“Mrs Updike” radio teledrama is broadcast on BBC Radio

Screen Shot 2013-02-10 at 6.13.57 PM“Mrs Updike,” a 90-minute radio play by Margaret Heffernan “about the tempestuous relationship between one of the most famous American writers of the twentieth century, John Updike, and his mother,” was broadcast today by BBC Radio and can be heard online for the next seven days. Thanks to member Andrew Moorhouse for tipping us off to it.

“Mrs Updike” features Eileen Atkins as the title character, Charles Edwards as John Updike, Josef Lindsay as Young John Updike, Stuart Milligan as Wesley, Garrick Hagon as Springer, Joseph May as the Interviewer, and Lorelei King as Lara. Heffernan has written three plays for radio, “including a pair of plays about Enron.” 

From the BBC Radio description: 

Updike said that one of his earliest memories was seeing his mother at her writing desk. He wrote many stories about his mother and mothers in general, almost all isolated by their intelligence and sensitivity, which their sons both love and fear. Replete with tension, they mirror the journey all children must make from love to separation to attempts at coexistence and back to love. But the stories are always about the son’s journey, as though the mother has gone nowhere. But what of Mrs. Updike’s journey?

This play brings Updike and his mother together as Updike struggles with another failed marriage. He comes home to his mother, expecting support and sympathy, to discover for the first time that his mother is a person too, with hopes and fears and disappointments he had never seen. His mother challenges him: can he love anyone whom he does not see merely as an extension of himself? And, if he can’t, what kind of writer, what kind of man, does that make him?

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2 Responses to “Mrs Updike” radio teledrama is broadcast on BBC Radio

  1. Jack De Bellis says:

    This play is an ingenious idea, and I think it would be interesting to those involved to see my description of John Updike and Linda Hoyer Updike in my “John Updike’s Early Years” just published by Lehigh University Press, available through Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com.

    Is it possible to see the script?

    Best,

    Jack De Bellis
    Professor emeritus
    John Updike Scholar-in-residence, Alvernia U, 2011-12

    • Andrew Moorhouse says:

      Hello Jack, I did contact the author (via Twitter) to say how I’d enjoyed it and to ask if the script was available for purchase but, apparently, it isn’t. The author does have a website http://www.mheffernan.com and there are contact details in the top right hand corner. I may try to contact the producer at the BBC to see if I can get anything.

      Your latest book arrived here in the UK late last week, I’ve not started reading it yet but it does look a lovely production.
      Best wishes
      Andrew

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