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


The Purple Land was first broadcast on July 16, 2011 as the BBC Radio 4 Saturday Play from 2:30 - 4:00 pm. 

Anyone who follows David's audio career will not be surprised to see that this is a Clive Brill production for Pacificus, Clive's company.

Directed by Clive Brill, who spent seven years producing drama for BBC radio and in 1990 he became head of Development for BBC TV Series. He formed Pacificus Productions and took on the "Shakespearean" task in 1996 of directing the entire Arkangel Shakespeare Series, in which David appears in nine plays.

In addition Clive has directed David in four other radio dramas The Order of Release, The Island, Murder in Samarkand, the two part Afternoon Play series Stevenson in Love and in the staged reading of Edward III at The Globe.

Other Pacificus Productions David has appeared in include the Book of the Week readings of Robert Louis Stevenson's biography, the 2010 and 2011 Book at Bedtime series Night of the Vampire and Night of the Vampire 2, the radio plays A Quick Change and Love Virtually, Every Seventh Wave, which was also directed by Clive, and the Richard Wilson Radio 4 series Believe It!.

"The Saturday Play presents Andrew Davies' rip-roaring adaptation of WH Hudson's epic Uruguayan adventure starring David Tennant."

Andrew also adapted The Chatterley Affair and He Knew He Was Right that featured David in small but memorable roles.

The Purple Land was the first novel of William Henry Hudson.

"It is an exuberant, wryly comic account of a young Englishman's imprudent adventures, set against a background of political strife in 19th-century South America.

Eloping with an Argentine girl, young Richard Lamb (Tennant) makes an implacable enemy of his teenage bride's father. Leaving her behind, he goes ignorantly forth into the interior of the country to seek his fortune. While doing so he learns to hunt, ride, herd, love and even kill on his way to becoming a man." - BBC Press Release

Hemingway alluded to this book in his masterpiece "The Sun Also Rises", claiming that "The Purple Land" is 'dangerous reading if read too late in life'.

Hopefully - it doesn't make for dangerous listening!" - BBC Radio 4


Music Composed & performed by:

Ross Hughes and Esben Tjalve
Trumpet - Daniel Weitz
Script Editor - Eileen Horne

And click here to read Davies thoughts on producing this play for radio rather than TV, as he did for Pride and Prejudice.

From Libertarianspirit Blog - Reviews of Radio & Audio Programmes - July 20. 2011

"But let me say listening to this lavish and lovely production cheered me up no end. It was a miserable Saturday afternoon, nasty, horizontal and very wet rain was spurting about in buckets, the humidity was near drowning level, summer light had been turned into bleak thunderous melancholy.

Yet I lay back and allowed myself to be swathed in a sound orgy of audio-burlesque. David Tennant sounded as though he had the most tremendous fun playing the Victorian roué Richard Lamb.

Tennant gives the impression of an extremely hard working actor, taking on every kind of dramatic genre and expressing a wonderful versatility of characterisation.

Clive Brill conjured an audio film in glorious imaginative technicolour.

This was such a skilful sound design and direction that at one point I actually imagined myself with Lamb herding thousands of head of cattle on the South American plains of Uruguay."


David Tennant - Richard
Denise Gough - Paquita
Danny Webb* - Marcos/Major Domo
Carol Macready - Toribia/Grandmother
Lizzy McInnerney** - Isidora
Nigel Cooke - Grizzled Herdsman/Allday
Richard Durden - Paquita's Father/Winchcombe
Jacey Salles - Monica/Donna Mercedes/Sancho the Parrot
Nicholas Murchie - Cloud/Blanco Major
Chuk Iwuji - Epifanio/Chillingwoth
Trevor Martin - Juez/Bartender/Blass
Jane Slavin - Cleta/Mother 
Beth Cooke - Herdsman's Daughter/Margerita
Grace Horbury - Anita 
Danny Concha - Herdsman's Boy 

*played Mr. Jefferson in the Doctor Who episodes The Impossible Planet and The Satan Pit.

**appears in the two radio plays in the Stevenson in Love with David.

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