Paul Temple

Created by Francis Durbridge (1912-1998)

"By Timothy!"

One of the most popular private detectives of all time, once upon a time, PAUL TEMPLE was a popular British private detective who made his first appearance in a BBC radio serial in 1938 and went on to appear in novels, film, television and even a daily comic strip. But his main venue was radio -- the show was good for a whopping thirty-year run, originally on the BBC Light Programme and then sent out internationally with the result that Paul Temple, even now, has fans all over the world.

Temple is a crime writer turned private eye, who is frenquently "sent for" by Scotland Yard to help out. Aiding him in almost all of his investigations is his faithful journalist wife, Louise, known to one and all as "Steve," after her writing pen name of Steve Trent. Also frequently lending a hand is Sir Graham Forbes of Scotland Yard, who would join the couple at the end of each shoow to offer a post-mortem of sorts on the case at hand.

The stories themselves were often quite suspenseful, and the radio serials were full of edge-of-your-seat endings, but nobody was ever going to mistake Temple for a member of the hard-boiled school. They were structed very much in the manner of a traditional mystery, up to and including the concluding gathering of the suspects, and were invariably set in the genteel world of the upper classes, even if Temple himself is closer to say, Sherlock Homes, than Miss Marple.

According to 20th Century Crime and Mystery Writers:

Francis Durbridge, Temple's creator, is "a master of the cliffhanger, albeit verbal rather than unpleasantly physical. Durbridge has kept tight control over his creation over the years, being involved in almost all subsequent projects. The books were merely quickie novelizations of the radio scripts at first, but as the character's popularity increased, wholly original adventures were soon being printed. A few of the books were even credited to "Paul Temple," actually a pseudonym of Durbridge and fellow writer Douglas Rutherford.

There were four films in the forties, and in the fifties, a daily comic strip ran in the U.K. And in the late sixties, a television show made it on to the air, in colour even (all the films had been in black and white). There were other changes as well -- for the first time, Francis Durbridge relinquished control and didn't write the stories. Also, instead of the much-loved serials of the radio show, the series featured standalone episodes for the most part. Even more disconcerting to older fans were that the series was set squarely in to the swinging 60s, often abroad, and many of the old characters, such as Sir Graham Forbes, were tossed, although new characters were added to the roster. Still, the show proved popular enough to run for four series.

Not a bad run at all, if you ask me. Even now, I get quite a bit of mail about this character, and it's not all from Brits of a certain age.

Unfortunately, about a third of the original radio broadcasts have been lost over the years, mostly due to BBC cost-cutting measures ("Hey, we can tape over these!"), but all the surviving original shows have been released by the BBC Radio Collection on CD over the years, and they're in the process of re-recording the remaining episodes with new actors, but using the original sound effects and theme music when possible, all in an effort to retain as much as faithful as possible to the original broadcasts.

UNDER OATH

  • "In a burst of nostalgia I came across your page about Paul Temple. You expected the interest will be limited to "Brits of certain age". Well, I'm definitely of certain age, but I must tell you that the Paul Temple radio series was a big hit in Israel in the early sixties. Streets were empty on Monday 21:00 when it was broadcasted (in Hebrew, of course). I remember myself in my own Bat-Mitsva (my 12th birthday) sneaking out of the banquet hall with my transistor, not to miss the weekly program.

--Blessing from Rachel, in Israel

  • "One thing that fascinated me as an 11-year-old in 1938,  prior to being evacuated out of London to where no radio was available , was the music. Both the intro and ending were awesome, hair-raising stuff... I never forgot it."

-- George Sautereau

RADIO PLAYS

  • PAUL TEMPLE
    (1938-1968, BBC)
    28 shows, most 8-part serials (except where noted)
    Written by Francis Durbridge
    Producer: Martyn C. Webster
    Theme music: "Coronation Scot" composed by Vivian Ellis
    Starring Hugh Morton as PAUL TEMPLE
    (later replaced by Carl Bernard, Barry Morse, Howard Marion Crawford, Kim Peacock and Peter Cooke)
    with Bernadette Hodgson as Steve Trent
    (later replaced by Marjorie Westbury, Thea Holme and Lucille Lisle)
    and Lester Mudditt (1938 - 1958) as Sir Graham Forbes
    (later replaced by Richard Williams and James Thomason)

  • SEND FOR PAUL TEMPLE
    (April 8-May 27, 1938)
    8-part serial
    25 minute episodes
    Starring Hugh Morton as PAUL TEMPLE
    and Bernadette Hodgson as Steve

