Audio Drama Wiki

Miss Hargreaves is a radio play by Brian Sibley, adapted from the novel by Frank Baker. It was first broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on 21 October 1989, as an installment of Saturday Night Theatre. The length is 90 minutes[1][2].


When, on the spur of the moment, Norman Huntley and his friend Henry invent an eighty-three-year-old woman called Miss Hargreaves, they are inspired to post a letter to their new fictional friend. It is only meant to be a silly, harmless game—until Miss Hargreaves arrives on their doorstep. She is, to Norman’s utter disbelief, exactly as he had imagined her: enchanting, eccentric, and endlessly astounding. He hadn’t imagined, however, how much havoc an imaginary octogenarian could wreak on his sleepy Buckinghamshire hometown.


  • Miss Hargreaves - Jean Anderson
  • Norman Huntley - Dale Rapley
  • Henry Beddow - Nicholas Gilbrook
  • Dorothy Huntley- Joe Kendal
  • Jim Huntley - Elizabeth Mansfield

Other parts

  • Leonard Fenton
  • Anna Crooper
  • Donald Gee
  • Christopher Good
  • David Goodge
  • Joan Mathieson
  • Danny Schiller
  • Simon Treeves


  • Dave Hewson - Piano
  • Sindy Foster - Violin
  • Rupert Parker - Harp
  • Music composed by David Hewson
  • Directed by Glyn Dearman

Production History[]

Brian Sibley had wanted to write an adaptation of Baker's novel ten years prior to the 1989 production, but the BBC was uninterested because they already had a version, adapted by Baker himself in the 1950's. When the BBC rejected his proposal, Sibley suggested adapting The Lord of the Rings instead. Only after winning a Sony Award in 1985, for Titus Groan and Gormenghast, was Sibley able to convince the BBC to commission a new Hargreaves adaptation.

The author's first choice for the lead role was actress Joan Hickson, who proved unavailable, as did another possibility, Peggy Ashcroft. The part eventually went to Jean Anderson, who Sibley says "...perfectly captured Miss Hargreaves’ vacillating moods, by turn pathetically frail and formidably feisty."[3]

Critical Reception[]