Superman on Trial

Apr 1, 2021

In 1988 the Radio Times still only covered BBC programming. If you wanted to know what was on ITV you needed the TV Times as well. Personally I got by looking at the TV listings in the newspaper. Admittedly if you wanted to know the names of actors in BBC radio plays then you did need the Radio Times. On Sunday 5th June 1988 at 4pm a 45 minute BBC Radio4 play was broadcast. It was immediately followed at 4.50pm on BBC1 TV by a programme celebrating Superman’s 50th birthday. The radio play was repeated on Tuesday 7th June at 8.30pm.

I listened to/watched both programmes at the time. Only today did I realise that the radio play was released on CD in 2010 and is still available today. Amazon describes it thus:

This exclusive special edition of the BBC Radio full-cast drama with never-before-heard scenes features Adam West, Jenette Kahn (President, DC Comics) and Dave Gibbons (Co-creator, “Watchmen”). This long-awaited release features Stuart Milligan as Superman, Shelley Thompson as Lois Lane, William Hootkins as Lex Luthor and Bob Sessions as The Batman and was written to celebrate Superman’s 50th birthday. Accused of crimes against humanity, the Last Son of Krypton stands powerless before a court dominated by Lex Luthor – criminal genius turned Prosecutor. Has Superman really corrupted our children? Can he justify his continued interference in world affairs? Do we know the truth about his powers? Can Lois Lane defend ’50 years of the Man of Steel’? Packed with spectacular sound effects and a thrilling orchestral score, mixed in cinematic Dolby Surround, this specially-extended and unedited recording can now be heard as writer/producer Dirk Maggs originally intended, remastered and with a new background sleeve note. Guest appearances include Adam West (TV’s Batman), Jenette Kahn (President, DC Comics) and Dave Gibbons (DC Comics artist/Co-creator, “Watchmen”).

This particular Radio Times is interesting as it contains a 2 page comic strip as a teaser for the plot of the upcoming play. Drawn by Dave Gibbons I don’t think they have ever been published anywhere else.

PS: It seems there were a few more Superman (and Batman) BBC Radio4 plays.