  • PAUL TEMPLE AND THE FRONT PAGE MEN
    (November 1-December 21, 1938)
    8-part serial
    25-minute episodes
    Starring Hugh Morton as PAUL TEMPLE
    and Bernadette Hodgson as Steve

  • NEWS OF PAUL TEMPLE
    (November 13-December 18, 1939)
    6-part serial
    25-minute episodes
    Starring Hugh Morton as PAUL TEMPLE
    and Bernadette Hodgson as Steve

  • SEND FOR PAUL TEMPLE
    (October 13, 1941)
    1 60-minute episode (abridged remake)
    Starring Carl Bernard as PAUL TEMPLE
    and Thea Holme as Steve

  • PAUL TEMPLE INTERVENES
    (October 30-December 18, 1942)
    8-part serial
    20-minute episodes
    Starring Carl Bernard as PAUL TEMPLE
    and Bernadette Hodgson as Steve

  • NEWS OF PAUL TEMPLE
    (July 5, 1944)
    1 60-minute episode (abridged remake)
    Starring Richard Williams as PAUL TEMPLE
    and Lucille Lisle as Steve

  • SEND FOR PAUL TEMPLE AGAIN
    (September 13-November 1, 1945)
    8-part serial
    30-minute episodes
    Starring Barry Morse as PAUL TEMPLE
    and Marjorie Westbury as Steve

  • A CASE FOR PAUL TEMPLE
    (February 7-March 28, 1946)
    8-part serial
    30-minute episodes
    Starring Howard Marion Crawford as PAUL TEMPLE
    and Marjorie Westbury as Steve

  • PAUL TEMPLE AND THE GREGORY AFFAIR
    (October 17-December 19, 1946)
    10-part serial
    30-minute episodes
    Starring Kim Peacock as PAUL TEMPLE
    and Marjorie Westbury as Steve

  • PAUL TEMPLE AND STEVE
    (March 30-May 18, 1947)
    8-part serial
    30-minute episodes
    Starring Kim Peacock as PAUL TEMPLE
    and Marjorie Westbury as Steve

  • MR. AND MRS. PAUL TEMPLE
    (November 23, 1947)
    1 45-minute episode (abridged remake of "Paul Temple and Steve")
    Starring Kim Peacock as PAUL TEMPLE
    and Marjorie Westbury as Steve

  • PAUL TEMPLE AND THE SULLIVAN MYSTERY
    (December 1, 1947-January 19, 1948)
    8-part serial
    30-minute episodes
    Starring Kim Peacock as PAUL TEMPLE
    and Marjorie Westbury as Steve

  • PAUL TEMPLE AND THE CURZON CASE
    (December 7, 1948-January 25, 1949)
    8-part serial
    30-minute episodes
    Starring Kim Peacock as PAUL TEMPLE 

  • PAUL TEMPLE AND THE MADISON MYSTERY
    (October 12-November 30, 1949)
    8-part serial
    30-minute episodes
    Starring Kim Peacock as PAUL TEMPLE
    and Marjorie Westbury as Steve

  • PAUL TEMPLE AND THE VANDYKE AFFAIR
    (October 30-December 18, 1950)
    8-part serial
    30-minute episodes
    Starring Kim Peacock as PAUL TEMPLE
    and Marjorie Westbury as Steve

  • PAUL TEMPLE AND THE JONATHAN MYSTERY
    (May 10-June 28, 1951)
    8-part serial
    30-minute episodes
    Starring Kim Peacock as PAUL TEMPLE
    and Marjorie Westbury as Steve

  • PAUL TEMPLE AND STEVE AGAIN
    (April 8, 1953)
    1 60-minute episode
    Starring Kim Peacock as PAUL TEMPLE
    and Marjorie Westbury as Steve

  • PAUL TEMPLE AND THE GILBERT CASE.,.Buy this dramatization
    (March 29-May 17, 1954)
    8-part serial
    30-minute episodes
    Starring Peter Coke as PAUL TEMPLE
    and Marjorie Westbury as Steve

  • PAUL TEMPLE AND THE MADISON MYSTERY (REMAKE)
    (June 20-August 8, 1955)
    8-part serial, remake of previous serial
    30-minute episodes
    Starring Peter Coke as PAUL TEMPLE
    and Marjorie Westbury as Steve

