Audio Drama Wiki

Contraband is a radio play by John Fletcher. It was first broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on 11 September 1993[1], as an installment of Saturday Night Theatre. The running time is 90 minutes.

Recording available at British Library Audio Collection

Available on Radio Archive:


Murder, intrigue, smuggling and slavery. Set in 1725.

The year is 1725. Captain Reynolds commands a small troop of Hussars patrolling the Somerset coast on the look-out for smugglers. One night they come across a party of coastguards slaughtered, seemingly, by the gang of local nob and notorious smuggler Hobaday Smith. Reynolds searches Smith's house, and in the cellar finds ... Queen Ibanda, 'a great, black, African warrioress'. Reynolds takes the Queen to Frome, where he receives orders not to pursue Smith and his gang, but instead to escort Queen Ibanda to London. There follows a tale of murder, revenge, smugglry, skulduggery and political intrigue in a London run by Britain's first and most corrupt Prime Minister...


  • Captain Tom Reynolds - John Nettles
  • Queen Ibanda - Adjwa Ando
  • Sergeant - Stephen Tomlin
  • Viggers - David Stephens
  • Bone - David Holt
  • McKendrick - John Telfer
  • Lord Shelbourne - Roger Hume
  • Anna Shelbourne - Janet Dale
  • Jack - Richard Pearce
  • Lady Stanswick - Judy Bridgeland
  • Sir Robert Walpole - Simon Carter

Music composed and performed by Martin Alcock with Simon Nichol

  • Directed at Pebble Mill by Nigel Bryant

Critical Reception[]


The Comments section doesn't appear to be working any longer. I just made this comment:

You spelt Adjoa Andoh's name incorrectly.

She's been in many of my plays over the years, including my final radio play - Seachange - where she played, of all people, the Queen Mother.

She is currently starring as Lady Danbury - very authoritatively - in Bridgerton, no less.

John Fletcher