Blame It On The Boogie'] who was brought up in Germany and is completely bi lingual, playing the young German pilot.

    Rona Munro is one of Scotland's most highly regarded playwrights, with award winning films [Ken Loach's Lady Bird Lady Bird] and television dramas [Rehab] and her Edinburgh International Festival success The Last Witch to her credit.

    0403 LASTIn The Name O The Wee Man2010100120111130
    20131030 (BBC7)

    Stanley Baxter, inspired in his own stellar career by the man's outstanding impersonations, stunning pantomime dame performances and brilliant comic timing; pays tribute to Tommy Lorne, one of Scotland's greatest early twentieth century comedians

    Stanley says: "In the long and distinguished history of great Scottish comedians there is one name that stands out particularly in my mind, that of Tommy Lorne. His star burned brightly, but briefly, in the early years of the 20th century. My parents loved him, as did many Glaswegians, and in 1934 as an eight year old boy I was taken to the Theatre Royal to see him as Dame in Babes in the Wood. Although he died only a year later and I was to see him no more, his hilarious and extraordinary stage persona is still etched in my memory. He was, rightly, a huge star in Scotland, and although he may be long gone I'd hate for him to be forgotten. So this is my tribute to the great Tommy Lorne entitled, in the words of his own, famous catch phrase: 'In the Name of the Wee Man.'"

    Baxter recounts the triumphs and disappointments of Tommy's short life, where he brought laughter and happiness to many in his Pantomime Dame performances and musical hall routines, recreated in this production by Stanley himself, joined by John Sessions, himself an ace impersonator and life long fan of Stanley's , he says that Stanley has had exactly the same kind of lasting influence on his work as Tommy Lorne had on Stanley himself.

    Cast:

    Tommy Lorne - Stanley Baxter

    Willie Barbour - John Sessions

    Harry McKelvie - John Ramage

    Mary - Gabriel Quigley

    Danny - David Holt

    Producer: Marilyn Imrie

    A Catherine Bailey production for BBC Radio 4.

    Stanley says: "In the long and distinguished history of great Scottish comedians there is one name that stands out particularly in my mind, that of Tommy Lorne.

    His star burned brightly, but briefly, in the early years of the 20th century.

    My parents loved him, as did many Glaswegians, and in 1934 as an eight year old boy I was taken to the Theatre Royal to see him as Dame in Babes in the Wood.

    Although he died only a year later and I was to see him no more, his hilarious and extraordinary stage persona is still etched in my memory.

    He was, rightly, a huge star in Scotland, and although he may be long gone I'd hate for him to be forgotten.

    So this is my tribute to the great Tommy Lorne entitled, in the words of his own, famous catch phrase: 'In the Name of the Wee Man.'"

    A dramatised tribute to Tommy Lorne, one of Scotland's great early 20th-century comedians.

    The play follows Tommy's own life story from 1890 to 1935, of how he became a star in Scotland, touring sometimes to twelve venues a week, and becoming the most popular pantomime dame of the era; but he pushed himself too hard, and in 1935 the pressure of work was too much and Tommy collapsed at the Kings Theatre Edinburgh before a show.

    At his funeral three thousand people turned out to say farewell- the biggest audience he'd ever played.

    0501Hector's House Of Windsor2013011320131227
    20130118 (BBC7)
    20130119 (BBC7)
    20130120 (BBC7)

    By Colin Hough

    A warm hearted comedic tribute to the Queen's jubilee year.

    The Queen's Scots gillie aids her in a cunning plan to put her unruly prime minister and deputy firmly in their place when they visit her at Windsor and she invites them to join her on a canter round the park.

    Her own superior wisdom, cunning and diplomatic skills are revealed while Her Majesty's wise and wily old Scots gillie looks on and enters into the fun.

    Stanley Baxter plays the gillie and Phyllida Law takes the imperial role in this affectionate fictional account of what just might have happened when the prime minister of the day and his deputy pay Her Majesty a visit.