  • PAUL TEMPLE AND THE LAWRENCE AFFAIR.,.Buy this dramatization
    (April 11-May 30, 1956)
    8-part serial
    30-minute episodes
    Starring Peter Coke as PAUL TEMPLE
    and Marjorie Westbury as Steve
    Also starring Dorothy Holmes-Gore, Brewster Mason, Manning Wilson, Arthur Ridley

  • PAUL TEMPLE AND THE SPENCER AFFAIR.,.Buy this dramatization
    (November 13, 1957-January 1, 1958)
    8-part serial
    30-minute episodes
    Starring Peter Coke as PAUL TEMPLE
    and Marjorie Westbury as Steve

  • PAUL TEMPLE AND THE VANDYKE AFFAIR (REMAKE).,.Buy this dramatization
    (January 1-February 19, 1959)
    8-part serial, remake of previous serial
    30-minute episodes
    Starring Peter Coke as PAUL TEMPLE
    and Marjorie Westbury as Steve

  • PAUL TEMPLE AND THE CONRAD CASE.,.Buy this dramatization
    (March 2-April 20, 1959)
    8-part serial
    30-minute episodes
    Starring Peter Coke as PAUL TEMPLE
    and Marjorie Westbury as Steve

  • PAUL TEMPLE AND THE GILBERT CASE (REMAKE)
    (November 22, 1959)
    8-part serial, remake of previous serial
    30-minute episodes
    Starring Peter Coke as PAUL TEMPLE
    and Marjorie Westbury as Steve

  • PAUL TEMPLE AND THE MARGO MYSTERY.,.Buy this dramatization
    (January 1, 1961-February 19, 1962)
    8-part serial
    30-minute episodes
    Starring Peter Coke as PAUL TEMPLE
    and Marjorie Westbury as Steve

  • PAUL TEMPLE AND THE JONATHAN MYSTERY (REMAKE).,.Buy this dramatization
    (October 14-December 2, 1963)
    8-part serial, remake of previous serial
    30-minute episodes
    Starring Peter Coke as PAUL TEMPLE
    and Marjorie Westbury as Steve

  • PAUL TEMPLE AND THE GENEVA MYSTERY.,.Buy this dramatization
    (April 11-May 16, 1965)
    6-part serial
    30-minute episodes
    Starring Peter Coke as PAUL TEMPLE
    and Marjorie Westbury as Steve

  • PAUL TEMPLE AND THE ALEX AFFAIR.,.Buy this dramatization
    (February 26, 1968)
    8-part serial, remake of "Send for Paul Temple Again"
    30-minute episodes
    Starring Peter Coke as PAUL TEMPLE
    and Marjorie Westbury as Steve

  • PAUL TEMPLE AND THE SULLIVAN MYSTERY (REMAKE)..Buy this dramatization
    (August 7-October 2, 2006)
    8-part serial, remake of previous serial
    30-minute episodes
    Starring Crawford Logan as PAUL TEMPLE
    and Gerda Stevenson as Steve

The first of the re-recorded versions, utilizing -- when possible-- the original theme music and sound effects.

  • PAUL TEMPLE AND THE MADISON MYSTERY (REMAKE)
    (May 16-July 4, 2008)
    8-part serial, remake of previous serial
    30-minute episodes
    Starring Crawford Logan as PAUL TEMPLE
    and Gerda Stevenson as Steve

  • PAUL TEMPLE AND STEVE (REMAKE)..Buy this dramatization
    (June 11-July 30, 2010)
    8-part serial, remake of previous serial
    30-minute episodes
    Starring Crawford Logan as PAUL TEMPLE
    and Gerda Stevenson as Steve

  • A CASE FOR PAUL TEMPLE (REMAKE)..Buy this dramatization
    (August 24-October 12, 2011)
    8-part serial, remake of previous serial
    30-minute episodes
    Starring Crawford Logan as PAUL TEMPLE
    and Gerda Stevenson as Steve

  • PAUL TEMPLE AND THE GREGORY AFFAIR (REMAKE)
    (July 3-September 11, 2013)
    10-part serial, remake of previous serial
    30-minute episodes
    Starring Crawford Logan as PAUL TEMPLE
    and Gerda Stevenson as Steve

  • THE LIGHT PROGRAMME
    (1949, BBC)

  • THE NIGHT OF THE TWENTY SEVENTH
    (December 27, 1949, BBC)
    Christmas special
    Produced by Martyn C. Webster
    Written by Edward J. Mason
    Starring Kim Peacock as PAUL TEMPLE
    Marjorie Westbury as Steve Temple
    Robert Beatty as PHILIP ODELL
    Duncan Carse as DICK BARTON
    Brian Reece as PC 49
    Valentine Dyall as THE MAN IN BLACK
    Douglas Burbidge as DR. DALE
    and Ellis Powell as MRS. DALE

A rare gathering of most of the BBC's most popular detectives at thr time, first broadcast as a Christmas special in 1949.

