1st Broadcast 1997 on BBC Radio 1
Audio Movies Ltd for BBC Radio 1
Updating and expanding the story told in the 1981 film of the same name, this drama features the stars of the film in their original roles. Two American backpackers suffer a frenzied attack on the Yorkshire moors. One survives, and he soon discovers that the assailant was more animal than human.
How does a Werewolf get onto the Yorkshire Moors?
Why do the citizens of a remote village allow two American backpackers walk to their doom?
What is like to be undead?
John Landis' 1961 movie remains an unforgettable cinema experience. And in this newly expanded version some twenty minutes of new story has been added, leading up to the violent and emotional climax on the streets of London.
Jenny Agutter, who starred in the original movie of the same name, and Brian Glover star in a radio dramatisation of the Oscar winning 1983 classic An American Werewolf in London.
American college boys Michael and Robin are on a walking holiday on the Yorkshire Moors when, on a dark night, they encounter a terrible fate. Months later Michael is lying in a London hospital bed, being treated for shock after falling into a coma. He has strange marks on his body as if he's been attacked by a wolf...
His friend Robin is dead, but something else is wrong with Michael. He must confront an astonishing and terrifying reality in order to find out what really happened on that dreaded night on the moors.
Updating and expanding the story told in the 1981 film of the
same name, this drama features the stars of the film in their original roles.
Two American backpackers suffer a frenzied attack on the Yorkshire moors. One
survives, and he soon discovers that the assailant was more animal than human.
The Soundhouse Ltd
Despite evidence tro the contrary I try to avoid doing work with a direct filmic equivalent but I could not refuse the opportunity to rework a classic by one of my favourite movie directors. The fact that John Landis was also enthusiastic to have An American Werewolf In London reworked for radio was the key. He was kindness personified and got personally involved to see that we got permission to make this.
The sound effects we used to build the wolf effects included a pig and English badger! We recorded Eric Meyers using a stereo capsule on a boom so he could
throw himself around the studio and we could follow - he had no voice and a lot of bruises afterwards
This one had nothing to do with the cinematic release of An American Werewolf in Paris, that was pure coincidence. Eric Meyers suggested the idea to me very early on, about 1995, but it took two years to clear. The concession to the nature of the beast was that it aired in the Mary Ann Evans (? apologies to the DJ, I can't remember the name) show, late nights weekdays. I do remember I sensed we were coming to the end of our Radio 1 heyday; the people at the show didn't seem crazy about having to play a three-minute episode every night. Later on they warmed up a bit when they heard it. But Matthew Bannister was leaving the network and I had a feeling - which turned out to be correct - that the new regime was going to dump us. Which was a pity because we were one of the good things they had at that time... we were going places, then they stiffed us.
Of the original cast I only ever went for Jenny Agutter, Brian
Glover and John Woodvine; they were the important characters and they were accessible.
I knew that Eric Meyers and Bill Dufris would play David and Jack really well.
Jenny told me she did it only because John Landis told her I was a good bloke,
which was sort of reassuring! Jenny was delightful - obviously she's still dead
sexy and all that, but she has a great sense of humour and was enormous fun
to have around, which isn't true of all actresses who are also big stars. John
Woodvine had a very dry sense of humour. One time I apologised for a slightly
clumsy line I had written for him and he said, 'Don't worry Dirk, I'm sure I
can improve it somehow!' Of course it was Brian Glover's last ever acting job
(I believe), he died a couple of months later. He was terrific, sick as he was;
he came to the studio on the bus, refusing a car, said he needed the exercise.
And he turned in a very powerful performance. I dedicated the Talkie Award we
won to him. A lovely man and a truly great actor.
For the additional scenes I was looking for a backstory for the werewolf. Who was he before he was killed on the Moors? Why were the villagers in The Slaughtered
Lamb protecting him? Brian's character was so vehement about protecting the secret. I reasoned he must have a family connection. But at the same time I thought that Dr Hirsch must have some kind of secret knowledge of the situation. He is such an establishment figure, yet believes in werewolves. How could I reconcile those elements? I though maybe he too came from the area, and I wondered if maybe there could be some kind of Eastern European settlement there - in the style of Transylvanians coming here ... not exactly relatives of Count Dracula, but from the village! And blow me down, as I was starting to write the scripts, on the Today programme there was a piece about Eastern European migrants to the North of England in the 18th Century - perfect! So that gave me a link, which I followed up. It was fun to try and tie these element up a bit.
4 Episodes 30 Minutes each, 120 Minutes in Total
By Ty power
“Like Dirk Maggs’ previous Radio 1 dramatisations, the pace
and production values are simply terrific.”
KEN GARNER, The Express, 7 April 1997
“The beast was brought triumphantly back to life ... thanks
to expert direction from Dirk Maggs ...”
STEPHANIE BILLEN, The Observer, 13 April 1997
“The hip language, vivid sound effects, insistent music and
Dolby Surround bear witness to Dirk Maggs.”
PAUL DONOVAN, Sunday Times 7 April 1997
“... Dirk Maggs adds new twists and grizzly sounds to John Landis’s
movie ... Recommended.”
RADIO CHOICE, Daily Mail, 7 April 1997
“... an excellent job - congratulations!”
JOHN LANDIS (An American Werewolf In London, The Blues Brothers) April 1997
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