In Conversation with Zoë Fairbairns and John Petherbridge


I tried unsuccessfully to get hold of a copy of the story..
Zoë:  "The story was never published. I wasn't able to finish it entirely to my satisfaction.  One of the reasons is that I felt that I was going over material that I had already used in my novel Daddy's Girls (first published in 1991) and had not succeeded in getting a fresh ‘take' on it.  So I was happy to hand it over to John for adaptation."


Why was an actor used for Taffy rather than something from the sound-effects department?!
John:  "I had anticipated Taffy being a collection of pre-recorded barks from the sound library.  But the director, Glyn Dearman, wanted to treat Taffy as a proper dramatic character played by an actor.  I think it worked."


So that's why there are several unscripted sounds from Nat?
John:  "Taffy's growling and barking varied according to circumstances, just as the actor's voices vary when they are playing a part."


Why was Nat cast for the part of Taffy?
John:  "I believe Glyn cast him because they had worked together successfully in the past and he knew Nat was able to ‘do' dogs, and he was available.  Incidentally, Nat told me that he'd learnt to play dogs from Martin Clunes!"


Bearing in mind the role of Taffy, was the recording at Maida Vale studios a totally ‘serious' business?
John:  "There was a good atmosphere in the studio when we did the play.  But recording radio plays is, in my experience, always rushed.  We had just one day in the studio, for the actors to read through the play and then record it.  During recording most of the effects are created or played from tape so the actors can time their performances.  In my experience little is added afterwards in editing which is mainly a process of choosing the best take and adding music."


Here's a link to Zoë Fairbairns Homepage.


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