NOVELS

Many of the radio scripts were novelized by Francis Durbridge between 1938 and 1989, often in collaboration with John Thewes, Douglas Rutherford or Charles Hatten. Those with Rutherford were published under the pen-name "Paul Temple", in fact.

  • Send for Paul Temple (1938, novelization)
  • Paul Temple and the Front Page Men (1939, novelization, co-written with Charles Hatton)
  • News of Paul Temple (1940)
  • Paul Temple Intervenes (1944)
  • Send for Paul Temple Again! (1948)
  • The Tyler Mystery (1957; by Paul Temple)
  • East of Algiers (1959; by Paul Temple)
  • Paul Temple and the Harkdale Robbery (1970)
  • Paul Temple and the Kelby Affair (1970)
  • The Geneva Mystery (1971)
  • The Curzon Case (1972)
  • Paul Temple and the Margo Mystery (1986)
  • Paul Temple and the Madison Case (1988)
  • Paul Temple and the Conrad Case (1989)

SHORT STORIES

  • "Light-Fingers" (1950, The Daily Mail Annual for Boys and Girls)

Adapted from special Christmas broadcast. According to reader Adam Jezard "The story is actually a bit of a brainteaser, as children's stories tended to be in those far-off days, and challenges readers to work out how Paul solved the case and check their answers with the solution provided by Durbridge at the end of the book."
The story was eventually reprinted in The Armchair Detective in 1993.

FILMS

  • SEND FOR PAUL TEMPLE
    (1946, Butchers Film Service, U.K.)
    Black and white
    83 minutes
    Screenplay by Francis Durbridge and John Argyle
    Directed by John Argyle
    Produced by John Argyle
    Starring Anthony Hulme as PAUL TEMPLE
    and Joy Shelton as Steve
    Also starring Tamara Desni, Jack Raine, Beatrice Varley, Hylton Allen, Maire O'Neill, Philip Ray, Olive Sloane

  • CALLING PAUL TEMPLE
    (1948)
    Black and white
    92 minutes
    Screenplay by Francis Durbridge, A.R. Rawlinson, Kathleen Butler
    Directed by Maclean Rogers
    Produced by Ernest G. Roy
    Starring John Bentley as PAUL TEMPLE
    and Dinah Sheridan as Steve
    Also starring Margaretta Scott, Abraham Sofaer, Celia Lipton, Jack Raine, Alan Wheatley, Hugh Pryse , Wally Patch

  • PAUL TEMPLE'S TRIUMPH
    (1950, Butchers/Nettlefold Films)
    Black and white
    80 minutes
    Screenplay by A.R. Rawlinson
    Directed by Maclean Rogers
    Produced by Ernest G. Roy
    Starring John Bentley as PAUL TEMPLE
    and Dinah Sheridan as Steve
    Also starring Barbara Couper, Hugh Dempster, Dino Galvani, Andrew Leigh, Jack Livesey, Jenny Mathot, Ivan Samson .... Major Murray, Bruce Seton, Beatrice Varley

  • PAUL TEMPLE RETURNS
    (1952, Nettlefold)
    Black and white
    71 minutes
    Screenplay by Francis Durbridge
    Directed by Maclean Rogers
    Produced by Ernest G. Roy
    Starring John Bentley as PAUL TEMPLE
    and Patricia Dainton as Steve
    Also starring Peter Gawthorne, Valentine Dyall, Ronald Leigh-Hunt, Ben Williams, Christopher Lee, Grey Blake, Arthur Hill, Robert Urquhart, Dan Jackson

COMIC STRIP

  • PAUL TEMPLE
    (November 19, 1951-May 1, 1971)
    Daily
    Artists: Alfred Sindall, Bill Bailey, John McNamara

TELEVISION

  • PAUL TEMPLE
    (1968-69, BBC)
    12 episodes
    Written by Francis Durbridge
    Starring John Bentley as PAUL TEMPLE
    and Dinah Sheridan as Steve

Either these guys were getting a little long in the tooth, or this was a repackaging of some old films.