    Written by Colin Hough

    Directed by Marilyn Imrie

    A Catherine Bailey production for BBC Radio 4.

    The Queen's Scots gillie aids her in a plan to put her unruly prime minister in his place.

    Hector's House of Windsor

    0502The Hat2013012020130125 (BBC7)
    20130126 (BBC7)
    20130127 (BBC7)
    20141205 (R4)

    By Colin MacDonald.

    Sheriff Finlay travels from Scotland to York for the funeral and cremation of his older brother William, with whom he didn't get on. When he gets there he is greeted with barely disguised hostility by William's widow.

    She tells him arrangements for the funeral are all made: it is going to be a Humanist service and the family heirloom fireman's hat, which was worn with pride by the brothers' grandfather, is in the coffin and is going to be incinerated along with William.

    Alistair decides to get the hat before the coffin makes its final journey into the flames. This will take him into dangerous territory, breaking into a funeral parlour at night and braving the criminal underworld to retrieve Grandad's hat and make a final peace with his brother.

    Coronation Street veteran Thelma Barlow stars as his sister-in-law Louise and Stanley Baxter is Sheriff Alistair Finlay in this black comedy with a warm heart about death, brotherly love and saying goodbye.

    Directed by Marilyn Imrie

    A Catherine Bailey production for BBC Radio 4.

    0503 LASTThe Spider2013012720140110
    20130201 (BBC7)
    20130202 (BBC7)
    20130203 (BBC7)

    The story of Robert the Bruce's fateful encounter with a spider on the eve of battle.

    By Rona Munro.

    At last, the true story can be told of Robert the Bruce and his encounter with that spider on the eve of battle with the English.

    Veteran comedian Stanley Baxter plays the role of Scotland's greatest monarch - portrayed in this sharply observed comedy by award winning writer Rona Munro as self-obsessed, selfish, demanding, rather spoilt, and with a pretty bad case of arachnophobia. Hugh Ross plays the hermit who sorts the wayward monarch out and saves the day.

    Press reviews for past series:

    'Brilliant.. with the veteran Baxter still hitting all the notes faultlessly. Perfect listening." - Radio Times

    "Writer Rona Munro turns tragedy inside out to brilliant comic effect." - Daily Telegraph

    "The seemingly indestructible Glasgow funny man triumphs again." - The Times

    Cast:

    Robert the Bruce... Stanley Baxter

    John the Hermit... Hugh Ross

    Directed by Marilyn Imrie

    A Catherine Bailey production for BBC Radio 4.

    Veteran comedian Stanley Baxter plays the role of Scotland's greatest monarch - portrayed in this sharply observed comedy by award winning writer Rona Munro as self-obsessed, selfish, demanding, rather spoilt, and with a pretty bad case of arachnaphobia. Hugh Ross plays the hermit who sorts the wayward monarch out and saves the day.

    0601A Dish Of Neapolitan20140704

    An Old Army colonel and his one time batman reunite after many years at the scene of their greatest glories on the Italian front in World War Two. Many secrets are revealed and a new friendship is forged as they conspire to win back what they perceive as rightfully belonging to their old regiment.

    Written by Michael Chaplin

    0602The Showman20140711

    In the year of our lord 1561, Mary Queen Of Scots and the protestant reformer John Knox clash in Edinburgh's old town over a harmless entertainment involving a wayward troupe of Scots comedians and song and dance acts - led by none other than a sixteen century thespian who could easily have been Stanley Baxter's ancestor. It's Murdo, the man with a fan club as big as the Royal Mile and leading light of a visiting troupe of players, Murdo and his Merry May Dancers.

    Stanley Baxter was born in 1926 and began working for the BBC Scottish Home Service Radio Children's Hour when he was fourteen - in 1940. He was called up to do National Service at the age of eighteen and returned to perform on BBC Radio in Scotland in 1948 - continuing to do so in the 1950s with a variety of live comedy shows. He then went into films and ultimately into television - but he has continued to work in radio throughout his career.

