Drama of the Week
Friday, 24 December
40 years on, the dramatic story of the Penlee lifeboat disaster.
Mousehole, 19th December 1981. The famous Christmas harbour lights illuminate the fishing village in this quiet corner of Cornwall. But a storm is coming and the events of this night will leave a mark on the community that will never fade.
40 years after the Penlee lifeboat disaster, Solomon Browne is a poetic, drama-documentary, weaving together monologue, recorded testimonies and the genuine radio communications from the disaster. Written by Newlyn resident Callum Mitchell, the programme was made in Cornwall, with the help of some of the family members of the men lost.
The result is both a celebration and memorial to the men of the lifeboat – Solomon Browne: Trevelyan Richards, Stephen Madron, Nigel Brockman, John Blewett, Charles Greenhaugh, Kevin Smith, Barrie Torrie and Gary Wallis.
Helping us tell their story are:
Neil Brockman, son of Nigel Brockman. Neil was 17 at the time and also a member the lifeboat crew, alongside his dad. Jane Torrie is the sister of Barrie Torrie. The night of the disaster she was busy babysitting her brother’s two children, as he set out into the storm. Jo Payne, is the daughter of Charlie Greenhaugh, member of the lifeboat crew and also landlord of the Ship Inn that overlooks Mousehole’s harbour. And Baden Madron, brother of Stephen Madron.
The Penlee lifeboat disaster was a tragedy that tore the village of Mousehole apart, days before Christmas, but through the darkness of the storm, shines the light of a coastal community intent on remembering the bravery of its lost neighbours.
Callum Mitchell is a writer from West Cornwall. He was Assistant Director on Mark Jenkin’s BAFTA-winning film Bait (Early Day Films/BFI), as well as the forthcoming Enys Men (Bosena/Film 4). Callum is an Associate Artist at Hall For Cornwall and was the recipient of the Nick Darke Talent Award 2020. He has spent the past year on attachment as part of the BBC Writersroom Cornish Voices programme. Solomon Browne is his first work for radio.
Solomon Browne by Callum Mitchell
The Voices: Jo Payne, Baden Madron, Jane Torrie and Neil Brockman
The Narrator: Callum Mitchell
Music by Edward Norris
Sound design by Nigel Lewis
Calm is the Sea performed by Mousehole Male Voice Choir
A BBC Cymru Wales Production
Directed by James Robinson