  • PAUL TEMPLE
    (1969-71, BBC1)
    A BBC Television Production
    52 60-minute episodes, colour
    Writers: Victor Canning, Peter Miller, John Roddick, David Ellis, John Tully, Bill Strutton, Derrick Sherwin, John Tully, David Roberts, Michael Chapman, Patrick Alexander, Eddie Boyd
    Directors: Douglas Camfield, Cyril Abrahams, Paul Ciappessoni, Eric Hills, David Chantler Ken Hannam, Christopher Barry, Michael Ferguson, John Matthews, Frank Cox, George Spenton-Foster, Michael Ferguson
    Producers: Alan Bromley, Peter Bryant, Derrick Sherwin, Tina Wakerell, Douglas Camfield, Paul Ciappessoni, Rex Tucker
    Starring Francis Matthews as PAUL TEMPLE
    and Ros Drinkwater as Steve
    Guest appearances: Kathleen Byron

  • First series
  • "Who Dies Next" (November 23, 1969)
  • "Message from A Dead Man" (November 30, 1969)
  • "There Must Be A Mr X" (December 7, 1969)
  • "Missing Penny" (December 14, 1969)
  • "The Man Who Wasn't Really There" (December 21, 1969)
  • "Which One of Us Is Me?" (December 28, 1969)
  • "Inside Information" (January 4, 1970)
  • "The Masked Lady" (January 11, 1970)
  • "Swan Song For Colonel Harp" (January 18, 1970)
  • "Mr. Wallace Predicts" (January 25, 1970)
  • "Letters From Robert" (February 1, 1970)
  • "The Man From the Sea" (February 8, 1970)
  • "The Victim" (February 15,1970)

  • Second series
  • "Right Villain" (April 5, 1970)
  • "Kill Or Cure" (April 12, 1970)
  • "Games People Play" (April 19, 1970)
  • "The Artnappers" (April 26, 1970)
  • "The Black Room" (May 3, 1970)
  • "Antique Death, Part One" (May 10, 1970)
  • "Antique Death, Part Two" (May 17, 1970)
  • "Double Vision" (May 24, 1970)
  • "Steal A Little Happiness" (June 28, 1970)
  • "The Suitcase" (July 5, 1970)
  • "Murder In Munich, Part One" (July 12, 1970)
  • "Murder In Munich, Part Two" (July 19, 1970)
  • "Re-Take" (July 26, 1970)

  • Third series
  • "House Of the Dead  (January 10, 1971)
  • "Sea Burial" (January 17 , 1971)
  • "Night Train" (January 24 , 1971)
  • "Corrida" (February 7 , 1971)
  • "Death For Drivers' Reasons" (February 14 , 1971)
  • "A Greek Tragedy" (February 21 , 1971)
  • "The Specialists" (February 28 , 1971)
  • "Has Anybody Seen Kelly?" (March 7 , 1971)
  • "Requiem For A Don" (March 14 , 1971)
  • "Motel " (March 21 , 1971)
  • "Cue Murder!" (March 28 , 1971)
  • "Death Of Fasching" (April 4 , 1971)
  • "Catch Your Death" (April 11, 1971)

  • Fourth series
  • "Paper Chase" (June 9, 1971)
  • "Death Sentence" (June 16, 1971)
  • "Ricochet" (June 23, 1971)
  • "With Friends Like You, Who Needs Enemies?" (June 30, 1971)
  • "Party Piece" (July 7, 1971)
  • "The Quick and the Dead" (July 14, 1971)
  • "The Man Who Forged Real Money" (July 21, 1971)
  • "A Family Affair" (July 28, 1971)
  • "The Guilty Must Die" (August 4, 1971)
  • "Game, Set and Match" (August 11, 1971)
  • "Long Ride to Red Gap" (August 18, 1971)
  • "Winner Takes All" (August 25, 1971)
  • "Critics, Yes! But This Is Ridiculous!" (September 1, 1971)

RELATED LINKS

Steve Daly's amazing site on BBC Dicks includes this masterful entry on Paul and Steve.

A point-by-point list of the "Temple formula."

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. A thousand thanks to Adam Jezard, John Herrington and Ian Lyman for helping to plug the holes.

Pictured are Dinah Sheridan as Steve Temple and John Bentley as Paul Temple in Calling Paul Temple (1948).


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