Lord Peter Wimsey on Radio
First Upload November 2000 Last update April 2 2001

Created by Dorothy L. Sayers.
To most people, Dorothy L. Sayers L.P.W books on radio mean the "Ian Carmichael" dramatised series from the early 1970's and 80's. However, this was not the first or last time Lord Peter Wimsey had been dramatised on BBC Radio.
In the book Dorothy L. Sayers - A Careless Rage for Life by David Coombes, he refers to Dennis Arundel starring in a stage production of Busman's Honeymoon in December 1936, and the BBC making a radio version a couple of months later. 

Details of Broadcasts and cast/production credits for 1938 -1972 were extracted from a very full article by
Barry A. Pike "Wimsey on the Wireless", featuring in "Sidelightís on Sayers" Vol. XLIX October 1999
Published by the Dorothy L. Sayers Society.
These details were provided by radio historian Penny Fabb for the above publication.
The full article is available to members of the DLS Society.
Link to the Society Website

BBC radio adaptations of Dorothy L. Sayers Lord Peter Wimsey stories prior to Ian Carmichaelís debut in December 1973 as the definitive radio "LPW".
Lord Peter Views the BodyIn the Teeth of the Evidence
10 June 1938
The Learned Adventure of the Dragon's Head
adapted and produced by Leslie Stokes
(Detectives in Fiction 3: 4.30 - 5.0 pm National Programme) second broadcast 30 July 1938
with Jack Melford as Lord Peter Wimsey
(Children's Hour: 5.30 - 6.0 pm)
5 March 1940

Absolutely Elsewhere
adapted and produced by John Cheatle
with Rex Harrison as Lord Peter Wimsey, Edgar Norfolk as Bunter and Bryan Powley as Charles Parker
(8.0 - 8.30 pm: Home Service)
3 April 1943

The Man With No Face
Adapted by Audrey Lucas
produced by John Cheatie
with Robert Holmes as Lord Peter Wimsey
(Saturday Night Theatre: 9.35 - 10.15 pm, Home Service)
Whose Body? Japanese2 December 1947 - 6 January 1948

Whose Body?
adapted by Charles Hatton
produced by David H. Godfrey
with Hugh Burden as Lord Peter Wimsey,  Carl Bernard as Bunter, Ivan Samson as Charles Parker, Susan Richards as the  Dowager Duchess and Howard Marion Crawford as Sir Julian Freke
(9.30 - 10.0pm weekly, Light Programme)

3 August 1949
Busman's Honeymoon
by Dorothy L. Sayers & Muriel St. Clare Byrne
produced by Archie Campbell
with Hugh Latimer as Lord Peter Wimsey, Rita Vale as Harriet, Stanley Groome as Bunter, Eric Lugg as Supt. Kirk, Susan Richmond as Miss Twitterton and Geoffrey Lewis as Frank Crutchley
(8.45 - 10.0pm Light Programme)

24 August - 14 September 1954
The Nine Tailors
adapted by Giles Cooper
produced by Norman Wright
with Alan Wheatley as Lord Peter Wimsey, Charles Leno as Bunter, James Thomason as the Reverend Venables, Stephen Jack as Supt Blundell, Marjorie Westbury as Hilary Thorpe
(8.0 - 8.30 pm weekly, Light Programme)
This recording was issued by the BBC Transcription Service.
Murder Must Advertise - Japanese
22 April 1957

Murder Must Advertise
adapted by Giles Cooper
 produced by Peter Watts
with Ronald Barton as Lord Peter Wimsey, Malcolm Graeme as Charles Parker, Malcolm Hayes as Tallboy
(The Monday Play: 9.45 - 10.45, Home Service)

Strong Poison - German25 May 1963
Strong Poison
adapted by Felix Felton
produced by Audrey Cameron
with Frank Duncan as Lord Peter Wimsey, Mary Wimbush as Harriet, Timothy West as Charles Parker, Mary O'Farrell as Miss Climpson, Eric Anderson as Bunter,  Norman Claridge as Norman Urquhart and Janet Burrell as the Dowage Duchess
(Saturday Night Theatre (Murder for Pleasure): 8.30 - 10.0 pm, Home Service)

19 June 1965
Busman's Honeymoon
by Dorothy L. Sayers and Muriel St Clare Byrne
adapted by Peggy Wells
with Angus Mackay as Lord Peter Wimsey and Dorothy Reynolds as Harriet
(Saturday Night Theatre: 8.30 - 10.0 pm, Home Service)

Unnatural Death - German18 March 1972
Unnatural Death
adapted by David Geary
produced by David H. Godfrey
with Hugh Burden as Lord Peter Wimsey, William Eedle as Bunter, Clifford Norgate as Charles Parker, Katherine Parr as Miss Climpson and Eva Haddon as Mrs Forrest
(Saturday Night Theatre: 8.30 - 10.0 pm, Radio 4)

It seems none of these survive within the BBC, if anyone has information of Transcription Discs, or off air recordings, please let me know.
Below are details to 3 productions that have been made since the Carmichael series ended.
The Nine Tailors
Broadcast December 25 1986 (A 120 minute production)
dramatised by Micheline Wandor
directed by Vanessa Whitburn
Lord Peter Wimsey 
 Gary Bond
 Inspector Blundell 
 Terry Molloy
Father Venables 
 Jeffrey Dench
Considered by many to be her best story. The discovery of a dismembered body in the churchyard of Fenchurch St. Paul, leads to many questions, who was he? who murdered him and why? and what significance do the Fenchurch bells themselves have? the Nine Tailors?

Whose Body?
Broadcast December 26 1987 (A 90 minute production)
dramatised by Micheline Wandor
directed by Vanessa Whitburn
Lord Peter Wimsey 
 Gary Bond
 John Cater
Inspector Parker 
 Roger Roland
Sir Julian Freke 
 Michael Graham Cox
Lord Peter investigates the connection between the discovery of a corpse in a bath, and the disappearance of financier Sir Reuben Levy.

Strong Poison
Broadcast  October 2 1999 (a 60 minute production)
dramatised by Michael Bakewell
directed by Fiona McLean
Lord Peter Wimsey 
 Simon Russell Beale
Harriet Vane 
 Emma Fielding
Inspector Parker 
 Nicholas Farrell
Enter Harriet Vane, crime novelist; accused of murdering her former lover Philip Boyes. The case appears open and shut, except to Lord Peter who is convinced of her innocence. Time is not on his side as he searches to find a very cunning murderer, and to save Harriet Vane from the gallows.

Back to Top
"Dorothy L. Sayers A Careless Rage for Life" by David Coombes published by Lion Publishing 1992.
"Wimsey on the Wireless" by Barry A. Pike published by Dorothy L. Sayers Society 1999. 1