Shop H.E. Bates Online
ID
a1
Title
Loyalty : A Play in One Act
Genre
Play
Publication Year
1926
Document Types
Unexamined Writings
Unpublished Writings

Eads documents that Bates's first play, for which no script survives, "was first broadcast from the BBC studio at Bournemouth on 20 January and 3 February 1926 and later from London, Aberdeen, Newcastle and Cardiff. The London (National) broadcast was at 8:45 p.m. on Tuesday, 6 April 1926." He quotes from the Radio Times of April 2, 1926 in its listing of the play as "Loyalty, a fanciful fragment," provides the cast list, and reproduces the description of the setting: "A stiff, though comfortably-furnished room in a provincial house. Victorian prints of the Boer War, Queen Victoria, and the Prince Consort adorn the flowery-papered walls. A fire is burning in a big black, shining grate. Rain is splashing on the windows through which comes a greyish light, showing a table completely laid for tea. A kettle is already on the fire." The February 12, 1926 issue of the Radio Times lists a broadcast on February 17 and provides additional information: "Mind Picture: There are queens and queens-both may be equally beautiful, yet one may live in a palace, another in a poor home. Yet poverty shall not remove the crown. David's queen had no palace ; David's loyalty was strong enough for palace and homestead."

Eads provides the following players: Producer [possibly this was the abbreviation "pr." meaning "presenter" rather than "producer.") - Howard Rose, Aunt Matilda -Miriam Ferris, Mrs. Peach - Mabel Constanduros, Mr. Peach - Henry Oscar, David (their son) - Michael Hogan, June (a girl) - Phyllis Panting. Radio listings in the Hull Daily Mail indicate that the cast above was called the London Radio Repertory Players. A web source (http://www.savoyhill.co.uk/invisibleplay/body/appendix1926playslondon.html) lists the same cast but with presenter R.E. Jeffrey.

Again according to Eads, "The play was produced on stage in the author's home of Rushden, Northants, on Thursday and Saturday 3 and 5 March 1926." He quotes at length from a review of March 4 in the Rushden Echo: "A better first night than most authors experience was the lot yesterday of Rushden's young man of letters, Mr. H.E. Bates. His short play 'Loyalty' which had been broadcast from a number of radio stations, was produced on the stage for the first time, and it had a good reception from a fairly large audience...'Loyalty' is not wholly comedy or drama, but a little of both. It is a general skit on those who make a fuss about seeing Royalty, but there would be a little in it if it were not for the intrusion of June. She is the charm of it. She saves it from being a mere farce. She introduces the feeling of youth calling to youth, and the point of the play appears to be that this call is of far greater moment to the universe than the passing of transitory Royal Personages. On the stage this play was more successful than many had expected from their impression of its radio performances. There are a few of those expletives which I suppose modern young authors cannot be without, but on the whole it is a good theme presented in good taste. There is no attach on Royalty at all, but only a pitying exposure of those poor souls who treasure a moment's glimpse of 'The Queen' as a great event in life. At the end Mr. H.E. Bates was called for and expressed himself as greatly in debt to the performers. He put in a plea for the development of the spoken drama in town and district."

Bates later referred to the play as "Loyalties" and mentions that the B.B.C. offered him "the staggering sum of ten guineas" for it (Blossoming World 24).