Richard Hannay in The Thirty Nine Steps by John Buchan on BBC Radio & in other media.
The Thirty Nine Steps
First Uploaded 24 May 2001
BBC Radio

corrections or additions??


Richard Hannay, the character created by John Buchan featured in 5 novels. The Thirty Nine Steps was the first and most well known, Published in 1915. Hannay also featured in Greenmantle (1916); Mr Standfast (1919); The Three Hostages (1924) & The Island of Sheep (1936).

For those unfamiliar with The Thirty Nine Steps.

Richard Hannay returns from South Africa to the "old country"  - but soon becomes bored, wishing he was back on the veldt that he's used to as a mining engineer.
    He is drawn into a very shadowy world of espionage - when a man living in his building (Scudder - who has just faked his own suicide) seeks refuge in Hannay's flat.
  Hannay listens to, and believes Scudder's incredible story and agree's to help him. He returns to the flat several days later to find Scudder murdered by his pursuers - and himself branded as a murderer and on the run from both the police and Scudder's adversaries, who rightly guessed that Hannay (who's fled to Scotland) now has the information and must be silenced.

BBC Radio
The BBC first appear to have adapted The Thirty Nine Steps for radio in 1939, other productions of the story appeared in 1948, 1950, 1953, 1958, 1972. A reading of the book by Frank Duncan was issued by the BBC Transcription service.
If anyone can enlighten me on early productions - please email me.
The following are details of the two most recent BBC radio productions.
Radio Collection 1992 cover
Cover of the BBC Radio Collection issue of the David Rintoul version, which also featured a 90 minute production of the John Buchan story Witchwood.
1992 ISBN: 0563366680
Broadcast  on Radio 4 - 28 December 1989
A 90 minute production.
dramatised by Peter Buckman.
directed by Patrick Raynor.
A visit from a man who is already dead begins the nightmare for Richard Hannay. Three days later the man is dead, skewered through the heart, and Hannay is an innocent man on the run, embroiled in a sinister web of political intrigue and murder.
BBC Radio Collection
David Rintoul
Richard Hannay
Jimmy Chisholm
Michael Elder
Sir Walter Bullivant
Crawford Logan
Sir Harry
David McKail
Alexander Morton
Sandy Neilson
Sergeant - Major
John Shedden

Cover of the BBC Radio Collection issue of the David Robb version. Scheduled for June 2001
ISBN: 0563535814

Broadcast  on Radio 4 - 18 & 25 March 2001
2 x 60 minute production.
dramatised by Bert Coules.
directed by Bruce Young.
1: `The Milkman Sets out on His Travels'.
When a man is murdered in Richard Hannay's flat, he goes on the run, pursued by police and a gang of German spies intent on recovering a secret notebook which could destroy the British naval fleet.
BBC Online
Broadcast  on Radio 4 - 18 March 2001

2: `The Coming of the Black Stone'.
A gang of German spies is after Richard Hannay and a notebook containing the secret of the 39 steps, and Hannay must solve the mystery of the steps if he is to save the British naval fleet.
BBC Online
Broadcast  on Radio 4 - 25 March 2001
David Robb
Richard Hannay
Tom Baker
Sir Walter Bullivant
Struan Rodger
The Hawk
William Hope
Tracy Wiles
Stuart McQuarrie
Sir Harry
There have been three film versions of the book to date, the acclaimed Alfred Hitchcock version from 1935 featuring Robert Donat, the 1959 version with Kenneth More as Hannay, and in 1978 Robert Powell played the role. Each of these versions changed aspects of the story.
Images of Richard Hannay
Robert Donat (right) in the 1935 film Kenneth More - handcuffed to a friend in the 1959 version
Robert Powell 1978
For details of the films, Consult Internet Movie Database


Hannay dessing down in 1988Robert Powell in Thames' 1988 seriesThames TV produced this period series in 1988 & 1989, Robert Powell returned to the role of Richard Hannay, in this series of self contained adventures. Gavin Richards also featured as Count von Schwabing.
The format for the series was by Michael Robson, and it was produced by Robert Banks Stewart.
More details on Thames series needed.
The Three Hostages has twice been produced by the BBC.
In 1952, Patrick Barr played Sir Richard Hannay in a "live" 6 part adaptation.
A new production adapted in 85 minutes by John Preddle and directed by Clive Donner was broadcast on BBC1 on 27/12/1977. Barry Foster was Sir Richard Hannay.
Robert Powell disguised as a road mender in the 1978 filmTwo, I enjoyed.
The Thirty Nine Steps - an unabridged reading by Robert Powell has been issued by  Chivers Audio Books; on 4 cassettes.
ISBN: 0745158129

The Thirty Nine Steps - an abridged reading by James Fox was issue 14 in Orbis Publishing Ltd's; Talking Classics series on 2 CD's & 2 cassettes, around 1994.
ISBN: 074890313/5

The following appears to be currently available, although I haven't heard it.

The Thirty-nine Steps (abridged edition) - Jack Davenport (Narrator)
Penguin Audiobooks; ISBN: 014180176X



'The Thirty Nine Steps" booklet accompanying CD published by the Orbis Classics Collection. 1994.
'British Television - An Illustrated Guide" compiled for the BFI by Tise Vahimagi published by the Oxford University Press
"Serials on British Television - 1950 - 1994" by Ellen Baskin published by Scolar Press 1995.
Val Gielgud at the BBC 1