3 June 2024

The Toff:
Two BBC Radio 4 classic thrillers

Terence Alexander stars in these two classic crime dramas, adapted from the novels of John Creasey.

Meet The Honourable Richard Rollison – a.k.a the Toff. A debonair aristocrat and ace amateur sleuth, he’s the scourge of London’s criminal underworld: sometimes working alone, sometimes hand-in-glove with the police. But wherever he goes, he leaves his distinctive calling card: a jaunty caricature featuring a top hat, a monocle, a bow tie and a cigar. In these two gripping thrillers, he finds himself involved in rural intrigue and a wedding-day mystery…

The Toff on the Farm – When the Toff is offered the opportunity to buy a small farm in Sussex, he politely declines – he’s never had any inclination to be a country squire. But when he hears that there’s a mystery attached to the place, he agrees to drive down and take a look. On arrival, he discovers that several other potential buyers are keen to get their hands on the property – and the owner’s brother has vanished. Can the Toff uncover the secrets surrounding Selby Farm?

The Toff and the Runaway Bride – Barbara Lawn is about to marry the Toff’s old chum, Major Guy Lessing, against her father’s wishes. But on the morning of the big day, she receives a distressing phone call – and later, at the reception, a letter arrives bearing shocking news. When she flees her husband en route to the honeymoon, the Toff finds himself investigating a heinous case of blackmail and murder…

First published 1958 (The Toff on the Farm), 1959 (The Toff and the Runaway Bride)

Cast and credits
Written by John Creasey
Dramatised by Roy Lomax
Produced by John Fawcett Wilson

Starring Terence Alexander as the Toff and Robert Dorning as Jolly

Listen to these classic crime dramas here.

The Toff on the Farm
Gillian Selby – Heather Stoney
Mr Lodwyn/Vicar – Jeffrey Segal
Monty Morne – Terrence Hardiman
Bert – Frank Jarvis
Red Brandt/Eddie Forbes – Ed Bishop
Inspector Bishop – Derek Newark
Smith – Reg Lye
Police Sergeant – Paul Meier
Superintendent Grice – Duncan Lamont
Lola Bridge – Liz Gebardt
Alan Selby – Alaric Cotter
Bert Ebbutt – Douglas Blackwell
William T Brandt – Alan White
Other parts played by the cast

First broadcast BBC World Service, March 1977

The Toff and the Runaway Bride
Barbara – Rosalind Shanks
Aunt Gloria – Peggy Ann Wood
Holy Joe/Sergeant/Carruthers – David Graham
Maggie – Frances Jeater
Major Guy Lessing – Alan Cuthbertson
Doctor – Dennis McCarthy
Kevin Brennan – Robert Lawn
Superintendent/Inspector Reno – Godfrey James
Police Officer – Clifford Norgate
Rose Lessing – Denise Buckley
Inspector Ellerby – Roger Gartland
Sergeant – Michael Shannon
Robert Lawn – Kevin Brennan
Police Constable – John Bull
Inspector – Jean Dryant
Other parts played by the cast

First broadcast BBC World Service, June 1975