    In the week of his 88th Birthday and in the year of his 75th anniversary as a radio performer, we recorded the latest productions in the much loved, long running Radio 4 series The Stanley Baxter Playhouse.

    Written by Rona Munro

    Directed by Marilyn Imrie

    A Catherine Bailey production for BBC Radio 4.

    0603 LASTMeg's Tale20140718

    We hear how Robert Burns discovered the real story of Tam O'Shanter's big night out at Alloway Kirk - from the point of view of a young barmaid called Norah and her Aunty Meg, who finds herself the victim of a spell malfunction, becoming the horse whom Burns made famous in Tam O'Shanter.

    Stanley Baxter was born in 1926 and began working for the BBC Scottish Home Service Radio Children's Hour when he was fourteen - in 1940. He was called up to do National Service at the age of eighteen and returned to perform on BBC Radio in Scotland in 1948 - continuing to do so in the 1950s with a variety of live comedy shows. He then went into films and ultimately into television - but he has continued to work in radio throughout his career.

    In the week of his 88th Birthday and in the year of his 75th anniversary as a radio performer, we recorded the latest productions in the much loved, long running Radio 4 series The Stanley Baxter Playhouse.

    Written by Rona Munro

    Directed by Marilyn Imrie

    A Catherine Bailey production for BBC Radio 4.

    07The Pool20160106

    07The Pool20160106
    07The Pool20160106

    Set on one of Scotland's most famous salmon fishing rivers, we meet two old men with a shared love of the art of fishing and a shared past which haunts them both. Geoffrey Palmer joins Stanley Baxter on the edge of a famous salmon pool in Scotland, on a cold wintry day.

    Written by Michael Chaplin

    Directed by Marilyn Imrie

    A Catherine Bailey production for BBC Radio 4.

    07The Pool20160106

    Set on one of Scotland's most famous salmon fishing rivers, we meet two old men with a shared love of the art of fishing and a shared past which haunts them both. Geoffrey Palmer joins Stanley Baxter on the edge of a famous salmon pool in Scotland, on a cold wintry day.

    Written by Michael Chaplin

    Directed by Marilyn Imrie

    A Catherine Bailey production for BBC Radio 4.

    07Two Desperate Men20151223

    Inspired by a story by O. Henry, we travel to Perthshire in the days when the streets had more horses than horsepower. We encounter two 1930s tricksters who get their just deserts when they attempt to kidnap and hold to ransom a young lad who's learned a thing or two from the Wild West.

    Stanley Baxter and Joe Caffrey are those two desperate men and young member of the Royal Lyceum Youth Theatre Tom Borley is the lad who gets the better of them in this classic screwball comedy.

    Written by Colin MacDonald

    Directed by Marilyn Imrie

    A Catherine Bailey production for BBC Radio 4.

    0701The Flying Scotsman20151216

    A whodunnit set on the great Flying Scotsman in the days of steam. A rookie Detective Constable and a world weary Detective Inspector combine forces with a recalcitrant train guard to solve a murder and expose Soho gangland supremo Mickey Two Eyes and his side kick Legs Leona.

    Stanley Baxter is the guard who rules over the passengers and the timetable with a rod of iron, and he's joined by Beth Marshall and David Mara as Scotland Yard's finest and Cathy Sara as a passenger with a secret.

    Written by Rona Munro

    Directed by Marilyn Imrie

    A Catherine Bailey production for BBC Radio 4.

    0702The Leaving Of Barra20151209

    Stanley Baxter's first story in his new Playhouse season goes back in time to 1949, when a young man, an assistant director on Whisky Galore, falls in love with a local girl on the Hebridean island of Barra where filming is taking place.

    Sixty six years later, his memories of that golden time come flooding back.

    Stanley Baxter plays the old man who abandoned a career in film to stay on the island with the woman he loved, and now faces a sad farewell. The other members of the company are June Watson, Scott Hoatson, Samara Maclaren and Tracy Wiles.

    Written by Michael Chaplin

    Directed by Marilyn Imrie

    A Catherine Bailey production for BBC Radio 4.