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Acting on the radio is challenging, inspiring, delicate and always a privilege.


There are many version of the story of The Pied Piper of Hamelin. 

The version that David Tennant read on Radio 4 comes from the poem written by Robert Browning, published in 1888.  The story is based on a legend that dates back to the 13th century.

In 1248, the town of Hamelin, Germany was plagued with rats and the town council engaged a stranger to rid the town of the rats for the sum of 100 gold coins.  

He played a tune on his pipe and drove the rats to drown in the River Weser. The council then refused to pay him and he left town very angry.  He returned on St. John's Day, June 26th, and led the town's 130 children out of town and into the mountains, never to return.  Only two children ever came back, one was blind and one was dumb, so neither of them could show or tell the spot where the children were taken.

Browning's version has only one boy was left behind and the piper's cost was 1,000 Guilders.

David's reading of the poem was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 as the Play of the Week on December 26, 2011 at 11:30 am - runtime 27:51.

The music and songs that accompanied David's reading were written and performed by John Harle, lyrics by Joyce Harle, sung by Thomas Platts, head chorister at Canterbury Cathedral with the choir of Wingham School, Kent.

John Harle was responsible for inviting the choir to perform, including pupils in year 7 who were in the choir last year. 

They recorded their tracks on a Saturday morning in October with John and the show's editor.

The director was Susan Roberts and the boy was played by Bertie Gilbert, who you might know as Scorpius Malfoy, Draco's son at the end of Harry Potter and the Deadly Hallows Part 2.  He also had his television debut opposite David Tennant on The Friday Night Project!


A few of Browning's lines describing the piper:

"His queer long coat from heel to head"

"And he himself was tall and thin"

"And light loose hair"

"But lips where smile went out and in"

"And nobody could enough admire
The tall man and his quaint attire."

I'm just saying . . .  

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